If you are lucky, getting started with a new role-playing game on the tabletop is as easy as falling into an already established group. For others, it may be much more difficult.
Maybe there is no one in your life who plays such games, or maybe social anxiety makes you win by the thought of learning rules live at the table. New paizos Pathfinder Beginner box solves some of these problems and makes the barrier to getting into the popular RPG paper thinner. At the same time, this starter kit is also a tight little box of goodies that can help newer groups improve their game.
The most frightening aspect of modern board game role-playing games (TTRPGs) is the drawing sheet. Experienced players can scan one and separate the strength of a particular character in an instant, while newer players only see a jumble of numbers that make no sense at all. The Beginner Box Hero̵
Just read through the text entries Choose your own adventure style as you go, and write down a few simple notes that mark your success or failure. There is little in the way of loud drama, but the job is done. It even encourages players to run through the dungeon several times and let them discover new paths as they go. It’s a quick, effortless way to introduce concepts such as hit points, injury, ability checks and even character death.
Best of all, new players can fail privately and learn at their own pace.
The Beginner box Game Master’s Guide takes a completely different approach, more or less beginners throw GMs (game masters) right into the thick of things. After just two short pages describing the key concepts of TTRPG in general, there are about 20 pages of action there at the beginning of the book. But it’s all shot through with sidebars and exposure instructions designed to help GMs keep things moving.
Just like in the introductory adventure, information is provided on a need to know. The copy itself is both uplifting for players and encouraging for new GMs, with a focus on forging it until you make it through the first few sessions.
That does not mean this Beginner box is thin on introductory content. Both The hero’s handbook and Game Master’s Guide are robust game manuals, which come in 72 and 88 pages, respectively. It is only that the “game” part of the product takes precedence over the “manual” part. Paizo clearly wants people to start playing as soon as possible, and I think the whole package benefits from that approach.
Compared with Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set or Essentials Kit, den Pathfinder beginner box is packed with value. The The hero’s handbook contains everything you need to play characters from three different ancestors (dwarf, elf and human) and four different classes (clergyman, fighter, rogue and wizard). The Game Master’s Guide contains many advanced rules, as well as maps and adventure hooks to get you started. There is also a set of color-coded multicolored dice, quick reference cards with key concepts printed on both sides, four pre-generated drawing sheets and six blanks. Like the books themselves, everything is printed on heavy paper or cardboard and in full color.
Finally, Paizo also throws in some game aids for players who can meet in person. It is a double-sided combat mat, perfect for the use of erasable markers and 124 cardboard miniatures – including pawns for player figures. All in all, it’s a very generous set with a retail price of $ 39.99.
The Pathfinder beginner box is Paizo’s latest starter kit, released late last year. As such, it is completely upgraded and compatible with the game’s second edition rule set. You will find an almost identical treatment in Starfinder beginner box, but with a set of rules tailored to Paizo’s science fiction setting.
The Pathfinder beginner box is available now. The product was reviewed using a final retail copy provided by Paizo Publishing. Vox Media has affiliated partnerships. These do not affect editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased through affiliate links. You can find additional information on Polygon’s ethical policy here.