Pathfinder’s Box – Cracking Open The Beginners Box

The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Beginner Box has been around for awhile now but I figure it’s worth a review. Today we’ll crack open the box and look at the highs and lows of this game.

If you haven’t already bought something from Paizo before then let me put you at ease. Today gamers expect quality and Paizo delivers in bucket loads, both visually and content wise. In fact, Paizo polish would be my main reason for recommending anything they sell. The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, if you don’t know, is actually an improved version of Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. You’re not getting a new game here, you’re getting the next generation of a game that won a place in the hearts of role-players everywhere.


The box really does have everything you need to play. You get the rules, which is a streamlined version of the Core Book, including enough to get your players to level 6. There’s a complete set of dice (unlike Dungeons & Dragons: Red Box which only has six of the seven you need). There’s a double sided dry-erase map with a dungeon on one side and a blank map on the reverse. You also get a huge collection of player and monster cardboard stand-up figures, character sheets, two adventures (solo and group) and pre-generated characters.


What’s Missing

Many people want to know what hasn’t been included, especially veteran players who want to use the box to augment their collection or help bring in new players.

Some of the omissions include skills like Handle Animal, rules such as attacks of opportunity (AoO) and encumbrance. The boxed set is trimmed down to six levels of play. Understandably some races and classes are excluded from the mix, such as gnomes, halflings and half-orcs as well as barbarians and rangers. Generally what has been cut makes this game easier to run and great for new players. Furthermore, once the players reach level 6 you can seamlessly adopt the Core Rules and continue the fun. I do think that loosing  AoO is a little sad, possibly confusing, but I’d just include the rule anyway, since I know how it works.

You only get 20 plastic bases for the miniatures but even a party of 6 isn’t easily going to use all 20 bases in one encounter. Since Paizo and WizKids released the Pathfinder Beginner Box Miniatures set you can free up four extra bases anyway. The mix of characters and monsters is pretty good but you won’t find mounts like horses since there are no rules for riding.

Paizo may have had to cut things from the box but they didn’t shaft anyone. You can download, at no additional cost, further adventures and rules, including the Barbarian class, from their site.


Great For All

I think this is a great buy. I bought it even though I’d been playing the Core Rules for about a year at the time. I had moved to Japan and wanted to keep on role-playing even though I didn’t have much of my collection with me (save for some dice). The Beginner Box let me jump start my new collection in one affordable purchase. Even now, a year on, I feel that the box set makes it easier to get a game in.

The game is versatile too. You have enough for hours of play and can expand it easily enough. You can also use the box with adventures such as my own Sentinels Watching campaign.

I do think this is more for the beginner though, but if you like Pathfinder you won’t regret adding this to your collection.

Do you own the Beginners Box? Tell us what you think by leaving a comment below. Also, my spies tell me it’s almost competition time. Subscribe via e-mail (on the right) to be in the running for a free adventure that’s compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.