D&D STARTER SET FIFTH EDITION / DESIGNER: MIKE MEARLS / PUBLISHER: WIZARDS OF THE COAST / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
The Fifth Edition of Dungeons and Dragons has a lot to prove. For the first time in gaming history, D&D is not the best-selling RPG, and this is (in part) due to various design choices that hampered the popularity of the Fourth Edition.
The Fifth Edition D&D Starter Set proves that Wizards of the Coast have learned from the mistakes of the past and are determined to dominate the hobby yet again. Old school fans may be pleased to learn that this introductory game does not come in a vintage style red box, a very good sign as it means that the designers are relying on the contents within the box to sell the game, rather than people’s nostalgia.
Inside the box, you get 32-page rulebook, an adventure book that is twice as thick, all the dice you need to play the game and some pre-generated characters. The rulebook covers the basics of roleplaying games and how you play them skilfully and clearly; anyone at all interested (but inexperienced) in the table top gaming world will be able to work it out quite quickly. The rest of the book covers the basic rules, combat and magic elements of the game. It’s enough to get started and certainly more than enough to get hooked.
Next up is the adventure, which is worth the cost of the entire thing. Though designed to work with the pre-generated characters, it seems flexible enough to workout them. The Starter Set doesn’t include character creation rules (you have to wait for the Player’s Handbook for that), but the provided adventurers seem good enough for beginners and experienced types alike. The adventure is a nice mix of classic styling and modern design. It has plenty of villagers to meet, monsters to fight, wild animals to deal with and horrors to run away from. However, this is set up in a pretty freeform way, allowing the players to get into the game at their own pace. They are weeks of fun to be had with this adventure and certainly enough to let new players discover the joy of D&D.
If the D&D range carries on the same path, it’s going to do very well indeed.