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Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game: Starter Set - Board Game Box Shot

Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game: Starter Set

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The best way to start playing the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game.

Designed for 1–5 players, this boxed game contains everything needed to start playing the Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game, including rules for creating heroes, advice for playing the Dungeon Master, a solo play adventure, and group-play adventure content. Learning the game has never been so easy!

Several different character races (dwarf, elf, halfling, and human) and classes (cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard) are presented, along with powers for each race and class.

Dungeons & Dragons: Starter Set contents
image © Wizards of the Coast, Hasbro

User Reviews (5)

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8 Beta 1.0 Tester
Mythic Kingdoms Backer 2020
Platinum Supporter
Advanced Reviewer
175 of 190 gamers found this helpful
“Choose your own adventure meets Dungeons and Dragons”

Having only played AD&D 2nd Edition briefly in my youth (it’s tough when no one else wants to play) I was going into this game not really knowing all the differences, changes and controversy that 4e has created. The Red Box sold me on the game tho, hook, line and sinker.

The Red Box is a great introduction tool for new gamers to bring them into the D&D world. It plays out like a choose your own adventure novel, allowing you to make choices during a solo mission that affect how your character gets created. The really nice part about it, is that each new choice brings you to a new part of your character sheet with an explanation of the stats and how they’re used. It breaks down everything into easily digestible nuggets and gives you in-game examples of how they’re applied. Really cool stuff.

The box also has a free download for a continuation of the solo adventure if you’re looking to play a little more with the character you’ve just created.

Once you’re done with these solo adventures, it allows you to run a simple campaign with your friends, providing you with all the tools you need. A basic DMG, monster tokens, a double sided battle map, dice. The set is chock-full of goodness.

Wizards also released a conversion document (free to download) to convert your characters that were made in the Red Box to full blown 4th Edition if you like what you’ve played so far and want to adventure even further. All in all this box set is well worth the price and comes with a ton of cool stuff.

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Platinum Supporter
Petroglyph Beta 1.0 Tester
164 of 204 gamers found this helpful
“Hmm... Hello Old Friend”

Dungeons and Dragons will always be the game that started it all for me. This starter set might be perfect for someone who has never played it, but having experience with D&D, this was actually quite disappointing. It’s a little over-simplified, and the encounters will only last a night or two. I wonder if it could sustain a newbie for very long?

If you want something simple, I’d suggest Castle Ravenloft or Ashardalon. Or, get the 4th Edition Rulebook and skip the starter set if you know what you are doing. This is purely for new players only.

I much prefer the breadth of Warhammer’s Core set. However, the cost is more substantial. My friend works at Wizards, and I’ve had discussions about oversimplification, but he assures me that a lot of people prefer the simplified versions more. Am I in the minority?

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Gamer - Level 3
135 of 171 gamers found this helpful

Dungeons and Dragons is an ever-evolving game. I’m going to keep this short.
I like this new edition of DND and I do not. I started with AD&D, and loved it, but was sometimes lost without the guidance of those who knew the system better.
This system is not one that loses a new player as easily.
One thing that I do not like about it is the additions to combat like attack of opportunity and bloodied. Those things make sense to some degree, but also add a lot of complexity to a game that can really confuse new players and DM’s.
Overall, I like the new powers, and character creation is relatively simple.
I have found, however, that leveling up can be confusing. There are a variety of new powers, but sometimes which powers you are allowed to choose is confusing.
I had bought the fourth edition starter box. It came with a few map tiles, a set of dice, and a few tokens. The rules really are built to be used with more grid maps and miniatures, but they are not included with the game. Those are expansions that you have to buy of course.
The miniatures are no longer in production, but can still be easily obtained.
Now, to find some more players!

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United Kingdom
Professional Reviewer
Crab Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
Book Lover
76 of 102 gamers found this helpful
“Clever, flawed, limited.”

The Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game Starter Set is the first release in the Dungeons & Dragons Essentials line, Wizards of the Coast’s re-launch of Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition. It sports the same distinctive Larry Elmore artwork and trade dress as Frank Menzter’s 1983 Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set. It is designed to bring younger players into ,and older, lapsed players—the latter who recall the 1983 set—back into the hobby.

A streamlined version of the Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition RPG, it promises to deliver “Your First Step on the Road to Adventure”, but with its trademark emphasis on combat and skirmish-like play. It provides enough material to take four or more heroes from first to second level through both solo and group play. It contains a thirty-two page Player’s Book, the sixty-four page Dungeon Master’s Book, a large double-sided map, seventy-two Power and Magic Item Cards, fifty-six double-sided hero and monster tokens, four single-sided character sheets, and a set of polyhedral dice. Both books are magazine-like and will not withstand much handling. Similarly, the Power and Magic Item Cards are flimsy and need careful handling.

