Judging Guide

Table of Contents:


The following judging guide has been formulated in order to make judging as consistent as possible. While judging a battle is largely subjective, meaning that it is open to interpretation, there are different aspects we can consider to make it as consistent and fair as possible. Anyone involved with judging a battle should be aware of the contents of this judging guide and refer to it as much as they can to ensure that the right decision is made.

The guide is always open for alteration and change, and judges must be informed of any changes made to the judging guide. Changes will be made if certain aspects of the guide are not clear enough, or work towards declaring incorrect armies the winner. It may also change in response to concerns raised by army leaders and the wider community.

If any judges or judges-in-training have any concerns or questions they have after reading the judging guide, they should get into contact with one of the Head Judges. It is the responsibility of the Head Judge to clarify any uncertainties and ensure that the judges are comfortable with using this guide.

Notice: Although CPAHQ is primarily a news organization, we hold a team of judges that are used for tournaments and on an on-call basis for the community.  It is important to keep in mind that we are not the law of the army community.  While tournament battles are our domain, meaning what we rule in tournaments is definitive, what we rule in war battles and land battles does not have to be viewed as ‘official’.  If an army requests judges for a war battle or land battle, our judges will be present and give their ruling.  However, armies are not required to have a panel of judges rule the battle.  The judges at CPAHQ exist as a service, not as a law.  Moreover, those who request judges must be respectful towards them even in the event of a disagreement.  Harassment, verbal abuse, and threats have a zero-tolerance policy.  CPAHQ reserves the right to withhold our judging services from armies that exhibit these actions to protect our judges.

Preparing A Battle

A battle will need judging if an army requests a judge in the battle judging requests channel (unless it is a tournament, which will have pre-assigned judges decided by the administration of CP Army HQ). The first three judges to ping back the leader and say ‘accepted’ will automatically be assigned as judges for the battle. Judges should only accept if they have no affiliation to the armies present in the battle. This process happens as seen in the picture below. If either army are not happy with the judges that have accepted, they may directly message a Head Judge to say that they are rejecting a particular judge. At this point, the same process occurs and judges will be repinged by the Head Judge to accept the battle. CP Army HQ will only guarantee judges will be provided if they are pinged at least 4 hours in advance – we will aim to provide judges at any notice but can not guarantee this will be possible with less notice.

Once the three judges have been decided and accepted by both armies, a Head Judge and/or Administrator will create a group chat comprising of the three judges and the person who set up the group chat. This is where discussions are made about the battle and the verdict will be made. Conversations and group chats must not be deleted under any circumstances for a minimum of one week after the battle. This is allow for any reviews to take place and to ensure transparency. Group chats will look something like the image seen below, with the two armies battling and the time it is taking place:

The judges must decide what server the battle is taking place, unless the armies have requested a particular server. Thirty minutes before the battle begins, one judge must ping the armies involved in the battle and inform them what the CPPS and server are, and that the battle begins in 30 minutes. Below is a perfect example of how this should be done.

In the judges chat the judges must decide what the three rooms will be used prior to the battle, using rooms that are appropriate for the armies size. They also need to decide what the lockout room should be, if necessary, which must be a room next to the battle room. The final decision is which judge is announcing which room, at ten minute intervals. Below is an example of how this would be announced during the battle in one of the update channels. You must ensure that the main room is bold and the lockout room is not, for clarity.

Deciding A Verdict

Below are the main factors to consider when deciding the winner of a battle. Each of these goes into more detail later on in the judging guide.

  • Size: This is arguably the main factor to consider when deciding a victor, alongside tactics. Use the table in the ‘judging and using size’ section to look at how size difference impacts the result of a room.
  • Tactics: Tactics should be a major consideration, alongside size, when deciding the winner of a battle. Tactics need to be performed quickly, and be effective in combatting the opponent, but with a balance considered for the full completion of tactics.
  • Formations: This is an important consideration when making a decision, as a strong formation can give an army a good position in the room. However, movement should also be considered.
  • Speed: Speed is equally as important as formations, as armies should be quick with their room entrance, tactics and formations. The quicker army should be rewarded. However, it is important that armies complete tactics and formations fully.
  • Creativity: Creativity is not one of the major considerations, but should influence the decision. This includes complex formations (such as Z formations) and tactics (such as flickers or split emote tactics). Creativity can be a deciding factor if everything else is equal.

