Review: Dungeons & Dragons Core Rules Gift Set

As Dungeons & Dragons are getting closer to the D&D Live 2019 show happening this May, we decided to go back over a couple of D&D items for review. Just after the holidays, we managed to get our hands on one of these amazing Core Rules Gift Sets, and our was the special edition to boot. But what’s all inside here for those looking to buy it or maybe get into D&D for the first time? Let’s explore everything this set has to offer.

First off, let’s look at this cool exterior box that everything comes in. The design team did an amazing job making this pop on the shelf and added in so many details it might make hardcore fans’ heads spin. The choice of the gold, red, and black makes it look like an ancient tome waiting to be poured over in great detail. I love the additions of a D20 on the sides and the “&” symbol placed in a couple places. This is a gorgeous look that made me so happy to see it for the first time.

The first book in the box is the Player’s Handbook. Much like the regular version, you are greeted with the “welcoming” face of King Snurre, iron helmet and all looking at you like you don’t belong here and why shouldn’t he put you down? I love the design of his helmet cast in a slightly deeper red with orange eyes and bear shining underneath. The gold on these books is a great choice for many of the details that would be painted in other colors, but it does the job well here.

Next up is the Monster Manual, and again, much like the regular edition, you are greeted by the charming looks of a Beholder. This is one of those designs that I immediately fell in love with and felt back thumbing through the book as this is a piece of art that should be on my wall. I love the touch of blue on all the eyes and the extra jagged teeth bearing down on you. That back-cover design is a piece of work as well as you get a different kind of look with some amazing netting designs in blue. I want a poster of this hanging in my house, this design is so good!

The third book is the Dungeon Master’s Guide, and again we’re treated to a character from the regular book as we see the lich Acererak, with his mighty crown dawned in purple. I got a kick out of the look from this one as the purple and gold trim compliment each other on both the front and back. The patterns and designs make this book pop and it feels like a crime getting my fingerprints all over it. It was also nice having some bright white on the face and as part of the patterns on the back.

This edition of the set comes with its own Dungeon Master’s screen, which as you can see from the photos below matches the outside of the box. This is gorgeous and has a number of finer details that are exquisitely done, especially on the dragon’s face as it looks menacing at you. All of the information on the flip side is all that you would normally see on a DM’s screen with stats and effects at the ready for you to check out and get info at a glance.

As to the information within the books, I did a side-by-side comparison and couldn’t find any specific changes between the two sets just eyeballing it. I’m sure they probably went through and made a couple of adjustments or corrected mistakes that got past them the first time around. Bust as best I can tell, they’re a perfect match to the regular editions. The Dungeons & Dragons Core Rules Gift Set is a perfect item to get if you’re looking to jump into the game and get all the essentials you need to build characters and run a game. it also makes for an amazing set if you’re looking to upgrade, or a gift if you know someone who is really into the game can can’t afford all the books at once.

The normal version of this would run you about $90, which is a hell of a deal considering the price of each D&D book usually runs around $40-50 a piece. The limited edition you’re looking at here, however, that’ll run you about $160 depending on where you buy it. I think it’s great the company put all of the necessities together in a single package for whoever needs it, kind of like packaging the first three albums of a band you really like together so you’re not buying each one alone. It’s a must-have if you’re looking to get into the game at full speed and could use the essentials to understand it.

About Gavin Sheehan

Gavin has been a lifelong geek who can chat with you about comics, television, video games, and even pro wrestling. He can also teach you how to play Star Trek chess, be your Mercy on Overwatch, recommend random cool music, and goes rogue in D&D. He also enjoys standup comedy, Let's Play videos and trying new games, along with hundreds of other geeky things that can't be covered in a single paragraph. Follow @TheGavinSheehan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vero, for random pictures and musings.