“Your first step on the road to ADVENTURE!”
Before the release of this new edition of the Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set, I’d never heard of D&D’s famous “Red Box.” The few times I played the tabletop RPG in high school, I was under the impression that the essential ingredients were the Dungeon Master’s Guide, the Monster Manual, and the Player’s Handbook. Apparently, there’s an easier (and less expensive) way!
As The Escapist was kind enough to inform me, the original Red Box debuted in the ’80s and introduced thousands of gamers to pen-and-paper roleplaying games. The box contained everything you needed to get down to playing Dungeons and Dragons, from multiple rulebooks to dice that were ready to roll. Fully updated (other than the box art) for the 4th edition of D&D, the new Red Box’s aim is that “‘[Y]ou buy this box, you take it home, you unwrap it, and you’re playing within two minutes.‘ You’re not reading through 50 pages of combat rules, trying to figure out how it works. There’s an immediate entry point.”
I’ll be testing this “immediate entry point” theory in next few weeks by playing the solo adventure included in the box, poring over the books and skill cards, and running a game with a mix of folks whose experience with RPGs ranges from “what’s a d20?” to “how long ’til the Temple of Elemental Evil?” The first step, however, is opening up the Red Box.
Scroll on down for some thumbnail shots of everything in the box, some first reactions to the contents, and a gallery of some bigger versions of the pictures.
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The Player’s Book and Dungeon Master’s Book
Dice (and my first 20-sided die!)
Power Cards and Character Tokens
Everything but the box
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My first reaction is that there is, like, A LOT of stuff in this box. Along with the 32- and 64-page manuals and character sheets I expected from my gaming days, there’s over 50 skill cards and dozens of tokens with rad-looking characters and creatures on both sides. And dice. And a big-ass, double-sided map.
Things don’t feel as flimsy as you might expect from a “Starter Set”, either. The character sheets are on nice sturdy cardstock, as are the sheets of skill cards. The character tokens are die-cut, and have some satisfying weight and sturdiness to them. The dice, well, are dice … but you get a nice variety that range from 4-sided to the legendary d20. Even the booklets, though staple-bound, are on glossy (and full-color illustrated) paper.
I still haven’t sat down to play the game, but the box definitely has my geek juices flowing. As someone who remembers shelling out for three books that cost more than 20 bucks each to try out the game, a box like this – and $19.99 – is definitely a good place to start.