Sunday, 22 March 2020

Challenge X: Stats Review - A Victory Won by Tiny Brushes Over an Even Tinier Virus

Bang the Drums, Ring the Bells, kick the Cats then ALERT THE MEDIA cause it's time once again for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge Statistical Review: Version X - Challenge Island Quarantine Edition!

One quick comment on quarantines, if you're not sure of what to do in these difficult times or just need to be reassured look to your friendly neighborhood mathamagician for guidance.  We are experts at Social Distancing and have been practicing those skills pretty much our entire lives.  Welcome to our world, BI*****.

Ok, enough with the Public Service Announcements and on with the stats.

Challenge X was a fantastic affair but it differed from past Challenges in two key ways.  Most obvious was the replacement of the tried and true thematic bonus rounds with the brilliant concept of "Challenge Island".  As the numbers bear out, Challenge Island really impacted participant behavior and was, in my humble opinion, a smashing success.

The other big difference is the "real world" intruded on our little hobby safe space in an unprecedented way.  We started this Challenge with a portion of our participants struggling with a devastating fires in Australia only to end up all engulfed in a economic scorched earth fight against a microscopic foe and governmental complacency (I'm being polite and that will be be my only editorial comment).

These events brought home to me two important points: (i) how much I value this community and appreciate everyones contributions - even PeterD's (well, kind of) and (ii) while I often describe our hobby in self deprecating terms, it has been of critical importance to me as a stress reliever in an a time of economic and biological upheaval.  Having the ability to do so with all of you and be inspired by your collective efforts has been a true privilege.

Sadly, I suspect most of you are thinking "my God, when will this idiot stop rambling and get on to the numbers, those cold, hard beautiful numbers".

Your wish is granted, but no graphs - yet.....

Lets Take a look at a Summary of Challenge X vs IX:

Challenge X was more "efficient" vs IX in terms of the number of participants with 68 vs 85 but on a relative basis outperformed IX by a wide margin.  (I do wish the participant number was 69 as I missed Millsy's contributions).

Several key highlights about X include:
- We almost cracked the 1k mark in the number of submissions
- Participants submitted a lot more submissions individually - averaging 14 vs last years 11
- Challenge Island proved to be much more popular than the thematic rounds - generating a total of 448 of this years 956 submissions.  I'll be doing a deep dive on Challenge Island in a later post, but to put that number in perspective, past challenges averaged 175 theme round submissions (198 during IX out of 920 total submissions.  We call this in the stats biz "statistically significant".  I do know how you all go crazy when I talk statsy.
- 28mm figures painted saw a big drop-off in both numbers and relative share
- There were a lot more bonus points awarded but the "core-painting score" per participant wasn't that  much lower at 759 vs 800.  (this measure excludes all bonus points of any form)

Still some things remained the same
- we beat target by an almost identical amount 107% for X vs 105% during IX
- had a 100% participation rate

Perhaps most surprising to me is that the Point-O-Projector Apparatus proved to be scary accurate.  A the end of week 4, the projection for total challenge points was 68,429 and when the dust settled on X we ended up at 68,878, an overage of just 449 points or 0.7%!!!!  If only I hadn't submitted my last entry - those 6mm Russo-Japanese war bastards netted me 465 points!!!!

Anyway (as the authors pats his own back in undeserved praise) that was a pretty damn good forecast!

 You may now all oogle the performance summary.  Try not to fall under the spell of its awesome and terrible beauty.

AHPC X: Stats SummaryXIX
Total Points68,87881,445
% of Target107%105%
# of Submissions956920
Participation Rate100%99%
Submission / Participant1411
Avg Pts per Submitter1,013958
Avg Pts per Submission7289
Painting Pts / Participant759800
Bonus Pts / Participant254158
Projected Points68,42979,428
Proj % of Target100.7%102.5%
Figures Painted
Cav / Art454812
Cav / Art588619
Cav / Art471125
Terrain "Cubes"191249
Points Distriution
Challenge Isls / Fortnights19.0%12.4%
Other Bonus6.0%4.1%

Economic Value Add:
Perhaps the most favorite part of the stats update is the Economic Value Add (EVA) calculation for the Challenge.  It always surprises me it's so popular as I'm making this SH*** up - oops- I mean most people just aren't interested in complex, highly researched mathematical calculations - yeah that's it.

