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Showing 1-10 of 150 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 188 reviews
on May 1, 2011
The bottom line is, D&D is a lot of fun. But it's confusing at first. You have to do some homework, familiarizing yourself with some complicated rules. But soon it all starts to flow and you get the idea. Don't listen to all the other whiners about how the 4th edition rules ruined everything about the game, etc. Rules just provide a rough framework. The role playing/imagination element is up to the people playing the game. This isn't chess. You CAN just make it up as you go. The starter set gets you going and has what you need to make several cool characters and take them through a pre made adventure with battles and challenges up to level two.

However, the D&D product line is very frustrating and confusing for the beginner, like me. It's full of redundant products, so I couldn't figure out what I really needed to buy beyond the Starter Set. I've wasted a lot of money. So here is what I wish someone had told me.

You DON'T need to buy the "Core Rulebooks" ($66). They can be easily substituted with other things. For instance, if you buy the Starter Set, you'll make characters using powers and abilities that don't even come from the Player's Handbook (PHB), but come from "Heroes of the Fallen Lands", which is a "supplement," but fills the same role as the PHB. If you buy Heroes of the Fallen Lands instead of the PHB, you'll have info about making characters that's more compatible with your Starter Set.

What about the Dungeon Master's Guide(DMG)? Buy the Dungeon Master's Kit instead. It comes with an equivalent book, plus a bunch of tokens for characters and monsters, maps and a cool pre written adventure to take characters from level 2 to level 4. Oh, and a dungeon master's screen, too.

And the Monster Manual? The "Monster Vault" has an equivalent book (a few less monsters, but still plenty to work with) plus more monster tokens, maps and another adventure ready made to send 4th level adventurers up to level 5.

To summarize, if you get the "Core Rulebooks" you'll spend $66 and have three cool books, but no stuff with which to actually play the game (maps, dice, something to represent characters, monsters, etc. and you'll have to create your adventures from scratch, which can be fun but difficult. OR, you can spend $73 for the Starter Set, Monster Vault, DM Kit, and Heroes of the Fallen Lands and have the equivalent of the core books, PLUS all the other cool stuff to play with and get characters up to level 5 and beyond. By then, you'll have all the experience you need to create your own adventures a lot more easily. You won't need to buy minis, graph paper or battle mats or anything, except maybe a few more sets of dice for each player.

You'll probably end up buying the core books sometime anyway, just because they're cool. But do it only because you want to, not because you think you need them to start and enjoy a long career playing D&D.
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on April 4, 2013
We bought this boxed set of the Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition starter set for a specific reason: To introduce our children (and reintroduce ourselves) to D&D.

My husband and I haven't played any tabletop RPGs since we stopped playing D&D 2e when we were teenagers. We recently decided we wanted to get back into playing the games, and also to introduce our children to gaming as well. After a bit of research, we bought all 3 core rulebooks from 3.0e because that was what seemed to fit best with how we wanted to play. We also bought a few rulebooks from other rpg systems to play around with.

But what we really wanted was a simple way to introduce the concept to our children without having to go into great depth and losing them with too much info all at once. This set is perfect for that.

It isn't the same rules that you'll end up using if you get the core rulebooks and make full characters from scratch. It is a very simplified version of the rules that will show you how stats work, and ease you into learning about roleplaying.

We have only played through the first 'solo adventure' so far. It's basically a Choose Your Own Adventure that dumbs everything down, assuming that you have zero idea of what you're doing. It doesn't allow for rolling for stats, it gives you a basic set of numbers with modifiers for certain races and classes. I don't know if this is exclusive to this set, or if this is how D&D 4e works, but I certainly hope it's just this set.

The adventure is actually pretty confusing, so I wouldn't just hand it to someone and tell them to have at it. Even when you 'choose option a and go to section 25' as instructed, you will inevitably skip over parts (like how many HP your character gets)that are integral to character creation. You'll be confused until you figure out that because you didn't take damage in your first combat encounter, you accidentally skipped the part where it explained how many Hit Points you are allocated.

I don't see this as being a complete boxed set that will get you started in D&D. I see this as more of a starter set that will introduce complete newbies to the concept of pen and paper gaming. If that's what you're looking for and you can get this for a good price, I say go for it. It is inexpensive and it will ease you into gaming in a way that can make it easier for some people to understand.

