I had this 5th Edition Starter Set sitting on my desk for about a week before I opened it so I could write this blog post. I think I deserve a cookie.
My birthday present to myself this year was the D&D 5th Editon Starter Set. I don’t have time for a review just yet, and there are already many reviews online that are leaning pretty positive, so I thought that I would just post some unboxing photos.
I have a nostalgic soft spot for the recent boxed starter sets from Wizards of the Coast because I vividly remember receiving the 1983 Red Box set under the Christmas tree that year when I was 12 years old. It was a long, cold, snowed-in two weeks off from school and I spent every second of it reading and re-reading the rules, rolling characters and NPCs and creating dungeons and campaigns to run my friends through when the holiday break was over. Larry Elmore and Jeff Easley’s art was an especially captivating aspect of the entire package.
My copies of the 1983 Red Box manuals disintegrated long ago, but these second-hand copies I recently purchased at my local comics shop were signed by Larry Elmore!
Let’s crack open the new Starter Set and see how it looks.
Wrapped in cellophane, the new Starter Set comes in a sturdy box with just a little bit of heft to it. Digital paintings and illustrations adorn the front, sides, and back.
The back of the box lets newbies and veterans alike know what is inside and what they are in for: Table top adventure and dungeoneering aplenty.
When you open the box, the first thing you notice is the complimentary pack of dragon dice.
The dice are blue-marbled and of very good quality. If purchased separately, they would set you back at least $6 in store, which is about 1/3 – 1/2 of what the entire Starter Set costs depending where you purchase it. I’m impressed with these dice. The dice in the 4th Edition Starter Set were white on black, and frankly, pretty cheap. These new dice blend right in with the nicer sets in my desktop chest of dice… though my set from the Q Workshop booth at GenCon 2013 are still my favorite.
Under the dice are stacked the Starter Set Rulebook and the introductory module The Lost Mine of Phandelver. Saddle-stitched with no covers, these books are not meant to be kept on your bookshelf and re-used throughout your D&D career. They’re clearly meant to introduce you to the game and played through once or twice before you move on to the 5th Edition Player’s Handbook, which is due out in less than a month.
That being said, the paper stock and printing are way nicer than they had to be.
The Rulebook has only 32 pages, but it looks like it has a lot to read and digest… which is a good thing, in my opinion. One of the many criticisms of 4th Edition D&D was that the rulebooks were not enriched enough to be considered just good reading material. They were written with just enough info to get a game started and get the dice rolling. Lots of players like to spend time reading backstories, mythological details, etc. Lots of that to be had here, I’d say.
The Lost Mine of Phandelver is twice the length of the Rulebook and again, is rich in text and looks like if not a good adventure, it will at least be a good read. The graphic design is cleaned up from 4th Edition and all of the digital painting looks great. Looking forward to reading this in bed tonight.
Lastly, the box contains five pre-generated characters on character sheets of high-quality paper stock with rich detail in all written descriptions.
Considering that you can purchase this from your local shop for $20 – or from Amazon.com for $12.95 if you are a Prime Member – there is a lot of value in this box.