With the next season of Golden Demon approaching, the category list for 2024* has been announced. Along with the usual suspects we see a couple of new categories and a few changes to others.
The major change are:
- The inclusion of 4 new categories: The Horus Heresy, Warhammer Underworlds, Necromunda** and Blood Bowl**. What exactly these categories will entail is yet to been seen until the release of the full Guidelines. Does it include Single Miniatures, Units, Monsters, Vehicles?!
- Small Scale changed into Epic.
- The combining of Diorama & Duel into a single category.
- The combining of Warhammer 40,000 Large Model and Vehicle into a single category.
*it is not known if these categories will carry over to the 2024 UK Golden Demon. But that would be a fairly safe assumption to make.
**the last time we saw these specific categories in modern Golden Demons was at the 2018 Germany Warhammer Fest Europe Düsseldorf
Golden Demon has seen lots of changes over the years. Categories have been added, removed changed usually for the betterment of the competition and miniatures and ranges evolve and these changes are good. But change also needs to be weighed against what makes sense.
The newly announced Legions Imperialis (essentially ‘Epic 40,000’ for Horus Heresy) will mean more smaller scale miniature being brought into the competition. The Small Scale rebranding makes sense as the transition to ‘Epic 40,000’ continues along with Adeptus Titanicus and Aeronautica Imperialis.
The Horus Heresy, Warhammer Underworlds, Necromunda and Blood Bowl
Something that is less clear for me personally is the inclusion of these four categories. It appears to be a push to align the categories with the current marketing of ranges, which in itself is not a bad idea. Though as it stands it is somewhat confusing without knowing the full category Guidelines.
From the initial outset it would suggest that both Single Miniatures and Units will be eligible for entry into these categories. What about vehicles for The Horus Heresy? Without very clear guidelines this could make things quite difficult.
Another concern will be how many entries each of the categories actually receive. In previous years where the Necromunda and Blood Bowl categories have been present the entry count has been low. It will be very telling at the AdeptiCon Golden Demon, while it has been growing in the last 2 years it is still a fledgling event. Even some of the more major categories have had low entry counts in the last 2 events and increasing the categories could see this dilute even more.
These four categories will live or die by the wording of the guidelines. They will need to be very clear and very concise.
Diorama & Duel
This is the most major change, the combination of Diorama & Duel. One I am quite sad about. With the relaxation of basing requirements starting in 2019, we have seen a blurring of lines between these two categories in the sense that basing for Duel has become overly extravagant. Where previously the 40x40mm restriction focused the Duel more.
To me, the requirements for what is a Diorama and what is a Duel are diametrically opposed to each other, and I personally feel this is a mistake. For Duel, the idea is for two miniatures to be engaged in battle, with a clear line of sight between them and interaction. Whereas a Diorama is where you tell a broader story.
2018 UK Warhammer Fest Coventry
It’s Hammer Time! by Mark Lifton
Gold – Duel
2013 Germany Games Day Cologne
The Last Light by Roman Lappat
Gold & Slayer Sword- Diorama
I find the two categories are just too different in their requirements to be combined and I am unsure how they will be compared in judging. Sadly, I think some Dioramas that would have placed if the categories were separated won’t because more time is able to be invested in a smaller Duel.
Personally, I would have liked to see these two remain as separate categories, but with tighter requirements in the Duel category though restricting the base size again for Duel would be a mistake.
Warhammer 40,000 Large Model and Vehicle
This change, I am also unsure if it is the right move. With how large miniatures have become in the last decade, I can see why it may make sense, but considering how different vehicle and large monster painting styles can be, it feels like a mistake. It’s likely these two categories were combined to keep the overall category count lower with the addition of the four new categories.
2023 UK Warhammer Fest Manchester
Avatar of Khaine by Sten Frödin
Gold – Warhammer 40,000 Large Model
2010 UK Games Day Birmingham
The Minotaur Cadias Red Eagles by Mathias Paaschburg
Silver – Warhammer 40,000 Vehicle
There is a growing contingent of TreadHeads bringing their historical and military modelling style into the Warhammer 40,000 universe and it will be very difficult to make comparisons between a perfectly weathered vehicle and a large monster.
While I am not knowledgable enough to know what considerations have been taken into account with the changes, I would have perhaps rearranged the categories as below:
- Warhammer 40,000: Single Miniature
- Maximum base size of 90mm*
- Warhammer 40,000: Unit **
- Any collection of 3 or more miniatures from the Warhammer 40,000 setting
- Warhammer 40,000: Vehicle
- Age of Sigmar: Single Miniature
- Maximum base size of 90mm*
- Age of Sigmar: Unit* *
- Any collection of 3 or more minis from the AOS setting – Underwords, Warcry, Blood Bowl, Quest
- Warhammer 40,000: Large or Age of Sigmar: Large
- For any Vehicle, Monster or miniature on a base 100mm or larger
The large miniature ranges for both Warhammer 40,000 and Age of Sigmar are close enough that comparison in painting styles can be drawn. There are large miniatures that are interchangeable in both Warhammer 40,000 and Age of Sigmar ranges. Be’lakor for example.
- A tighter requirement on the two miniature battling and interacting
- Epic Scale
- (Epic 40,000, Adeptus Titanicus, Aeronautica Imperialis)
- Young Bloods
- The Open Competition
*the maximum base size would be the one supplied with the miniature.
Thinking more about the marketing aspect possibly being the driving force behind a few of the changes. Perhaps to keep awards in line with the ranges ‘Best of’ awards could be awarded to miniatures within those ranges:
- Best of: The Horus Heresy
- Best of: Necromunda
- Best of: Warhammer Underworlds
- Best of: Blood Bowl
This would allow for better marketing and more recognitions of those ranges but keeping the categories more inline with previous years.
Though this would have it’s own issues as ‘Best of’ awards usually are the top award and could add more confusion as the award tree is already a bit confusing for newcomers.
- Slayer Sword
- First Cut / Finalist
Perhaps if the ‘Best of’ awards sat outside of the awards tree it would make the most sense. Similar to how the Forge World: Best of Show awards used to exist.
While these are my own personal views and fears I do not feel these are unfounded. There has been a lot of similar echos and confusion online since the categories were released.
Ultimately we will have to wait and see what the Guidelines outline and then draw better opinions.