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Chapter Approved: Don’t Fear the Vehicle Design Rules

3 Minute Read
Nov 29 2017

GW dipped a toe into the VDR pool. They should jump in with both feet.

Let’t take a trip back to 2001…

Meet the Original VDR Rules

Years ago GW created the original set of Vehicle Design Rules in Chapter Approved 2001.  The rules covered everything from vehicles to Tyranid monstrosities.

You could make super-heavies, flyers, new weapons and pretty much anything else you wanted.  To say the rules were unbalanced would be an understatement.  They key problem is they were TOO open. With it being a point based system, you could literally throw all your points into an unstoppable uber-vehicle.  Of course they were discarded by the community in short order.

Still, the original seed of the idea was solid – it was just an unfortunate implementation.  The VDR concept sat idle for 16 years, until it’s return this week in Chapter Approved:


Meet the New VDR

The new rules cover only the Land Raider, and if anything are the other extreme of the scale. They are TOO restrictive. Here we have a set of simple player decisions based on weapon hardpoints that affect the carrying capacity of the Land Raider. The more you load it down with guns the less dudes it carries. The key balancing factor is the results of the Land Raider VDR rules are FIXED in point cost and force Org Slot.

No matter what you built, the resulting VDR vehicle is:

  • 30 Power Level
  • Lord of War
  • Approved for Open Play

The book gives you 5 examples of named Land Raiders including the Imperial Terminus Ultra with its 3 twin Las-cannons sponsons and dual single Las-cannon sponsons.  You then get 4 more examples from the All-flames-all-the-time Blood Angels’ Angel Infernus, to the CSM’s Hades Diabolus, sporting a bonus Reaper Autocannon and extra Heavy Bolter sponsons (really that’s it).

Are these VDR creations characterful – HECK YES!

Are they going to unbalance the Game – NO

Are they going to ever be fielded outside of dedicated hobbyists – NO

Problems and Solutions

The death knell of these rules is the “OPEN PLAY ONLY” sticker places on all their datasheets.  I just can’t see anyone out side of uber-hobbyists laying out the cash to build one of these beasts – when you can only use them in Open Play Games. And that is a real shame because they are really, really neat machines.


But GW CAN address this.

What I think GW should do is use the VDR rules internally to make a book of 40-50 “named character” vehicles for all the races in the game.  8th Edition has blurred the line between vehicles and other units already. The game is stuffed to the gills with memorable characters from every faction. Why not give vehicles some love and give each faction 2-3 “named character vehicles” that have been pre-tested and balanced – with points for use in Match Play?

~I’d love it, I’d build-convert some to dress up my armies, and get playing.  Would you?



Author: Larry Vela
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