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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 20 May 2012
The Dungeons and Dragons Essentials range is a great way for new D&D players and Dungeon Masters to get into a game that has hundreds of resources available to confound anyone not knowledgable about what to buy and why. I was one such player, deciding to take a look at the game I had heard a lot about but only once ever played years ago with my brother, who was a D&D addict. I jumped in the deep end by attending one of the weekly D&D taster Encounters sessions that are held in Travelling Man type shops around the country. You can just drop in and play a typical combat, you dont need anything to play with and its a friendly introduction to the game. A few weeks after this first session a new Encounters campaign was due to start so I decided to try a bit of character creation for the next one rather than rely on one of the character handouts, and for this reason I bought this book.

Its a good book for the prospective player whether new or experienced. It includes all the rules you need to know to be a player in a game, plus several of the classic D&D character roles such as fighter, cleric, wizard and rogue, along with the main types of player creature you might want to play as such as human, elf, dwarf, and halfling. As a single resource for players it does a superb job, includes a lot you need to know touching even on the Nentir Vale, the classic D&D setting, as well as the various gods in the D&D universe.

I found it great to use in Encounters, I managed to create a character and use it for levelling up later on.

This book is far more useful than the other one, Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms, which covers less useful character types and roles, the other one is more a book D&D veterans who want more choices for their characters.

The only thing I didnt like about this book is the levelling up is pretty complex and the lack of sample levelling procedure and character generation really doesnt help. But after a few tries, and some clarifications from the internet site RPG.net I got the hang of how to level up.

So basically it has evenrything you need to know if you are a player, its a great resource for new players getting into the game and wanting to play one of the classic characters, and its a small book that you can carry to games to act as a rules guide.

The Essentials range is a great idea being split into player and Dungeon Master resources, and it includes DM screens, monster tokens and stats, games rules, character generation, and dungeon tiles, everything you might want to run a D&D game. Plus the range includes all the latest errata so you know its all correct and plays well. As a new player and DM I can heartily recommed getting all of the rang.

