These are the judging criteria for Drachenwald’s Annual Kingdom Arts and Sciences competition. This modular judging criteria system provides a framework for judges to evaluate many different items, while taking into account which aspects the entrant focused on and giving the necessary flexibility to enter a wide variety of arts and sciences on an even footing. It does not seek to be exhaustively detailed, but to give freedom to consider many different aspects. They rely on the entrant communicating their research, process, and ideas clearly.

Required Criteria

The goal of the SCA is “the research and re-creation of pre-seventeenth century skills, arts, combat, and culture, focused on Western Europe and its cultural contacts, and employing knowledge of history”. Drachenwald’s Kingdom Artisan competition is meant to recognise skilled and well-rounded artisans. As a result, there are three main criteria that must be fulfilled by any entry: it must be well-researched, well made, and suitable for use in the current Middle Ages.

Research - research is demonstrated through documentation, whether written or presented to the judges in other formats. However, except in the case of a research paper, it is not the documentation itself that should be judged but the knowledge and thought it conveys. Due to time constraints at events, longer documentation cannot always be read in full. Therefore, there is a limit of 2,000 words to help ensure that the documentation is actually read, and to encourage you to focus on the points most important to your entry. Alternatively, you may be able to give a brief talk to judges and visitors - this must be agreed upon in advance to ensure that the timing works on the day.

Execution - if you’re going to enter something in a competition, make it the best one you can! This doesn’t mean ambitious scale and expensive ingredients so much as good, solid workmanship. Use of period techniques and materials is encouraged.

Authenticity - would this entry be at home in a period setting? Do the look and feel, sound, flavour, smell, or texture match something that would be found in your chosen time and place? Do the tools and techniques used result in something period-appropriate, even if they are not period themselves?

Elective Criteria

Every artisan focuses on different things as they make their artefacts. Some might be creating art for art’s sake - they want something beautiful that will make people happy. Others want an item built for a specific purpose, something they need around their camp. Others might be experimenting with different techniques, trying to figure out how our ancestors did something. And others have seen something in a museum and thought “I want to make one exactly like that!” Rather than go by what the creator of the categories deemed important for each artefact, adding these optional criteria will allow us to judge whether the item succeeds in fulfilling the entrant’s intent.

Reproduction - is it as close as possible to a historic one of those? Did the entrant use only period tools and materials, are they really meticulous about exact measurements, would an expert have trouble telling the difference between a new version of the original and the entry?

Useful - was this made to serve a specific purpose or address a problem? Does it do what it’s meant to do, whether that’s carry a load, convey a message, keep the rain off, or hide a mundane necessity?

Aesthetic - was this primarily made for its beauty? For an exquisite colour, elegant proportions, delicious flavour, detailed decorations, elusive harmonies? Would it have been considered beautiful in period, does it match the fashion of the time?

Creative - was the artisan’s intent artistic expression? Or maybe the focus was on experimentation, on solving a problem? Either way, a creative approach uses known period elements and extrapolates from there!

Process - the end result may not necessarily look terribly impressive, but there was a long and complex process behind it. Maybe it involved new skills, maybe it was made from scratch with hard-to-acquire raw materials, maybe it just takes a really long time and lots of steps to create this.

Educational - was this made to teach someone else something? Was it made for you to learn a new technique or research a new field yourself? Is it made in preparation for something more complex?


Entries will be scored for each chosen criterion, and scores are added at the end for a maximum of 50 points. Points are awarded on the following rough scale:

10 - approaching perfection
9 - remarkable
7 - excellent
8 - very good
6 - good
5 - competent
4 - adequate
3 - not entirely satisfactory
2 - room for significant improvement
1 - criteria not met in a key area

Guidance for Judges and Entrants

The following can be used as a guide to help decide how well an entry fulfills the criteria:


Please award 1-2 points for each of the following criteria if they are met. If one criteria is absent from the presented research, please award 0 for that criteria.

Research criteria (documentation) 0 1 2
Identifies period and place relevant to the entry      
Uses sources (primary and secondary) to support discussion of the item and its creation      
Describes how items of this type would have been created and used in period      
Describes how the entry’s creation and use are similar to period examples      
Offers analysis of and explanation for differences between the entered item and period examples      

Research score ________ / 10


Please award 1-2 points for each of the following criteria if they are met. If one criteria is absent, please award 0 for that criteria.

Well made (execution) 0 1 2
Attention has been paid to small details and finish      
Technical skill is evident, whether in simple or complex processes      
Item is fit for its intended use, whether practical, aesthetic or a combination of both; any errors in technique do not significantly interfere with its use / enjoyment      
A consistent and thorough approach has been taken in constructing (or performing, composing, or otherwise creating) the item      
Period techniques are attempted (where relevant / possible)      

Execution score ________ / 10


Please award 1-2 points for each of the following criteria if they are met. If one criteria is absent, please award 0 for that criteria.

Authenticity 0 1 2
Materials used are period      
Techniques and tools used are period      
Design elements are period-appropriate      
Finished item appears period-appropriate (looks, feels, sounds, smells or tastes, as applicable), regardless of methods and materials used      
Item functions in a similar manner to period items, regardless of methods and materials used      

Authenticity score ________ / 10

Valid from 12th Night 2020. Authored by Lady Cornelia vom Distelfeld, Kingdom Minister of Arts and Sciences Drachenwald, with the help and support of a kingdom-wide volunteer group. Thank you for all your help, insights, discussions, reality checks and ideas! Thanks also to Master Terefan Greydragon for designing the previous competition format that encouraged us to strive for perfection, comparing our art to the ideal.

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