The Dungeons and Dragons Core Rules Gift Set comes in two formats. The first is just the three regular 5th edition core books packaged together with a DM screen.
The second is the three regular 5th edition core books with much fancier cover art packaged with a DM screen. This latter is a limited edition format ostensibly only available from dedicated game stores, and, despite the increased cost (on which more below), is probably a good gift selection for the right person.
Let’s start out, though, by covering the two main downsides to the gift set. The first objection is price. In theory, the gift set costs almost exactly as much as buying all the individual items separately. The U.S. cover price for the set is $169.95, while the three individual books retail for $49.95 each, with a DM screen accessory going for an additional $19.99, for a total only a dime or so away from the gift set price. However, two things make this math less compelling.
First, a lot of people don’t really think about adding a DM screen into the mix when buying the core books for a table top rpg. As a free bonus for getting the complete set all at once, it would have been a nice incentive to get the gift version. As an extra cost for an item you wouldn’t normally have bothered with, it simply drives up the price. Second, I’m Canadian, and the Canadian prices don’t balance out so well.
The Canadian cover price for the set is $220.95. The individual books retail for $58.00. That means the $20 U.S. DM screen, sold individually, would have to cost $46.95 Canadian. Since that’s ridiculously high, from a Canadian perspective, buying the gift set seems to penalize you for buying in bulk, the opposite of what you might expect.
The second objection to buying the Dungeons and Dragons gift box is that most players don’t need, and actually shouldn’t
Moreover, the gift set really works best if you’re buying it for someone who’d appreciate a single, fairly expensive gift, such as yourself or a significant other. If you’re buying it for, say, one of your kids at a birthday, Christmas, etc., well, individually wrapped books mean more presents to open on
With all that out the way, I’d nonetheless still recommend the limited edition version of the set, at least, as a worthy gift for any aspiring Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master you’re prepared to spend $220 on for a single present. The new cover art isn’t just gorgeous – though it certainly is that, too – but designed to provide a much more epic feel to the books. The ordinary versions have cover art meant to show the fantastic battles and scenes you might encounter in a game session.
The limited edition gift set versions are meant to make the books feel like forbidden tomes you might encounter in a crumbling library amidst the forgotten ruins of a long-lost wizard’s tower, which is awesome. And the gift set is heavy and compact, with all three books and the screen contained in a single, perfectly fitting box. As a result, it feels like a super expensive, worthwhile gift when you hold it in your hands in a way the three books sliding loose simply don’t.
So the upshot is that, if you or someone close you