Thursday, 4 December 2014

An Irreverent Look At The Australian Masters

Well well well.
It is that time of year again. The tournament seasons around the world have ground to a halt before launching, like a wobbly-legged and dewey-eyed fawn, into 2015 and all the 75% characters, Legion Lists, End Times magic systems and, naturally, post Christmas debt, that will inevitably be a hallmark of the next year as, depending on who you listen to, the game gets ready for big changes in 9th edition.
And no, still no sign of a Bretonnian book.
What shape will the Warhammer world have next year? No one knows. Will Karl Franz rule the roost forever more? Will 8 Repeater Bolt Thrower Elf armies be a common sight? Will people remember when they thought Nagash was broken? Will there eventually be a model to replace the dog-ugly (though my wife insists that no dogs are ugly. We all know she is mad though) Malekith model? Will there be a new Bretonnian book? Will there be a new edition and the inevitable endless ragequits around the world? Probably all of those (well, ok, probably a no on the Bretonnian book, lets not get crazy now).
All those things lie in the Great Unknown, a fantastic state of time and space that, if you enjoy such things, can fuel endless discussions, enlightened debates and even the odd argument.
But that, as they say, is fodder to be gratefully tucked into for another time.
I had thought of doing a write up of the recent Bjorn Supremacy event I attended in Stockport, but the Swedish comp pack used for it resulted in rather a dull spread of armies really. Maybe I shall do a recap another time (spoiler: 10 Blood Knights are every bit as bad an idea as you would expect).
No, with the event itself scant days away, I thought I would have a quick look at the progenitor of the format, the Australian Masters lists.
The top players from across Australia will be duking it out to achieve immortality (in their eyes at least) and be crowned 2014’s Master.
Why only a quick look at the lists?
Well, two reasons really. Firstly, they have two rounds of the event where lists are swapped – a brilliant idea that I wish the UK would copy. As awesome as it is, it does mean that a third of the event is not played with your own list, making predictions without knowing more about individual abilities a fool’s errand. Secondly, I have a very clear view re Masters events. 
Three things are “acceptable” in my (ever so important) view:
·         Going for the win. Bring the big guns. This is a competition between the top players in the country, let’s see who really is the best.
·         Trying something quirky. This falls into the above and below categories – simply taking something unusual. Maybe its stealth filth, maybe it is just fun.
·         Going for fun. Take something that is, in context, ridiculous. This is a celebration of performance for the previous year, getting to the Masters is the actual reward.
 Ok, there is a third reason too. I have about an hour between meetings to throw some stuff at a page so decided to go for a gut feel approach. So there :)
They are, as is their tradition I think, using Swedish comp for this, with the rather dull 8-13 brackets.
Let’s see what we have then shall we?
Alex Treble - Lizardmen - 12.1
Slann Mage Priest, BSB, Standard of Swiftness, Harmonic Convergence, Reservoir of Eldritch Energy, Soul of Stone, Focus of Mystery, Book of Asur, Egg of Quango 550
Saurus Scar Veteran w/ GW, LA, Cold One , Dawnstone, Dragonhelm 145
Skink Chief w/ Spear, LA, Terradon, Enchanted Shield, Dragonbane Gem 89
Skink Chief w/ Spear, Terradon, LA, Charmed Shield, Luckstone 89
Skink Priest (Beasts magic), Dispel Scroll 90
10 Skink Skirmishers (Jav/Shield) 70
10 Skink Skirmishers (Jav/Shield) 70
10 Skink Skirmishers (Jav/Shield) 70
12 Skinks w/ Musician, Standard, Kroxigor 130
12 Skinks w/ Musician, Standard, Kroxigor 130
12 Skinks w/ Musician, Standard, Kroxigor 130
Bastilodon, solar engine 150
38 Temple Guard w/ Full Command razor standard 607
Salamander 80
Given that you can have Life Slann BSB with channel kit, Old Blood with rerollable 1+ save, 3 Scar Vets with 1+ saves and great Weapons, scroll priest,  >100shots in core, chameleons, temple guard and either Terradons or something like a Salamander and a Razordon and score a 13 in Swedish, I am unimpressed.
