Monday, 29 September 2014

GW CEO application accepted!



And there you have it, Application accepted!

It's a done deal.

Now taking requests. 


Gentlemen.... my music!

PS, here is the application letter 



Sunday, 28 September 2014

Zombicide - More monochrome madness

As promised, here is even more Zombicide Monochrome action painting. First up, The Beserkers!

Zombies that you cannot shoot makes Phil very sad hes only armed with a shotgun.

Again, following Carmen's (master of Monochrome) advice, I went with the red/orange/yellow range for these guys. I love the monocolour effect, the best thing about it is that it is not time consuming.  Dry-brushing is your friend. 

The major difference between our paint jobs is I went for a deeper set of colours. Just a personal preference. 


A Toxic Green coalition.......   that's a truly lame NZ Political reference

Same again here, I went for deeper greens and more emphasis on highlighting the bejesus out of the flesh areas. 






On the table, I just love the look. One thing I disliked about other peoples "expertly painted" zombie hordes is that..... frankly.... it's a waste of time and effort as well as a bit blurry.








The Monostyle look means you can see what Zombies are what with a minimal amount of fuss. In addition, I think it adds to the cinematic flavour of the game as well. 


I also picked up some nice simple stack-able boxes to store the zombies in. The individual storage trays from the games are very very space consuming. Especially now the zombie count is over 100. 








Wednesday, 24 September 2014

A vote! Should I apply to be GW CEO?

So a while ago I wrote a mock application letter for GW's CEO role. The full letter is here and repeated below. The application information is up, and frankly it's pretty weak. Thanks to BOLS for this information.

The question is, should i send in my application?




Chief Executive, Games Workshop Group PLC: Nottingham, UK
Thursday 18 September, 2014


About the Job

Do you want to run Games Workshop Group PLC?

Are you excited by the challenge of growing our unique business?

You will need to:
Deliver a sustainable increase in return on capital
Have the right people in the right jobs at the right time
Set the operational agenda in agreement with the board and deliver it on time
Keep our owners appropriately informed
Perform the normal legal duties and responsibilities of a director

whilst championing Games Workshop’s culture and ethics.

We know being a chief executive is always hard, but this job is a humdinger!

About Games Workshop

Games Workshop is a business with a strong internal culture which means we have a very definite set of ideas, beliefs and ways of doing business. We believe that how you behave does matter, therefore, we believe that attitudes – such as honesty and integrity – are even more important than skills. We will happily teach you the skills needed for many roles if you bring a great attitude to your work.

Every staff member is dedicated to constantly making things better for our customers, whether this is by providing ever better products or delivering ever greater service. We are hard working, committed and cheerful and above all we put the needs of the business first in our decision-making.

We have a strong culture of personal development at Games Workshop and there are many resources and opportunities for both personal and professional development. If the way you behave at work and the attitudes you display fit with ours, it is highly likely you will be successful, well rewarded and happy. However, it is only fair to say that people who don’t fit with our culture, or who play at fitting, will be unhappy and consequently unsuccessful. You can read more about Games Workshop’s business culture at careers.games-workshop.com.

Other Essential Information

Closing date: Applications must be received by midnight, UK time, on Friday 10 October 2014.

Interviews: If your application is successful, you must be available for an interview on Friday 7 November 2014, in Nottingham.

How to Apply

Please write a letter telling us why you want this job. No letter, no interview.

Please send your letter to ‘Recruitment@gwplc.com’.

For those of you who missed my application before, here it is in full. 

My new logo for GW, the old one didn't have enough skulls



I am J Vomkrieg and I think I would make a great CEO of Games Workshop.

If your measure of 'great' is that a CEO should be qualified for the role, you may not agree. But if your measure of greatness is someone who will get stuck in, demonstrate passion and promote detailed programmatic specificity, then I am truly greatness incarnate.

My plans for the business are manifold and varied, well beyond the understanding of those who dwell on the internet taking pot shots at the glorious cathedral of dreams that is Games Workshop.

I will continue the de-risking of our business by removing all paid retail staff and replacing our “one man stores” with “no man stores”. Stores will contain giant vending machines that gleefully dispense product to our customer’s parents, with next to no overheads. The centrepiece of each store will be a hologram of Matt Ward that answers every question with a variation of “you should buy some Ultramarines, because Ultramarines are the best”. Putting our creative genius front and centre speaks to the heart of what we are. Am I right?

