Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Turnip 28

The ongoing global pandemic has meant that gaming in person has been disrupted now for 2 years, which is very frustrating.  For me, it remains disrupted at the moment, but I’m hoping to get back to the table sometime in 2022. I’ve continued online gaming with roleplaying via Roll20, boardgames through Boardgame Arena, and occasionally Tabletop Simulator, and wargames through Roll20. This has certainly helped, and I may well continue with this in my gaming mix from now on. But it'll be good to get back to the table. 

Also, for me, the other aspects of the hobby have also undergone a hiatus as I’ve recently moved house so most of my figures and paraphernalia have been stored way in boxes. With all that now done, and my new hobby room set up I’ve started to look at reviving old projects, and inevitably, starting new ones.

This month’s Wargames Illustrated (WI409, JANUARY 2022) covered something I've seen before but never took much notice of - The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge*.

I thought it might be fun to do this to motivate me to get back into the painting rhythm. My gaming friends have also pitched in so there’s a nice bit of peer pressure and friendly “group work” going on.

So with that in mind I started to dig out my Dertosa 28mm project, only to get immediately distracted by something called “Turnip 28” (T28)!

The best way I can describe it is a wargame if it was written by Terry Gilliam! Here I guess I'm thinking mainly about The Jabberwocky.

In a bit more detail, the setting appears to be a post-apocalyptic alternate history that started from the Battle of Austerlitz and involved some sort of horrific vegetable-based awakening. 

1000 years later, the world is churned into a muddy field by endless war, and society has collapsed into bleak cults of root vegetable worship and mutation. The level of technology is “black powder”, and the aesthetic is “Blanchitsu”, or “grimdark”. 

The hobby impetus here is also one of kit bashing, basically letting your imagination run wild to create the weirdest and most disturbing, grimy warriors you can image. As with the best fiction, grounding it in reality (in this case by wrapping the aesthetic around a Medieval/Napoleonic crossover) really adds weight to the more fanciful elements.

An afternoon of Googling and I’m hooked! 

I downloaded the free rules** and sorted out a roster for the “army”. So, this is my first project for 2022: The Pastinaca 233rd Regiment of Foote.

As this is my first foray into T28, my ideas are still forming so this first crew is likely to be an expression of me finding my way into the weirdness. Anyway, the rough lore I’ve come up with is fairly simple.

The Pastinaca 233rd Regiment of Foote are cult devotees of Strangling Harry, and hail from the Pastinaca parsnip fields. They are known as "The Hangers", for their tendency to capture and hang their victims, and "The Parsnip Eaters" for...well...do I need to say it? Eating parsnips.


My rough ideas for themes and imagery around this involved ropes (nooses?), and root-infested mutations. 

I’m thinking the colours will be broadly in line with the principles of Blanchitsu (muted tones, limited palette (mainly the Zorn palette) and therefore red coats, “white” (parsnip) trousers, light oak skin, all covered in mud and flith seems a likely route for the paint daubing. We shall see…

I've also set some general parameters for the project, which I shall no doubt immediately break. 

  1. Every model must be altered, converted, kit bashed, or scratch built to some degree.
  2. Embrace the setting as much as possible.
  3. Create strongly themed forces (I may try to do one of each cult).
  4. Don't use Games Workshop figures/bits. They have their own strong aesthetic and are mostly out of scale with proper 28mm figures.***

Anyway, the roster I’ve started with is:

  • 1 Toff
  • 2 Toadies
  • 1 Fodder unit (12 with muskets)
  • 1 Brutes unit (6 with muskets)
  • 1 Brutes unit (6 with melee weapons)
  • 1 Rootlings unit (4 with melee weapons)

For the Toff I’m thinking about maybe a hanged man still on a gibbet being pushed/carried about by lackeys. This will require a solid bit of kit bashing so we'll see.

For the Toadies, I’m thinking that one would be a snivelling ghoul-type, and another heavily mutated and bloated like a root vegetable (a parsnip obviously).

The Fodder unit I’d planned to be mainly musketeers, with about 30-40% having some form of mutation.

The brutes units I’d planned to be more armoured and heavily mutated.

Finally, the Rootlings…hmm…not sure what to do with these, but I know I have a small bag of Games Workshop “gnoblars”. They may well do the job for these.

