Community Spotlight: Ben AKA Tabletop Sidekick, TO of TurnipCon

On Sunday the 19th of November 2023, I had the great fortune of attending TurnipCon III – the third instalment of the world’s first Turnip28 tournament – and my second in as many years.

TurnipCon started out as a pretty humble affair – a small tournament in November 2022 based at the Bristol Gaming Collective by the name of The Grand Tournament of Börvenhaffen. The event was shared online via the Turnip28 Discord, Reddit and social media and was, by all accounts, a tremendous success. All 18 places were filled, friendships were forged and a roomful of eccentric wargamers had their bizarre and niche interests validated. Perhaps due to the excitement around this being the first ever organised Turnip28 event and almost certainly due in part to extreme laziness, participants tended towards referring to the event as TurnipCon over the somewhat wordier official title. Buzz started to build up around the event name and the second event (which I was sad to miss out on) in May 2023 escalated to 26 players. Other Turnip28 events have since begun to pop up around the UK, but by the time November rolled around again, the third TurnipCon had reached full venue capacity at 28 players and a substantial reserves list of 25+ interested parties.

Throughout the day, Ben was pulling aside (willing) players in between games for a short series of interview questions for a video he was making about the event. I thought this was a cool idea, though it occurred to me that Ben was going to get away without answering questions himself. – so I cooked up some questions to DM him after the dust had settled somewhat. I figured my blog would be as good a place as any to share his answers!

Who are you? What is your human name, Turnip28 discord handle and social media username(s)?

My name is Ben. Online I have the username Tabletopsidekick, which you’ll find on YouTube and Instagram. I’m awful at social media, but like sharing dumb stuff I do.

How did you discover and get into Turnip28?

I honestly have no memory of how I got into Turnip28. I sincerely can’t remember. I know I had my army built before Easter 2022 as that’s when I started gaming with it. At a guess it was recommended to me through my good friend Sam (who coincidentally was Chief Toff at the first TurnipCon).

What is the name of your personal regiment or regiments for Turnip28?

The Karrot Crusaders. A motley crew looking for the holiest of vegetables.

How did the first TurnipCon come into being?

The first TurnipCon happened in November 2022, but it was on Easter of 2022 that a handful of us gathered to try a silly little wargame at a club venue in Bristol (Bristol Gaming Collective). Over that summer interest grew and we thought we’d hire a couple of tables… but tickets were selling out and more people kept showing interest. Next thing we know we’ve sold out the venue of 18 and even more people on a reserves list!

The name ‘TurnipCon’ was sort of thrust upon your event by well meaning but lazy event goers, how do you feel about it? Are there any pros or cons?

TurnipCon as a name is perfect. It truly encapsulates (in my opinion) the lofty ambitions of a mediocre Toff (me). We aren’t [technically] a Convention, but we’ve claimed the name!

Pros are it gets a lot of attention. Cons are that I’ve had to turn people down [e.g. vendors and spectators] when I explain we aren’t a convention. But plans are afoot for growth so watch this space.

Before TurnipCon, did you have much experience in tournament or event planning?

Ha! None! Before TurnipCon, the only things I had ever organised were tabletop RPG evenings and board game nights for friends. I think I’ve always been the organiser for my friend group. Absolutely nothing like an actual event.

Terrain is quite integral to the rules of Turnip28. A lot of scenarios use quite specific and unique terrain pieces, e.g. a big fish or gift wrapped explosives. How do you strike the right balance between working with what the venue has against making bespoke kit for an event of this size?

Terrain is integral, you’re right. Fortunately I haven’t had to think about it too much as Turnip28 has enough generic scenarios that we an ignore bespoke stuff or minimise it. Any terrain that works for medeival, historical or light-fantasy settings work. We’re looking at improving the terrain because it’s an easy one to fix. When we get bigger then more stuff will need to be made. So far the venue (Bristol Gaming Collective) we’ve hosted the event at has had more than enough and I’m very grateful for their collection!

I noticed that you’ve made quite creative use of the terrain on hand at past events for scenarios such as Scrummford Bridge or Chanterelle’s Disaster.

