Sunday, September 12, 2010

D&D4 Essentials Round-up

Ok, D&D 4 Essentials is now out.  I have the "Red Box" Starter and will be picking up the new "Heroes of the Fallen Lands" soon.  With yesterday as World Wide D&D day (and the 10th Anniversary of me picking up the "new" D&D 3.0 Players Handbook) I thought I would see what others are saying about their experiences with the new books.  Now I did not get a chance to play yesterday myself.  Most Game Days I never make it to my FLGS, but usually get a game in here at home.   But some still managed to make it and post some of their thoughts.  Even those that didn't make have something to say.

You have read my thought here and here.  How do others think?  Well I guess it depends on who you ask.

Rob Conley over at Bat in the Attic has review of the starter set,  He thinks the team at Wizards gets an A for effort, but more was needed.  I tend to agree with that, but keep in mind that anyone, like myself or Rob, who has a copy of one of the old Basic rules from the 80s is not the target audience here.  I think he sees that as well.   In the end he mentioned the game he played was fun.

Paul at the Hopeless Gamer gives a very detailed review/overview of Heroes of the Fallen Lands,  including comparisons to the D&D 4e books from two-years ago.  Not to spoil the big reveal, but he does it anyway, D&D 4 Essentials is not D&D 4.5.  If you are a D&D4 player now and are on the fence about Essentials, then this is a good read.

Points of Light is a D&D blog that is heavy on the D&D4 content.  Antioch posted his take on the new Essentials as well. as well as his earlier post on the Starter Set,  His impression is that this adds a new starting point for players of the game.

And finally Tim Shorts over at Gothridge Manor says, make it you own Game Day and play what you like.  He admits that 4e is not for him but he can see why people like it.   I think his plan to play some Old School games next year is good one.  I think more 4e players should try their hand at a Pre-1985 version of D&D sometime.

Of course not every likes the new retro-turn of D&D, James and his readers over at The Underdark Gazette point out that Wizards already had a retro game, AD&D 1st ed.

I think through all of this one thing that is clear is that Wizard's attempt to get a "retro experience" is being perceived very differently.   I played the new Essentials.  I liked it, a lot. It felt retro.  But really if I want retro I have the those games already, I bought them when they were new, 4E scratches a different itch.

I am looking forward to hear and seeing more of the new Essentials line, but mostly I am looking forward to just getting down and doing some gaming.


Timothy S. Brannan said...

Looks like there is a document out the details the changes.


Narmer said...

Thanks for doing this. It gives the curious more food for thought.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Two more takes on the game from a couple of the old school coginesti.

Tim over at Hero Press details his experiences,

and James of Grognardia gives us his take on it all.

Rhonin84 said...

I have had the books now for a bit and while I can appreciate the idea of freshening up the rules. Though I really don't think that someone who has been with the game since the beginning would need much more than the Rules Compendium.

I understand the business model to try and bring new blood in but at the same time to risk alienating the old blood seems dangerous. Now I am not a huge 4th edition supporter but looking at the builds they have done it seems interesting.

I am collecting it just to have it, not sure it will take over the shelf again, Pathfinder is going to be tough to supplant.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

I understand what you are saying. I got it cause I like the design of the game and I do like what I have seen in D&D4.

Nor would I want you stop Pathfinder. I like the idea of being able to play both games and really see how they play out in a long campaign. Both have the merits.

Rhonin84 said...


The part I find really interesting is that 4th edition is really a fantasy combat game, that has mellowed a little bit in the Essentials line BUT not that much. This is an area I know that does not interest you a whole lot but yet you are drawn to it, why?

Just curious....

Timothy S. Brannan said...


You make a very good point. I am not a combat-heavy player. I like to play the arcane guy or the research guy.

I like D&D4 one one level because of it's design. I like that it is an attempt to bring something new to this grand-daddy of all RPGs.

But I also like it because the arcane characters are not pushovers now at starting levels.