These five factors should be considered when deciding the winner of each room. Judges should discuss the winner, but a majority vote is all that is needed for each room (e.g. if two judges feel Army X won Room 1 and one judge went for Army Y, Army X would win the room). The winner of the battle is the army to have taken the most room victories. The results should be posted in a similar format to the image seen below, with an explanation at the bottom of why a particular army won each room referring to aspects of the judging guide.

Judging and Using Size

Throughout the battle is important that there is at least a rough record of what size each army achieved, and the difference between the two armies. It is the responsibility of the judging team to ensure that one judge has counted the size in each room (e.g. In Room 1 Army X had around 35, Army Y had 27. In Room 2….). This is an important responsibility as the judging panel must use the table below to come to a conclusion on the winning army. This does mean that on CPR the judges must hand count, but in future army-based CPPS’ the !sizerooom command may be used. Judges should keep a record of the size difference in each room and include this in their results explanation. 

The following table has been made assuming a room cap of 80, based on the current CPR room caps. If these room limits change in the future, or an alternative CPPS is used, then a new table will need to be made. These size differences have been used with this room cap as, for example, if there is a size difference of 10+ troops this would assume that the larger army would have 45+ and the smaller army would have no more than 35, highlighting a considerable difference. When judging a room, the following table must be used to influence the judgement:

Tactics and Creativity (Including ‘Big Word Bubbles’)

Tactics are important in deciding the winner, as this is the main way in which size will be utilised. There should be a balance of word and emote tactics (see the section on ‘big word bubbles’ for more clarity) and these should be used to make the army dominant in the room. This means that the army covers their opponents and also makes their formation stand out. Below are the main considerations for judging the effectiveness of an armies’ tactics:

  • Dominance: As previously stated, tactics should be used to cover the opposing army and make themselves stand out.
  • Speed: Generally, if an army is performing more tactics at a quicker pace this army should receive more credit for their tactics. Periods of no tactics or large gaps in-between tactics should heavily mark the army down.
  • Completion: While speed is important, it is also imperative that these tactics are also completed to their full extent before moving onto the next one. Incomplete tactics should be regarded as poor and will impact the armies dominance.
  • Creativity: Armies should be rewarded for using creative tactics (this could be a split emote or word tactic, flicker, waterfalls). However, as usual, this should only be rewarded if it also helps the armies dominance and meets the requirements for speed and completion.

How many ‘Big Word Bubbles’ should an army use?

There are no set amount of ‘big word bubbles’ that an army should use per room. A big word bubble is a word tactic with more than 3 lines and/or repeating words. They should be used to good effect, and if they are used they should be able to cover up the other army – if they do not cover the other army they are not being used effectively. Armies should use big word bubbles when needed, such as when an opponent needs to be covered or a formation is being created.

Judges should take note on if armies are relying too much on a certain tactic, as there should be an appropriate emote-word balance. If an army is overusing big word bubble tactics, or repeating the use of the same big word bubble tactics, this should be used as consideration when judging an army. This would severely reduce their ‘creativity’ consideration. Credit should also be given in an armies favour for more creative and spontaneous word tactics, however armies should not be marked down for a lack spontaneity.

Formations and Movement

Formations should be use to showcase the size that the army has managed to obtain. While credit should be given to complex formations, as seen in the comparison below, judges should consider whether the formation has given the army a superior position in the room. Does the choice of formation help to cover the formation of the opposing army? Judges should pay particular focus to pivots and areas of the formation where armies are in the same position, and watch out for which formation is being covered. Judges should also look negatively upon an army reusing a formation in the same room, or on countless occasions across the whole battle.

It is also important for judges to consider the speed of formations and movement, the quicker the army enters rooms, makes complete formations and undertakes effective bombs the better.

Basic Formations vs Complex Formations

  • Basic Formations: Straight Line, Diagonal Line, Circle, Plus, X, T/Upside-down-T, V/Upside-down-V.
  • Complex Formations: Anything not listed as ‘basic’ should be considered complex (e.g. Z or A)

Complex formations can give armies extra credit for creativity, but only if executed well (if not executed well then it would have the opposite impact). However, judges should not play down a circle or plus if it gives the army a strong position in the room.