Ben Leopold - High Elves - 13.0
Alith Anar: General 250
Eltharion: Life magic 295
Korhil 150
Caradryan 170
Noble: Battle Standard, Armour of Caledor, halberd 147
Mage: Dispel Scroll, Metal magic 110
13 Archers: Standard, Musician 150
12 Archers: Standard, Musician 140
8 Silver Helms: Full Command, shields 214
5 Reavers: Standard, Musician 100
19 White Lions: Full command, Banner of Swiftness 292
Frostheart Phoenix 240
Repeater Bolt Thrower 70
Repeater Bolt Thrower 70
I simply love this list. Special characters are cool. Swiftstriding M6 White Lions with decent magic res and –s to hit from shooting, backed up with some Life magic, Eltharion (who is decent in combat) and a Frostheart can also do a job. Not saying they will do a “great” job, but can do a job. List has decent shooting and a decent combat threat. And I mentioned this is cool right? It also meets the fun criteria of maxing out on the available come score.
Chris Cousens - Warriors of Chaos - 12.3
Chaos Lord, Disc of Tzeentch, Mark of Tzeentch, Enchanted Shield, Talisman of Preservation, Ogre Blade 340
Exalted Sorceror, Mark of Tzeentch,Lore of Tzeench 250
Exalted Hero, Talisman of Endurance, Dragonhelm, Great Weapon, Barded Daemonic Steed, Mark of Tzeentch, 216
Exalted Hero, Daemonic Steed, Battle Standard, Dawnstone, Scaled Skin, Charmed Shield, Ironcurse Icon, great weapon, mark of tzeench 241
15 Warriors of Chaos, Mark of Tzeentch, Shields, Full Command, Banner of Swiftness 300
24 Marauders, Mark of Tzeentch, Full Command 222
5 Marauder Horsemen, Mark of Slaanesh, Shields 80
Chimera, Regerating Flesh 245
Chimera, Regerating Flesh 245
3 Skullcrushers, Ensorcelled Weapons, Musician, Standard, Gleaming Pennant 259
Extremely good list, one of those that highlights the problems with this year’s Swedish pack. No real concessions at all, a standard, highly effective, warrior list.
Haig McLisky - Orcs and Goblins 12.1
Black Orc Warboss 5+ ward, dwarf basher, enchanted shield, other trickers shard 260
Savage Orc Shammy Lvl 4, Fencers Blades, Shruken Head, Dragonbane Gem 296
Savage Orc Bigboss BSB, MR 1, GW 119
Night Goblin Shammy Lvl 2, Scroll, Iron Curse 115
Goblin Big Boss Wolf, la, shield, dragonhelm, shrekin Blades, potion of fool hardiness,bow 78
Savage Orc Big Uns 23 with Full command and extra H/W 288
Night Goblins 23 with f/c, 2 x fanatics 149
Arrow Boys 10 Boys with Banner 80
Wolf Boys 5 with Banner, muso, shields, la, bows, spears 85
Black Orcs 18 with Full command , shields and Banner of Discipline 284
Wolf Chariot 50
Wolf Chariot 50
Orc Chariot 85
Orc Chariot 85
Stone Thrower 85
Doom Diver Doom 80
Doom Diver Doom 80
Mangler Squig 65
Mangler Squig 65
Looks like a lot of madness written down. In reality probably plays safe behind a cloud of chaff whilst warmachines and Foot do their thing. Always nice to see Black Orcs though, so there is that…
Jamie Payne - Bretonnians - 15.6
Bretonnian Lord, general, steed, shield, virtue of heroism, sword of swift slaying, dragonbane gem, gromhil great helm 234
Bretonnian Lord, virtue of the joust, siriennes locket, dragonhelm, potion of speed, lance, shield, pegasus 264
Palidan, steed, bsb, enchanted shield, dawnstone, gauntlet of the duel 119
paladin, steed, lance, charmed shield, luckstone, hoy icon 128
Damsel, level 2 beasts, scroll, steed 140
Damsel, level 2 beasts, falcon horn, steed 160
12 knights of the realm, full commad, war banner 337
12 knights errant, full command, banner of discipline 276
8 knights errant, full command 181
5 mounted yoeman, shields, champion 94
5 mounted yoeman, champion 89
3 pegasus knights, full command 192
Trebuchet 90
Trebuchet 90
It’s a standard list. I personally don’t rate double Lord over Lord + Heavens Lvl4 at all (which allows more pressure on people). If people know how to play versus Brets they know how to deal with this. If they don’t, they don’t. Brets as solid as they have ever been, and Jamie is a good player, so would expect this to do well. Just not very newsworthy.
