Does the 5E Starter Set hold up to the test of time?
The Starter Set was officially released on July 15th, 2014, marking the beginning of a new era for Dungeons and Dragons. Over the last two years, the Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set has served as the entry point for many gamers interested in learning what 5e, and sometimes D&D in general, is all about. Does it succeed at making the game accessible to new players? Is it worth the price? Turn Order decided to take a look for ourselves!
Inside the Box:
- 32 page Starter Set Rulebook – All the basic rules needed to play the game. Definitely not an exhaustive list of rules, but a great, quick introduction for those who’ve never played D&D or 5e.
- 64 page Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure book – An introductory adventure that will have players jump straight into the action going on in Faerûn.
- 5 pregenerated character sheets – The rulebook included in the box skips character creation, so players are expected to use of the 5 characters provided in the box.
- 6 dice set
The box contains everything needed to start playing after just a short read. With a price point of $19.95 (or around $13 if you order from Amazon), it doesn’t take a fortune to dive into the world of Dungeons and Dragons, and the first time player is exactly who this box is targeted at. The simplicity of the included rules, the pregenerated character sheets, and the set of dice make it easy for anyone to go on their first D&D adventure. The adventure is sure to keep your players busy for a decent amount of time (my group took about 10 3-hour sessions to make their way through the entire adventure). The Starter Set definitely packs a ton of value into one small box. The dice are nothing special, but just serve to prove that this is a great entry point for those who are new to roleplaying games in general.
While we love the value of the Starter Set, it isn’t without it’s flaws (flaws we’re easily able to look past). The Starter Set rules make the game accessible to new players, but they’re missing a lot of information. As noted earlier, the rulebook doesn’t include character creation rules, so players are expected to use the pregenerated character sheets instead of their own characters. Fortunately for us, character creation is covered in the Basic Rules, which are available for free. The Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure doesn’t require the pregens to be used, so feel free to create the character you want to play. The adventure will keep your players busy and serves as a great beginner game, but it offers just a small glance at what the Sword Coast has to offer your player characters.
Perhaps our biggest complaint is that the Starter Set isn’t something that every player needs. Dungeon Masters are the main audience for the box. Those players who only want to play won’t get as much use out of the materials inside, and they’re better off saving their money to go towards the Player’s Handbook or that new awesome set of dice.
The Starter Set is must for everyone new to RPGs who are interested in playing D&D for the first time, especially the budding Dungeon Master. We give the D&D Starter Set a 4/5.