Today, the Warhammer fanbase is in mourning, as British role-playing and wargame designer Bryan Ansell, the co-founder of Games Workshop and founder of Citadel Miniatures has tragically passed away. The news was revealed by a touching Instagram post, on the Ansell family’s instagram page at the end of last year. The post reads:
“With great sadness, we announce that Bryan passed away peacefully at home this morning surrounded by his family, 30th December 2023.”
A Legend Leaves an Entire Franchise All the Poorer
Bryan Ansell was 68 years old at the time of his passing. A true titan in the gaming industry, his presence will surely be missed by hardcore and casual fans alike, with more and more people praising him and his legacy in the gaming industry. Some of the names include former coworkers and prominent figures in miniature painting and wargaming communities, the likes of Darren Latham, Tuomas Pirinen, Lloyd Davies (the painting coach) and many more.
Games Workshop co-founder Ian Livingstone also expressed his great sadness with the passing of Ansell via X (the platform formerly known as Twitter). The emotional post reads:
“Very sad news Bryan Ansell passed away. Bryan, Steve Jackson and I set up Citadel Miniatures in 1978 as part of Games Workshop. He was a craftsman and dynamic entrepreneur who drove the growth of GW to the next level. Without Bryan, Warhammer would not have launched.”
From Creating Miniatures to Inspiring a Whole Universe
Ansell’s legacy into miniature wargaming began in the distant 1978, when he founded Citadel Miniatures as part of the larger Games Workshop, which he co-founded with Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. He took on the role of miniature supplier, specializing in highly detailed lead-based figures.
While initially focusing on historical and fantasy titles, the introduction of Warhammer Fantasy Battle in 1983 changed matters entirely. Back then, Ansell teamed with co-creators Rick Priestley and Richard Halliwell, and their efforts struck gold. The game was a massive commercial success, which led to Ansell quickly buying Jackson and Livingston’s shares at Games Workshop. The focus was entirely changed to Warhammer Fantasy Battle and its more successful sibling, the grimdark space fantasy world of Warhammer 40,000.
The rest, as they say, is history. And while Ansell’s control over Games Workshop ended in 1991, when he sold his stocks to Tom Kirby, he still continued to contribute to the genre via his companies Foundry Miniatures Limited and Wargames Foundry. It’s fair to say that without Ansell, there wouldn’t be Warhammer as we know it.