Battle Review: Army of CP vs. Help Force | Army of Club Penguin

Both of these would be deemed ‘complex formations’ as ACP have formed an A and HF have formed an underlined V.

It is also important to consider the movement in-between formations when judging a battle. Movement is important as it shows that an army is dynamic and not sticking to one formation throughout. Below is a guide on how to judge movement.

How does formation link to movement?

It is important that armies are regularly moving around the room. Formations that are in place for 4-5 minutes or longer should be marked down for a lack of movement. Movement and bombs should be used to cover up the other armies bomb or formation. Creative movement should also be rewarded, such as wipe bombs, Z bombs, circle reformation bombs and tornado bombs. However, this movement should only be rewarded if it is still effective in covering the other army.


Overtime can be used in a battle under certain circumstances if the overall result is a draw. For example, if both armies win one room each and tie another room this would be a tied result and in order to come to a winner an overtime room would be needed. If you feel that it is possible there will be overtime, armies should be pinged and told immediately as the battle is due to finish to not log off until told otherwise – this should be very clear to the armies. An overtime room would be declared, both armies must be given 3-5 minutes as deemed appropriate to prepare for a new room that has not been used before. The overtime room would last ten minutes. Below are the circumstances of when you should and should not use an overtime room:

  • Practice Battle: Overtime should only be an option if the army requests overtime as an option when they request judges. Otherwise, if the battle is a tie then the practice battle as a whole is announced as a draw.
  • Land Invasion: Overtime is to not be used for a land invasion or ‘war’ between two armies, unless both armies request this prior to the battle. If the battle is a tie, then result is announced as a draw and the defending army keeps the server, as the invading army did not do enough to conquer the land.
  • Tournament: Overtime can be used in a tournament if the battle is deemed a draw, but should be used sparingly. Overtime should not be automatically assumed and judges should do their best to come to a decision within the 30 minutes.

For practice battles and land invasions one judge must ask ‘Overtime: Yes or No?’ to the leader that pinged the judging request.

Reviewing A Battle

Due to the subjective nature of judging, as well as the tensions that come with leading during a battle, CPAHQ has a process to appeal and review a battle.  First, it is important to go over what warrants an actual appeal.  An army can appeal the result of a battle if they truly believe that:

  • An extreme judging error was made
  • An excess amount of technical difficulty was experienced (and documented)
  • The appealing army has a clear advantage in every faucet of the battle
  • Definitive evidence that the judges conspired to fix the result of the battle
  • Definitive evidence that the opposing army broke any rule that was listed for the battle*

*= This is only for tournament battles.  CPAHQ does not uphold rules of an active war.  If an army suspects that their opponent broke any of the war terms, they may submit their definitive evidence to CPAHQ and it will be decided if it deserves a Special Report or not.

Do not appeal a battle for any of the following reasons:

  • Just for the sake of getting a battle review
  • The battle was extremely close and a case to win can be made easily for both sides
  • You have issues with the judges selected*

*= CPAHQ’s judging system gives every army the chance to decline a judge if a valid issue exists.  If an army has a problem with a judge, they should bring said problem to the attention of a Head Judge before the battle.  Otherwise, concerns about judge affiliation, capability, or experience will not be viewed as a situation that warrants a battle review.

To appeal a battle, the appealing army must make a group Direct Message with the Director in Chief, Vice Director, and one Head Judge (who must be unaffiliated).  There, the appealing army must present their evidence*.  The opposing army’s leaders will be notified if an appeal is made.  If the evidence presented meets the aforementioned criteria, the battle’s status will be announced as under review to the entire community.  If the evidence presented does not warrant a review, the appealing army and the opposing army will both be notified.

*= Video proof is strongly recommended to help your case, but screenshots applicable to the criterion in question will also be accepted, as well as statements from the appealing army and other proofs not listed.

When reviewing a battle, the Director in Chief, the Vice Director, and the present Head Judge will examine the provided evidence in a separate group Direct Message.  They must consider the context of the battle, such as if it is a tournament battle or a land battle, before making a ruling.  Because tournament battles generally have more at stake for both armies, overturning the result of a battle will only happen if the provided evidence is definitive and egregious.  Land battles, while still require strong evidence, are slightly more open to overturns because there is less at stake.

