First Impressions: The D&D Starter Red Box…

2010 August 29
by Dante

It has been a big week here at Stupid Ranger, and it even got capped off in epic fashion.  I was taking my traditional nap before karate, and as I headed downstairs I spied something on the living room table.  Some benevolent force (Santa Claus, perhaps) had deposited a D&D Red Box in my house!

Now you may be wondering why I am excited about such a thing as this, being a starter set and I am clearly not a D&D beginner.  You see, when I was growing up the box sets were available but I lacked friends that were interested in such things so I never got one.  When I saw that they were using the same box art by Larry Elmore as they did Way Back In The Day, they critted me.  Right in the face.

Let me say it again: the box is beautiful.  As I write this, I am shaking it in my hands hearing the contents rattle happily within.  My inner 8-year-old wants to adventure badly.

The Contents

Of course, there’s a Dungeon Master’s Book that contains the basic rule set for first and second level characters.  Along with that you get maps, character sheets, player and monster tokens, power cards, and yes, you get a set of dice.  They’re very pedestrian black dice with white numbers, which immediately made me wonder why they didn’t just partner with Chessex and get some decent dice for these sets.  Anyway, we’ll save that particular rant for later.

There’s also a Player’s Book that contains player generation rules.  You can pick from Fighter, Wizard, Rogue, or Cleric, and the races include Human, Elf, Dwarf, and Halfling.  The most interesting part for me is that they include a solo adventure, which is something I’ve not experienced from D&D in the past.  Having never owned any of the other D&D box sets, I am going to now pretend that there were not any solo adventures in them for fear of a wasted youth.

Power Cards and Tokens

I’m not sure who designed the new power cards for this box set, but they deserve some sort of an award for concise, cool presentation compared to the other official power cards.  They still maintain the same information as the standard issue power cards, but the layout of the card itself is less overwhelming.  Clearly, they were striving for easy attainability with this box set and at first glance it appears they have succeeded.

This doesn’t stop with the tokens, either.  Stupid Ranger exclaimed “Wow, look at all those bad guys!” upon first laying her eyes on the token cards.  She is correct, without perusing the books I can easily detect orcs, goblins, kobolds, and even a few dragons (naturally!)  And what D&D adventure would be complete without a gelatinous cube?  These tokens appear to be very well executed and I’d love to see them included in additional D&D modules.  It sure beats using dice or unmatched, inaccurate miniatures to indicate the baddies.

The Adventure Continues This Week

Stupid Ranger and I are going to further review the Red Box this week.  I intend on taking the solo adventure for a whirl in the next couple of days, and schedule permitting we are going to attempt the 1st – 2nd level adventure that they include in the Dungeon Master’s Book, so expect to see more soon!

If you can’t wait that long, be sure to check out The New D&D Starter Red Box review that was put together by our good friend The Chatty DM and his son Nico over at Critical Hits.

7 Responses leave one →
  1. August 30, 2010

    I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who turned into a giddy 8-year-old in the presence of the new Redbox. I even splayed out all the contents on the living room floor all around me. 🙂

  2. Dante permalink*
    August 30, 2010

    The effect is really quite amazing. Right now I’m really struggling not to dive into that solo adventure at 1:20 AM, with work the next day. This is absolutely 8-year-old excited me acting, which means someone on the WotC marketing team has done their job in an outstanding manner.

  3. JoJa permalink
    August 30, 2010


    Give those dice a roll or two before you count them out. When playing through the solo adventure, my first four rolls were 18, 17, 15, 20. That black d20 might just replace the one from my “player-killer” Chessex dice set!

    Good review by the way, the box sure does bring back memories.

  4. Dante permalink*
    August 30, 2010

    Don’t worry, I intend to. I hope to have similar luck with my dice! 🙂

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