Why I ordered the D&D Essentials “Red Box” after all

Red Box As you all know I am not that fond of D&D 4th Edition. While I loved a lot of the changes from D&D 3.5 when I first read the new core books, I didn’t like how combat worked in D&D 4th Edition. For me I totally lost immersion in the game world in the moment we started to place our miniatures on the battle map.

When they announced D&D Essentials some time back, I was at first not that interested. It looked too much like a marketing ploy. But I also had some hopes that the newbie-friendly “Red Box” would allow gameplay closer to what I am comfortable with. And while D&D Essentials will be fully compatible with the current D&D 4th Edition line, there’s some hope that the rules in the Red Box are closer to my comfort levels.

Since the box only sets me back mere 14 Euros at my favorite online shop, I thought, I should give it a chance. It’s of course possible that I will not like it, but that’s a risk I am willing to take.

Are you planning to get the D&D Essentials Starter Set, too? Or have you given up D&D completely? As always I am very interested in your thoughts on the subject.

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

12 thoughts on “Why I ordered the D&D Essentials “Red Box” after all”

  1. You know I am going to get it. You know I am going to get several copies and give them out as christmas gifts. I even offered to run a redbox game at my local game store to get interest in D&D localy.

  2. well, it's still a minis-centric game.. nothing is changed accept the way the classes are presented..

  3. Unlikely for me to get it. I'm not fond of GMing 4th Edition as I used to be and I don't think Essentials will really change the dynamic much. And as a player of 4e, the material is presented in a format that I actively dislike. I'd rather just wait for the character builder update that'll be devoid of all the silly tables and the space-wasting Points of Light fluff I don't want to read.

  4. I've given up on WotC product for the time being. I like the 4e core math, but I'm not a fan of powers deluge in book after book, with classes and races being added just so they can fill more books.

    I've switched to a variant of Microlite, which is much cheaper, more more portable, faster and easy to use.

  5. I actually doubt I will get any of the other Essentials products, but I want to at least to own the Starter Kit, to see what they've changed and to be able to form and educated opinion.

  6. Yes, I will be getting the Essentials box. I don't play 4e at all, but I definitely want the box for Ye Olde Tymes sake.

  7. Dude… its on display at my local game store. Its utter garbage.. Its like D&D for total 'tards.

    If you rode the special bus to school, this product is for you.

    If I had received this when I was a kid (in 1983) instead of the TSR Red Box, I would not be a gamer.

    My kids (6 and 8 ) have no problem understanding 4e, but the biggest hurdle, apart from cost, is getting them through all that pile of material, let alone designing an adventure.

    I'm hoping for Essentials to fill that gap.

    Ravenloft looks like it will at least entertain the kids and generate a little interest in D&D, in the same sense that Talisman does. (The rules look quite similar to the kids game they released a while back.)

  8. From what I can tell, the box looks like it will be worth it, if nothing more than to own a piece of fake remade D&D history. I will probably pick it up, just like every other 4e product since I am such a D&D freako; i will also probably never use any of the new shortened rules as I am perfectly happy with the 4e big ones. However, the new class styles look fun and I will want to try them out…

  9. Michael, HERETIC, how could you! I will not write for or read this blog again!

    Just kidding… I hope you enjoy it. I will not be getting it. Perhaps the DM essentials product that has some maps or tiles I may just consider getting or even the Rule Compendium to see what they’ve done with the rules just to stay informed. I don’t see myself playing D&D 4th edition for my home game.

    The only reason I may see myself getting the Red Box would be to use as a gateway game for convention play. Don’t know.

    Oh and before Daniel comes over and says it, ORB4E (Original Red Box 4 Ever)!

  10. "Or have you given up D&D completely?"

    Pretty much says it all for me. Bitch all you like about THAC0, Vancian Magic or whatever pet peeve you might have had… for all its inconsistencies and errors, Gygax's design *was* Dungeons and Dragons. Change the core of something, and it no longer *is* that thing.

    WoTC had two paths they could have gone when they acquired the license. They could have fixed it and improved it, or they could have gutted and re-imaged it. From the initial marketing "not your fathers DnD"crap of 3rd edition, it was plainly obvious that WoTC had no intention of doing the former. With 4thEd, say what you like… it may be a great game, but the only thing it has in common with the *real* DnD is it's branding, introducing slews of "look-a-like" products to try to entice some of the older critics of the newer versions back to the fold.

    Nope… I'll give Dungeons and Dragons a try again when it's owned by someone else.

    Until then, there's plenty of companies and individuals out there producing wonderful material for "Dungeons and Dragons: The Game" that I needn't support "Dungeons and Dragons: The Brand."

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