To help supplement our store we will recruit a legion of volunteers from our fanbase to mind the children, we can pay these volunteers in product and a nice hat…. We could also give them a spiffy title like “battle brother”. I have always admired the Dominion from Deep Space Nine (making a note here to sue Star Trek about the Borg) and how they controlled their clone soldiers with an addictive drug. Our product is so good we can command a legion of fan slaves with it! This makes perfect business sense as it will grow our community presence while further driving down unnecessary costs like wages.

This augurs well for our long term health and cash flow.

I will continue with your mission of spending an indecent amount of money on litigation. Spending indecent amounts of other people’s money is a passion we share. (I feel like I have another brother in you) I have already identified a few key targets that are ripe for the picking. Did you know that Peter Jackson and New Line Cinemas have been making movies based on our Hobbit Game IP? An affront to our creative skills and intellectual domain like this cannot be stomached any longer.

We must fight for our game IP regardless of the cost to our bottom line, our brands and our fans. Everyone must know who is boss! (it’s us right?). Let steal some of our hogs back (Man, I want bacon… does anyone else want bacon?)

You say we spend “far too much money spent on far too little gain” on litigation. I believe this is wrong. Are we not a proud British company? Yes, yes we are, and we should take a leaf out of the book of that great British General Sir Douglas Haig and never give up, never surrender, no matter the cost the Hun must be defeated! Like Haig, we will be heralded as visionaries and leadership for our dogged determination (And I look quite dapper in a Military uniform)(Wait, was that Haig, or Tim Allen?).

I too don’t really understand how 3D printing works and what it means for the world, but I’m sure it’s not a big deal. I have an inkjet printer at home and it sometimes blurs and blotches, so I can’t imagine 3D printing will be very good. Certainly, nothing like the highest standards ever obtained in miniature making, our flawless finecast range, perfect every time. We still do finecast don’t we?

I suggest we ignore 3D printing and try to jump ahead to 4D printing. Being at the cutting edge of the next generation of printing will position our business well for the future, regardless of profits and expenditure now. The last thing we want is to miss the wave as it crests and be smashed on the rocks of obsolescence while our crops wither and die, our dog has a limp and our guinea pigs wheek hopelessly for a nice handful of lettuce. Hungry guinea pigs do not feature in my vision of a successful business, no sir!

The mantra of ‘we recruit for attitude and not for skill’ will remain a cornerstone of my enterprise decision making. However, I pledge to take ignoring CV’s to a whole new level. My hiring policy will be based solely by looking at a picture of the potential candidates. I want a workforce that I can look at and think “these people make miniatures!”, therefore size and styling of beards will be the lynch-pin of my recruitment criteria.

I will also extend the attitude requirement to all our supporting systems. No longer will we ask for detailed requirements from IT suppliers or manufacturers. Anyone who has that GW “twinkle in the eye” (you know the one!) will get a look in. I’ve already arranged for our finances to be handled by this nice chap I met down at the pub last week.

This organisation needs me, it needs someone who can talk to corporate (like a boss), approve memos (like a boss), lead a workshop (like a boss), remember birthdays (like a boss), direct workflow (like a boss), micromanage (like a boss), promote synergy (like a boss) and swallow sadness (like a boss)

So welcome me onboard with open arms and I will lead you to the promised land. On the bright side, we both know GW is too big to fail, so what’s the worst that could happen? And if I don’t get this role I suspect my wife will be livid (she will blame you, and she's on medication, in fact she scares me sometimes, I think she's watching me now....... SEND HELP!).

Oh, and if appointed I will run Games Workshop from my home office in New Zealand. Co-locating corporate leaders is at the heart of the rot in the corporate world. Which reminds me, I will also ban shipping GW products to Australia until the Australian Government issues a formal apology for the underarm incident (Corporates can be used for social good, and this cause is a thing I hold dear).

And no Tom Kirby, you can’t stay on, there ain’t enough room in the shop for both of us. Kirbys cronies will be Vomkriegs cronies, I love cronies. (and it rhymes with ponies).

J Vomkrieg
Future Chairman and Future CEO




Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Zombicide - Monochrome paint scheme

More to come on this project, but here is Phil vs the monochromatic undead horde. 