The methodology is pretty simple.  The total points for the challenge is transmorgrafied into an equivalent number of 28mm infantry figures.  The formula for doing so it just wayyyy to complex to go into here.  This equivalent 28mm infantry figure is then passed on to a crack team of statistical commandoes who were sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit.   The team promptly escaped from that prison into the statistical underground (grad students) where they met up with me.   Our mathematical A-team then estimates the cost of production and also a replacement velocity factor as WE ALL KNOW that each mini painted MUST BE replaced by multiples of other figures.  Once all of these factors are set, the EVA is calculated and the team sits backs in contentment, as they love it when a stat comes together.  The whole process is as wondrous as it is precise.  In fact, I pity the fool who disputes any of these assumptions.  

The team did ask me pass along two things: (i) the velocity factor for Challenge X was increased from 4 to 5 to reflect the increased importance of the hobby to all of us during these trying days. and (ii) while still wanted by the government, they survive today as mathematical soldiers of fortune.  If you have a problem, that no one else can solve and you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.

Ecomonic Value Add (EVA)
Total Points68,878
Equivalent 28mm13,776Economic
Value AddPrevious:
Cost per Mini$2.75$37,883$2.75
Paints etc$2.50$34,439$2.50
Painting TIme$12.50$172,195$12.50
Sub Total$17.75$244,517

WOW!!!  Challenge X has created 1.2MM in total economic value - suck on on that Coronavisrus!

The total impact of the all the Challenges in terms of EVA is:

EVA Trendline ($000's)
Total Points2,24530,56542,07959,93565,10564,69083,20078,03881,44568,878576,180
Equivalent 28mm4496,1138,41611,98713,02112,93816,64015,60816,28913,776115,236
Historical EVA$14$193$266$379$500$569$899$996$1,157$1,223$6,197
Restated EVA$32$434$598$851$924$919$1,181$1,108$1,157$1,223$8,426

$8.4MM US Dollars - woo-hoo, lets go buy a yacht. 

Halls of Vallejohalla
It's now time to once again venture into the hallowed Halls of Vallejohalla where we enshrine the top 25 individual performances to date for the Challenge.  I know in past stats update this list was limited to 20, but 25 seems far more appropriate.  The fact that expanding to 25 lets another one of my muddled efforts onto the scroll is just a coincidence.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Challenge X saw 2 names entered on the scroll - congrats to both NoelW and MartinC.  Vey well done in especially trying times.


(Yes, its that important to use all caps)

As we bring this statistical review to a close, we must now all pay homage the the LEAGUE OF PAINTING GIANTS - those individuals with the highest cumulative score across all of the challenges.  These pigmentation titans have proven time and again to have the fortitude to sit huddled over a work bench bringing lumps of metal or plastic to life with their god-like powers (OK that was a little over-the-top).

To be a member of thus august conclave is truly one of life's greatest accomplishments and all the members should be proud of their achievements.  Just a reminder, it is considered appropriate for non-league members* to genuflect while in the presence of these Painting Potentates and to also pick up their bar tabs. 

* also referred to as riff-raff, noobs, and people with active social lives

I'd like to welcome GregB to the "Circle of 10K" and also MartinC and DaveD to the exclusive "Commodores 20k Club".  Gentlemen your painting jackets and leather chairs have been ordered.  I await you in the League's club room with brandy snifters for you all.

RankNameLieftime Points# of ChallengesPts/Challenge
19Curt C7,5609840

Well that's it for the stats review.  Please feel free to comment on it's brilliance.

There will be a deep dive on Challenge Island in a few days.  If you're nice I may even include some graphs for those of you who are easily entertained.

Thanks again for a wonderful Challenge - stay healthy and safe.


Hey Jasper / Guy - this would be a great article in WSS, just saying you know......


  1. Hmmm. Either there are 60 or so submissions missing from the SOD (TM), or something is wrong with the stats. By my count, there were 952 submissions (954 if you count your final day tripartite job with Paul and Peter as three entries).

    I'm not sure about that 25% increase in the EVA factor. Sounds inflationary to me; maybe we should refer to it as "quantitative easing". Yes, that sounds much better.

    1. Hmm the post seems to read 956 to me..... I'm not sure what your talking about?

      Okay, I screwed up and counted the cells where we had the points calcing formula but no entries. As for the increase in the EVA factor, think of it as an economic stimulas

    2. Nice recovery Miles! It should be 955 though - 1 line is blank from where an entry was double-minioned.
      And I'd made a mistake too - I deducted 73 instead of 72 from 1028.

