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Gateway to Adventure: An Overview of All Dungeons & Dragons Starter Editions

Tuesday, August 15th, 2023

Getting into Dungeons & Dragons can be daunting to the uninformed or someone who hasn’t recently spent too much time with the hobby. While you can play entirely for free, legally even, it’s much more fun with modules and rulebooks. You get more stuff; sometimes, the structure is an excellent way to start your adventure. At the time of this writing, there are FOUR separate starter kits, sets, and whatever Wizards of the Coast wants to call them, so let’s break them down.

Whether a novice or a seasoned player eager to delve deeper into the magical domain of D&D, our assembled guide for beginner kits can help!

Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set

An availability note, while this set may not currently be in general circulation, it can still be located via online bundles, third-party retailers, and local game stores.

An Introduction to adventure,  embark on an exhilarating journey into the vast expanses of the Dungeons & Dragons universe with the Starter Set. Ideally suited for up to six players, one of whom will assume the role of Dungeon Master, the narrating force that breathes life into the adventure. 

What The Starter Set Offers

  • Complete Adventure Kit: The set comes equipped with all the necessary spells, dice, monsters, and wondrous magical items required for your adventure. 
  • Simplified Rulebook: The package also contains a 32-page rulebook that effortlessly conveys the gameplay rules for characters ranging from levels 1-5. 
  • Character Selection: Choose your hero from a list that includes a faithful dwarf cleric, an elf wielding potent arcane powers, a stealthy halfling rogue, or a valorous noble fighter. 

Dungeons & Dragons Essentials Kit

Embark on a thrilling excursion into the D&D with the comprehensive Essentials Kit. This kit serves as an ideal companion for both fledgling and seasoned Dungeon Masters as they journey to protect Phandalin from Cryovain, a chilling young dragon who now threatens the peace of the Sword Coast. 

Digging into the Essentials

  • Dragon of Icespire Peak Adventure Book: Discover the extensive information about locations, quests, and monsters, along with an in-depth profile of Cryovain—a fierce, frosty dragon terrorizing Phandalin. Your mission? Safeguard the town, discover mystical equipment, and slay the dragon.
  • DM Screen: Conceal your mysterious plans from your players.
  • Character Creation: Blank character sheets are provided with a set of 11 dice.
  • Bonus Inclusions: Poster maps, magic item cards, and other inclusions.

The Essentials Kit is a unique offering that also includes two-player rules, a welcome addition for games featuring one player and the DM. 

D&D Starter Set: Dragons of Stormwreck Isle

Navigate the intriguing depths of Stormwreck Isle, a place bustling with secrets potent enough to alter the perceptions of even the most weathered adventurers.

Experiencing Stormwreck Isle:

  • Adventure-Ready Characters Levels 1–3: “Dungeons of Stormwreck Isle” plunges players into the midst of an ancient war between dragons on an unexplored island, a battlefield of a timeless conflict.
  • Personal Character Quests: Each pre-created character comes packed with a personal goal that shapes their experience and fuels their actions during play. 

Stormwreck Starter Set: What’s Inside?

  • Rulebook: A comprehensive overview of the essentials, including adventurer’s equipment and a compilation of 30 diverse spells for creating magical antics.
  • Adventure Booklet: The set’s heart is the adventure booklet packed with tips for running the game, maps, location descriptions, monster statistics, and information about magical items.
  • Character Sheets: Enter the realm as a cleric, fighter, paladin, rogue, or wizard with our five pre-created character sheets, all set for action.
  • Dice Set: Rolls some numbers using the starter set comprising the six dice types necessary for a D&D game — 1d20, 1d100, 1d10, 1d8, 1d6, and 1d4.

Stranger Things Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set

Embark on a thrilling adventure, combining the D&D universe with the intriguing world of Netflix’s Stranger Things. Battle through the Upside Down as iconic characters from the show, and unravel mysteries with the adventure book penned by the character Mike Wheeler.

What’s Inside The Box?

  • Rulebook: This Stranger Things-themed guide contains all fundamental rules required to explore the 5th edition D&D starter set.
  • Adventure Book: An informative booklet filled with game tips, map illustrations, descriptions of locations, and details about magical items and monsters.
  • Character Sheets & Dice Set: Choose from one of five pre-made character sheets to role-play as in your adventure. Also includes six standard dice types necessary for a D&D game.
  • Demogorgon Figures: Two Demogorgon miniatures, one of which can be customized with paint, immerse players into the Stranger Things narrative.

This uniquely designed Starter Set, replicating the 1983 D&D red box seen in the series, has everything a group needs to play. Suitable for those new or familiar with D&D, it’s a perfect fit for fans of Stranger Things.

