Are You Qualified To Judge?

While recruiting judges for The Board Game Workshop Design Contest, I always get a few people that say they don’t think they are qualified to be a judge.

This always makes me wonder why they think this. What do they think a judge has to do? Is it that they think the job is difficult or do they think they lack the necessary ability? Or is it that they don’t think they are a big enough name to be a judge?

I try to pursued them that they can do it, while not being too pushy. Perhaps they just don’t want to judge and feel this is a nicer way to decline. If they don’t want to judge for any reason then they shouldn’t. But I would hate to lose a judge because they don’t think they are good enough for the job. 

I try my best to explain how the contest works. As I keep saying, one goal of the contest was to make judging as easy as possible. Round one is especially quick and simple. It only takes 5 minutes to judge an entry. You pick a submission, watch the 2 minute video then fill out a form saying how you feel about the game in a few categories and give some feedback. 

Every contest is unique and has their own specific qualifications for their judges. For my contest, I have very broad qualifications. If you are interested in board games and can give constructive but kind feedback to a video submission, you can be a judge. 

Having well known personalities, like designers and publishers, as judges is a big draw for the entrants and they have a lot of skill and experience they can impart in the feedback. But I also like having a wide range of different people who love games; reviewers, players, content creators. The more varied viewpoints the better. 

I believe that the truth is in the aggregate. So the more judges we have, the closer we get to the truth of each game. I don’t want any one judge to have too much sway over a game’s score. That requires a lot of judges, so I try my best to get a lot of judges. 

Beyond all of the statistical reasons I like a broad selection of judges, there is the feedback itself. I’m a designer. I love feedback on my designs. Positive or negative, it’s all good. It helps open up new ideas and is wonderful to know someone else has paid attention to your idea and taken the time to tell you about it. 

It’s very easy to be a spectator to people’s work and not let them know you are paying attention. So when you get some feedback on a project it can be a big motivator to continue working.

Last year we were able to get a minimum of 10 judges on each game in round one. I hope to at least maintain that minimum this year. And I also hope to have more entrants, so I’ll need more judges. 

If you are reading this, you are probably qualified to be a judge. I put together a page to practice judging on the podcast site. You can go through the whole 5 minute process and see exactly how easy it is. I hope you will help judge the contest this year. It’s a lot of fun and well worth the time. Unless you are entering the contest, then you can’t judge. But I’m happy to have you enter as well. That’s a pretty important part of the contest as well. 

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