Earlier this year, Games Workshop released a cut down version of Warhammer 40,000, called Battle for Vedros. This was aimed at the younger end of the market, a way to entice younger players into the hobby. They devised a two-pronged approach to lure the unwary. Simplified rules and cut price models, in the form of the Battle for Vedros base set, and for new modellers there’s a budget paint set too.
Interested to know whether it’s any good, I’ve been battle-testing Vedros, with my two older boys (7 & 10). These days, Games Workshop has tablets and consoles to vie for its audience’s attention. How would this game fare against my Minecraft-obsessed, Kindle wielding, gretchins?
Any game that leads you to coming downstairs in the morning and finding your children playing it can count itself a resounding success. I’ve even found my oldest playing against himself, when his brother won’t join in. This was a particularly great moment, as it reminded me of me when I was his age. Admittedly, my boys are predisposed to tabletop games, as it’s something that I get enthusiastic over, but they’ve thoroughly enjoyed Battle for Vedros, and their introduction to the 40,000 mythos.
Games Workshop will be pleased to note that both prongs of their attack have struck home. The boys have enjoyed playing the game, and painting the figures. The Vedros rulebook comes with a clear and simple paint guide, that small hands can follow, with admirable results. Their initial successes bred the desire to paint more, which in turn led to them asking me questions, and learning a few new techniques. There are also a number of videos available explaining how to build and paint your miniatures.
The Battle for Vedros box comes with all the figures (28 miniatures), rules, and dice that you need to play the game. It does not come with glue and paint. You’ll need some of your own polystyrene cement to put the figures together. Paints and a brush are available in the Battle for Vedros: Paint Set. More on that, in a moment.
The Battle for Vedros features classic 40K foes, Orks and Space Marines. The Space Marines are heavily outnumbered, but have far superior technology. In the opening rounds of the games we’ve played, it looked as though the Orks had no chance, but as each game progressed, their combat prowess came into its own. All of our games have finished very close.
The models included are:
- A Space Marine Captain, with banner
- A Space Marine in Terminator Armor
- A Space Marine Dreadnought (my seven year old loves this—it is invariably found battling The Flash/Darth Vader/Lego Ninjagos, in the mother of all mash-ups)
- 6 Space Marine troopers, including a Sergeant, Flamer, and Missile Launcher
- An Ork Warboss
- A DeffKopta
- 5 Ork Nobz
- 12 Ork Boyz
The Battle for Vedros game is a simplified version of the full Warhammer 40,000 rules.
- Forces start at least twelve inches apart.
- The Space Marines always go first.
- All units can move. (Everything moves 6″)
- All units can shoot, in turn. (Ranges are given on the data sheet)
- They can then charge into hand to hand combat.
- Units in hand to hand combat fight.
Shooting and combat are greatly simplified. Space Marines all hit, when shooting, on a 3+, Orks on a 5+. All hits wound on a 4+. Saves are possible, given by the value on the troop data sheet. Better weapons/shooters, roll more dice. So for example, the Space Marine missile launcher rolls 3 dice, and needs 3+ to score a hit, and the Ork Nobs need 5+, and only get one die.
The Warhammer universe has ever been driven by its data sheets. I’m sure it was the “to hit” and “to wound” tables of the original that made me fall in love with the game. The data sheet for Battle for Vedros is nice and simple, with all the information you need being on a single page on the back of the rulebook.
In combat, Space Marines always go first. Both Orks and Space Marines hit on 4+. Again, variation in the quality of combatant is controlled through the number of dice thrown. Better equipped, or more skilled troops, throw more dice. Each troop gets an armor save. This is given on the data sheet.
Certain special troops have specific skills they can bring to bear on other troops. For example, only the Ork “DeffKopta” or the Warboss’s Power-Klaw can wound the Space Marine Dreadnought.
Unlike the full game, Battle for Vedros is easy to teach, easy to understand, and quick to play. It’s perfect for the younger gamers it’s designed for. My oldest, in particular, has been inspired by the game, and has now started collecting an Ork army.
The corresponding paint set isn’t quite such a resounding success. Whether you want this really depends on your current position as regards painting materials. The set has everything you need to paint the Orks and Marines from the Vedros starter set, coming with 13 pots of paint, but they’re smaller versions than the standard Citadel paint pots. If you already have paints, and don’t mind your children using them, you definitely don’t need this set.
Whilst the paint set does come on with a paint-on primer, there are a lot of miniatures in the Vedros base set. You’re going to want to consider getting a spray-on primer, lest your children get thoroughly sick of painting before they have even started. I did make my boys prime some with a brush. The primer is a good quality paint, and it helped them get used to applying paint to the miniatures, in a fairly controlled manner.
If you think this might be a longer term hobby, then you might be better going with a base paint set, a pot of Nuln Oil, and a couple of brushes. Note: Nuln Oil covers a multitude of sins and is well worth picking up. A small pot of Nuln Oil does come in the Vedros paint set.
The Citadel paint pots aren’t always easy to close, especially for children. This, combined with the smaller volumes of the pots, means that at least three of our original paint set paints have dried out. So much as to be useless. GeekDad Anthony Karcz recommends the Army Painter paints, and the droppers probably are better suited to small hands too—less chance of spillages. Further, the dip method for shading that Army Painter offers, would be great for younger painters keen for immediate results.
Overall, Battle for Vedros is a smart move on Games Workshop’s part. It offers parents a cheaper alternative to the usual starter sets. It allows GW to reuse some of its older intellectual property, now obsolete as far as serious collectors are concerned, whilst giving easier access to the modelling side of the hobby, than the newer, extremely detailed, multi-part kits. Marry this to a set of rules that allows a quick pick up, and comparatively quick game completion, then you have an excellent introduction to the world of Games Workshop. Parents, please surrender your wallets at the door!
Disclosure: I received a copy of Battle for Vedros and the Build + Paint set in order to write this review. Battle for Vedros is currently only available in the US and Canada. It can be purchased through Amazon, or anywhere that sells games.