- Rule book
- Adventure book
- Pre-gen character sheets
No poster or maps, no tokens or mini's. The dice are decent, a far cry from the old TSR sets.
The worst part: I've said it before, no character creation rules. I know they take up space, I know there's a free PDF out there now, but the whole point of a roleplaying game is to play a character, traditionally one that you create. Cutting that out of the initial out-of-the-box experience is just the wrong call in my opinion. Maybe you lower the level range to 1-3 instead of 1-5, maybe you raise the price of the box $5, I don't know what the options might have been, but running pre-gens is not the heart of the RPG experience.
The best part: the included adventure is pretty good.
- It has dungeons
- It has a dragon
- Many "monsters" have notes regarding goals and reasons they might talk to a party or respond with something other than violence. That's a nice touch and opens up a lot of possibilities.
- It's not over-mapped or over-described, so there's "room to breathe" here for the DM
- It's very MMO-like in that many NPCs are there specifically to give out quests. One town especially is a "quest hub" that I expect the party will be coming and going from quite a bit. There's a lot more individual detail but it's similar to the classic B2 style of base area with a lot going on around the countryside. The NPC's will hand out titles/membership in various Realms organizations as well if they like the PC's - that is an especially fun little addition.
Compared to the 4E red box it's very similar but I'll give the 5E set the nod because the adventure is quite a bit better.
Compared to the Pathfinder Beginner Box it is definitely a lesser product as the PF box has more complete rules including character generation, poster maps for the first adventure, and stand-up figures. Keep in mind the PF box is more expensive though.
It's not a terrible value, especially at a discount. The pre-gen approach is not my favorite, but the rest of the set works. If I was giving it to a kid I'd print out the PDF of the Basic Rules and give that to them at the same time for the best possible situation.