This battle report saw Jervis Johnson (Goblins) face off against Robin Dews (Empire).
Bryan Ansell started with his life in wargames by founding and designing for his own miniatures company Asgard Miniatures. He also had his own fanzine named Trollcrusher.
In 1979 Games Workshop approached Ansell to found their own miniatures branch Citadel Miniatures. The company was set up to allow Games Workshop to be self reliant for its miniature purposes, allowing her to create the miniatures for all the games which Games Workshop had the license for at the time. This took their reliance on other miniatures companies such as Ral Partha away.
In 1980 Ansell wrote his first wargaming rules called Laserburn which he had published via Tabletop Games. Although only a foot note in gaming history, Laserburn contained many elements and wargear of the future Warhammer 40,000 game, such as Power Armour, Dreadnoughts, Jet Cycles and Bolt Guns.
By 1982 Games Workshop was depending on the sales of Citadel Miniatures and Bryan Ansell brought out all of Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson’s shared in Games Workshop and all the operations were eventually moved from London to Nottingham.
Ansell worked with Richard Halliwell and Rick Priestley on Games Workshops‘ Warhammer Fantasy Battles. This was originally designed to be given out for free to encourage customers to buy the new Citadel Miniatures range.
He later left Games Workshop to Tom Kirby in 1991 and instead focused on his own company Wargames Foundry, a company which sells historical miniatures. These miniatures were originally sculpted by the Perry Twins for Citadel Miniatures, but were no longer sold as part of the Games Workshop fantasy ranges. Ansell took a number of figure molds used for historical and fantasy figures under Citadel Miniatures and Games Workshop, and they have become part of the Wargames Foundry range. Wargames Foundry continues to sell a range of metal figures for historical, sci-fi and fantasy war gaming.
Although not as prolific a writer as some of the other people focused on in “A Life in Wargames” Ansell has been involved in the rules development of 15+ games.
Board Game Geek
Jervis Johnson officially retired from Games Workshop in July. As such I thought it was a great time to cover his career as a games designer, from his first game to his last and the impact he’s had on the hobby.
If you don’t know who Jervis Johnson is then this will introduce you to a man who has created many of the great games you know and love today.
Jervis joined Games Workshop as a trade sales assistant in 1982. During this time he started writing rules for Games Workshops’ own games in his spare time (them being the seller for dungeons and dragons in Europe.and not producing their own game of Warhammer Fantasy until 1983). What would become the first edition of Blood Bowl was produced in 1986, followed closely by Rogue Trader (the 1st edition of Warhammer 40k) in 1988.
During his time Jervis has designed or has been involved in the design of over 93 games and add-ons. Both for Games Workshop and other companies.
- Blood Bowl (1st, 2nd & 3rd Editions) – 1986, 1988, 1994
- Adeptus Titanicus (1st Edition) – 1988
- Advanced HeroQuest – 1989
- Advanced Space Crusade – 1990
- Armies of the Imperium – 1991
- Battle for Armageddon – 1992
- Black Powder (2nd Edition) (Warlord Games) – 2019
- Blood Bowl (2016 Edition) – 2016
- Epic Armageddon – 2003
- La Haye Saint (Warlord Games) – 2014
- Necromunda – 1995
- Space Hulk (2nd Edition) – 1996
- Space Marine – 1989
- Warhammer 40,000 (3rd Edition) – 1998
- Warhammer 40,000 (4th Edition) – 2004
- Warhammer Ancient battles – 1998
- Warhammer Fantasy (8th Edition) – 2010
- Warmaster – 1993
Many other companies have taken inspiration from some of Jervis Johnson’s games. Whether you know it or not, your favourite game has probably been worked on or has used inspiration from one of Johnson’s game.
His retirement is well deserved, but the wargaming community is losing a true giant of the industry. Goodbye Jervis, and enjoy your retirement.
Why don’t you let us know in the comments below which of Jervis’ games was your favourite?
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