Selecting the right equipment for your Dungeons & Dragons campaign can dramatically influence your gaming experience. Each Starter Set provides a distinct pathway to the fantastical realm of D&D. Whether it’s entering the perilous universe of Stranger Things or exploring the clandestine corners of Stormwreck Isle, there’s a journey waiting for every aspiring adventurer. Arm yourself with comprehensive knowledge about each set to find the perfect entry point into your grand D&D saga. Regardless of the path you choose, remember – every game marks the onset of a thrilling adventure, an exhilarating journey into the enchanted realm of fantasy and wonder.

Soldier Helps Pave the Way in Army’s First Tabletop Wargame Team

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — When 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNE) Command Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander, Capt. Ivan Cho, first started playing tabletop wargames in eighth grade, he never would have thought he’d be playing his favorite games while wearing the Army logo.

Cho, and three other Army active duty and reserve Soldiers, did just this as the U.S. Army eSports’ Warhammer 40,000 Team at the Las Vegas Open on January 24, 2020, which hosts the largest Warhammer 40,000 Tournament in the world.

“It really opens up avenues for civilians and other parties to see that the United States Army has opportunities within it if you are willing to branch out and try new things,” said Cho.

The U.S. Army eSports Team is a competition team of the U.S. Army and pulls its members from the Regular Army and Army Reserves. The Team has various sub-teams that fall under the Army eSports Team, including the Army eSports Warhammer 40,000 Team. Members play competitive Warhammer 40,000, a tabletop wargame where players enact battle by using miniature models of warriors and combat equipment on top of the layout of a battlefield.

“For a lot of veterans, Warhammer 40,000 is considered great for morale and therapeutic because of the vast hobby aspects that come with it including building the miniatures, painting them, then being able to compete against other players and hobbyists,” said Cho.

Cho and his teammates competed against over 750 players and played more than six rounds of games. Each round was roughly two and a half hours long, totaling about 15 hours of gaming over the course of two days. All four team members made the top 25 percent of players, competing with some of the best players in the world.

“I think it will have a lot of benefits for future Army players to know they have the backing of the United States Army to play and compete in a hobby they love to do,” said Cho.

The Army eSports Warhammer 40,000 Team consists of six active members from across the Nation: Capt. Red Powell of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Capt. Ivan Cho, Capt. Matthew Talley of U.S. Army Forces Command, Master Sgt. Justin Pizzoferrato of the U.S. Army Cadet Command, Staff Sgt. Shane Watts of Defense Information Systems Agency, and Staff Sgt. Jason Rider of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

“At this time, we are in the works for opening up more slots on the active team and create a second team to encourage more growth in the Warhammer 40,000 community as well as show the rest of the world that you can be a Soldier and still do your normal hobbies,” said Cho.

By Rebecca Nappi, 20th CBRNE

Big Trouble In Little China: The Board Game

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

With there being a District 9 board game currently up for funding on Kickstarter, I was a bit curious to know what other properties got the niche board game treatment. And in what is both surprising but at the same time totally expected, the John Carpenter cult classic film (and one of my absolute favorite films of all time) Big Trouble in Little China is one of those properties. Created by board game company Everything Epic, the game has up to 4 players take on the role of heroes like Egg Shen, Wang Chi, and Jack Burton (of course) as they try to stop Lo Pan’s resurrection. It’s not a new game, as it was released last year, but Everything Epic did announce an expansion this year, Legacy of Lo Pan, which increases the player count to 6, and comes with a free Six Demon Bag to store dice.

If you want to pick up the game for yourself, here’s a (non-affiliate) Amazon link: www.amazon.com/Big-Trouble-Little-China-Game/dp/B07F5LKJKP

District 9: The Boardgame – Now On Kickstarter

Sunday, March 31st, 2019

Crowdfunding has become commonplace enough that even established companies are using it to greenlight what might be considered niche products. Such is the case with WETA Workshop and Trishula Entertainment’s Kickstarter campaign for a District 9 boardgame. Designed for 2-4 players, District 9: The Boardgame takes place during the film’s 3-day period as players pick one of 4 factions to salvage Prawn technology and take control of the district.

For more information on the game, the stretch goals, and to pledge, check out the link below:


Atomic Zeal

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

Atomic Zeal is a strategy board game set in the irradiated wastes of post nuclear war 80s United Kingdom. Play as one of four unique factions each with a different play style, units and abilities. Combined with an unpredictable event deck, nuclear warheads and a variety of additional tactical supplies no two games will be the same. Battle for dominance of the map, capturing sectors for resources or to maintain a tactical advantage over your rivals.

Sounds super interesting. There’s not too much information out as of yet, however expect a follow up on Atomic Zeal when the Kickstarter goes live later this year.