The Little Red Box That Could!

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The newest entry point into the D&D 4E game is here!

Most long-time roleplayers have a fond remembrance of the 1983 D&D "Red Box." That starter set, sporting a famous Elmore cover of a fighter battling a red dragon, was the entry point for so many people into the realms of fantasy roleplaying. I can remember devouring the pages and then setting out to learn as much as I could about the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Well, Wizards of the Coast is looking to capture some of that magic with the Dungeons & Dragons Essentials: Fantasy Roleplaying Game Starter Set, which might help lure a whole new generation of gamers into our beloved hobby.

Designed for 1 to 5 players, the D&D Essentials Starter Set 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. The box contains a 32-page book for players, which allows you to create your first character by making choices during an adventure, and also a solo adventure to take the action further once your character is determined. There is a 64-page book for Dungeon Masters, with the rules of the game, advice on how to run the game, and adventure content. Rounding out the contents are 2 sheets of die-cut tokens for characters and monsters; cardstock character sheets and power cards; a double-sided dungeon map; and 6 polyhedral dice.

Getting into roleplaying games can be a bit daunting, but Wizards' newest attempt will hopefully swell our ranks and bring the joy of roleplaying to new players everywhere!

More Blog.

Is this a copy of the original Red Box set? If so, then I may have to pick it up.

Shadow Lodge

No, it's just a new starter set for 4th edition with the old Red Box look to it.


Dane Pitchford wrote:
No, it's just a new starter set for 4th edition with the old Red Box look to it.

Oh. Oh well.

Sovereign Court

If its 4th edition, I will save my money and encourage others to do so as well.

Dark Archive

It is great as a starter set but if you don't have a new player you are introducing to the game, I would not recomend it.


lol 4th edition

Liberty's Edge

I must admit I am a 4e lover (as my credibility goes down). I just saw what was said on TheSpoonyExperiment.com, and it made me a bit excited in this. I have tons of people I want to get into gaming, and something basic and simplified just may be the thing.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm not a big fan of 4th Edition, but I commend Wizards on embracing DnD's great past and on producing a well-crafted, affordable starter set for their game. This isn't just an entry level product for DnD, this is an entry level product for all tabletop RPGs. I hope it can introduce more new players to the hobby. Kudos, Wizards.

Dark Archive

thefishcometh wrote:
I'm not a big fan of 4th Edition, but I commend Wizards on embracing DnD's great past and on producing a well-crafted, affordable starter set for their game. This isn't just an entry level product for DnD, this is an entry level product for all tabletop RPGs.

The Dragon Age box set is also a good intro into tabletop rpgs.


Interesting. I'll have to give it a try at the Essentials Game Day this Saturday when I pick up my copy of E1: Carnival of Tears.


Does it have Bargle? If not, I'm not interested.


thefishcometh wrote:
I'm not a big fan of 4th Edition, but I commend Wizards on embracing DnD's great past and on producing a well-crafted, affordable starter set for their game. This isn't just an entry level product for DnD, this is an entry level product for all tabletop RPGs. I hope it can introduce more new players to the hobby. Kudos, Wizards.

Call me cynical but isn't this just an "emperor's new clothes" scenario for Wizards to appeal to the old school gaming crowd who remember that original box with fondness? Nostalgia is a hugely powerful selling tool, so yeah kudos to Wizards for being savvy enough to tap into that... but not seeing the embrace myself!

That being said I am a cold hearted "glass half full" dour Scot lol...

Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I don't like 4E very much, but if such a set gets us, as a rpg-community, more players, than its a great product.
And veterans and new players can now say, I started playing rpgs (D&D in general) with that red box! :)

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Here is a pretty good review: LINK

A Paladin In Citadel wrote:
Did the 4E Red Box convince me to play 4E? No. It reminded me why I lost interest in 4E to begin with. But that doesn't mean that it is not right for you. If your favorite part of D&D was engaging in combats, participating in heroic quests, and obtaining magic items, and least favorite was role-playing your character, solving puzzles, exploring abandoned ruins, and managing your material resources effectively, then 4E is worth checking out.

