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Subject: Blue Dragon edition review rss

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Daniel Leitl
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Park Falls
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This is a review of the newest version of the Dungeons and Dragons Basic game box set. The best way to look at this game is as a simple board game introduction to the popular RPG.

Components

So what do you get in this box set?

Lets start with the 12 miniatures (my understanding is the first other version of the box set contained 16). These are all pre-painted and are comprised of the 4 characters (fighter, cleric, wizard, and rogue) and 8 monsters (2 goblins, an orc, skeleton, harpy, Minotaur, gargoyle, and the blue dragon). These are some of the better pre-painted minis out there and are far better than the ones for the clix games.

We than move on to the four double side dungeon tiles. These are very nice looking and extremely well made. As far as construction and looks go they are the best bits in the box.

You also get a sheet of counters that represent doors, chests, and treasures. The counters are double sided, with a picture on one side and for the doors and chest indications on the back as to weather it are trapped or locked. Although these are printed on a thin card they are of sufficient quality not to be a negative.

6 dice are included, one each of D4, D6, D8, D10, D12, and D20, as well as 4 character booklets (which list the character traits and special abilities of each character), Dungeon Masters guide and advanced rules book. Oh yes I almost forgot, there is a set up sheet for the first encounter (why this is included I do not know as the information is repeated in the rules).

Rules

What do you get out of the rules? Well not too much really. This is not to say the rules are poorly written, they are not. As this game will just advance a character through level 2 there really is not a lot to cover. Still, what you will need to know is covered well.

Basically the rules are spread out through all 6 booklets, and often repeated. The Basics (initiative order, actions, determining success, and target numbers) is covered in all 6 booklets. At first this may seem a mite repetitive, it is not. The players really only need to be concerned with the information in their respective character booklets, the dungeon Master needs not only the same information but also the information enclosed in his guides. So rather than flipping from book to book this works instead. Also it wouldn’t do to have the players reading through the adventure they are just about to play.

The Encounters

This is what the game is about, the actual adventure. In this set it is one adventure divided into 6 separate encounters of increasing difficulty in both the story sense and in the rules used and employed. The first five encounters (which should advance each character to level 2) are located in the dungeon masters guide and the last is located in the advance rules guide. Each encounter entry in the book gives the setup instructions and gives text the dungeon master should read to the players explaining what is going on. Also in each entry are the monster stats for that encounter and if successful the rewards each player will receive.

Encounter one (Enter the Dungeon) “Is designed to give everyone a taste of the game.” Simple movement, combat, and interaction with the environment are all included in this encounter. The first treasure is also located here and introduces a magic item which can be used later. Clues are given as to what maybe farther into the dungeon.

Encounter two (The Harpy’s Aerie).” The adventures’ second foray into the mysterious dungeon network outside town leads them into a conflict between two dungeon denizens. “
Traps and locks are introduced in this encounter as well as saving throws against magic’s and the environment.

Encounter three (The haunted crypt). “After resting, the adventurers are ready to explore more of the dungeon.”
This encounter shows that not everything is as it seems. More traps are introduced here as well as more magic.

Encounter four (The Minotaur maze) “after resting in town or camping in the dungeon, the adventurers are ready to continue exploring.”
Locked doors and traps and combat with modifiers is contained in this contained in this encounter. This adventure should bring the party up to level two.

Encounter five (the gargoyle’s fountain). “This is the first adventure you should use to challenge your 2nd level characters. Use it after you have allowed your players to level up using the rules in the advanced rulebook.”
Searching, hidden monsters locked chests and traps are all in this encounter.


Encounter six (Against the blue dragon)”This is it, the ultimate challenge for you 2nd level characters. In this adventure, the player characters follow the map to the last chambers leading up to Tusenmaug’s lair. Will the adventurers find a way to defeat the blue dragon and save the town? Or will the terrible blue dragon prevail? The only way to find out is to play the adventure.”
This is the last encounter and is located in the advanced rulebook; it utilizes all four map tiles and employs traps, puzzles, locked doors, and multiple monsters, pretty much everything.

So that’s it. That’s everything you get in this set. Is it worth it? Yes and no, it is a good introduction to role-playing but it really does not go far enough. After you play it once really what is there to come back to. Still it has potential. If WOTC were to release some follow on adventure modules that contained more encounters and maybe a few new minis I think they would sell well. But unless that happens this will probably not see all that much play. As it is it is a good although limited intro into role-playing with very limited replayability.

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james napoli
United States
Westwood
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how many players would u really need for this to play well?

i played d&d as a kid, and like most probably never really played right or knew exactly what they were doing. i would be interested in potentially getting my boardgaming group into a few plays of d&d
 
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Daniel Leitl
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Park Falls
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This is setup for five players. Four charaters and one dungeon master. I really do not see any reason you could not do it with less than that. Three being the least number, two players and one dungeon master, which is what I am planning on doing with my kids to introduce them to the game.
 
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Henning Pedersen
Denmark
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Well, this convinced me, that this would work well alongside the 2004 Basic Game..
Primarily due to the new monsters, but also due to the tiles which I assume does fit the size of the 2004 tiles, making an even larger dungeon possible for later adventures.

Just call me a fanatic if you wish.. I just like to have good tiles for my players to move trough when I start them out on their first adventure this saturday
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United States
Providence
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I agree with the review and you should note that Wizards has provided many, many free adventures for download at http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/oa/20030530b in their adventure archive. Simply start with a Level 1/2 adventure. The format is very much like the original (at least the small adventures) in there are a handful of encounters to defeat.
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