WotC D&D Essentials Kit

Jester David

Adventurer
The D&D Essentials Kit is a decent starter box. Arguably one of the best starter boxes D&D has ever done. Because it includes character generation and tries to walk brand new players through the game, it’s an excellent product for players new to RPGs in general and D&D in specific. And the sidekick system and design of the adventures is a novel addition that nicely distinguishes this product from prior attempts. Unlike the Starter Set, which was a rote product designed to hit checkboxes of what was expected in a new player kit, the Essentials Kit innovates and tries to add some surprises, such as the quest and magic item cards and the sidekick rules. Even the adventure tries to innovate slightly, being a series of connected quests that can be knocked out during a lunch break.

Sadly, the included rulebook doesn’t make it easier to consume the rules or start playing than downloading the free Basic Rules. You still need to read through one or two dozen pages of solid text. The box doesn’t present the rules any more simply, or make playing any easier.

I do wish a little more work an imagination could have been put into the quests. A little investigation and problem solving and perhaps a puzzle or two. Highlight the different ways of playing D&D and different types of adventure you can run. As presented, the quests are not only generic but a tad repetitive. While a skilled dungeon master should easily be able to take what’s written in this product and turn it into a memorable and interesting encounter, the whole point of starter sets is that the DM isn’t skilled and needs that extra hand.

Despite these complaints, this product really raises the bar for D&D starter boxes, and is one of the best boxed sets for new players D&D has ever produced.


Read my full review
HERE
 

ced1106

Explorer
With both the Starter Kit and Essentials Kit being inexpensive, play the campaign from the Starter Kit with the stuff from Essentials. Two rulebooks come in handy, so the Starter Kit's rulebook won't go to waste. Both products are meant to get you to buy the more expensive core books, but, if you enjoy playing low level characters, you won't need them.
 

Arilyn

Adventurer
I really like the contents of this set, the cards, dice, GM screen, etc. are great. Unfortunately, the adventure is dull, and strangely deadly at lower levels. 1st level characters could easily run into a manticore as their very first fight. A manticore??!! The orcs are also too deadly at 1st level with their scary greataxes.

The adventure is supposed to be geared for brand new players and GMs. It's supposed to be designed so even one player can survive. But even with a sidekick, a manticore?! This baffles me, and it's too bad, because as I said, the contents are great.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I really like the contents of this set, the cards, dice, GM screen, etc. are great. Unfortunately, the adventure is dull, and strangely deadly at lower levels. 1st level characters could easily run into a manticore as their very first fight. A manticore??!! The orcs are also too deadly at 1st level with their scary greataxes.

The adventure is supposed to be geared for brand new players and GMs. It's supposed to be designed so even one player can survive. But even with a sidekick, a manticore?! This baffles me, and it's too bad, because as I said, the contents are great.
The adventure is really fun to actually run.
 

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