Friday, 18 July 2014

Game Review – D&D Starter Set

Wasn’t willing to wait for Amazon to get around to deliver it, FLGS didn’t have any in stock, finally ordered from Gameslore and even that was delayed...

But it’s here now...

First impressions on this would be the comment on the front of the box.

“Everything you need to start playing the worlds greatest roleplaying game.”


The jury is still out on that one, but the box is better quality than the Age of Rebellion box, being an actual box that you can take the lid off rather than a thin cardboard thing used to pad out the products inside.  Not that there isn’t padding going on inside the box, half the box is empty space with a cunning cardboard insert to make sure everything’s at the top of the box when you open it...

The question here is why do people feel the need to do this?  If everyone had a box set that was the right size, you wouldn’t have to pad the space out and no one would be sitting there with a bigger box...

But, enough ranting on the packaging, what about the game?

Most of it hasn’t changed, the primary difference is the use of the Advantage/Disadvantage mechanism, which is to say that when this rule applies, you roll 2d20 rather than one for the test, taking the high result if you have the Advantage and the low result if you have the Disadvantage.  It’s not ground breaking, but it’s a nice twist on things.

The cost is low for a starter set, mine came to thirteen quid, and for that you get the box, the dice...

(Yes, My OCD required that I put the highest numbers on top....)

The Starter rules, and an adventure to work with...

I say Adventure, that’s a bit of a misnomer, it’s not one single scenario like the Age of Rebellion starter, it’s actually a miniature campaign, set in four parts (with side quests), that would keep a beginner group busy for at least a month, probably longer because they wouldn’t take the direct route that all the experienced adventurers will go down.  

They knew what they were aiming at with the scenario, they made sure you’ve got all the things in there that beginners might have heard about this, there’s Dungeons in it...

There’s Dragons...

They’re not skimping on the artwork or the production values.


The character sheets aren’t the huge eight page things you find in Age of Rebellion, but then they  don’t need to be, it’s not necessary to hold peoples hands all the time, in fact sometimes getting them to take a little responsibility can’t be a bad thing.  

The rules are clear and well explained without getting convoluted at any point, and to those of us that have been there before, they’re familiar instantly, to those who haven’t (I do know a few beginners), they’re clear enough to use immediately without need to constantly reference and re-reference.

Like the Age of Rebellion set, there aren’t rules within to make your own characters, but given that the rules you need to do that are available for free, an indication that they have sufficient confidence in their product to give the rules for free and you’ll like it enough to buy the extra’s for it.

Which would beg the question why buy the beginners set?

In truth, the printed adventure by itself without the characters, character sheets, or dice would be worth the price of the set, so putting out something affordable to get more people in the game is an excellent move from Wizards and it’s a good example of what the larger companies should be doing to build the interest from the top.

So the last question would be does it live up to the claim noted on the front?

Well, I’ve got the Pathfinder beginner set to review before I can reasonably make the call on that one, but it’s certainly a strong contender and a worthy addition to the D&D line.

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