The Instagram account shared by miniatures game designer Bryan Ansell and his wife Diane has announced that he died at home with his family on December 30, 2023. He was 68 years old.
Ansell is known as the founder of Citadel, the miniatures arm of Games Workshop, which he created in 1978. At the time Games Workshop distributed and supported roleplaying games in Europe, as well as documenting them in its magazine White Dwarf. The creation of Citadel was followed by the wargame Warhammer Fantasy Battle, designed to make use of its line of miniatures. Warhammer’s success led to Ansell becoming managing director of Games Workshop and eventually shifting its focus entirely onto the tabletop wargaming hobby, which it still dominates today.
As a designer, Ansell was responsible for the 1980 sci-fi wargame Laserburn, a proto-Warhammer 40,000 with bolt guns and power armor. As well as co-creating Warhammer Fantasy Battle, he led the writing of Warhammer’s Realm of Chaos supplements, which not only detailed the setting’s Chaos gods but laid down much of the heavy metal horror-fantasy tone that would define them in the future.Not everything Ansell did was so well-received. As managing director of Games Workshop he was responsible for closing its London office and moving the business to Nottingham, where Citadel was based.
The editorial staff of White Dwarf magazine, at the time run out of the London office, responded to this by writing an acrostic in the contents page of issue 77 that read “sod off Bryan Ansell”.Ansell left Games Workshop in 1991, having overseen the company’s boom. In later years he ran a smaller manufacturer of historical miniatures called Wargames Foundry, which he’d initially created to give his father something to do after retiring. Ansell himself retired in 2005, and his family still runs Wargames Foundry today.