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Herding28 is a pacifist, sheep-herding alternative to Warhammer

This free, indie wargame… or, peacegame… is all about herding sheep - as part of the Inq28 scene, fans still find ways to make it spooky

Herding28 is a pacifist alternative to Warhammer - image by Kai Be of a model diorama, a red dog herding a flock of sheep

If you love the idea of pushing little Warhammer minis around on a table full of scenery but would prefer a game that’s quicker, less violent, or just themed around sheep, then good news – Herding28 is the game you’re looking for! This free indie wargame tasks players with herding a mob of sheep (or other animals) into a pen, while the idiot beasts bumble off in all directions.

Herding28 is a solo game created by hobbyist Mangling Minis. Players manoeuvre a herding dog around a herd of beasts, which will careen around the battlefield at random if left unattended. Moving your dog close to the herd will push the herd in the opposite direction; getting really close is the only way to reliably shift the herd, but risks spooking an animal into galloping off on its own.

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You’re trying move the herd into a pen, while keeping as few animals as possible from running off the board. 18 scenarios add different terrain setups and twists to the formula that make the game trickier – how confident are you in herding your sheep along a jutting cliff edge? The latest version of the rules even has a campaign system.

The free PDF rulebook comes with cut-out tokens so you don’t even need any miniatures to get started. If you have a family board games night, or your kids play board games with their chums, this looks like a miniature wargame you could easily teach the young’uns to play – or you could nab their toy animals to make your herd.

The fan community for Herding28 on the NonCombatTabletop Discord server has taken to making wildly gothic miniatures for it, lead by creator Mangling Minis. It’s part of the Inq28 scene, a fan community that makes miniatures and custom games inspired by baroque art and gothic lore, usually focused on exploring the fringes of Warhammer 40k factions or societies of Warhammer: The Old World, so it’s no wonder that they’ve taken to herding abhuman monsters.

At the moment there aren’t any Warhammer: Age of Sigmar armies with sheep models – though TTCombat makes a range of goat-riding halflings, and Warlord Games has a kit of plastic farmyard animals. But Gloomspite Gitz squigs would make an excellent herd of dumb beasts, with their Squig Herders taking the role of the herding dog; or you could go grimdark and have a Soulblight Gravelords Dire Wolf herd up a rabble of zombies.

With thanks to Kai Be for the photos of a game in progress and the lets-play video from his YouTube channel, and Mangling Minis for the photos of his hideous monsters.