Marked “READ THIS FIRST!”, the box’s starting point is the Player’s Book. After a quick introduction, it gets the reader started with a solo adventure. This has the player’s character accompanying a Dwarf merchant to Fallcrest (Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition core campaign’s starting point as described in the Dungeon Master’s Guide and H1, Keep on the Shadowfell), asking him to consider why his character is travelling to Fallcrest. Then a Goblin attack upon the caravan shifts the questions to asking how the character responds—this determines his Class. Leap into combat, he is a Fighter; heal the Merchant, he is a Cleric; and so on. Further questions define further elements of his Class.

This is an undeniably clever approach. The step-by-step learning process is gentle, teaching the reader to play the game and create characters. The choices are limited, but this speeds the process. Unfortunately the only means of creating characters in the box, so to create characters everyone has to play through the solo scenario. Without a quick guide, the process is slow and laborious for a group. Further, without a guide to the game’s powers, the process is further slowed.

The boxed set also starts at the wrong point. It gets the reader playing without addressing what roleplaying really is, how to roll and read the dice, and how to use boxed set’s contents. Also missing is an example of how the game is played as a group rather than solo activity, useful for Dungeon Master and player alike. This was an omission from the original Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game Starter Set for Fourth Edition that made it such a poor introductory product.

The longer Dungeon Master’s Guide provides more detail about the game. It took quickly throws the Dungeon Master into handling his first Encounter, breaking down a simple ambush between the adventurers and four opponents, explaining it in some detail. The rules are just fourteen pages long, well written and are easy to understand. That said, they are a lot to take in for the first time reader and it is a big step up from playing to running the game even with the first Encounter along the way.

A third of the Dungeon Master’s Guide is devoted to the adventure, ‘The Twisting Halls’. This seven Encounter dungeon makes use of one side of the double-sided map, which nicely folds so that only the particular location for each Encounter shows. The dungeon is not linear, nor is it easy. Perhaps the most interesting Encounters is with a Fledgling White Dragon. Although only a Level One creature, it is a tough opponent for a party of First Level characters. Yet the adventure addresses another means of dealing with the creature—talking to it. One of the issues that I have had with Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition is its focus away from roleplaying and its parcelling up of roleplaying into Skill Challenges. Yet in ‘The Twisting Halls’, the Skill Challenge of “Talking to the Dragon” is well explained, covering both the Dragon’s attitude and what the players might do. This is the adventure’s high point, getting the player characters to do more than just fight. Overall, the adventure is decent, providing three or four sessions at a play rate of two Encounters per session and enough to get the player characters to Second Level.

The Dungeon Master’s Guide also discusses adventure creation—Quests, dungeon building—including reusing the Twisted Halls map, and designing Encounters. Rounding it out are descriptions of seventeen useful monsters, plus subtypes, enough to create several more Encounters. Rounding out the Dungeon Master’s Guide is a description of the Nentir Vale, home to Fallcrest as described above.

The Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game Starter Set feels like a complete package. True, its content will not give as much playing time as the original red box Dungeons & Dragons Box Set, which took the players from first to third levels. Yet playing from first to second level is enough to get the flavour and feel of Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition. The design of the Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game Starter Set is well intentioned, with its step-by-step learning process, but it is not as executed as fully as it could have been. Both the step up from solo to group play and from playing to running the game could all have been better handled. Although not a problem for the lapsed player coming back to Dungeons & Dragons after time away, but they could be for the novice player.

Despite these issues with the Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game Starter Set, it is the introductory box set that Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition needs and should have got before the game’s launch. Its contents are engaging and well presented, and they serve as a solid learning tool. That it is eye catching and decently priced means that the Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game Starter Set is an added bonus.

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Novice Reviewer
Critic - Level 2
122 of 175 gamers found this helpful
“The classic gets tiring after a while”

How can anyone criticize the classic roleplaying game? Edition 4 has more of a video gamer feel, and may appeal to that crowd. As much as I love the old school feel of Dungeons and Dragons, the game really slows down during fights. This can get tiring real quick, unless you have a dungeon master who is very creative. Ironically, the game feels less fun the more bogged down it gets in fighting (which is really one of the core mechanics of the game). On the flipside, Dungeons and Dragons has always been versatile enough to handle different flavors and genres. I’m still a fan of 3rd edition, but like I said, 4th may appeal to kids used to the way leveling up is handled in video games.


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