Essentials Red Box final thoughts

That’s it! We’ve blogged everything we could blog about the D&D Essentials starter set. Blog of Holding will now stop spamming people with hourly updates and return to a once-a-weekday schedule.

On the whole, I think the new Red Box is a very good intro to 4e D&D. Although it’s mostly useless to me, it’s one of my favorite 4e products so far. I often feel slightly embarrassed when introducing someone to 4e: you don’t realize just how complicated it is until you’re explaining it to someone. I feel that the new Red Box could teach the game to a bunch of short-attention-span but reasonably smart junior high kids.

Hmm, new people playing the hobby is a good thing! But it also means lots of junior high kids talking smack on message boards! MIXED FEELINGS!

The red box is also theoretically a great way to get your start DMing. I’ve got a player in my current D&D game who is going to give DMing a try with the adventure in the red box, while we all play Essentials characters.

I’m super excited because I’ll have a chance to play D&D instead of running it all the time. I hope she’s looking forward to DMing in a slightly simpler but still fun and engaging environment!

I hope she’s looking forward to DMing a PROBLEM PC.

So, at the end of this liveblogging experiment, what does everyone think: should we do another intensive review when we get our copies of Heroes of the Fallen Lands? or is there such a thing as posting too much?

More Red Box thoughts…


10 Responses to “Essentials Red Box final thoughts”

  1. Matthew Cicci says:

    Yes. Liveblog.

  2. Please, do some more of this, I’ve been following this with great interest!

  3. Rev. Lazaro says:

    Ditto, this has been a hoot and thank you guys for doing it!

  4. greywulf says:

    I’ve loved every page of this. You’ve done sterling work liveblogging your thoughts, and I’ve followed ’em all. Thank you.

    What’s next? Liveblogging Dark Sun? 😀

  5. Noumenon says:

    The liveblogging was awesome, but only because of the high quality you put into it. For example, this post with the 12 days of Christmas joke and the “time till crate” link was particularly funny and interesting. Or the lack of Prestidigitation making you wail, “How will I make a smell? How??” And then the system observations like how the new rules interact with the rest of the system.

    So basically, if you are chock full of funny thoughts and contentful observations all the time, live blog all the time. I don’t know if that’s humanly possible though.

  6. OnlineDM says:

    I’ll echo what everyone else has said – this has been a ton of fun to read, and if you are willing to do it again with other material in the future, please do!

  7. paul paul says:

    Great comments, thanks!

    Since people like it, we will probably do it for some future books, though not all, and maybe not with quite as excessive detail. I was particularly interested in the Red Box, because of my history with the ’83 box, and because it’s such a buffet of content: player’s stuff, dm’s stuff, adventures, and monsters.

    -I’m guessing that Heroes of the Fallen Lands will have some interesting stuff; we might do that for a day or so.
    -We’ll probably skip Rules Compendium: TOO BORING.
    -I’m psyched about whatever book first introduces Rare magic items: the DM book maybe?
    -Maybe I’ll do the downloadable solo adventure that comes with the Red Box? It’s supposed to be available on the 7th.
    -I’m also interested in Dark Sun: I played it at PAX East and I like a lot of the new mechanics, but I haven’t bought it yet, and I think at this point it’s old news for most people. I might regular-blog about it when I get it, though.

  8. Brian says:

    “I feel that the new Red Box could teach the game to a bunch of short-attention-span but reasonably smart junior high kids.”

    My reasonably smart 3rd grader was able to read through and complete the starter encounter, with some questions. (mostly about where various things went on the character sheet, but I also printed out the regular one from wotc’s website)

    My wife was interested enough to run through the starter encounter as well (no rpg experience outside of eq/wow). There is no way she would have slogged through the creation process in a big rule book.

    My only qualm is that this leaves me in a strange position of where to go from here. (I have no other D&D products.) I know the Heroes books are coming soon, and will likely go with those, but I don’t really understand how this fits in with all of the other books currently out.

  9. paul paul says:

    Giving the lie to the “12+” on the box cover!

    >I don’t really understand how this fits in with all of the other books currently out.

    You’re not alone there. There have definitely been a lot of questions: “Is this a new edition? Does this invalidate previous books?”

    WOTC’s response is that you can buy and use all of the 4e books: “they’re all D&D”. A lot of it comes down to how much you are willing to spend! If you want to drop a few hundred dollars, you can buy the Player’s Handbook, PHB2, PHB3, Dungeon Master’s Guide, Monster Manual, MM2, MM3, and then the new Essentials books as they come out. If your money (and time) budget is not infinite, maybe you just want to get the Essentials books as they come out.

    A middle ground would be to pick up, say, the Player’s Handbook, which offers most of the basic rules, as well as slightly different versions of the D&D classes and races (each player can choose which version they want to use). You can also pick up the existing Dungeon Master’s Guide, which has some nice DMing advice, although I bet a lot of that advice will be reprinted in the upcoming Essentials DM kit. Personally, I’d stay away from the original Monster Manual, as I believe that the upcoming Monster Vault will have improved versions of all the classic D&D monsters: WOTC has gotten better at making monsters over the past few years.

  10. Claire says:

    Brian, let us know what happens with the other books that you get! I love the idea of the whole family playing D&D together.

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