So, digging through my pile, I uncovered some Perry Wars of the Roses boxes left over from an earlier project, and some marvellous Victrix Napoleonic figures.  These will be perfect to mix (and this seems to be the default sets for T28 models so far!)

I then turned to my extensive “bitz” boxes filled with all manner of weird stuff I’ve accrued over the years. Searching through this, I seem to have a lot of Games Workshop “Branchwraiths” bits, which are suitably woody and plant-like and will serve as the main source of mutations.

Stage 1 begins

Starting with the largest “Fodder” unit I set about the mixing process, looking for predominantly Napoleonic figures, with some simple head swaps and weird plant-based mutations. This early into T28, I’m really not sure what I’m doing, and it’s a trial-and-error process really.

The progress so far is relatively encouraging. 

Not sure what this chap is, some sort of mutated NCO perhaps?
He's a combination of Victrix, Perry, and GW bits.

The unit leader, NOC and drummer. I replaced the Victrix drummer's arms with GW ghoul(?) arms holding bones as drum sticks. the unit commander is decked out in full plate (no doubt fully rusty and covered in crud.

The banner bearer is badly mutated too. The banner itself sports bones, a shield and gonfalon. I shall most likely add to this, and paint a parsnip in the gonfalon.

The rank and file so far, with muskets and Medieval helms.

I have a lot more to do of course, and I want to get some backpacks and equipment on these to bulk them out. After that, I think I’ll break out the greenstuff and fill gaps with some…err…not sure yet…

I think the armour needs a bit of weirding up too, maybe with some pointy face plates. Not sure.

The coin bases are temporary too. I've got some 3mm deep 25mm mdf bases on the way to replace them.

But a decent start so far, I think. Can’t wait to see where this project goes!


*Basically, you paint "1000+pts" of models in 3 months, with each model having varying numbers of points.  It’s not a race or a competition - rather a method of motivation, and of doing a sort of "joint project" around painting.

**Incredibly generous of the author (Max FitzGerald) to make these rules free!

***Who am I kidding? I'll basically break this rule immediately, as GW are the main source for fantasy bits that I have. But I am going to try to minimise their use. Again...who am I kidding here. Ah well, the intention was honourable I suppose.

Friday, 12 February 2021

Warband Fantasy Online: High Elves vs Dark Elves


The Battle of An Chenn Valley

Since ancient days the elven kinfolk have pursued unsettled blood-feuds.  In this battle the high elf clan of King Elion I Ar clashed with his dark cousin Ezekel in the An Chenn Valley.  If any were watching, the reason for this enmity would not be evident, but the grim-face elves of both armies knew.  They would not tell, but this fight would take no prisoners to settle the matter.


High Elves (499pts, 11 Units)

1x General [Exceptional] – Elion I Ar

1x Mage [Average] – Mayar I Sael

5x Knights (fierce)

4x Scouts (parting shot)

 Dark Elves (500pts, 10 Units)

1x General [Exceptional] – Ezekel

1x Warlock [Exceptional]

4x Archers

3x Warriors

1x Boulder Elementals


We began with terrain choices and placement.  The High Elves, having a mix of heavy open field troops in their knights, and light terrain fighting skirmishers with their scouts opted for a couple of small fields (maybe outlying farms, or simply areas of rough ground).  The Dark Elf players went instead for two large hills.  Rolling for the placements the battlefield was set as a valley between two hilly areas.  A valley of death perhaps?

The players then deployed their armies in alternate “batches” of units as per the rules, and both sides vied for position, enacting their own plans and reacting to the placements of their opponents.  As it happens, with similar armies and seemingly similar battle plans the deployments mirrored each other.  Both the High Elves and Dark Elves deployed the melee units centrally in the valley, and their archers on the flanks.  On the western flank, the Dark Elves pushed their heavy archers up through the fields to contest the hills against the lighter but more mobile High Elf Scouts.


Turn 1

The battle begins with the High Elves seizing the initiative.  While the Command influence is low, both the armies magic-users are empowered with a glut of Magic Points.  They opt to spend them on their initiative spells.  The High Elves cast Hypnotic Commune to reduce the Dark Elf Commander’s ability to influence this turn, but the Dark Elf Warlock counters with Arcane Winds to restore the balance.

