An Insider's Perspective of Judging for ToS

Tagging off of Winteroak's post the other week, I would like to add that the Tournament of Simulations (ToS) is seeking judges to grade the various games that are being received.  Having judged this event of sorts on two occasions now, I have found it to be an interesting way to see what else is out there and to brush virtual shoulders (of the Covid-safe variety) with other figures of the larger 'simming' community.  I would highly recommend that you guys give judging this competition a shot if you have the time.

However, disclaimer, apparently a couple of the people that committed to being judges for last year's ToS ended up not completing their assignments, which backed up the processing of the results for over half a year if I recall correctly.  I have no idea whether those judges were from OW or not, but regardless, this year, as I advertise the joys of being a ToS judge, I'll also take the time to share my own experiences to give you an idea of what you'll most likely be getting yourself into.

Right, so, the first time I volunteered to become a ToS judge, I did so the way the OW Blog post says to do it every year: by expressing interest in becoming a judge when submitting a game for the competition.  Between the two years I judged, the basic format was the same.  I was assigned about 11-15 games that I was to read 10 posts each from (assuming that all the posts listed in the nomination had a time stamp of the relevant year; on several occasions this was not the case and I ended up reading less than 10 posts).  The vast majority of these games were space operas each time (so I hope you can tolerate sci-fi).  For these games, I was tasked with rating each of them between 1 and 10 in three categories, those being the quality of the story, the characters, and the readibility/grammar of the posts.  After coming up with a score in the three categories for a game, I would total it and then add a couple of ideally helpful and encouraging comments and move onto the next game.  Some games would be consist mostly of 1-2 paragraph flash posts that would take barely any time at all to read and grade, while others would consist mostly of lengthy joint posts that could take hours to read.  Very rarely will any of this be particularly thrilling reading, mostly being written for the entertainment of the writer rather than the reader, although there can be a few gems in the rough.  All in all, it usually took me about 7 hours each time to read, grade, and communicate my scores to the panel, and I consider myself to have a pretty average reading rate.

While that might not sound like most people's idea of a good time, and I can't honestly say that the reading and grading has ever been particularly enjoyable for me, watching everything come together and experiencing other people's ingenuity has been pretty cool.  Overall, participating as a ToS judge has been an experience that I have not regretted having, and to reiterate, I definitely recommend trying it out if you have at least 10 hours in a given week (each time I want to say I had about a week to complete my assignment, so chipping at it throughout the week instead of procrastinating was a must) to do something like this.

One last note, the deadline for submitting games for ToS this year is January 31st 2021, which is only a week away.  Nominate your games now before it's too late!  I'm telling you guys, most of the stuff that gets submitted to ToS is very mediocre, so your game does not need to be pulitzer prize winning material to have a good chance of doing well in the Tournament of Simulations.

If anyone has any questions or concerns, ask away in the comments section below!

< Prev : Tournament of Simulations 2020 Next > : Final call - ToS Awards