Friday, February 22, 2013

Boxed Set or Hardcover Book?

I got my start in the RPG hobby with the AD&D 1e hardbacks. My first venture into the world of D&D Boxed Sets was a Moldvay Basic Set that I bought for $3 at a store that sold remainders and overstocks. I guess they were clearing out the old Basic for the new Basic.

The first "White Box" D&D like game was the Castles & Crusades White Box, followed a few years later by the S&W White Box (and later the D&D OCE White Box and Delving Deeper's White Box). The thing is, boxed game sets didn't excite me as a teen / young adult - they annoyed me.

They annoyed me because I was horrible at returning stuff to their proper box - I had (still have to some extent) "peanut butter in my chocolate" syndrome. I'd open up the boxed set for Birthright and find Runequest stuff.

Hardcovers and even most softcovers had the advantage of their title on the spine - I could pull something off my shelf and know exactly what I actually had.

As a middle aged 40-something adult, I appreciate boxed sets much more these days, as they look very nice displayed on a shelf, but for practical purposes I think I prefer hardcovers. They are just easier to use and reference in actual play.

How about you? Boxed sets? Hardcovers? Something else?


  1. I like to just pull hard covers off my shelf, but I am a sucker for boxed sets. I just love having everything you need to play included in one box that you can easily just bring to a group and say 'look at what I got, let's play'!

  2. Hardcover. I agree, boxes are a pain to put back in order.

  3. Though I like boxed sets, I have the damnedest time keeping the boxes in good repair. I used to have that problem with hardcovers as well (for instance, my original copies of the DMG and PH are missing their spines, despite being from the better, earlier printings), but I have gotten less abusive of my books. On the whole, I will come down on the side of hardcovers, I guess. Softcover books are less expensive, though, so that's also a consideration.

  4. My box sets have a high mortality rate.

  5. Hardcovers and box sets are both great, but a great box set is more appealing to me than a great hardcover.

  6. Both....although if I get a boxed set I want it full of cool stuff besides just the rulebooks. And it better be sturdy, able to withstand being blown on or put on a shelf without some tacky cardboard insert (I'm looking at you, Edge of the Empire Starter Set).

  7. I prefer hardcover books for their durability and ease of storage and use.

  8. hardcovers, softcovers, books... I am bookworm :)

    and I started roleplaying with the red box back in 1984 but I jumped to AD&D 1st in less than 3 months :)

  9. I guess I like a nice slim softcover the best - by far the most practical option. Boxed sets are exciting, all that cool stuff in there, but I'm not carrying that box into town, work, then to the Meetup pub - I take out the contents and put it in a plastic folder.
    Hardbacks are horribly heavy for carting up and down stairs on the London Underground, and cheap, chintzy fall-apart hardbacks are really annoying. They were a real scourge in the 3e era. I do appreciate my classroom-quality 1e PHB, MM & DMG though. When I was running 1e over the Intenet last year they worked well. But running 4e in town, the weight of the hardbacks means I bring as little as possible; whereas softbacks are far more practical.

  10. I guess for me the apogee of good game design is Moldvay Basic; 64 pages of perfection. :)

  11. I prefer a good tablet and a .pdf or ibook, please. Easier to find, store, carry, move and keep track of, adjustable font size, and the ability to show the image without the stats around it. For my money it is just superior to print in virtually every way, and when one factors in how much cheaper pdfs tend to be it is also more cost effective in the long haul. I'll almost certainly never buy a print RPG product ever again.


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