While I will post this pic now, I'm mainly linking to the inspiration for this project. And by inspiration, I mean the person who i wholesale copied shamelessly. 

Check out the original Master of Monchrome before I post up my mediocre efforts in more detail. 

Even this picture idea is ripped off..... i have no shame


More to come in the next few days.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Arkham Horror - More pimping of the game.

The postcard was a nice touch.


I've always wanted to get the Arkham Horror pre-painted miniature set. 

Several things have conspired against me until this point. 

First of all it was cost, as the bundle of miniatures was about $200 US dollars for all 48.

Then it was supply, once i had more money the investigator set was sold out. 

I waited for ages to see if it would come back into stock and it never did. I then noticed that they were selling them individually, but that several had already sold out. 

Figuring that the window for obtaining these figures was closing I did some thinking. 

I noticed that all the figures out of stock were members of the "SIGNIFICANT 16" Arkham characters. Now, those of you who have played the FFG Cthulhu games will know who i mean, the characters from the core game of Arkham Horror, Elder Sign and Mansions of Madness. 

Joe Diamond, Jenny Barnes, Harvey Walters, those ones.

Then I had a brainwave. All of those figures are reproduced unpainted in the Mansions of Madness core game and expansions. 






Hank and Norman, Heroes from an earlier campaign.


I'd held off purchasing Mansions for ages for various reasons (One of which is i actually like playing the game and didn't want to spoil scenarios for that reason). 

Now I have got them all and no regrets.

The quality isn't at all bad, and its baked on so its ncie and durable. All i need to do now is paint the other 16 characters from Mansions and I'll have a full set to use in 4 different games. BOOM!


Pre-painted is never going to be as good as a skilled painter taking time with things. But i've learned a thing or two lately, and one of those is pre-painted average looking figures and still 1000 times better than unpainted plastics.

And wow does it save time.

Bring on more pre-painted figs!







Friday, 1 August 2014

My GW CEO Application letter - In the style of Tom Kirby


The single weirdest thing about Tom Kirbys email was that he mentioned that they recruit based on letters. After reading Tom Kirbys letter I wondered "If he thinks that is a great letter to put out, what the hell would you need to type to get the CEO role there?"

Well, I put my thinking hat on and here is my Application letter in a style Tom Kirby can understand. 

The original letter is here 


I am J Vomkrieg and I think I would make a great CEO of Games Workshop.

If your measure of 'great' is that a CEO should be qualified for the role, you may not agree. But if your measure of greatness is someone who will get stuck in, demonstrate passion and promote detailed programmatic specificity, then I am truly greatness incarnate.

My plans for the business are manifold and varied, well beyond the understanding of those who dwell on the internet taking pot shots at the glorious cathedral of dreams that is Games Workshop.

I will continue the de-risking of our business by removing all paid retail staff and replacing our “one man stores” with “no man stores”. Stores will contain giant vending machines that gleefully dispense product to our customer’s parents, with next to no overheads. The centrepiece of each store will be a hologram of Matt Ward that answers every question with a variation of “you should buy some Ultramarines, because Ultramarines are the best”. Putting our creative genius front and centre speaks to the heart of what we are. Am I right?

To help supplement our store we will recruit a legion of volunteers from our fanbase to mind the children, we can pay these volunteers in product and a nice hat…. We could also give them a spiffy title like “battle brother”. I have always admired the Dominion from Deep Space Nine (making a note here to sue Star Trek about the Borg) and how they controlled their clone soldiers with an addictive drug. Our product is so good we can command a legion of fan slaves with it! This makes perfect business sense as it will grow our community presence while further driving down unnecessary costs like wages.

This augurs well for our long term health and cash flow.

Obiwan Sherlock clousseau from our Rogue Trader book.
How many people have ripped off our originality?
Sue Tennant! Sue Cumberbatch! Sue Moffat!
I will continue with your mission of spending an indecent amount of money on litigation. Spending indecent amounts of other people’s money is a passion we share. (I feel like I have another brother in you) I have already identified a few key targets that are ripe for the picking. Did you know that Peter Jackson and New Line Cinemas have been making movies based on our Hobbit Game IP? An affront to our creative skills and intellectual domain like this cannot be stomached any longer.

We must fight for our game IP regardless of the cost to our bottom line, our brands and our fans. Everyone must know who is boss! (it’s us right?). Let steal some of our hogs back (Man, I want bacon… does anyone else want bacon?)

