Cubicle 7 released the 4th Edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay last year. We reviewed it and loved it, so we're following up with an Off The Shelf / On The Tabletop series on the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Starter Set.
In this Off The Shelf article, we will fully unbox the product, along with a closer look at some components. For full details of the rules and mechanics, check out our review of the Core Set.
Our Off The Shelf series is always the first of two parts. Off The Shelf articles are unboxing and preview articles which are followed up by On The Tabletop, where we take the game to the tabletop, with several gamers from different tabletop backgrounds to get a rounded first impression of the game. Check back soon for the On The Tabletop article that follows this one.
Straight out of the box, the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Starter Set is incredibly thematic. Everything feels high-quality and is extremely well produced. Everything is presented on quality paper and the hand-outs and reference guides are on robust card.
The box opens up into a Read This First leaflet, which is a solid introduction to the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay setting and roleplaying in general and does a great job of introducing itself and the box contents.
The included custom dice look like they came straight out of the setting and are a great inclusion over regular dice. The dice can be a little hard to read, but they look fantastic. We would have liked to have seen 2 sets of dice included, 1 set for the players and the other set for the games master (GM), but it’s a minor criticism as players should look to get their own dice eventually.
It’s also great to see the city guide separate from the adventure. Meaning that both books can be used simultaneously. It also means that after the adventure is finished, the Guide to Ubersreik can still be used without having to carry around the extra adventure pages. It’s such a simple thing, but it shows the thought that has gone into the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Starter Set and that carries through the entire product.
The Adventure Book includes a liner adventure, that lets the GM guide the players through their first steps. It does a great job of presenting the rules when they’re required, along with nudging the GM for roleplaying opportunities for the players. It’s great to see that it also includes ways to bring in players who might be being quiet and it includes verbal prompts for all the included pre-generated characters.
The adventure is very well designed and written. It includes several optional scenarios at the end of the book. These can be used during the included adventure to flesh it out into a full-sized campaign, or as individual adventures after the core adventure is concluded.
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The adventure can be played through quickly, simply as a way to get the players into the setting, or really fleshed out as the start to their adventures in the Warhammer World. There is a huge amount of detail, including optional dialogue and scene setting. For an experienced GM, it is incredible. For beginner GM’s though, as their first adventure, it might be overwhelming. I would advise anyone running this adventure to make lots of notes when planning. Highlight essential texts that should be read verbatim, write and note your own optional texts and underline tests needed throughout. This will really help when you’re playing.
For one of the first scenes, I produced a timeline prompt, so I knew what would be happening when. The fact that I needed to produce this, shows the level of detail provided in the adventure. It's a technically simple scene, but in order to give the players the best experience, I want them to immerse themselves and experience all the wonderful little details Cubicle 7 have provided throughout a flowing scene.
The Guide to Ubersreik contains a huge amount of detail and is very well presented. The adventure book regularly refers to pages in this book if more details are required to immerse the players. It’s a great setting that can be continued, well beyond the included adventure. It has details of different parts of the city, as well as the province as a whole. It has information about notable characters, villains and monsters and a whole section of shadowy agencies that might be found.
Reading it all and immersing yourself in it is the best way to get this dark and grim setting across to the players. It takes some preparation, but the results are worth it.
The character sheets look great, as can be seen in the above images. We will get more detailed feedback on them from the On The Tabletop team in our next article after our first impressions play through.
A great touch with the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Starter Set is that the box can be used as a GM screen. One inlay contains a map and the other a quick rules reference. The top can be stood up inside the bottom, in order to secure it, but I would be tempted to have them both standing side-by-side, in order to get an almost full screen. Standing the lid inside does give you a dice tray as well though, so the choice is yours.
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The Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Starter Set is a premium product. It contains some incredibly well-produced material and a huge amount of detail. The adventure is very well done and a balanced beginner adventure. It contains a fantastic amount of detail that would be more suited to an experienced GM. Some changes in the layout would have made it more beginner friendly, but it does teach starting GM’s about notes and preparation. The rules are very well presented and streamlined into the adventure, and the information for encouraging roleplay is superb.
Our only criticism is that we would have liked to have had 2 sets of dice. That should tell you something about the product and how high we rate it.
Check back soon to see our On The Tabletop playthrough of the adventure and get our team's first impressions.
This copy of the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Starter Set was provided by Cubicle 7.
Have you played Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay? Which editions have you played? Which edition is your favorite? What do you think of the quality of this Starter Set? Let us know in the comments below.