The High Elf Commander attempts a “group move” for the knights and fails so they stand firm.  The Dark Elf plan seems to involve goading the High Elves to come to their lines up the valley so opt not to move their centre.  Instead the battle opens on the flanks with the High Elf scouts pushing over the hills into range of the Dark Elf bows.  On the east flank, inspired by their Chieftain, the Dark Elf archery is brutal (scoring 5 hits!)  The scouts retreat back over the hill, and their courage bolstered by their Commander, they recover quickly (making all their Protection rolls and removing all the hits!).


Turn 2

Inspired by their archery, the Dark Elves seize the initiative for the turn.  Again, both magic-users generate decent magic and in this case the Dark Elves use “Raider’s Savagery” to enhance their archers with magical arrows.  During the turn, the High Elves respond by casting Blinding Glory on their centre formation of knights, to enhance their protection and making them cause fear.  While the protection turns out to be usefull in shrugging off the Dark Elf archery, again the knights fail to move.  The main action for the turn happens on the east flank, with the High Elf Scouts developing their flanking move around the Dark Elf Archers, making good use of the additional mobility provided by the Parting Shot special ability to get into shooting positions.

Turn 3

The High Elves regain the initiative and with a slow round for magic, the Knights finally move forwards towards the Dark Elf main fighting line.  Ignoring the more mobile High Elf Scouts, the Dark Elves respond to the approaching Knights but turning their archers in to harass the flanks of the approaching wall of lances.  

The Dark Elf Archers also rout a unit of High Elf Scouts (who eventually flee the field, being too far from their Commander to be rallied).

Turn 4

The Dark Elves seize the initiative again, and this turn they prepare for the expected melee.  Although they have the initiative and could initiate the melee, they choose to sit back and let the High Elf Knights come on.  Their Warlock casts the “Raider’s Savagery” this time to boost the fighting prowess of their line Warriors.  The set their line grimly to face the coming storm.

And come the storm does!
  The High Elves send their knights in to the charge.  Given their terrible motivation checks for the Knights so far, the High Elf players are cautious about their melee charges.  They are not confident that they will be able to motivate all their Knights into the charge and so they do something that is possible on the charge…the wisdom of doing so is less certain. 

When making a charge it must be by the shortest route, but must contact with front edge or corner.  To avoid making contact with multiple Dark Elf units, the High Elf players opt therefore to “kink” their knight line.  They do this to try not to have any Knight unit facing two or more Dark Elf Warriors, in the event that their Motivation rolls remain as bad as they've been in the battle so far.  

You may think of this as the knights breaking their formed lines into wedge formations to focus their strength on a part of the Dark Elf line.  Of course this has consequences for the possible fall back moves that the knights may need to make, as their backfield becomes confused.  Will this plan work? 

Also, on the west flank of the Knight line, the Dark Elf archers on the hill are within 1 base width and so the knight must make a restricted move or charge the archers.  This prevents them getting into the Dark Elf Warlock, and they choose not to charge up the hill into the archers. 

The melee itself is brutal for both sides and the Dark Elf line falls back under the pressure, taking a spread of hits and wounds across its line.  The Knights also take a mass of hits, and all but one has to fall back.  Now the “kinked” line attack becomes an issue with several fall backs being blocked, increasing the hits done!  Luckily the High Elf Commander has enough Command Points stored to keep any of the Knights from routing, but they certainly take a beating.  

Only a single Knight doesn’t have to fall back, and chooses to pursue into the Dark Elf line, this time conforming to pin all three Warriors and prevent them charging next turn.

Both armies are now in the position of having most of their units suffering Morale loss and being close to rout.
  The High Elves are in disarray and are surrounded on three sides by the Dark Elf forces.

Turn 4

The Dark Elves retain the initiative, and what will turn out to be the decisive event of the game, the Exceptional Warlock generates 8 Magic Points!  They immediately invoke their master spell “Spirit of the Black Dragon”; the Warlock and Chieftain take flight over the battlefield, and all the Dark Elves become “powerful” and cause fear. 

The Dark Elves throw everything into melee and as the combats resolve, the terrified and disorganised High Elf Knights rout in large numbers.