Marc Hurwitz – High elves - 12.9
Archmage, Lvl 4, Talisman of Preservation, Scroll of Shielding, Lore of Heavens 280
Noble, BSB, Armour of Destiny, Halberd 147
Mage - High Magic, Dispel Scroll, level 2 145
15 Seaguard, shields, standard, Muso 200
10 Archers, muso 110
10 Archers, muso 110
5 Ellyrian reavers, bow and spear, muso 105
5 Ellyrian reavers, bow and spear, muso 105
15 White lions, standard, muso 215
20 Pheonix Guard, Champion, Muso, Razor banner 375
5 shadow warriors 70
Flamspyre 225
Great Eagle 50
Great Eagle 50
Bolt Thrower 70
Bolt Thrower 70
5 Sisters of avalon 70
A stolid list, near to capping out the comp, and packed with a GW Battle Report-esque assortment of “a bit of everything”. Not exciting, but participates in every phase, which is something at least. Be interested to see how other players use this. Not really that much to say here…

Matt Wilson – Dark Elves - 8.8
Hellebron 310
Master, sea dragon cloak, heavy armour, lance, shield, cloak of twilight, pegasus 188
Sorceress, level 2, metal, ring of hotek 165
Master, sea dragon cloak, heavy armour, cold one, halberd, BSB, luckstone 124
28 witch elves, champion, standard, banner of swiftness 343
5 dark riders 80
5 dark riders shield 85
5 dark riders shield, banner 95
Repeater bolt thrower 70
Repeater bolt thrower 70
Repeater bolt thrower 70
Repeater bolt thrower 70
10 cold one knights, champion, banner 320
17 black guard, champion, muso 275
5 doomfire warlocks, champion 135
Wow, I LOVE this. Hellebron, and a big two fingers up to the comp score. Matt is clearly of the opinion that when in doubt, run over the other Swedish lists with a tidal wave of naked ladies and sharp pointy bits. I do like seeing people go for the smash approach under Swedish. It rarely works though.
Max Kay - Wood Elves - 13.4
Spellweaver, Level 4, Lore of life, Talisman of preservation, Dispel scroll 290
Glade captain, BSB, Armour of destiny, Great weapon, 154
Spellsinger, Level 2, Lore of metal, Scroll of shielding, 130
Shadowdancer, Potion of strength 120
13 Glade guard, trueflights, Musician 205
12 Glade guard, trueflights, Musician 190
5 Glade riders starfire 115
5 Glade riders 95
34 Wildwood rangers, Banner, Musician, Champion, Banner of swiftness 419
8 Wild riders, shields 224
6 Wild riders, shields 168
5 waywatchers 100
7 waywatchers 140
Eagle 50
34 Wildwood rangers is unforgivable :) it’s a Wood Elf list with not much shooting. That said, between Dwellers, Wild Riders and a big block of naked s5 dudes it should be able to handle a lot of the lists here.
Mick Ferraro – High Elves - 10.7
Prince, heavy armour, Giant Blade, Shield of Wyrm 221
Archmage, Level 4, High Magic, Dispel Scroll, Khaines Ring of Fury, Talisman of Presveration, 315
Noble, shield, BSB, Armour of Destiny 147
20 Archers, Musician, Champion 220
13 Archers, Musician 140
5 Reavers, Bows 95
6 Silverhelms, shields, Musician 148
15 White Lions, Full Command, Banner of the World Dragon 275
23 Phoenix Guard, Full Command, Razor Standard 420
Bolt Thrower 70
Bolt Thrower 70
Eagle 50
Flamespyre Phoenix 225
Not much to say here. Middling comp score, standard-ish High Elf list. Limited range threat but solidly functional combat elements. Would have liked to see the prince mounted to provide some variety. And no, a Flamespyre does not make it interesting ;).
