Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Discussion: Boxed Sets

Well, here we are at another Friday. Here at RPG Blog II, we roll into a Super Bowl weekend (Go Colts!) with another Friday Discussion. Nothing to heavy, nothing too profound, just gamers talking about the hobby we love.

This week's question comes from a RPG Circus interview we had last night we with James Raggi about boxed sets (the episode should drop shortly).

What do you look for in a boxed set RPG? A complete game? Maps? Dice? A reasonable price point? All of the above?

Have a great weekend!


DeadGod said...

There are only 3 things I've ever purchased in boxed-set format: Metzer red box D&D, Ravenloft, and Dark Sun. It's not that I don't like boxed sets, its just that when I actually got around to being able to afford them with my own money, there weren't too many compelling boxed products on the market.

If I'm buying a game in a boxed set, I would like there to be extras: rules summary sheets, dice, play mats, or something. You have to justify putting it in a box (other than the lame excuse that there are two books.)

On the other hand, I feel like campaign settings are a much more natural thing to put in a box. It should have a setting book, a map, and lots of bonus points if there is also an adventure. I liked the 2ed format of splitting the rules material into one book and the setting fluff into another.

clash bowley said...

I'm not a box set kindova guy, so I'm not your target audience, but I wish the Colts the best in the Super Bowl! If it can't be my Pats, and they never had a prayer this year, I'm happy with the Colts.


Carpe Guitarrem said...

In a boxed set, I'm definitely looking for not only a playable RPG, but also an RPG that allows for a decent level of customization, which can of course be expanded if there are splatbooks to be had. Dice are also a definite must.

I really, really like the idea of including maps and other "goodies" to help enhance the environment and atmosphere.

And, of course, pricing is a good point, although for a boxed set, I'd be willing to shell out a bit more.

newbiedm said...

My favorite D&D excperiences come from boxed sets. I had the red box, the blue box, Forgotten Realms, Council of Wyrms, & Ravenloft. I loved the poster maps with the transparent hex grids. Exploring hexes was a great way to pass the time, as was tracking the journey on the map buy figuring out distances and quickest way to places. Good times.

1d30 said...

If it's going to be sold in a box it has to contain things that you wouldn't be able to put on a bookshelf, or else it has to have a lot of little pieces.

One acceptable set of contents was the old 2E Ravenloft boxed set. It contained weird dice, cards for gypsy fortune-telling, a couple thick softcover sourcebooks, and a bunch of loose Monstrous Manual pages.

Another would be the Spelljammer boxed set. It contained sheets of cutout cardstock ship miniatures and counters, a black star-scape paper hex mat, a couple softcover sourcebooks, and Monstrous Manual pages.

The Myth Drannor boxed set had booklet-sized cardstock DM aids for things like lists of traps, random treasures, wild magic surges, and single-level dungeons scattered throughout the ruined city. It also had a couple softcover books and a large map.

Night Below included cardstock counter sheets for monsters. I love these because not everyone has 30 of one creature or even one of a rare type commonly found in the module. (Avoiding spoilers here). They're also very convenient to carry with you to a game, if you aren't playing at your house. I wish every boxed set came with these top-down view monster counters. I can't find anything like it on the Blogotubes.

I'd say a boxed set could be justified if there are a few books that can't be used individually. For example, if you check out your used bookstore, you might find books from boxed sets that have been broken up (for whatever reason). Although this is probably more of a reason to compile it all in one book rather than in a boxed set.

One could argue that 1 set of 3-4 booklets could be put in a boxed set. You can't just print a longer booklet because there are page count limits inherent in the format. But paying more for production of a box goes against the whole purpose of using a booklet format anyway - you might as well use a full size book format with the compiled set and skip the box.

Josh said...

Rule books, dice, maps, player/monster markers (to put on the maps), a campaign setting and an adventure with pre-made player characters. In other words, I think a boxed set is something you can just open up and play without the need to buy anything else.

Joseph said...

Another advantage of a boxed set is the portability factor. It's far easier to grab a box, shove this evening's module inside, and take off, rather than lugging a milk crate full of gaming supplies (as I myself do even today).

Lloyd Ritchey said...

I did boxed sets well into the early 1990's. Old-school D&D gave way to FASA's Battletech and it's many related boxed set games. Ever since truly committing myself to strictly pen and paper RPGs though, I see less and less purpose for them. I hear the hotly anticipated Dragon Age pen & paper RPG has been released in boxed sets. Perhaps there'll be a harkening back to those days though somehow I don't think so.

Eric Wilde said...

The box should have everything I need to play the game: rules, dice, some setting information (if appropriate to the game) and an adventure or two. And, as DeadGod mentioned, it should have something that justifies putting it in a box instead of a PDF online or just a single book.

No, two books does not justify a box. Putting two books into a box only justifies just producing one book.

sacha3791 said...

I used to be a sucker for boxed sets, back when I bought RPG stuff as if it was going out of fashion. These days if I were to seriously consider buying one, I'd like to see:

1. A players' book.
2. A GMs book.
3. A setting book, complete with an introductory adventure and several adventure outlines.
4. Maps. Lots of tasty maps.
5. Card-stock counters.
6. Dice.

Basically I'd want to get a complete game that I can use straight out of the box, without the need to buy any extra materials and that will last me for a goodly number of sessions.

I don't want much do I? ;o)