The End

Although the High Elves still hadn’t broken, it was 10:30 so we called the battle there as looking like a win for the Dark Elves.  With their losses, the High Elves would struggle from this point on.

The Dark Elf battleplan worked well, with their melee centre holding back to allow the archery flanks to do some damage before the inevitable clash. 

The High Elf plan to get the Knights in and let these high quality units do their work never really came off.  Failed group moves, and poor Motivation rolls delayed things, and when they went in, the disrupted lines made the job of fighting harder. 

Things were definitely going in favour of the Dark Elves, and then their fortuitous casting of their master spell invoked the power of their black dragons and really hastened the end.  The terrified High Elf knights couldn’t recover and were routed in detail. 

Overall it was a fun battle between two closely matched armies. 

Friday, 29 January 2021

Warband Fantasy Online!


With pandemic lockdown in the UK continuing into the foreseeable future, through 2020 I moved my gaming online; mostly roleplaying but also for the last few months with various wargames.  After trying Tabletop Simulator through Steam, me and my players have settled on the Roll20 platform for our games.

This week I finally managed to get Warband Fantasy into the realms of the electronic.  Tonight we ran a multiplayer game with the Dark Elves facing off against a warband of Samurai Apes!

So, here we go.

Battle of the Ice Fields

The Samurai Apes

On the northern fringes of the element-shattered lands resits the fiefdom of the ancient Ninkoku Clan, led by the Daimyo Songoku.  Songoku is the 14th son of the Ninkoku dynasty and is ably advised by his kraken mage Tako Uizad.

For four months Songoku's northern ice-hamlets have been raided, harried, and deprived by a foul Dark Elf warhost.  Songoku has pressed them sorely to drive them out.  Finally he has brought their army to battle and the matter will now be decided. 

No quarter will be asked or given; the Dark Elves die or the Ninkoku Clan's reign will fall...

Samurai Apes (Ninkoku Clan)

  • 496pts
  • 10 Units
  • 1x Daimyo [Average] (Songoku)
  • 1x Kraken [Good] (Tako Uizad)
  • 2x Samurai archers [Powerful]
  • 4x Samurai warriors [Powerful]
  • 2x Samurai tiger riders 

The Dark Elves

For over a year now Chief Khedir has held together a ragtag and fractious alliance of Dark Elf kinfolk, warbands, and merciless mercenaries.  With this strength he expanded his power in the subterranean nether-caves. 

Reaching the limits of thier underground territory, four months ago he led his War Host to the surface in search of glory, plunder, and slaves.  Khedir, and his warlock Ingole Nar, found themselves in and icy wasteland.  Making their way south they found poorly defended settlements, populated with ape-beast fishermen, and snow-corn farmers.

The raiding was bountiful! 

But now an ape-land has come from the south and the Dark Elves can avoid battle no longer.  Khedir must win; if he does, his position will be secure and the pillaging will be legendary.  If not, then only death at the hands of the enemy, or his own followers awaits... 

Dark Elves (War Host of Chief Khedir)

  • 496pts
  • 11 Units
  • 1x Chieftain [Average] (Khedir, of the Fara’Efir Clan)
  • 1x Warlock [Good] (Ingole Nar)
  • 2x Archers
  • 4x Warriors [Fierce]
  • 1x Assassins
  • 1x Cave Spiders
  • 1x Witch Cultists

The Battle

This is a simple fight to the death.


Both armies deploy as specified in the core rules.


  • The ice terrain is open terrain.
  • The areas of rocks/boulders are limiting terrain: Rough Ground.
  • The hills are limiting terrain: Hills.
  • The lake is impassable terrain: Lake.


The standard victory conditions apply.  An army breaks when it reaches 50% casualties on points.

The Dark Elves break at 248pts lost.

The Samurai Apes break at 248pts lost.

Initial setup

As most of the players were new to Warband, I thought it unlikely we would finish the game, so to save time I preset the battlefield; in this case an icy realm of hills and broken ice chunks.

So this initial (virtual) table looked like this.


The Dark Elves in the camp awaiting deployment.

And across from them, the Samurai Apes


The armies deployed onto the ice plain between the impassable frost water and the frozen rocky hill.  Both battle lines formed a mix of archers and infantry warriors.

