I know controversy and the wargaming hobby go hand in hand, but it feels that we can’t even have a month go by without something making headlines. In this case it’s the most recent announcement by Games Workshop about Golden Demon 2024, in this post I chew the cud and give my views.
As ever a disclaimer is required whenever I do some kind of musing. I and in fact all of the painting community are reading a lot into one article on Warhammer Community, we may well get something different announced later in the year and all our cries of anguish are unfounded. This isn’t how the article reads though, which is why this post was written.
I don’t think I’m being unreasonable when I say that in recent years the miniature painting community feels a little unloved. Despite being a key part of the hobby, with amazingly painted miniatures featuring in Warhammer World Exhibits. publications and social media campaigns, over the past few years there have been constant complaints surrounding the overarching organisation of Golden Demon – I’m not talking about the judging (which has been great), but instead the way Golden Demon is organised and run from a logistical angle. We’ve had limited numbers of tickets, entry fees and the length of time it’s taken to be given the rules and guidelines for the competition.
This last point is the one I hear or read the most, when an entry takes months if not years to complete, being given the guidelines with less than two months to go isn’t that helpful, and this isn’t something we see for gaming events, so why is it acceptable to do this for painting events?
Golden Demon has for many years now been run as part of Warhammer Fest (and Games Day before that), as with most things, the pandemic caused chaos and meant that we had a gap for a couple of year until 2022 when a small Golden Demon was run up at Warhammer World (where ironically I caught covid). Being a small venue, there were limited tickets available but the event still turned out as one of the most brutally difficult competitions anyone had seen.
2023 saw Golden Demon return to being part of Warhammer Fest in what was hyped to be one of the biggest Fest events ever. Sadly a combination of things caused the event to not be quite as popular as hoped – there was a new venue in the form of Manchester Arena, it was run over a 3-day UK public holiday weekend and during the event there no staff to talk to about anything – these alongside other items contributed towards an event that most attendees felt didn’t quite reach the heights that was hyped. Golden Demon also required a £10 ticket and was limited to 1000 tickets for reasons nobody really quite understood, it was also mandatory to attend all three days, something many painters didn’t want to do due to time or costs, that said all the tickets did sell out and there are rumours of around 1400 entries across the categories.
The 2024 Golden Demon started off last September with the announcement there would be an Adepticon Demon, plus revealing a fairly sizable change in categories. We had new categories for some of the smaller game systems like Bloodbowl and Necromunda, and the combination of some like 40k Large Monster and 40k Vehicle – two categories that are almost chalk and cheese in painting disciplines. I even wrote a post on the new categories back when they were announced.
The changes didn’t receive the most positive of receptions, but the worst bit was the lack of guidelines and clarification on how these categories would work – would Necromunda vehicles have to go into 40k Vehicle or Necromunda for example. That was before contemplating how can you can even start to compare a Heresy Spartan tank against a Primarch model.
The guidelines themselves came out this week (yes that’s over four months after the categories were revealed and less than 2 months before the Adepticon Demon). Alongside the guidelines we found out that we were going to see a Golden Demon being held in Germany at the Spiel Essen event in October. We’ve not seen one in Germany since 2018, so it’s quite a momentous occasion. What took the gilt off the gingerbread though was that it was being referred to as the “second leg of Golden Demon” and the “European Golden Demon”. There’s only two conclusions to draw from this, we either have a UK Demon being run in November or December, or the more probable option of there not being a UK Golden Demon this year.
For me, Golden Demon being in Germany presents largely the same challenges as it did being run in Manchester last year. The location means more planning, travelling, cost and time off work – this last bit is the most critical element if I’m honest. Now I do appreciate that our international hobby family have been doing this to attend Golden Demon for a lot of years and I think it’s great we have one being held in central Europe, very much overdue. What this does do though is make two Golden Demons run as part of events that aren’t organised by Games Workshop and crucially, not for the first time we’re getting slow and ambiguous communication as to what’s actually going on. If we’re not going to be getting a UK Golden Demon or even a Warhammer Fest this year, then come out and tell us. Better still why not give us the justification and reasoning behind it, we might not like it, but at least we know where we are and painters can decide if they wish to travel to Germany or not rather than left hanging which is the situation we currently have.
So there we have it, my take on what