The DiC, VD, and the present HJ must come to a unanimous agreement that the evidence presented warrants the overturning of a result.  In the case of extreme technical difficulties, the opposing army will be asked if they also experienced such problems.  If both armies say yes, it is possible that the result of the battle will be discarded entirely, and a rematch will take place at a later date.  In the case of an extreme judging error, or in the case of the appealing army having a clear advantage in every faucet of the battle, the judging panel will be contacted and given the chance to review the evidence that was presented.  Regardless of if they uphold their initial ruling or change it, the DiC, VD, and the present HJ will still review the battle themselves.  The original judging panel is involved to give them the chance to correct their wrongs, if applicable.

The DiC, VD, and the present HJ will take multiple factors into account.  They will discuss the extremity of what the appealing army has presented, the ramifications of overturning a result, the context of a battle, and other topics that may arise on a situational basis.  Appealing a battle with the aforementioned criteria does not mean an overturn is guaranteed.  Extreme caution must be presented with overturning a battle, otherwise the original ruling of battles will be devalued.  When a conclusion is released, an official CPAHQ statement will be posted on the website of CPAHQ.  The statement will provide a detailed explanation of what was presented, what was discussed, and why the ruling was upheld or overturned.

If both armies experienced technical difficulties, the leaders will be met with to discuss the possibility of a rematch.  If agreed upon, the details of the rematch will be included in the statement.  If the original judging panel was contacted, their findings and statements will be included in the post.  If an individual judge made a mistake, they will not be identified to the public.  The matter will be dealt with internally.  In the event that an overturned result cause the army on the losing end to miss out on a prize, the prize will be offered to them, in addition to the original prizes staying in place.  For example, if an army originally wins a semifinal battle (where there are prizes for first and second place) but the result is overturned, that army will be offered the second place prize.  This does not apply to armies that would receive a prize regardless of if they won or lost the battle, such as a championship battle.

The results of a battle review are also precedent cases.  To ensure consistency in decisions, and to promote our judges to take into account what happened in the battle and use it as means to improve, previous battle reviews will be referred to when reviewing a battle*.  This does not mean that similar scenarios will result in a matching of the result of a previous battle review.  It simply means that previous battle reviews are a tool that can and will be used.

*= Any battle reviews that came before the drafting of this process (April 9th, 2021), will not be referred to.  This process is entirely new to any process that was previously used, thus, previous battle reviews before the drafting of this process would not be under the same context and stipulations.

Head Judges

The key responsibilities of the Head Judges are listed below:

  • Head Judges review and appoint judges and Judges-in-Training
  • Head Judges release judges and Judges-in-Training at approval of the Director in Chief and Vice Director
  • Head Judges select judges for CPAHQ tournaments (along with the Director in Chief and Vice Director)
  • Head Judges are automatically selected as judges in CPAHQ tournaments
  • Head Judges help plan CPAHQ tournaments
  • Head Judges are given priority status for battles of a high magnitude, such as a tournament final
  • Head Judges ensure that battles will have the correct amount of judges before they begin
  • Head Judges make group chats for judging panels (if unaffiliated)
  • Head Judges help update and maintain the Judging Guidelines
  • Head Judges uphold the standards for judges and Judges-in-Training within the Judging Guidelines


Judge in Training

Judge in Training (JiT) should be given to an individual who has applied with enthusiasm to become judge, but lack the necessary experience. This program allows for these people to build up experience to be able to judge effectively in the future and receive the relevant training.

A JiT is involved in the group chat with the main judges, and will provide their opinion on the battles, but do not have a say in the final result or the verdict. This allows for the other judges to assess their decision making and for the JiT to build up experience in what to look out for.  There is a maximum of two JiT per battle.

In order to pass the program a JiT must be involved in a minimum of three battles, providing their opinions in the battle group chats but not having a say in the result. After the third battle, the JIT must contact a Head Judge to have their application for Judge reviewed. A general chat is then formed with the Head Judge and any judges that have worked with the JIT to discuss how the training has gone. The Head Judges will then decide whether to allocate more battles for training, or to move them up to Judge.