  2. I'd like to comment on this posts brilliance. Yes it is brilliant. Nice one Miles!

    1. Now I know why I often hear - "wow that Ray is a very wise chap"

  3. Miles i do love a nice bit of data based analysis. I look forward to GIS review of the journeys around the island or would you like me to look into that as the closest thing to a geographer we have. You will need to allow me more tinkering ability with the SOD

  4. How does one get assigned to this crack team of statistical commandos? Should I rename my post at Bromley’s Butte?

    If anything, your economic estimates are probably low, since you’re not counting the planned but not painted, or the impulse purchases. And with paint now running close to $3.50 per, that also might be a big stimulus.

    1. planned but not painted is the velocity factor. At least that's my excuse for now

  5. It is at least good to know that we are already contributing to the economic recovery!
    Best Iain

  6. Brilliant! One of my favourite parts of the Challenge is reading your crackpot, er, I mean erudite analysis of our stats. Now, in your last table, I have a question: How can I only have 9 challenges under my belt. Was I unconscious for one and didn't know it? ;)

  7. You should label your statistical review NSFW, you can't risk someone opening up a post like this in a public place.

    Thank you for taking the time to analyze the challenge and break it down into coldly definable blocks of data. Seeing the devotion and effort of the challengers represented through the wonder of numbers is a joy I'm sure we all feel.

    I would be interested to see peoples' scores compared to employment status. I'm guessing that some of the high-scorers are retired or otherwise have a lot of time on their hands.

    Anyway, for Challenge XI we're going to need more analysis, at least 35% more graphical representation and an increase of 0.7 to the overall level of statology among the challenge populace.

    1. I can only speak for myself employment wise but I'm (sadly) fully employed as a partner in a VC firm.

  8. A dazzling array of statistical wizardry! I think it's safe to say that the League of Painting Giants will remain unassailed by my presence for a few years yet (despite my having painted three giants this Challenge, just putting that out there...).

  9. A report so brilliant I can see it shining from here!
    I love the wondrous LewisCarrollism of your reports, Miles. They're always something I particularly look forward to (and would miss if missing).
    I wonder, though, if there are couple of other metrics you might consider in reporting the socio-economic benefits of our lead-ing edge activity. One is the economic benefit of all the self-administered therapy this activity delivers: I imagine that counsellors, psychotherapists and mental health professionals can all take a few weeks off whilst we are hunched over our painting desks. Secondly, the economic savings of not having us out on the streets - you know who you are - waving empty bottles and ragged underwear to the night skies. The policing bill alone would surely be staggering!
    Re StuartL's comment: it's certainly true in my case that retirement is a major factor in my output. When I was in f/t work, I'd probably only manage half a dozen figures a week. Does this mean that there'll be handicapping in future? Am I going to have to paint with one hand tied behind my back, or only using size 20 brushes?

  10. Great Stats report here. Just wanted to highlight that I've only entered 2 Challenges X & IX, as MikeW. The 'All Time' list has me at #24 with 6474 Points and 4 challenges. Guessing there's a typo and its another Mike that should have that honour :) Maybe I can make it on to the list next year!

  11. Woohoo, I've made it as a painting gaint! [sic]

  12. Great report - quick question how come Curt is only down in the final list as participating in 9 challenges? Also general "all hail" to NoelW near the top in cumulative point with fewer challenge participation times!

    1. I was about to point that out and add that I though JohnM was the only other participant in all ten challenges.

    2. curt likes to use slightly different spelling for his name - there's "Curt" and the then slightly different "CurtC"

      he's a slippery one

  13. As usual, a most intriguing entry to colose the Challenge. Impressed that you still use EVA in your calculations, I haven't seen this valuation method in financial reports since the early years of this century

    1. thats pretty much when I started in finance. There's no school like the old school

  14. Great work on this Miles, well done.

  15. And Miles strikes again! One could almost start to like statistics... erm yuk now I need to go and wash my mouth :-P

  16. Now that’s Mathemagic. You know what I really need more of in my life? Statistics.

    Interested in how points entered trends across the challenge 3 months. Are there slack periods where Snowlord needs to crack the whip more?


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