Nathan Goodchild - Orcs and Goblins 11.7
Orc Shaman, level 4, earthing rod, Obsidian Lodestone 270
Nigh Goblin Big Boss, BSB 55
Goblin Shaman, Dispel Scroll 80
Night Goblin Boss, Great Weapon 34
Night Goblin Boss, Great Weapon 34
Night Goblin Boss, Great Weapon 34
38 Night Goblins, full command, Nets, Shortbows, 2 Fanatics 239
39 Night Goblins, Nets, 2 Fanatics, Shortbows, full command 242
5 Wolf Riders, Standard, Muso, Shields, Spears 80
5 Wolf Riders, Standard, Muso, Shields, Spears 80
18 Black Orcs, Standard, Muso, Banner of Discipline 251
Wolf Chariot 50
Wolf Chariot 50
Wolf Chariot 50
Boar Chariot 85
Boar Chariot 85
Boar Chariot 85
Spear Chukka 35
Spear Chukka 35
Rock Lobba 85
Doom Diver 80
Doom Diver 80
Mangler 65
Mangler 65
Pump Wagon, Spiky Roller, Giant Exploding Spores 75
Pump Wagon, Spiky Roller, Giant Exploding Spores 75
Love it. All the random tat in the world. Of course, not saying that it is any good. Like, at all. I would like it a lot more if it scored a 13 (not being a dwarf player I would not really know what options are to make it so). The concept is cool though. Shoot & magic, counter charge with grenade units. And its, well, cool.
Nick Gentile – High Elves - 8.1
Prince, Giant Blade, Dawnstone, Dragonhelm, Dragon Armour, Barded Steed, Shield 285
Archmage, Lvl 4 Metal, Book of Ashur 290
Noble, Battle Standard, Ogre Blade, Dragon Armour, Enchanted Shield, Luckstone, Barded Steed 172
12 Silver Helms, full command, Shileds 306
5 Ellyrion Reavers 80
21 Archers, musician, standard 230
21 White Lions, Full Command, Banner of the World Dragon353
6 Dragon Princes, Standard, Musician, Banner of Eternal Flame 204
Repeater Bolt Thrower 70
Repeater Bolt Thrower 70
Repeater Bolt Thrower 70
6 Sisters of Avelorn 84
6 Sisters of Avelorn 84
Eagle 50
Eagle 50
This is list is awesome. Sure it starts a few hundred points down on some of the others, but it does have a mix of ranged damage, magic threat, and multiple speed combat threats to make up for it. The mounted Prince makes a lot of difference. Nick sir, your list is arousing.
Nick Legrand - Dark Elves - 11.1
Hellebron (General), Witchbrew 310
Supreme Sorceress, Level 4, Lore of Dark Magic, Dispel Scroll, Talisman of Preservation 265
Death Hag, Battle Standard Bearer, Cauldron of Blood, Sword of Anti-Heroes, Cry of War, 345
Master , Dark Steed, Sea Dragon Cloak, Heavy Armour, Shield, Lance, Cloak of Twilight 146
Master , Dark Steed, Sea Dragon Cloak, Heavy Armour, Charmed Shield, Lance, Dragonbane Gem 104
22 Witch Elves, Full command, Razor banner 317
9 Dark Riders, Reaper xbows, Shields, Full command 210
5 Dark Riders,Shields, 85
8 shades 128
5 harpys 75
18 Executioners, Full command 246
Reaper Bolt Thrower 70
Reaper Bolt Thrower 70
Sexy/Haggard (depending on the time of year) angry naked lady leading a bunch of crazy chicks is something we have established we approve. Here it is twinned with some potent magical threat and my least favourite thing in Warhammer – Fast Cav Dark Elf Masters with 1+ armour. Get the feeling Nick squeezed a bit more out of the comp. I make be talking rubbish though :)
Rhys McGlinn – Warriors of Chaos -11.2
Chaos Lord, Disc of Tzeentch, Mark of Tzeentch, Ogre Blade, Enchanted Shield, Talisman of Preservation 340
Chaos Sorceror Lord, Charmed Shield, Mark of Nurgle Dragonbane Gem Lore of Death 255
Exalted Hero, BSB, Daemonic Mount (barded), Mark of Tzeentch, Great Weapon, Armour of Destiny, Scaled Skin 271
Exalted Hero, Daemonic Mount (barded), Mark of Tzeentch, Dragonhelm, Great Weapon, Talisman of Endurance 216
24 Warriors of Chaos, Mark of Nurgle (with halberds), Full Command, Halberds, Shields, Banner of Swiftness, 525
5 Chaos Warhounds, Vanguard 40
5 Chaos Warhounds, Vanguard 40
Chimera, Regenerating Flesh, 245
Chimera, Regenerating Flesh, 245
Dragon Ogre Shaggoth, Two Hand Weapons 220
Like Chris, Rhys has worked out that you can break the comp with warriors. And did. Not much more to say really….

