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Starfinder Beginner Box: A Review

Hello my darling Paizo fans and welcome to a special edition of our favorite Paizo update for EN World! It’s not every day we get to do product reviews, and this one is a particular honor – we’re cracking open the Starfinder Beginner Box and giving it it’s due!

Let’s just take it from the top and work our way through. The packaging art is beautiful and evocative of the adventure contained within, as can be expected from all Paizo products. There’s also a lovely heft to the box – maybe it’s just the materialist in me, but I love a bit of heft to my RPG products. Also, for a bit of Christmas-morning glee, there’s a bit of rattle when you shake it. Colorful, heavy, and fun to shake – a perfect box in my opinion!

Now, onto the innards! Continued commendations to the thoughtfulness put into the layout of this product – top to bottom largely what I’d want beginners to see and experience in that order. As you might have seen in an unboxing video, first you find some dice and some token stands – I would personally prefer the token stands to come with the tokens themselves, but allowances can be made for packaging limitations and such.

Next out of the box is the instructional insert very clearly laying out where new players should look in the box going forward, complete with detailed illustrations for easy reference and recognition. There are also some player reference cards to keep handy as reminders to new players about how to interact with the game, and the common conditions that can afflict their character. I could stand to use some of these in my games even with more seasoned grognards!

The player and GM content in here is top notch. I have some minor quibbles with layout and focus in the Heroes’ Handbook; for example, the information in the booklet isn’t presented in the same order for character creation as is described on the character-creation inset on the inside cover, and I would probably prefer more prominent section and subsection titles to make it clear that the reader has moved on to a new section.

These are minor issues, however, and don’t detract at all from what honestly feels like a masterclass in introducing new players to a game system. It starts off with a rules-light choose-your-own-adventure-style…well, adventure, strongly reminiscent of the text adventure found in the original D&D Red Box. All the rules are constrained to their relevant sections, so new adventurers don’t have to go hunting all around a different book section to find their spells and descriptions. It’s also incredibly thoughtful and very much intentional that the designers have limited not only the options for spells, classes, feats, and so on, but also removed crunchier details like KAC/EAC, ammo, and armor and weapon levels so that they don’t bog down what should be a quick and enjoyable play experience. Top marks all across the board.

The Game Master’s Guide is equally excellent, filled with useful information not only for Starfinder GMs but also ideas and things to steal for fans of other games. Like the Heroes’ Handbook, it starts with the important stuff first: adventure and excitement to get you hooked, then everything you need to make your own.

Bottom line: the Starfinder Beginner Box is an excellent introduction to Starfinder. If you’ve been holding out on Starfinder for whatever reason (the new AC nonsense, the new character creation weirdness), you’re out of excuses. Pick this up and feel that rush of falling in love with a new system all over again.

This article was contributed by Ben Reece (LongGoneWriter) as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program. If you enjoy the daily news and articles from EN World, please consider contributing to our Patreon!
 
Ben Reece

Comments

Ed Laprade

Villager
Draven Swiftbow did an unboxing yesterday, and at the price I just couldn't say no. So I pre-ordered it. (They gave away the core rulebook quite a while ago as a free PDF, but I gotta have something I can hold in my hands before it is 'real'!)
 
The box set is amazing, got mine yesterday (and already have All The Starfinder). Giving it to my son, but I am impressed that you could run plenty of level 1-4 campaigns right out of the box with lots of content ready to go.
 

Alfred84

Villager
It starts off with a rules-light choose-your-own-adventure-style…well, adventure, strongly reminiscent of the text adventure found in the original D&D Red Box. All the rules are constrained to their relevant sections, so new adventurers don’t have to go hunting all around a different book section to find their spells and descriptions. It’s also incredibly thoughtful and very much intentional that the designers have limited not only the options for spells, classes, feats, and so on, but also removed crunchier details like KAC/EAC, ammo, and armor and weapon levels so that they don’t bog down what should be a quick and enjoyable play experience. kissanime.vip
 

Walter8437

Villager
All the rules are constrained to their relevant sections, so new adventurers don’t have to go hunting all around a different book section to find their spells and descriptions. It’s also incredibly thoughtful and very much intentional that the designers have limited not only the options for spells, classes, feats, and so on, but also removed crunchier details like KAC/EAC, ammo, and armor and weapon levels so that they don’t bog down what should be a quick and enjoyable play experience. psiphon.onl
 

techangy

Villager
For those who haven’t played Starfinder, ysoki are ratfolk, vesk are burly lizardfolk, shirren are insectoid, and lashunta are mostly pretty cool, with innate psychic ability, minor spellcasting, and an appreciation for learning.Thanks for sharing this awesome review mate. Have a look at the Spore ALternatives here
 

Derren

Adventurer
For me Starfinder was sadly a big disappointment, simply because its is just reskined fantasy. It doesn't do absolutely nothing with its Sci-Fi part and is set up to play exactly like PF or D&D only with different descriptions.
 

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