It’s purely making the most of the little available. [For the scenario “Slaughter at Scrummford Bridge”] I used dense buildings to create the “pontoon corridors” as dense streets instead by placing buildings in the corners instead of open water. It wasn’t the best idea as it broke the scenario a little, however it still was “okay” in the moment and we moved on to better things from what we learnt. I am a true believer that perfect is the enemy of good and so I just want to run a good event. Onwards and upwards!

TurnipCon has already grown from a one off gathering of 18 weirdos to a bi-annual event with 28 players and a substantial reserves list. Do you have any immediate plans for expansion and in an ideal world what would you like to see it grow to?

TurnipCon will grow. Yes. Absolutely. As you said, we can [currently] host a 28 person event and the reserves list easily reaches 30. The only thing we need is a venue with tables – if we can find that, then I can sort the rest. Research is being done on venues, but if anyone reading this knows a good place then get in touch!

We could easily do a 50 person event I think and I’m giddy at the idea of managing something like that. I would love TurnipCon to actually be a Con. We might have to change the name, but a convention focusing on Indie wargaming (with lots of gaming) would be spectacular.

Which underrepresented cult would you like to see more of at future TurnipCons?

Oh, it’s split. I would love to see the Rocket Battery more as I think the panic manipulation is slept on. Close second would be the Lopers. I do love how they retreat towards the enemy. Pure chaos.

Do you have any advice you’d like to offer to anyone planning on running a Turnip28 event of their own?

Start small. Find a handful of tables in a club and put on a couple of different scenarios. TurnipCon started with only 2 tables and 5 people. I see way too many people planning events, gaming campaigns and gatherings that are way too complicated. Just make the space and people will come.

Favourite and least favourite root vegetables?

Favourite root veg: Swede
Least favourite: Potato (it needs to be carried by condiments).

What other wargames are you into?

I’m currently getting into smaller scales in a big way. Starting with “Epic 30k” and tiny marines with a free ruleset called Imperius Dominatus. I love the setting, but GW’s Legion Imperialis just seems a bit average. I.D is perfect for me and my friends and, in our opinion, fits the lore and scale a lot better. Aside from that I’m finishing in a 6mm First Crusade project using the Ravenfeast rules (again, free), painting a 15mm WW2 game using the Crossfire rules and starting a 6mm War of the Roses project at some point.

Hypothetical scenario: you’re taking a leisurely stroll through Shellwood and are accosted by a small group of malnourished dissidents. The leader challenges you to a Toff Off! – what do you reach for first?

A Toff Off? Well, I would reach for my command flag and wave it appropriately so that my Regiments Stump Gun can open fire. Hopefully the gun hits the enemy and not me!

One final question – is there any other person, organisation or event in wargaming that you’d like to signal boost?

I’ll do one of each!

Person – Fogou Models (terrain maker from Cornwall that’s supported TurnipCon since the start)1
Organisation – The Painting Phase (Youtube channel. Chris Peach attended TurnipCon and his channel is stellar)
Event – Joy of Six in Sheffield. A show celebrating 6mm scales, well worth a look even if you’ve never collected them. Wargame shows in general deserve more love.

Well, that’s all the questions that I had for Ben AKA TabletopSidekick AKA the TO of TurnipCon – the worlds first organised Turnip28 event. If you’re interested in future events, be sure to follow him on social media and check out the UK Events channel on the Turnip28 Discord. Otherwise feel free to email him at ben[at]tabletopsidekick.com2.

Thanks again to Ben for taking the time to answer my questions – and for, of course, putting on TurnipCon itself. Making the pilgrimage to Bristol is definitely one of the highlights of my wargaming calendar each year and I couldn’t recommend the event and the people in the Turnip28 scene enough.

I quite enjoyed this diversion from blogging exclusively about minis that I’ve painted, so if you or anyone else you know about are doing something cool in the miniature wargaming space and would like to be interviewed on Plastic Cracked, feel free to send me an email to complaints[at] with information about what you’re up to.

More hobby content is still on the way, mind you – I’ve got a heap of new Middle-earth minis and terrain to talk about as soon as I find the time to write about them.

Until then, thanks for reading and happy wargaming!

1 I’ll second this as I used Fogou’s excellent Grave Concerns facades to make my Barrows for the Fog on the Barrow Downs MESBG scenario.

2 Yes, I had permission to share his email. I know this is the internet, but please don’t be weird about it.

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