Mind you the new D&D version (5th Edition) is presently being worked on and arguably expected to be released in the Autumn next year (2013). 4th edition D&D has certainly got its critics in that many say it is geared more to the battles than the out of combat role playing, but it is certainly a simple, easy to play system that is now well tested and very complete, a process that the 5th dition will have to go through no doubt. So bear all that in mind when you consider whether to buy the 4th edition stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2013
Everything you need to know to continue your adventures past the Start Kit. An essential product for any Dungeons and Dragons Fan.
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on 13 January 2014
This is a perfect introduction to those who are new (and not so new) to D&D. To a new player like myself D&D can at first be quite daunting, as simply making a character can take hours to do, with dozens of options and choices involved. This boils it down to the absolute essentials (hence the name) and making rolling up characters a breeze. If you're looking to get started, this is the place.
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on 14 November 2014
great book only down side was that it wasnt the easyest to build your character and the combat builder at the back dosnt show all the things you need to build your abilitys and defence
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on 2 October 2013
This book helps you roll characters and gives you their feats and characteristics. It takes you through everything each class of character can do.
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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2010
When I first read about the new essential lineup about d&d 4th edition I was quite puzzled. Do we really need, another 4rth ed? Or another x.5 edition of an rpg? Well, let's think about what the 4th edition really is.
It is not mostly a new edition of an old game, but a complete rebuild of a genre. 4rth edition has introduced such a tremendous changing momentum in the rpg genre that we still haven't seen all its consequences; the game is now team oriented, with every mechanics forcing people to really act together.
Yes, we all now that this has come with some "incidents": while claiming or being said to be simpler than 3.x or older versions, the 4rth edition has proved to be a mathematical beast, rough and though, that day after day has been tamed only via extraordinary methods, the character builder having proved to be one of them. Just try to seat down, smile at your player, and calmly explaining them the differences between a power and another, a feat and another... without the builder.
This is pure optimization frenzy. You have to be a little "einstein-inside" to fully like the math under the 4rth. It is not easy, it's demanding, but in term of pure (combat?) roleplay is simply fascinating, thrilling, exalting and rewarding when a good party plane comes together.
This has leaved many people feeling sad about poor out of combat roling options; as many of you may know, this is not completely true. This game is just so much another thing, that you simply will love or hate it depending on how much you are willing to take a leap of faith.
This said, why an Essential edition? because, yes, the math under the 4rth edition is though.
The most direct thing you can feel when you have this book it's his overall simplicity: the presentation of main rules, characters, classes and races has being bootstrapped and rewritten, and the final thing is a tighter, faster version of 4th ed: keep this in mind, everything is more accessible, easy to find, and all comes up in a fancy, very handy pocket edition (note: dear wizzy, please chose another printing company, the cover is of such a low quality). All the main mechanics are unchanged: you have the power system, the rest system, the race system, the skill and feat system of the 4rt edition. But everything is rethought in such a way that you get a new game and you retain compatibility with the "old" one. How? well, to make things simpler you have (at least in this book) only four classes, and only six builds (even if they are no more so called).
Of course, giving less options is a way to simplify a lot, but it's not all here: only 2 classes (clerics and mages) have daily powers, and all of the classes powers and management are so new that... well, they are new classes, they play different, and they still can buy a feat from old manuals and fight against the "old" monsters, and use old magic items! this is not a simple achievement, such a curios compatibility is, in my opinion, a great achievement. Some examples: the knight (one of the two fighter builds) is still a defender, is still working as the sticky-guy, but powers and class mechanic is totally rewritten - now you, basically, enter stances depending on the tactical combat you are facing. And you have auras (well, just one in this book) with wich you can threath enemies. This is completely different, but it sounds and plays exactly as the 4rt ed fighter - just with lots of twists to the main mechanics, and in a simpler, faster way.
Take the rogue: one big thing, ladies and gentlemen, backstab is back! it's now an encounter power that, added to the sneak ability, enhance the amount of damage with a basic attack. And... you only have basic attacks: all others are at-will that concentrate on moving and shifting abilities, and encounter powers that also boost your moving capacities. Just that: you focus yourself on moving, and then hitting hard and fast.
These (yes, incredible and deep) changes finally achieve a point: every class really plays different. No more "same dice damage, different text" sensation (even if not totally correct, but it's still there in any 4rt ed session), now if you are a cleric you buff, and everyone knows and sees that you are doing that, if you are a fighter you dominate the battlefield, if you are a thief you run-and-hit, if you are a wizards everyone should fear your crowd control abilities.
Back to the fundamentals of fun roleplay? I think we can say that. Still, it's designed for a very easy way to roleplay, but hey, it is called "essential" isn'it.
- presentation: 5 stars. Intriguing, new, radical, smooth
- quality: 2 stars. My Lord, the cover is so poor, the sheet type had to be "uso mano" (I think you say machinemade, in English, or handmade look) and not matt coated, for it is too heavy
- fun: 3 stars. Raise to 4 stars for those who liked 4rt ed
- flavor: 4 stars: nice format, intriguing differentiation of classes, overall sensation of "I wanna more of it!"
- global: 3 stars. Nice product, again a fresh start from the same publishers, interesting and finally handy format, cool and fast rules, but with the big issue of the printing quality; someone could still feel a little betrayed for having bought 2 to 5 rules manuals that this essential will potentially supersede.
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on 19 August 2014
A1
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 20 October 2010
Let me see.
Its a paperback.
Less classes than a PHB = bad.
Less races than a PHB = bad.
Less general information than a PHB = bad.
Less rules than a PHB = bad.
Smaller than a PHB = well, good-ish (see my rant on the DM's Box about size)

If you're _seriously_ on a budget and can't afford £14.91 for the PHB Player's Handbook: A 4th Edition Core Rulebook: 1 (D&d Core Rulebook) (Dungeons & Dragons) OR you really want to play a dumbed-down fighter or thief then this is the book for you.

Which means its not the book for me. And probably isn't the book for you either so save the extra fiver up and buy the PHB....
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