Take on the same quest that the Stranger Things gang began in this Stranger Things Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set from Wizards of the Coast and its parent company Hasbro.
As you may recall, one of the opening scenes from season one introduced us to Mike, Lucas, Dustin, and Will in the Wheelers basement as they took on their own D&D quest. Since then, there have been multiple references and themes taken from the game that made there way into the show. Look no further than the Demogorgan.
That said, this game is designed as a true introductory offering for those looking to not only learn the sometimes-intimidating game of D&D but also take up the same quest that the boys began in episode one... before things got strange.
Out of the box, players are provided with a pre-made D&D campaign created by Mike Wheeler, the Dungeon Master, called "Hunt for the Thessalhydra"; a Starter Set Rulebook, which includes details about getting started, character abilities, combat, adventuring, and more; as well as five pre-made character sheets inspired by the Stranger Things characters. For example, Will was the Cleric and Lucas was the Ranger in their game. These roles offered, as well as a Bard, a Wizard, and a Paladin. You'll also need a Dungeon Master (i.e your own Mike). Experienced players might feel these pre-made sheets take some of the fun out of the play since character development is a big component to D&D, however for D&D newbies this made getting started a lot less intimidating for a first-go. Experienced players may also note some other common D&D characters are missing, such as a Rogue. None of the characters included are too combat heavy.
As a bit of additional background on this particular version of the game, it is also based on the fifth edition of D&D so it features modern character sheets. Thus, it's not the version the boys would have played in the '80s if we're getting technical. However, for modern players, you can incorporate them into your own games and utilize your own fifth edition character if you wanted to as well. All these characters have already been leveled up to level 3 to begin with, which makes it additionally easier to get right into the gameplay without players feeling too overwhelmed with tracking your powers and abilities just yet.
Because this is intended as an intro game, the quest is fairly light on content and really intended for you to experience the game as if you were one of the Stranger Things characters. Essentially, you've been tasked by Sir Tristan to hunt down and kill the a beast that's been destroying his kingdom, a Thessalhydra. What's interesting for the Dungeon Master in this game is that the quest features notes to self throughout, which acts as an additional guide for first-time Dungeon Masters. Along the way, players will encounter puzzles, cavern crawls, and combat. This is where the include dice comes in. The DM's quest will indicate which die to use and what your rolls indicate.
The quest, based on our own testing, can easily be played in one to two sessions over the course of an evening. At most you might be able to stretch it to a full-weekend of gameplay but you'd really need to use your imagination.
From a beginner's perspective, the gameplay for the Stranger Things Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set was a lot easier to understand than we anticipated without being too overwhelming. Stranger Things fans will also like the show call-outs throughout the adventure, such as the encounter with a "Proud Princess" (Eleven) or more obviously, the Upside Down.
Roleplaying is also highly encouraged which adds to the fun.
The Stranger Things Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set is for ages 14 and up. It will appeal to beginner D&D players as an entry-level game as well as fans of the Netflix series. The game suggest it can be played with a minimum of three players, but in speaking with our own resident D&D players, it plays much better with a minimum of four players. D&D is a roleplay heavy game so you'll also need to make sure you are playing with the right group. If players are unwilling to use their imaginations, it won't be fun for anyone involved. For experienced players, this game's quest is pretty light on content so we suggest it's best played with D&D newbies.
While you can play the game with a full-group on first-time D&D players, playing with at least one experienced players is highly encouraged to speed up your understanding of the gameplay.
There is also a lack of dice in this game. It only came with one set of dice to split between at least three players, you need more.
The included quote-en-quote painted plastic Demogorgan miniature and unpainted one contribute to the price-bump on this starter set and they are really aren't worth it.
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