The Hotness
Games|People|Company
Bloodsucker: The Angst
Scarlet Heroes
Shadow of the Demon Lord Core Rulebook
Victoria
Player's Handbook (D&D 5e)
Alone Against the Flames
Fiasco
Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook
Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game
Monstrous Manual
MC01: Monstrous Compendium (Volume One)
X11: Saga of the Shadow Lord
Night Below
Lamentations of the Flame Princess (Grindhouse Edition)
Baker Street: Roleplaying in the World of Sherlock Holmes
Hoard of the Dragon Queen
The End of the World: Zombie Apocalypse
The Hounds of Halthrag Keep
Cthulhu Dark Ages (2nd edition)
Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls
Indie+ Anthology 2014
Call of Cthulhu (6th Edition)
Call of Cthulhu (5th Edition)
Mythic Game Master Emulator
The Klingons (1st Edition)
Apocalypse World
Microscope
Star Wars: Force and Destiny Beginner Game
Princes of the Apocalypse
Dragon Age Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook
Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook
Doors to Darkness
Savage Insider (Volume 3, Issue 1 - Spring 2015)
Wilderness Survival Guide
Dark Conspiracy
Dungeons & Dragons Set 1: Basic Rules
Trail of Cthulhu
The Succubus Club
X10: Red Arrow, Black Shield
Dungeon Master's Guide (AD&D 2e)
The Caverns of Thracia
DDA3: Eye of Traldar
DDA4: The Dymrak Dread
Masks of Nyarlathotep (3rd & 4th edition)
Battle Scarred Veterans Go Hiking
Dungeons & Dragons Game (New Simplified Version)
AC6: Player Character Record Sheets
Oriental Adventures
The Great Pendragon Campaign
X8: Drums on Fire Mountain
Recommend
14 
 Thumb up
 Hide
8 Posts

Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set» Forums » Reviews

Subject: The Best RPG Tutorial Gamebook rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Sebastian Sohn
United States
culver city
CA
flag msg tools
Check out my class: https://www.canvas.net/courses/game-design-concepts
badge
How are you today?
mbmbmbmbmb
Game's Page



Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set, or commonly known as the Red Box, is a revision of the the Dungeons & Dragons Set 1: Basic Rules printed in 1983. The Red Box is a complete kit with rules, dice, maps, counter and everything else one needs to play a basic version of 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons (D&D).

What I am primarily reviewing is the the Players Book, one of two book in the Red Box. The Players Book is a solo pick-your-path gamebook that is designed to teach character generation, combat, skill checks, and the UI of D&D. The gamebook plays like the first adventure of a computer RPG, designed to show the player the environment, basic rules, and the UI.

The story begins as you ride shotgun on a delivery wagon and goblin raiders attack. The first set of choices you face are: “Do you imagine pulling a weapon from the back of the wagon and leaping down to fight the goblins? Do you imagine casting a magic spell to blast the goblins? Do you imagine drawing a dagger...” Depending on your choice, you become on of the four classics classes: fighter, wizard, cleric, or rogue. Although there are 97 sections in the gamebook, the adventure is short because parallel storylines for four classes exist. The story is simple and absolutely linear and players are given a well disguised, illusion of choices. No matter what choice you make, you cannot fail or die. Your goal is to survive the initial goblin attack then search and destroy the goblin camp. Since the goblins have 1 hit point each, they are not a serious threat, even for a 1st level solo character. More than half the book is spent on explaining how to use the UI and fill in your character sheet, part by part. The gamebook only reveals rules and highlights sections of the character sheet that are pertinent for that section. Thus you start the adventure with a blank character sheet and fill in parts as explained and directed by the adventure.

The Red Box is an awesome intro adventure and other paper or computer RPG designer should take notice. A player who knows nothing about the rules-heavy and complex D&D 4th edition, starts with a blank character sheet and concludes with a fully filled character sheet and basic understanding of the D&D system. If you never played a paper RPG, the Red Box is a great start.

Originally posted on Play This Thing.