Turn 1

Gaining the initiative, the dark elf chieftain began a cautious move forwards with the commander taking direct control and enacting an army-wide “group move”.  They pushed forwards a base depth, willing to wait for the Apes to make a move.

The Daimyo of the Ape army tried to match his elven foe, but failed his motivation test for an army-wide group move.  The Samurai Apes stood where they were and didn’t move.

Turn 2

The dark elf warlock weaves his magic around the nearby archers, imbuing them with “raider’s savagery” to make their archery more effective at a longer range.  The elves expect that they will be in range to open the attack this turn.

The Samurai Apes respond with magic of their own, giving their troops on the ice-hill the “hill walkers” special ability with the “elemental infusion” spell.

Nothing like the weave of a Warlock to make arrows fly true...

Magic will get those Ape warrios off the hill...

The Dark Elf battle line then advances, contracting to avoid the hill on its flank.  It moves into archery range, prepared for its opening volleys.

The Samurai Apes respond with the risky tactic of sending their powerful mounted tiger riders out on a dual flanking envelopment.

The Dark Elf archers open hostilities with a hail of arrows on the two ends of the Ape lines.  They inflict minimal casualties, and the Ape warriors shrug off the damage as black arrows skitter across the ice. 

Turn 3

Consistently winning the initiative, the Dark Elves push on into a position between the ice-lake and hill.  The Samurai Apes hold their main main line back to give their tiger riders the chance to get into the rear of the elf warband.

Isolated from their friends, the tiger riders motivation drops and the Daimyo is too car off to aid them with his Command Points.  None-the-less some good dice rolling means they make good progress on their flank march.

As this is happening, the two archery lines close in and the Dark Elves once again score some hits on the ends of the Ape line.  However, inspired by their Daimyo the Ape archers return with a vicious and effective barrage of arrows.  The Ape players made good use of their Command Points to pack out their archery attacks but to no avail.  The elves stood largely unharmed and set about taunting their simian foes!

Turn 4

The Samurai Apes finally wrest the initiative from the elves, but their motivation to do anything with it falters, and most of their troops stand still.  Failing to press their advantage, the tiger riders mill about beyond the ice lake, clearly intimidated by the rear of the elven assassins unit… 

The elves oblige too, and aside from some ineffective archery, the two lines have clearly stopped to rest, despite the encouragements of their commanders.  The ebb of flow of magical energy is clearly weak too and few spells are cast.

Turn 5

Finally the tiger riders get it together and charge into the rear of the Dark Elf Assassins.  The elven killers attempt to evade the charge, but fail their motivation to get out of the way, despite their commander shouting at them to do so!

Nobody thinks this will be pretty…

The Dark Elves echelon their line out to try to press their overlap into the Ape formation, hoping the Assassins will be able to drive off the Tiger Riders to their rear.  The Apes move out to meet them.  Over on the other flank, the line breaks up as the elves try to use magic and archery to drive off the Tiger Riders and open the other end of the Ape front line.

And the first melee of the game is brutal for both sides.  Hit in the rear, the Assassins are still a formidable opponent, armed with petty magic, poisoned blades and vicious skill.  Both sides inflict serious harm (and “powerful” hits) on each other.  But while the Tiger Riders hold their nerve, the Assassins’ Morale collapses and as they rout and flee, the Tiger Riders cut them down.  First blood to the Samurai Apes. 


Turn 6

The Ape Daimyo’s command impetus fails him (rolling only one Command Point).  Seeing him falter, the Dark Elf Warlock casts “Arcane Winds” and drains what’s left of the Daimyo’s command potential (removing the 1 Command Point!)

The Dark Elf line then charges in, led by the fearsome swarm of giant spiders!

Hovering above his battleline, the Samurai Kraken spellcaster bolstered the entire Ape line with “irrepressible belligerence”.  With such powerful magic imbued in them, the Apes would hopefully withstand the terrible assault. 

All across the line, magic, archery, and swirling melee raged.  The Dark Elves got the worst of it, losing a unit of Warriors…


…and at that our time for the evening ran out.  The Dark Elf players conceded (as they had lost two units to the Samurai Apes zero) and we wrapped up.


Overall a fun game of Warband Fantasy, and the build in Roll20 worked very well.


I’m looking forwards to next week’s battle!