Rowan Keating - Wood Elves - 12.5
Orion 600
Spellsinger, Level 2, Death, Elven Steed, Dispel Magic Scroll 150
Spellsinger, Level 2, Death, Elven Steed, Obsidian Amulet 155
Glade Captain, Battle Standard Bearer, Starfire Shafts, Elven Steed, Hail of Doom Arrow 144
10 Glade Guard, Standard Bearer, Musician, Trueflight Arrows 170
12 Glade Guard, Standard Bearer, Musician, Trueflight Arrows 200
5 Glade Riders, Musician, Hagbane Tips 120
5 Glade Riders, Musician, Hagbane Tips 120
3 Warhawk Riders 125
5 Wardancers 75
6 Sisters of the Thorn, Standard Bearer, Musician, Banner of Swiftness 191
6 Wild Riders, Standard Bearer, Musician, Shields 188
5 Waywatchers 100
Eagle 50
Orion…. ORION ffs! How awesome is this?! Correctly guessing there would be a dearth of warmachines at the event (who we kidding, someone taking Orion has balls so awesome they fear cannons not at all), this is just epic. Orion and 4 levels of mounted death magic. This list is so cool that I have not even made any Boyzone references…
Sam Morgan - Empire - 11.0
Karl Franz, Ghal Maraz, Barded warhorse 394
Captain of the Empire, BSB, Barded warhorse, White Cloak of Ulric, lance , full plate armour, shield 166
Battle Wizard, Level 2, Dispel Scroll, Lore of Death 125
Battle Wizard, Level 2, Lore of Death 100
Battle Wizard, Level 2, Lore of Death 100
12 Inner Circle Knights, champion, standard, musician, Ranger's Standard 380
13 Archers, musician, standard 111
13 Archers, musician, standard 111
4 Demigryph Knights 232
5 Reiksguard Knights, champion, musician 155
5 Reiksguard Knights, champion, musician 155
Great Cannon 120
Great Cannon 120
Celestial Hurricanum 130
So, just, SO dull. Good, yes. But damn. Even facing new improved Karl would be better than facing this. Does what it says on the tin. Extremely good list. But Meh
Yordan Petrovski - Warriors of Chaos - 10.5
Daemon Prince Mark of Slannesh Flight Chaos Armour 4 Magic Levels (Slannesh) Chaos Familiar Scaled Skin Soul Feeder Dragon bane Gem Sword of Striking Charmed Shield 520
Exalted Hero, Mark of Tez, Great Weapon,Deamonic mount, Barding, Tal of Endurance, BSB, Third Eye, Dragon Bane Helm, Iron Curse Icon 256
Exalted Hero, Mark of Slannesh, Talisman of Protection, Steed of Slannesh, Enchanted Shield, Alure of slannesh 205
24 Chaos Warriors, Mark of Tez, Shields, Muso & standard, Banner of Swiftness 443
5 Marauder Horseman, Mark of Slannesh, Throwing Axes 85
5 Marauder Horseman, Mark of Slannesh, Throwing Axes 85
8 Chaos Ogres, Great Weapons, Muso, Mark of Nurgle 370
5 Hell Striders, Hellscourges 100
4 Skull Crushers, Lances, Muso & Standard 328
Another warriors list. Sorry Yordan, yours came last on the list, so I am least interested in it.
So there we have it, the runners and riders for the 2014 Masters.
One question does scream out at me though, given that a lot of people are clearly taking this seriously… WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM?!
No daemons.
Kairos would have a merry old time tap-dancing on half the lists at this event.
I worry about our colonial brothers, I really do…



Seriously. How can there be a country where this thing exists, but no one takes Daemons to Swedish Comp masters?!
Maybe Australians have souls... who knew?

Putting that to one side (with great difficulty, it should be said), I look forward to hearing all about how it goes down. Best of luck guys!

(seriously though, not a single Kairos? There are TWO Hellebrons and no Kairos? This is giving me a headache…)
Until next time,

Monday, 17 November 2014

Raf: Games Workshop CEO

If I were the Games Workshop CEO…
Building on the interesting blog over on KiwiHammer, twinned with ongoing discussions on forums, twitter and ‘news sites’ such as BoLS, and serendipitously combined with me having the rare luxury of half an hour or so to kill, I thought I would throw some words at a page in relation to what I would do if appointed CEO of Games Workshop, and maybe touching on a couple of points raised by others.
It is important to note, right from the off, that a CEO has one job. To make money for their shareholders. That’s it. Their job is not to be friendly, lovely or helpful to whatever segment of the gaming populace you identify yourself with. Of course, if doing so will lead to more money for shareholders, then great stuff.