This item does have a few glaring flaws, such as the solo adventure being confusing to follow. The writers seem to be aware of them without having fixed them, they tell you at the end of the adventure to 'go back and fill in what you missed'. For that, it loses points.

It does have some neat items that allow you to get a feel for the game, such as a dungeon map and little cardboard tokens to use as characters and monsters. They aren't high quality, but they will introduce you to the concepts.

If you prefer something that doesn't cater to small children, I would go ahead and buy a used set of the core rulebooks from an earlier edition such as 3.0. You can buy a full set of 3 for under $20 on Amazon, so it isn't a huge investment to start. A lot of people still play with these rules, so you are bound to find some people to play with.

If you are aware of exactly what this item is and what it can do, it can be a good buy for you. But don't think that it's something it isn't, and it isn't a full introduction to Dungeons and Dragons.
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on September 6, 2013
I decided to buy this so my sons and I could try D&D. I researched and read many reviews of this product before I decided to go ahead and buy it and I am glad that I did. As described, it is a starter set and does very well as such. It comes with everything you need to learn the basics and start playing. My only complaint is that I wish there was an example of completed character sheets, just as the instructions guided me, so I could make sure I understood everything correctly.
The complaints that the completed and leveled up characters you create in the kit aren't usable in the "full" version of D&D 4e is not a concern for me because: 1. There seems to be a way to convert your starter characters (see the official D&D website.) 2. I can make another character for 4e. The positive aspect of that is I will have more experience the second time.
As for the additional books necessary for future adventures, I went to my library. Luckily I live in a larger city so I was able to get everything I needed pulled from other libraries to my local library branch for easy pick up. This way I can look through these books and buy only what I need when the time comes. Plus I borrowed D&D For Dummies to help get started.
Summary: Great starter set but you will probably need to do some additional research. Younger kids will most likely need some help getting started but once they understand how to play they will do fine. If you decide to continue playing D&D, you will grow out of this set eventually.
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on July 3, 2012
The D&D red box starter kit is a decent guide for any new player just starting out on D&D. It gives a basic introduction to some Races, Classes, and game play. I had been away from D&D for over 20 years, and felt like so much has changed since I played 2nd Ed. and felt I needed to start over from scratch. The Starter kit contained a somewhat simple walkthrough in creating your character with their "choose your own adventure" type of Player handbook. It could have been designed a little bit better for a more consistent Character creation process. I do think that they tried to oversimplify the process a little too much as you don't get an understanding of the racial benefits and class benefits. Additionally, the Char sheet used is not the best and actually doesn't have a slot for couple of things listed in the handbook. (Easily fixed by searching online for a different char sheet)

However, I have a 14 and a 15 year old who were able to use the handbook and roll their new characters (with some guidance) as well as my wife, who ALL had never played D&D or a tabletop RPG before. It was a good jumping off point for us to create and play some new characters with the adventures included. It took a number of starts and stops to grasp the aspects of combat and everything involved in a turn and getting through the encounter. It left me and my wife wanting to know and understand more of the rules than was explained with the info provided. The online community, in various forms, is a good source to figuring out questions.

We did had enough fun for everyone to be interested in making another go at it and continuing on in the adventure. And, with anything, the more you play, the better you'll become and the rules will become more second nature.

The included DM guide explains more in terms of combat and the rules, that I think all players need to know, and is probably good for the DM to review some of the procedures before you set out on your adventure rather than muddle through it all during the encounter.

I think current/recent experienced players will not find this useful at all, as there are far more options available with one of the other published Player Handbooks from the Essentials line or from the other 4e publications. But like I mentioned before, it was a good jumping off point to help you determine if D&D is right for you and something you'll continue on and invest more of your time and money on.

Overall, a good experience and worth the price I paid--which is more than worth the amount of family time spent and the future fun with them and other friends.
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on July 26, 2012
I ordered this on a lark. I "played" D&D back in the early to mid-1980s. I put "played" in quotes because there was a lot more reading of rule books than actual playing because the rules were complex

I tried to get back into D&D when 3.0 came out, but found it too complex for the time I could commit.

So, I got this on a lark. My kid was intrigued by the pictures on the box and wanted to play. I kinda cringed that D&D's complexity was about to alienate yet another kid, but amazingly, we both had a lot of fun.

The adventure that comes with this starter set is very cleverly designed for a new player. It reads kinda like a "choose your own adventure", so a player can work their way thought the story without having someone to play Dungeon Master (which is always a huge impediment for new players). Sure, the choices are a little limited, but it is a wonderful way to learn game mechanics.