You say we spend “far too much money spent on far too little gain” on litigation. I believe this is wrong. Are we not a proud British company? Yes, yes we are, and we should take a leaf out of the book of that great British General Sir Douglas Haig and never give up, never surrender, no matter the cost the Hun must be defeated! Like Haig, we will be heralded as visionaries and leadership for our dogged determination (And I look quite dapper in a Military uniform)(Wait, was that Haig, or Tim Allen?).

I too don’t really understand how 3D printing works and what it means for the world, but I’m sure it’s not a big deal. I have an inkjet printer at home and it sometimes blurs and blotches, so I can’t imagine 3D printing will be very good. Certainly, nothing like the highest standards ever obtained in miniature making, our flawless finecast range, perfect every time. We still do finecast don’t we?

I suggest we ignore 3D printing and try to jump ahead to 4D printing. Being at the cutting edge of the next generation of printing will position our business well for the future, regardless of profits and expenditure now. The last thing we want is to miss the wave as it crests and be smashed on the rocks of obsolescence while our crops wither and die, our dog has a limp and our guinea pigs wheek hopelessly for a nice handful of lettuce. Hungry guinea pigs do not feature in my vision of a successful business, no sir!

The mantra of ‘we recruit for attitude and not for skill’ will remain a cornerstone of my enterprise decision making. However, I pledge to take ignoring CV’s to a whole new level. My hiring policy will be based solely by looking at a picture of the potential candidates. I want a workforce that I can look at and think “these people make miniatures!”, therefore size and styling of beards will be the lynch-pin of my recruitment criteria.

I will also extend the attitude requirement to all our supporting systems. No longer will we ask for detailed requirements from IT suppliers or manufacturers. Anyone who has that GW “twinkle in the eye” (you know the one!) will get a look in. I’ve already arranged for our finances to be handled by this nice chap I met down at the pub last week.

This organisation needs me, it needs someone who can talk to corporate (like a boss), approve memos (like a boss), lead a workshop (like a boss), remember birthdays (like a boss), direct workflow (like a boss), micromanage (like a boss), promote synergy (like a boss) and swallow sadness (like a boss)

So welcome me onboard with open arms and I will lead you to the promised land. On the bright side, we both know GW is too big to fail, so what’s the worst that could happen? And if I don’t get this role I suspect my wife will be livid (she will blame you, and she's on medication, in fact she scares me sometimes, I think she's watching me now....... SEND HELP!).

Oh, and if appointed I will run Games Workshop from my home office in New Zealand. Co-locating corporate leaders is at the heart of the rot in the corporate world. Which reminds me, I will also ban shipping GW products to Australia until the Australian Government issues a formal apology for the underarm incident (Corporates can be used for social good, and this cause is a thing I hold dear).

And no Tom Kirby, you can’t stay on, there ain’t enough room in the shop for both of us. Kirbys cronies will be Vomkriegs cronies, I love cronies. (and it rhymes with ponies).

J Vomkrieg
Future Chairman and Future CEO
31 July 2014

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Games Workshop CEO letter - The craziest thing you will read this week.

You all have to read this, it is the craziest pile of management mumbo jumbo I have ever read, and my job is taking management mumbo-jumbo and translating it into English, so I see a lot of it.

I've highlighted the bits that leap out at me as bizarre, or utter management nonsense. I especially like when he talks about himself in the 3rd person.

http://investor.games-workshop.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Chairmans-Preamble-2014.pdf



CHAIRMAN’S PREAMBLE

Games Workshop has had a really good year.
From the desk of Tom Kirby

If your measure of 'good' is the current financial year's numbers, you may not agree
. But if your measure is the long-term survivability of a great cash generating business that still has a lot of potential growth, then you will agree.

Having taken on the conversion of our stores to a one man format with all the
concomitant complexity of staff changes and new sites and new lease negotiations – a long job not quite finished – we decided to re-arrange the management of our sales channels from a country-based system to a central one. This meant removing four european headquarters, consolidating all trade (third party) sales personnel at our Nottingham base, creating a new continental european grouping of our retail stores, and recruiting new management for these divisions whilst flattening the structure by removing all middle management. At the same time we changed leadership of our retail chain in the north american area, and gave birth to our new web store after many months’ labour.