I spend a considerable amount of my day to day life speaking with successful CEOs of in the real world and they always say the same obvious thing about starting off: it is important to look at where you are, before working out where we want to be.
Counter to what a lot of what has been said, GW is not in a terrible place. Yes, their profits have gone down in the past couple of years. But in the context of a massive international economic slowdown and the collapse due to bankruptcy of one of their main alternative revenue streams the fact they are still making a profit is a Good Thing.

Let’s have a brief rundown of some of the key points that come up a lot when the company is discussed:
Biased Narrator.
Right from the off we have to address something. The vast majority of people whose opinions we read on this subject are the interweb-using tournament/competitive gamer.
The (seemingly accurate) accepted wisdom is that tournament gamers are a *tiny* fraction of GW’s customer base. And, counter to what a lot of these players will tell you, they, as a populace, probably do not account for an overly significant percentage of sales.
This same section of customers (computer-savy competitive players) are also, logically the most likely to be ‘disloyal’ to the brand – most likely to consider alternative models etc etc. For every gamer who tells me they would spends hundreds of dollars on the game if they tightened up their rules sets there is another going elsewhere with their money, using at times hilariously bad counts-as, and buying flat-out fakes from China.
The Wallet Factor.
Cost is the constant rallying cry for the disenfranchised. And I get it. Everyone always wants the stuff they like to be cheaper. The issue is the harkening back to some (mythical) long-gone glory days were GW stuff was cheap and when new entrants could afford to get involved without mummy & daddy chipping in. I have been in and out of the hobby for 20 years now, and can tell you that there was *no way* I could afford it in 1994. The numbers were different (inflation is a real thing after all), but the real term costs are not *that* much different, and the stuff now is of significantly better quality.
No hobby, taken to its maximum potential, is cheap. As I have pointed this out on several threads recently there is a limited amount of stuff £4/500 will buy you if you were looking at the likes of a games console and some games (and that’s assuming you already have a suitably TV to enjoy it on). Factor in the time taken to complete most games. For a lot less than £400 I could buy and army, all the stuff needed to assemble and paint it (if I wanted to) and have an army that, with a few occasional additions will last for… ever? A decade at least (especially if you shopped at our sponsor's web site). Of course, if you choose some horde army or want to constantly keep on the bleeding edge of the meta, the costs could get serious. But that is your choice, and is also comparable with “getting serious” in other hobbies.
The principle of supply and demand sets costs after all – a company by definition will charge as much as they think they can get for anything they sell. There is anecdotal evidence of GW trying new things with the pricing on some kits (such as DE Cold One Knights, to see if a low cost would drastically increase sales. It didn’t). All companies do this. Flames of War will sell you a tank that could fit in a Christmas cracker for over $20 after all (to pluck a random example out of the air).
Yes, there are some issues with pricing in the southern colonies, but that is a separate issue.
Listen up.
Another stick used to beat GW’s still-leaving corpse (or so I am told), is the lack of communication and community support on offer.
I am not entirely sure what this means. If this refers to the likes of FAQs, then sure, though I am old and ugly enough to remember when they were far rarer than they are now. If it refers to pro-active community engagement, having forums/facebook pages was a marketing disaster, so no wonder they stopped. The beautiful thing about the internet is that it gives a voice to the individual disgruntled person. And these people are, understandably, the most likely to kick off. This gives a bad impression for new customers.
It also is something that bothers me. If I spend my aforementioned £4/500 on Apple products, I expect them to be of top quality and last for 3-5 years. I do not expect to be mollycoddled, or for Apple to want me to be their best friend. GW customers, it appears, want *more*. This is good, as it means the product they have bought has made an emotional connection, but we are talking about a company that is out there to make money after all. It confuses me.
I do think they could do better in this area, but it is not a disaster that they don’t.
So, after that brief rundown of the world-as-is, it seems that, broadly speaking, things are going relatively well, so what would I do were I in the hot seat?
It is important to note that, in the vast majority of instances, a CEO is not the hands on person. You set strategy, direction and make sure you have the best people you can get to undertake your vision. With that in mind, my ‘vision’ (other than generally, and legitimately, doing everything in "Boss Mode") would be along the lines of:
The Game.
GW is a model company. Always has been, and it uses its brilliant IP to sell these. That is fine. It is a great sandbox for you to do anything you want.