Dark Archive

I don't know it actually might not be a bad set up. Something that helps a brand new person learn how to make a character. Though by the review linked it sounds like it doesn't go far enough. It helps you get set up and then has nothing as a follow up. It should have then had a easy to run adventure for the GM to run after the 4 players did there characters.

I also think it should have at least covered the first 5 levels. Another book with the first 5 levels of rules. For what the product is meant to do, it doesn't sound like a bad idea, just a idea that they didn't take near far enough.


Dark_Mistress wrote:
I don't know it actually might not be a bad set up. Something that helps a brand new person learn how to make a character. Though by the review linked it sounds like it doesn't go far enough. It helps you get set up and then has nothing as a follow up. It should have then had a easy to run adventure for the GM to run after the 4 players did there characters.

It does include an easy to run adventure for 4 players, as well as a few pages of monsters and advice to build your own dungeon.


thefishcometh wrote:
I'm not a big fan of 4th Edition, but I commend Wizards on embracing DnD's great past and on producing a well-crafted, affordable starter set for their game. This isn't just an entry level product for DnD, this is an entry level product for all tabletop RPGs. I hope it can introduce more new players to the hobby. Kudos, Wizards.

+1

That's exactly the way I feel about it too. It sounds like a good starter kit and anything that encourages more people to participate in RPG the better.


So, how about a Pathfinder starter set of similar scope and price?

Silver Crusade

Grumpy Old Man wrote:

So, how about a Pathfinder starter set of similar scope and price?

I think they did something like that, the treasure box set that came out a couple of years ago.

Looking forward to the map tile box sets that Wizards is coming out but I'll pass on the new red box. Making characters in 4e is pretty simple enough.


Why didn't WoTC use the real Erol Otus box set art? If they wanted to appeal to Grognards they should have went with the Otus box set art. By the time the box set with THIS art work was out 2E was under way. I don't get it.

Grand Lodge

cibet44 wrote:

Why didn't WoTC use the real Erol Otus box set art? If they wanted to appeal to Grognards they should have went with the Otus box set art. By the time the box set with THIS art work was out 2E was under way. I don't get it.

Pfff... newcomer.

:)

Dark Archive

ghettowedge wrote:
Dark_Mistress wrote:
I don't know it actually might not be a bad set up. Something that helps a brand new person learn how to make a character. Though by the review linked it sounds like it doesn't go far enough. It helps you get set up and then has nothing as a follow up. It should have then had a easy to run adventure for the GM to run after the 4 players did there characters.
It does include an easy to run adventure for 4 players, as well as a few pages of monsters and advice to build your own dungeon.

By the review it didn't sound like it did.


From the pictures I have seen of the contents it looks like it has lots of "stuff" in the box. Whats with all the extra cards and counters? I figure a starter set would be a PHB, DMG, and an adventure. Im not sure what all the extra things are. Is this something 4E requires?

Dark Archive

Out of respect to the 4th ed fans who wish to discuss 4th positively and not other products I've made a thread about a Pathfinder Starter Kit.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Card Game, Lost Omens, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
cibet44 wrote:
From the pictures I have seen of the contents it looks like it has lots of "stuff" in the box. Whats with all the extra cards and counters? I figure a starter set would be a PHB, DMG, and an adventure. Im not sure what all the extra things are. Is this something 4E requires?

This set is designed to refine what you need for starting to run a game, rather than giving you all the stuff to run open endedly.

This is probably better than just throwing the full set of books at new players - and means that if they get hooked they can buy them seperately /cynic hat off

The counters aren't needed for 4e itself, but I can see how counters could be useful for running it, especially with people new to roleplaying. I could also see them being useful for 3e/Pathfinder.


Enlight_Bystand wrote:
cibet44 wrote:
From the pictures I have seen of the contents it looks like it has lots of "stuff" in the box. Whats with all the extra cards and counters? I figure a starter set would be a PHB, DMG, and an adventure. Im not sure what all the extra things are. Is this something 4E requires?

This set is designed to refine what you need for starting to run a game, rather than giving you all the stuff to run open endedly.

