Starter Boxes vs Core Book

Hex08

Hero
A good starter set introduces the world and the game in a much more accessible form than the typical full game. Many people find modern 350 page core rulebooks pretty inaccessible; without a Starter Set they (inc me) might not get into the game at all. Also, a good starter set includes material that will be useful long term in conjunction with the core rules.
Exactly. When I was playing a lot of Pathfinder 1E I would never have recommended the game to a new gamer. The huge rulebook and the complexity, IMO, didn't make it an ideal intro to RPGs. However, I thought the starter box was a great intro. It didn't just give you pre-generated characters and one adventure; it gave you the rules for creating a character, getting them to fifth level and information on building an adventure. You also got monsters without buying a separate Bestiary. For a $30 (or whatever the cost of it was) introduction you get a lot of content.
 
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kronovan

Adventurer
...And thus Im always so indecisive. Spend the lesser amount to try it out, hope I like it, and hey got some cool dice (sometimes $20 special dice only used for that game , then maybe spend another $50 to get the core. Or spend the extra $20 and get the Core right off the bat and have the whole rules and use over and over and over...
For me it very much depends on the specific RPG and I always await some reviews before I invest in a box set. IMO a box set is sometimes necessary in terms of economics, if it includes some support products (cards, proprietary dice, etc.) that are required to properly run the TTRPG - i.e. the proprietary dice included in FFG's Star Wars box sets. Other times they're worth it because of the quality and value of extras, such as pawns, poster maps, dice or any included adventure(s). The 100 quality pawns included with the Pathfinder 1e box set and the excellent Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure in the D&D 5e Intro box, are IMO 2 good examples.

I have to say, based on my always awaiting reviews and favoring box sets that bundle in valued extras, it's rare that I don't also buy the CRB at the same time, or shortly after.
 

Retreater

Legend
Honestly, I've never seen a Starter Set or Beginner Box actually be adequate to learn to play the game. I'm not saying there's not good value to be had (with dice, adventure content, pregens, etc.), but the incomplete rules almost never touch on everything you need to run a game (even the starter adventure included).
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
For me it depends on the quality of the stuff the starter set comes with. Usually though, its better to just buy the core rulebook and go from there.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
For $30 you can get the starter box! Shortened rules, premade PCs, a map, a one shot intro adventure and a set of themey dice. It's one and done.

Or for $50, a whole $20 more you get the whole RPG rule set and an endless amount of adventure.

And thus Im always so indecisive. Spend the lesser amount to try it out, hope I like it, and hey got some cool dice (sometimes $20 special dice only used for that game , then maybe spend another $50 to get the core. Or spend the extra $20 and get the Core right off the bat and have the whole rules and use over and over and over.

Currently trying to decide on the Tales From the Loop starter or core...

I like the Cyberpunk Red box. Its got cards, dice, etc. Same with The One Ring 2E box, it has more than just dice I can use for the core. TFtL has just dice int he box that can be used with core...

Anyone else have this issue?
I don't have this issue.

For me it's very clear I want the full game, otherwise for a "preview" I join a gaming group or I just try out the rules that are available for free. If neither is an option, I look for another game. At the same time I usually already have the props that are typically offered in starter boxes.

I do buy starter boxes as a gift to other people sometimes, if I know they have no dice, maps, minis or similar. But honestly I haven't seen a really good starter box since the early 90s D&D "black box".
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
For $30 you can get the starter box! Shortened rules, premade PCs, a map, a one shot intro adventure and a set of themey dice. It's one and done.

Or for $50, a whole $20 more you get the whole RPG rule set and an endless amount of adventure.
Or sometimes for $5 you can get a PDF quickstart of a game on Drivethru that has what your $30 starter set has (except without the dice and you have to print it yourself if you want the physical bits).

I find that to be the best approach tbh. I love to run one-shots for my players for games to see if we'll enjoy the game before I buy the whole book. Bust spending $30 for a one-shot experience is usually a bit much. Games that offer quickstarts are much more likely to end up on my bookshelf than those that don't.

(OTOH - the D&D Essentials Kit is the perfect example IMO of the kind of starter set that is worth $30 - you get a truncated set of classes and levels but you get a full game that you can play for 5 levels and it works to really walk you through how the developers think the game should be played. You can play out of that box for months before you need to upgrade to the full game - if more starter sets were like the Essentials kit I'd have a different opinion of them).
 

IvyDragons

Explorer
Starter set for 5e is fantastic to give to new DMs for their first adventure, its a much lower barrier to entry.
But if you know you want to run games, more than a one-shot then you get the core rules.
 

MGibster

Legend
I've bought two starter boxes I thought were worthwhile. The Alien starter box from Free League comes with a condensed book with almost all the rules the players need, a neat adventure with a cool map, 10 Stress Dice, 10 "regular Alien dice, and a set of equipment cards you may or may not use ever again. It's a good value just for the adventure alone I think.

I also have the Legend of the Five Rings starter set and it's okay. Uh, I have yet to play it. It comes with a nice map of the setting, a short adventure reminiscent of the adventure that came with the 1st edition GM screen, and a set of proprietary dice that FFG loves to use. I didn't feel as though I was ripped off or anything.
 

Hand of Evil

Hero
Epic
Starter Boxes are the sampler plater, they get you playing and interested in purchasing the full meal the next time you play. It is the touch and feel.

After reading post of gamers moan about the cost of games over the years, I see the marketing involved in it.

You have a group that feel 30$ is just the amount to pay for a game and are happy, a percentage were not going to spend 50$ on the game. Then you have those that the starter box piqued their interest, and they end up buying the 50$ game too.
 

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