All this has significantly de-risked the business. We have far fewer key personnel to replace if need be, and a much lower cost base (£2 million p.a. less). It has cost, in total, around £4.5 million to accomplish. The new web store allows us to sell online more efficiently. It cost around £4 million.

This augurs well for our long term health and cash flow.

What is really remarkable, however, is that it was all accomplished in five months. The levels of complexity handled by our 'back-office' staff – personnel, IT and accounts – are beyond my descriptive abilities. And yet it was co-operatively done with precision, efficiency and calmness at a ferocious speed.

We all owe these people a big vote of thanks. They have saved the company millions.
Working with people like this is why it is a pleasure to work here.

In the technological world we occupy there is constant debate over who 'innovates' and who merely copies.
We have, this last year, spent an indecent amount of your money trying to stop someone stealing our ideas and images. It is a very difficult thing to do when it is done through a legal system designed to prevent people stealing hogs from one another. Our experience has probably been typical of most – far too much money spent on far too little gain. The argument is that we have to do this or we will, bit by bit, lose everything that we hold dear, everything that keeps the business going. Our crops will wither, our children will die piteous deaths and the sun will be swept from the sky. But is it true?

Last year I published the secret that I believe is at the heart of what makes this business great. Steve Jobs once did the same over at heavily litigating Apple. He said they ignored everything that did not lead to 'insanely great products' and that was what made them great. None of the people Apple are suing are trying to do that, so why sue?

I said,
‘we recruit for attitude and not for skill’. It is what makes us great. It is those people who design the miniatures; those people who make them and those people who sell them; those people who transformed our business systems in five short months. I have been deluged with two comments about that statement, neither of which was: 'you fool, you just gave away the crown jewels'. Why doesn't everyone do it? Ask them.

Because no one seems able to grasp the essential simplicity of what we do there has always been the search for the Achilles heel, the one thing that
Kirby and his cronies have overlooked. These are legion. I run through the list from time to time when someone says that computer games will be the death of us – they are so much more realistic now! – again. This year it is 3-D printing. Pretty soon everyone will be printing their own miniatures and where will we be then, eh?

We know quite a lot about 3-D printers, having been at the forefront of the technology for many years. We know of what we speak. One day 3-D printers will be affordable (agreed), they are now, they will be able to produce fantastic detail (the affordable ones won't) and they will do it faster than one miniature per day (no, they won't, look it up). So we may get to the time when someone can make a poorly detailed miniature at home and have enough for an army in less than a year. That pre-supposes that 3-D scanning technology will be affordable and good enough (don't bet the mortgage on that one) and that everyone will be happy to have nothing but copies of old miniatures.

All of our great new miniatures come from Citadel. It is possible that one day we will sell them direct via 3-D printers to grateful hobbyists around the world.
That will not happen in the next few years (or, in City-speak, 'forever') but if and when it does it will just mean that we can cut yet more cost out of the supply chain and be making good margins selling Citadel 3-D printers.

At the heart of the delusion is the notion that designing and making miniatures is easy. It isn't.

On the first of January next year I will be stepping down as CEO of Games Workshop. I intend staying on as non-executive Chairman (if the board will have me), so those of you who want to see an end to these preambles (rhymes with rambles), don't get your hopes up just yet.

The board has prepared a job specification for CEO, and the consequential advertisement. The ad. will be published the day after our AGM (September 18th).
If you apply, we require that you write a letter saying why you want the job. No letter, no interview. The interviews will take place on November 7th and will be at Nottingham. An announcement will be made the following week. We have not decided what will happen if no suitable candidate is found but I suspect my wife will be livid.

Let me dilate about this letter. Last year I wrote here about our recruitment process, and shortly afterwards we recruited a new non-executive director (NXD) using the method described.
We got a great (not good, great) new board member. She is still surprised that I did not read her CV (exasperated would be a more accurate word) but there was no need. Her letter told us what kind of person she was: sincere, open-minded, a learner, excited at the opportunity. The interview told us she had all the qualities needed. It mattered not one jot what her CV said. Appointing NXDs because of their careers rather than who they are is at the heart of the rot in the corporate world.

Tom Kirby
Chairman and acting CEO
28 July 2014


So in short, we hire bullshit artists who parrot our crazy rather than people with actual skills. Fuck me, how is this company still afloat with this madman at the helm?
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