This is probably better than just throwing the full set of books at new players - and means that if they get hooked they can buy them seperately /cynic hat off

The counters aren't needed for 4e itself, but I can see how counters could be useful for running it, especially with people new to roleplaying. I could also see them being useful for 3e/Pathfinder.

OK. Seems odd though. I thought the WHOLE point of the 4E redesign was to bring in new players, especially those already playing WOW but not playing tabletop. I'm not sure who this box set is trying to bring in to the game but I wish them luck with it. After all WOW is a pretty complex game that didn't seem to have a problem finding 10 million or so new people to play it. I'm not sure why the tabletop people think the key to getting new players is a simplified game (note to PAIZO as well!!). As far as I'm aware WOW does not have a "basic" and "advanced" version. I don't know why no one seems to understand this.


cibet44 wrote:
From the pictures I have seen of the contents it looks like it has lots of "stuff" in the box. Whats with all the extra cards and counters? I figure a starter set would be a PHB, DMG, and an adventure. Im not sure what all the extra things are. Is this something 4E requires?

There is a sheet of tokens to represent pc's and monsters, because 4e is a mini-heavy rules set. There are 4 character sheets. Several sheets of power cards (and magic items), that way you won't have to write out what each power does. And a 2-sided dungeon map rounds out the additional contents. Everything a new player would need to play a first adventure.


cibet44 wrote:
As far as I'm aware WOW does not have a "basic" and "advanced" version. I don't know why no one seems to understand this.

This isn't a "basic version" of 4e. The box set is a simple presentation of a small portion of the rules, collected and priced to be accessible to a person that has never played D&D.

Last holiday season I was at Borders and a mother was there with her two pre-teen children. The kids were clamorng her for the Dungeons and Dragons stuff that a friend had told them about. They wanted books and minis, about $100 worth of stuff. I stepped in and advised her to just buy the old 4e box set because it had enough to start playing and who knows if D&D was going to hold the kids' attention long enough to spend $100. If they kept with it then she should consider the core rules.

I believe this starter set is better than the old one, and would be perfect for those kids. It's not a case of being a simplier version, but presented in a way that introduces the game with less financial risk. After all, to go back to the WoW comparison, they send out trial versions too.


lol 4th edition


Kadath wrote:
lol 4th edition

We don't make fun of your games please return the favor.

Grand Lodge

When I saw this at my local game shop it brought a smile and good memories. I don't play 4e but I was tempted to buy it just for the nostalgia of the box. I first played D&D out of the red box set. It tore at my heart to put it back on the shelf.

Shadow Lodge

As a fan of both sides of the line (4e and PF), I actually want to pick this up myself just to give it a look. I'd hit the game day on saturday, but alas, my PFS day is that day too. Oh well :)


Rene Ayala wrote:
When I saw this at my local game shop it brought a smile and good memories. I don't play 4e but I was tempted to buy it just for the nostalgia of the box. I first played D&D out of the red box set. It tore at my heart to put it back on the shelf.

I went ahead and bought it, as I have purchased every version of the game since day one... and still have most of them on my shelves.

It does what it claims and is fairly slick, but lacks the personality of earlier starting sets that was apparent in the writing... but I could be jaded... will give it another solid read...

Dark Archive

Enlight_Bystand wrote:


The counters aren't needed for 4e itself, but I can see how counters could be useful for running it, especially with people new to roleplaying. I could also see them being useful for 3e/Pathfinder.

Exactly. I have been using the counters from the first 4e starter set in my Pathfinder game for a few years.

Sovereign Court

DitheringFool wrote:

Here is a pretty good review: LINK

A Paladin In Citadel wrote:
Did the 4E Red Box convince me to play 4E? No. It reminded me why I lost interest in 4E to begin with. But that doesn't mean that it is not right for you. If your favorite part of D&D was engaging in combats, participating in heroic quests, and obtaining magic items, and least favorite was role-playing your character, solving puzzles, exploring abandoned ruins, and managing your material resources effectively, then 4E is worth checking out.

This reviewer was NOT the target audience for the Red Box (since it reminded him why he left 4e). And his review seems biased and jaded...least fave: Roleplaying? Solving Puzzles? Exploring?

The guy must be just plain dense...I have not met a game system that restricts these.

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