D&D 5th Edition Starter Set: Unboxing and Review

Let's get started with the D&D 5th Edition Starter Set!

Let’s get started with the D&D 5th Edition Starter Set!

Explore subterranean labyrinths! Plunder hoards of treasure! Battle legendary monsters!

So says the sales copy on the back of the D&D 5th Edition Starter set box. Does it live up to the hype? Does it live up to the legacy of the role playing game (RPG) that started it all? Watch and / or read on and find out!

On July 15th, 2014 the D&D Starter Set releases. As of the time of this writing (July 8) it can also be purchased from select game stores that are considered preferred partners of Wizards of the Coast.

I braved my local game store (which is actually quite nice and well run) to bring you, eager reader, the deets on this bad boy.

To see the unboxing, watch this video. Whether you watch the video or not, make sure to read the rest of this post and check out the photo gallery below!

The Starter Set comes with the following:

  • Six dice (d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20)
  • Rule Book
  • Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure
  • Five pregenerated character sheets
  • D&D Encounters flyer with blank character sheet on the flip side

My initial thoughts:

  • Dice: They’re actually pretty nice, sort of an electric blue with swirls / striations inside. Nicer than expected.
  • Rule Book: It basically seems to be the same as the D&D Basic Rules that were recently released for free in PDF form, with the main difference being that character generation has been removed. There may be some other differences as well that another browse will reveal.
  • Lost Mine of Phandelver: This looks pretty meaty for a self-contained adventure and is evidently designed to take players from 1st-5th level. It has an introduction for DMs (Dungeon Masters) followed by 4 Chapters and has a rules index that refers back to the rule book. The artwork is nice and flipping through the adventure it looks like there is a nice variety of locales and monster types.
  • Pregenerated Character Sheets: Two warriors, a cleric, a rogue and a wizard that have all stats, related rules and equipment listed, as well as background information and other character information on the flip side. The “name” field is blank so players can easily name their characters as they choose.

Should you buy it?

At $19.99 retail (Amazon has it listed cheaper), the D&D Starter Set is a cool product for what it is. That being said, it’s not going to be a smart buy for everyone.

If you’re new to role playing games or Dungeons & Dragons in general, or else want to introduce friends to it then the Starter Set is a good buy. At a relatively low investment you can get enough rules and content to find out if you like the game and want to go deeper.

If you’re a D&D fanatic and have to play the newest edition right now and can’t wait for the main rule books, and aren’t worried about the bang for the buck, sure go ahead and pick one up if you have $20 to spare.

If you’re a hardcore D&D player and you want the most bang for your money, I’d definitely recommend waiting for the 5th edition rule books when they release starting in August with the Player’s Handbook. If you fit this category, there’s really no compelling reason to buy the Starter Set unless you are a collector and/or completist.

I hope that was helpful, and stay tuned for further posts as I take some friends into the Lost Mine of Phandelver and hopefully survive to bring back reports from the wild.

In the meantime, enjoy this D&D 5th Edition Starter Set photo gallery!

2 thoughts on “D&D 5th Edition Starter Set: Unboxing and Review

  1. Nerdarchist Dave

    Thanks for the article and video Shane I found the information useful. I agree this product isn’t for everyone. I do believe it’s a great product for DM who wants to run the adventure. I picked it up from Amazon for like $13. I think that’s a great price for the hours of entertainment you can get from it.

    I also liked that we got a sneak peek at another one of the backgrounds- The Noble. I love the art it’s so much more to my tastes than 3.x, Pathfinder, or 4E. The art was done well in all of those products, but I just didn’t care for the anime/manga feel to it.

    So now I’m off to go check out your YouTube channel.

  2. Shane Post author

    Thanks for your comments. The $13 Amazon price is definitely a great deal. I went ahead and paid the full price to get my hands on it early for the review and also throw some support to the local game store.

    Artwise, I like it so far. One thing I like to see in RPGs is art that not only looks cool but that also tells a story. If you compare the covers from the old core rulebooks from 1st and 2nd D&D editions to later ones something was lost but now 5th seems to be bringing it back.

    I backed the Kickstarter for the new printing of the Castles & Crusades Players Handbook and I just recently got my copy. The art there is what I like to see, almost everything tells some kind of story… not just cool poses.


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