And...regarding game mechanics, I love the way this adventure is designed to be played with little more than a character name and race. Rather than the old D&D system where you had to create your character first, this takes you through a series of choices and encounters that flesh out your character. For example, in the first encounter, you have to choose whether to fight the goblins, cast a spell on them or help a wounded person. Depending on your choice, it determines whether you are playing as a fighter, wizard or cleric. Then it helps you fill in your various attribute scores AS YOU NEED THEM, so you kinda learn the game mechanics along the way.

Very clever. As I said, I had fun and so did my kid. Now....down the road if you want to keep going, you're going to need some other rule books to expand your adventures, but this is a GREAT starter set. I imagine it's even better for truly new players who don't have 30 years of legacy D&D knowledge rattling around in their brain.
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on October 5, 2014
Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy RPG by Wizards Of The Coast. This game is a total blast. It's super fun and very entertaining.

The game is played using a pen and paper, a dungeon and field map, dice, character and monster pieces, magic cards, item cards, and your imagination. In the game, the Players create a character and choose their class, sex, weapons, and stats. The Dungeon Master creates the story, plays the role of the monsters, and decides what happens throughout the course of the story.

When I played this game, I not only loved it, but I was actually charmed by it. Because it was done with such a love of fantasy, roleplaying, and storytelling. It's best to play this game with people you are very close with. This is a great game for both RPG fans, and newcomers alike.
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on September 16, 2013
The red box was everything I was hoping for in quality and content. I have been an avid 2nd edition player for 20+ years but when my son and his friends showed interest in playing I figured I should get them started on something more update to date....We started the play through and I found myself disliking 4th edition more and more and by the end I had subbed all the rules from 2nd edition and just used the story from the box set.

If you are a player just getting into Dungeons & Dragons Role playing I think you will really like this product. If you are a 3rd edition player it will be pretty easy for you to get the idea of the rule changes from 3rd to 4th.

Again, I think it is a good product and if you have never played, it is a great place to start. I myself have decided to stick with 2nd, and even have now purchased the reprint of the 2nd edition handbooks and adventures and the kids are having a great time and dont know any better from 2nd to 4th. It all about having fun.

Happy Gamming!
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on August 1, 2012
Hi,

I used to play D&D back in the 80s. I have very fond memories of many hours/days playing this game with friends.

I purchased this as a way to get my son (probably a bit young still - only 8) into the idea of playing RPG games.

I thought that the DM manual was missing lots of details about character creation and weapons/armour etc.

This is covered by a learn as you go approach. There are few problems with this:

1 - it takes away a lot of the fun of creating characters as many of the aptitudes are fixed and not variable
2 - doesn't allow for characters improving their skill sets
3 - It is very unclear to a new DM as to what the rules are regarding character creation
4 - limits weapons and fixes armour to role choices which detracts from the ability of the DM to sprinkle goodies throughout the scenario
5 - fixes attribute values to choices of race (ridiculous - how can all humans have IQ of 18??)
6 -and the list goes on

It is all a little bit bizarre.

I think that I will introduce some of the rules from the following pathfinder link to help with character creation
[...]

And then I will probably introduce some aspects from

[...]

in order to help with some of the deficits.

So it is with a disappointed sigh that I give this one a 3.

At least it has some of the maps/counters that give bit of a positive.

Although pathfinder is more expensive I reckon it is a better alternative.

Hope this helped

Cheers
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on December 26, 2013
I bought this to introduce my sons to D&D. I know the age range is a little older than my 10yr olds, but i don't find any of the material here out of line at all. The kit comes with a small book that introduces the players to a few simple classes and races, and another book to introduce the DM to DM'ing. Also included are several cardboard tokens to represent the avatars and bad guys, ability cards to help keep track of each person's abilities, one set of dice, and a two-sided map to play the campaign described in the books. You will quickly find you need way more dice, as having only one set slows the game down a bit. My sons love playing, and have even DM'ed a few games with their cousins.
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on April 23, 2013
It's enough to get going with D&D however it doesn't do a great job explaining the whys on everything. If you want to know in depth how to create a character or DM a game you'll need to pick some of the books. Keep the map and character sheets around, run the campaign with your friends and then move one to some other pre-made campaigns. Very nice box with a classic look, comes with enough to get you going, I'd say well worth what I paid.
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