Skip to main content

Warhammer co-creator and Citadel Miniatures founder Bryan Ansell has passed away

Ansell’s sculpted miniatures and game design paved the way for Games Workshop’s domination

Warhammer Fantasy Battle scene featuring a castle siege
Image credit: Games Workshop

Bryan Ansell, a British game design who helped pioneer the Warhammer miniature wargame franchise, has died at the age of 68.

Ansell’s family announced his death via an Instagram post reading, “With great sadness, we announce that Bryan passed away peacefully at home this morning surrounded by his family, 30th December 2023."

Ansell founded Citadel Miniatures in 1978, supplying lead-based figures for the tabletop wargames created by a little company founded by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson in 1975, called Games Workshop.

Meet the Warhammer pro raising the bar of competitive play. Watch on YouTube

This partnership initially focused on historical and fantasy titles until Ansell teamed with Rick Priestley and Richard Halliwell to design Warhammer Fantasy Battle in 1983, which became a massive hit and led to Ansell buying out Livingstone and Jackson’s shares to become managing director of Games Workshop.

During his tenure, Ansell relocated Games Workshop’s UK headquarters from London to Nottingham and refocused the company’s creative and production efforts on Warhammer Fantasy Battle and science fiction sibling Warhammer 40,000 - the latter of which has outpaced the original in popularity and commercial success.

Ansell sold his stock in Games Workshop to Tom Kirby in 1991 but continued creating within the tabletop wargames space by establishing Foundry Miniatures Limited and Wargames Foundry. While his name isn’t as memorable as some of the more contemporary architects of the genre, Warhammer would not be the juggernaut that it is without Ansell’s design work and time at Games Workshop’s helm.

Peers and former coworkers shared remembrances in the wake of Ansell’s passing, with Livingstone writing, “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."

Remedy game designer and Games Workshop alumnus Tuomas Pirinen mirrored the sentiment: “Bryan Ansell, the man behind the growth of Games Worshop and the patron of Warhammer and 40K as we know it today has died. Not many Warhammer fans know it today, but without him, there would almost certainly be no Warhammer hobby at all today. Hard, man, but I'll drink to you.”

Games Workshop did not announce Ansell’s death nor share in tributes across any of the social channels and official website.

Read this next