Unfortunately some people struggle with this (yes, I am looking at the 40k players out there). An inability to self-regulate = upset people = bad publicity = bad.
I mentioned earlier that tournament gamers are not a big part of GW’s customer base, but they are still *a* part. My solution is a simple one. Two releases, expansions really, to be updated at specified, regular, intervals. What do I mean? 40k/WFB Tournament Edition (one could arguably come up with a better name, I’m not the creative guy in this scenario). From here you have a base to sponsor a tournament circuit/interact with the independent scene that is running the format, in the same way that X Wing has taken off.
The content? Probably some sort of comp system (such as the 40k Highlander system), some new missions, tightening of rules, etc. Whatever. I’m the CEO, not the creative guy. It would not be all that much work to produce (especially if kept mostly electronic/direct order). People could use it or not (as is already the case), but it would at least provide a product for people to buy. Limited risk, potential reward opportunity, good PR in any event.
Intellectual Property.
GW have managed to monetise the 40k universe IP very well. Getting the creative minds to continue to reshape the Fantasy setting (as they are doing in End Times) into something unique enough that it creates an interesting stand-alone IP would open up further revenue streams from tie-ins, and allows for better protection of your IP. Grimdark (and skulls) are GW’s thing. Own it.
On the back of this pursuing further collaborations with computer games etc makes a lot of sense.
Secondary Game Systems.
I get why the classics were dropped due to cost of continual support, the cost of giving them the support they require was prohibitive. However, the “all in the box” limited edition concept is perfect for a rerelease of Necromunda/ Mordheim/ Gorkamorka/ BloodBowl/ Warhammer Quest/ Battlefleet Gothic/ Epic/ Titan Legions/ Warmaster/ the-ship-one-that-for-some-reason-the-name-escapes-me Man O'War and  even Inquisitor. Not some risky new concept like Dreadfleet. Limited release of the classic games out there, with some additional content. You can then subcontract out support to either ForgeWorld, who can do limited batches as required, or to a third party. Limited risk.
Army Releases.
I would actually back the system that is being done in 40k (and now WFB to an extent). Release army books rapidly to a point where most armies are relatively on a par. When you have a new model you want to release for any given release, do so. Include the rules in the box. No more waiting around for up to a decade or more because the company is waiting for the time to release the new Bretonnian whatever. Just release it. Rules in the box (and, of course, for a nominal fee online). This makes logical sense as the fewer army books you have to print the better, and allows the creative minds to focus on more interesting, excitement-inducing things than an endless churn of army books/editions (which are also capital intensive to produce).
A controversial one this, as I have heard very little good about the one man stores from the community. That being said, the numbers make a lot of sense of them overall (or did, the last time I looked into them). Conceptually therefore, they are fine. What I would encourage, however, are large showpiece stores in particularly high potential areas. Where these are, I have no idea, they would have to be well chosen. If these could be run at only a slight loss then it would be worth it. You want some stores to be the equivalent of DisneyLand for GW – mind blowing stuff that inspires people to want to become even more immersed in the universe. The problem generally is that to run a successful store you need to find someone passionate about the hobby who is also good at running a business (not impossible of course, but a challenge).
Media Interaction.
A concerted push to build relations with a few key social media hubs makes all the sense in the world. Sure, you make sure they are nice about you. Sure, you control the agenda when sending out key people to be interviewed. Sure, you make sure what when appearing on a show you try prevent other gaming companies being mentioned, etc. That’s normal business practice, and would go a long way to changing the perception that the company does not listen. Black Library authors, as freelancers, do this all the time anyway. Mission critical? No. Cheap-to-free to do though.
Sell Up.
Keep trying to sell the business. It is an open secret GW have been looking at doing this for years. Of course, it would have to be for the right valuation, and there are very few companies that would look to buy it (other than Hasbro). Hopefully after next year the Hobbit game can be safely retired from eating up the company efforts, and the focus can be on capital-friendly efforts to increase sales (ie: things that drive sales without needing to create new models, etc). This is a hard one to enact, but makes a lot of sense for the business (I hear Hasbro has done well with Wizards of the Coast after all). Sorting out the IP mess and the legal challenges from internet sharks like Chapterhouse and many others is key to getting a decent valuation on the company, and to making it look like an attractive proposition. 
But first of all:
Remove all mentioned of Chaos Dwarfs and Dark Angels from all GW publications.
The reasons are obvious.
This is a Day 1 priority.

With that sorted, I'll catch you all next time!