Tag Archives: d&d

The Dungeons and Dragons Red (un)Box(ed)

“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. Continue reading

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Five Trade Show Finds I Can’t Wait to Read

Just about a week ago, I made my way down to Providence for the yearly NEIBA fall conference. My basic impressions from the show are as follows.

It was neat! I talked about it here!

One of the best parts of book conferences like this (or BEA in the Spring) is getting a down-and-dirty look at books that have just come out, or will be coming out in the near future. As a bookseller, it’s fantastic to get a handle on what books will be in the store, make some sense of what you need to order, and read books so you can handsell them from day one. As a blogger, it’s nice to talk with sales reps and easily get your hands on review copies. As a book nerd, it’s just freakin’ COOL to get insider access to the book world and be surrounded by books.

I managed to show a bit of restraint this year and not ask for copies of every book I saw this year, but I still came out of the show with four or five dozen books. I’m going to save your eyes (and my fingers) the strain of showing why I’m psyched to read each one of them, but I did want to highlight five of the titles that I’m the most excited about. Be sure to listen to episode five of the Bookrageous podcast for more suggestions, and check out Jenn and Rebecca‘s lists of their favorite books from the fall trade shows.

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My Best Friend is a Wookie by Tony Pacitti

I’ve read a handful of books about growing up as a geek – The Elfish Gene and Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks, most recently – but all of them focus on geekery in the 70s and 80s. Those authors were lucky enough to see the Star Wars flics in the theaters, and were well into adulthood by the time the *shudder* prequels came out. I’m super excited to read Pacitti’s book because he had the same experience with Star Wars as I did. Born a few years after Jedi, Tony grew up as a fan of the original movies and was young enough to be excited by the prequels. I can’t wait to dig into a tale of Star Wars fandom that mirrors my own.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away . . . a geek was born. So begins Pacitti’s own dorkily moving Jedi journey, which reveals how “Star Wars” has served as a source of comfort, guidance, and wisdom in his life.

Continue reading