PS The Red Box is going out of print as Wizards prepares for D&D 5th edition. Meanwhile you can take a look at Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Beginner Box
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tim M-L
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
"revision" is far too a strong word to describe the relation between Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set and Dungeons & Dragons Set 1: Basic Rules. The similarities are pretty limited- only the name, look of the box, and that both had dice inside as far as i can tell.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
(100% real name)
Israel
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
I have actually played this book several times - by myself and ran it for kids. And honestly, it's not very good. Here are just a couple of things I can remember right now:
1. There are a number of errors in the text - not grammar ones, but game mechanics ones (you can google "d&d 4e red box errata" for several forum discussions), which could easily be avoided if somebody had actually play-tested the book. After all, it's just a 100 paragraph/30 pages booklet, not a large Fighting Fantasy episode. Also, it was intended as a book for beginners, so it should have been double-checked, which for a large company like WoTC is absolutely doable. At the end, it leaves you with a feeling that you are an unwelcomed newbie.
2. Several choices in the story lead you to a "wrong choice, try another one!" paragraph. This is dumb. I bet any experienced gamebook writer could have come with a better phrasing with the same outcome.
3. The box set was prepared at the time when "D&D Essentials" rules were not 100% ready yet, so some of character powers etc. exist only in this box set and cannot be incorporated in a "real" D&D 4e game - they are not even in the WoTC Compendium/Character Builder! In my opinion, this is unacceptable.
4. It seems to me the book fails to introduce things gradually: instead you have a feeling that a more experienced player fills your character sheet without too much explanations. It's like: "cool, as an Elf you get ability to shift on difficult terrain", but the kid reading this book still has no idea what is "shift", "difficult terrain" and what's the reason to even use this ability. I'd prefer it rather be something like: "As an Elf, in combat you move like a wind, ignoring obstacles on the ground, and your enemies cannot catch you off-guard. (We will explain you later how to use this ability when you are in combat)."
5. There are no way to create a character without playing through all the game book again. And no kid will want to wait till 4 of his friends play it one after another. I've checked

From the other hand, we still had fun. But I think it was not because of the book qualities, but rather despite its defects...
(A little background: I'm not a roleplayer myself and I was new do D&D 4e rules when I was reading this book.)

BTW, Sebastian, thanks for your excellent GeekLists! I'm a big fan.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sean Allen
United States
Turlock
California
flag msg tools
designer
mb
schizoid wrote:
I have actually played this book several times - by myself and ran it for kids. And honestly, it's not very good...


Just curious (not baiting or anything like that), are any parts of this Red Box any good? For example, the GM guide?

3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
S Troxler
United States
Clover
South Carolina
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
anthropos95 wrote:
schizoid wrote:
I have actually played this book several times - by myself and ran it for kids. And honestly, it's not very good...


Just curious (not baiting or anything like that), are any parts of this Red Box any good? For example, the GM guide?



It has a page of tokens, dice, and a two sided map. The GM guide seems to cover basics. I found myself looking for answers in the DM Guide, and Rules Compendium when running the adventure that comes with the set. To be honest, for someone "totally new" to D&D, it's easy to get confused about how to handle some things.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
(100% real name)
Israel
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
anthropos95 wrote:

Just curious (not baiting or anything like that), are any parts of this Red Box any good? For example, the GM guide?


Maybe I exaggerated a bit. I'm not saying it's complete crap. I was just disappointed that a box that was supposed to be an introduction to the game was somehow neglected by the game makers.

Regarding GM guide - it has and introductory DM encounter, some rules explanations (much less than needed, IMHO), and an adventure with maps, counters and a lot of per-encounter guidance for the new DM. However, since 4e is a rather complex game (at least, for kids and newbs like me), you still need to change things on the fly, make them simpler etc.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sebastian Sohn
United States
culver city
CA
flag msg tools
Check out my class: https://www.canvas.net/courses/game-design-concepts
badge
How are you today?
mbmbmbmbmb
timlillig wrote:
"revision" is far too a strong word to describe the relation between Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set and Dungeons & Dragons Set 1: Basic Rules. The similarities are pretty limited- only the name, look of the box, and that both had dice inside as far as i can tell.


True, the Red Box is a complete new rewrite but the spirit is the same: introduce beginners.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sebastian Sohn
United States
culver city
CA
flag msg tools
Check out my class: https://www.canvas.net/courses/game-design-concepts
badge
How are you today?
mbmbmbmbmb
anthropos95 wrote:
schizoid wrote:
I have actually played this book several times - by myself and ran it for kids. And honestly, it's not very good...


Just curious (not baiting or anything like that), are any parts of this Red Box any good? For example, the GM guide?



My game video game design students, 18+ old, taught themselves D&D with this kit. Each student took turns reading the Players guide and one read the DM's guide.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.