Tributes pour in after death of award-winning veteran wargame designer Dean Essig

Veteran wargame designer Dean Essig has died, leading to an outpouring of tributes from fans and industry friends across social media.

Essig’s wargame design career spanned more than 35 years, during which time he founded publishing company The Gamers and spent the last 22 years working with Multi-Man Publishing, the publisher of Advanced Squad Leader and the Operational Combat Series of games, among others.

His death comes four months after he suffered a cancer-related stroke, which saw him involved in an auto-accident.

Multi-Man said in the wake of the accident that despite Essig being aware of what happened and being able to joke during a conversation, he had suffered a brain bleed and would need therapy and some time to recover.

An update from the company on March 11, however, confirmed that Essig’s cancer had continued to spread, and he had been moved into a hospice rather than continue to receive aggressive anti-cancer treatment.

Multi-Man said late yesterday that Essig had passed away peacefully in his sleep, with a memorial expected to be held by his children in his home town in Illinois in the coming weeks.

The statement added that it had been “quite a shock to us as to how quickly he was overcome by this terrible disease.”

Essig’s designs were highly regarded within the industry, and he won a string of wargame-focused Charles S Roberts awards during his long career.

Multi-award-winning designs of Essig’s included Afrika, Enemy at the Gates, DAK and Case Blue.

Hundreds of tributes to Essig poured in across Twitter and Facebook, praising not only his sharp designs but also his warmth and friendliness.

Mark Herman, the veteran wargamer designer of titles including We The People and Empire of the Sun, said on Twitter, “This is very sad news. I hope his passing was gentle. One of my favorite designers and an old friend from my early days in the industry. RIP my friend.”

Charles S Roberts Award director Gary Mengle said on Twitter that Essig’s death was a “devastating loss”.

Essig’s long-time friend Carl Fung took over management of The Gamers’ line of games at Multi-Man Publishing earlier this month, heading up the Battalion Combat Series and Line of Battle Series as well as project managing several other series of games.

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