With the recent renaissance of tabletop games and Dungeons & Dragons, in particular, there has never been a better time to jump in and get your feet wet. The fifth edition pulls on the heartstrings of those who first picked up their dice eons ago, yet provides an easy to understand ruleset for newcomers alike. Let’s take a look at the different starter sets available.

History

A starter set is not a new idea. The legendary Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set was introduced way back in 1977. It featured a streamlined version of the game and contained everything you needed to get up and running. It was aimed at the teen market and while not fully compatible, offered entry to the more advanced version of the game Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. The iconic “red box” edition was released in 1983 along with supplemental rule expansions in different colored boxes.

Getting started today

When Dungeons & Dragons' fifth edition was about to launch in 2014, Wizards of the Coast made the bold move of launching a new starter set before releasing the individual core rulebooks. Over 125,000 units were sold in the first year of launch and it won several awards. The box includes a rulebook, Dice and five pre-generated characters. It also includes an adventure set in the Forgotten Realms. It was well-received by players and offered a taste of what was to come.

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The beginning of 2019 saw the introduction of a new “red box” starter set. This was a direct tie-in to the Netflix show Stranger Things. The box design is influenced by the artwork of Dungeons & Dragons in the 1980s, with the show based in the same time period and the game a key plot point it is a welcome addition. It also offered an entry point to fans of the show who may not have played the game previously. The box features a Stranger Things themed adventure and rulebook, dice, 5 character sheets, and 2 Demogorgon miniatures.

2019 also saw a new non-themed starter set, the Essentials Kit. There is an updated rulebook, a new adventure titled Dragon of Icespire Peak, a poster/map, blank character sheets, item cards, and a DMs screen. This is the best value and faithfully offers an authentic experience out of the box.

To round off 2019 another themed set was launched, this time it was Rick and Morty’s turn. Similar to its brethren it contains a themed rulebook dice, an adventure book, a DMs screen, and five character sheets. The creators of the show are also players of Dungeons & Dragons and have influenced the feel of this set.

Which one should you choose? If you are a fan of Stranger Things or Rick and Morty, you won’t go wrong picking up either set. However, to get the true Dungeons & Dragons experience, go for the Essentials Kit. The item cards are perhaps the biggest aid for new players, but nothing beats creating your own character. DMs will be happy as they can hide behind the screen, which also summarizes the rules. Happy questing!

Source: DnD Get Started Guide, Wikipedia- DnD - Basic Set

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