Schwifty Hit or Interdimensional Flop?
Wubba lubba dub dub! Morty! We’re in a (burp) dungeons and dragons starter kit Morty! I don’t know how it happened but we’re here Morty, we’re all up inside it on the pages and character sheets and everything. I don’t (burp) I don’t know how good it is though Morty, hopefully, they put real effort into it and it isn’t lame Morty. Looks like some dork is reviewing it, Morty, let’s (burp) see what the nerd writes Morty.
What are Rick and Morty Doing Here?
If you’ve been living under a rock, you might have missed the sci-fi comedy cartoon that has taken ahold of pop culture. The titular Rick and Morty have dimension-hopped their way into countless merch and Wizards of the Coast have taken this opportunity to release a new D&D 5e starter kit bearing the Rick and Morty brand just in time for Christmas. The branding makes sense as that’s a pretty good Venn diagram for D&D players and Rick and Morty fans.
What’s in the Box?
Dungeons and Dragons Vs. Rick and Morty essentially contain all of the contents of the standard 5e beginner box but covered in Rick and Morty branding. It seems to cost a bit more at $24.99 to $29.99 at most locations I could find vs the standard $19.99 price tag on the normal beginner box (up to you if the branding is worth the price difference). You can also forego the physical extras and pick up the PDF for about $19.99. It contains:
- A 64-page streamlined rulebook containing Rick and Morty themed explanations of the basic 5e rules.
- The Lost Dungeon of Rickedness: Big Rick Energy, a 44-page adventure path progressing from 1st to 3rd level.
- Dungeon master screen.
- 5 Pre-generated character sheets.
- A set of 11 polyhedral dice.
Rick and Morty Rulebook
This booklet is exactly what you’d think, it’s the simplified rulebook from the beginner box that has been plastered with Rick’s “advice” and samplings of Rick and Morty artwork. Functionally it works the same (though I worry about new players picking up too much of Rick’s less commendable advice). I was looking forward to a bunch of new Rick and Morty themed artwork but I was sorely disappointed. Most of all (not entirely sure on a couple of pieces) of the artwork is cut directly from the “Rick and Morty Vs. Dungeons and Dragons” comic series. The artwork isn’t bad, but I was really hoping for new stuff rather than cut and pastes from existing comic panels.
With all that said, I do appreciate the flippant attitude they take towards the rules, and how they try to focus players on enjoying the game rather than getting stuck in rules minutiae. They frame Rick as an aggressive power-gamer and rick’s comments are peppered throughout the book. It reminds me quite a bit of Xanathar’s comments in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. Some of Rick’s comments are actually good DM advice, but a lot of it is decidedly bad Rick-styled advice. I hope new players will be able to parse the two.
The Lost Dungeon of Rickedness
This little adventure path is probably going to be the strongest argument for picking the product up. It’s a purely dungeon-crawling affair filled with traps and enemies designed with the trademarked Rick and Morty style humor. Expect a lot of bullshit encounters and references to butts. You’re playing as the Sanchez family as they play a game of D&D that their DM Rick has dimension-hopped them into. There’s no real plot, just a big dungeon full of monsters and treasure, go get it.
I feel like even with the absent plot, new players will have a lot more fun with this adventure than with the beginner box adventure. I think the baked-in humor to the traps and encounters will get new players past that first hurdle and could really get them into the game. Subtlety and long role-playing at the start of a player’s first adventure can sometimes put them off, I appreciate how quickly this gets them in and active.
My biggest complaint with the adventure is that it doesn’t go far enough. Even with the humorous situations, the monsters you’re fighting are still standard goblins and orcs and whatnot. Other than one notable were-pickle encounter, we didn’t get any cool Rick and Morty themed monsters or magic items.
Dungeon Master Screen
Lovely Rick and Morty artwork but I found the material a bit lackluster, just like the one found in the beginner box. I realize including a better material would have significantly bumped the price of the product, just be prepared that the screen is pretty flimsy. With that being said, I absolutely loved the Rick and Morty artwork for the conditions on the interior of the screen. Strangely I think they're my favorite artwork in the whole product.
Pre-Generated D&D characters for Morty, Summer, Beth, and Jerry are included alongside “Meatface”, a beloved family friend who has definitely been there the whole time (ala Mr. Poopy Butthole). The sheets are nicely laid out and easy to understand. They start at 1st level and cleanly explain how to advance the characters up through 5th level. It’s weird to play as a character who is themselves playing as a D&D character, but I appreciate the work put into these.
Unique Polyhedral Dice Set
I really appreciate that they went above and beyond on the dice set. It includes a total of 11 dice in Rick and Morty yellow and blue and their colors pop rather nicely. The set consists of 1d4, 4d6, 1d8, 2d10, 1d12, and 2d20. I really appreciate that they included the extra d6s, d10s for percentile, and the extra d20 for advantage/disadvantage and just the convenience of less d20 passing. I wish they were a bit fancier (like something Rick and Morty themed for the 20’s) but it’s a really nice dice set.
What’s Good About the Set?
Fundamentally, this is a beginner box with Rick and Morty branding. They did an excellent job of injecting the set with Rick and Morty humor, and I have to say the new adventure path is just plain more fun than the one included in the original beginner box. As an entry into 5e D&D, I feel that Rickedness has a better chance of hooking a new player on the game. The dice and pre-generated characters are a great improvement, and it’s obvious that they tried to do better than the original rather than just rebranding it.
What’s Bad About the Set?
I was extremely let down by a couple of major aspects of this set, mainly the artwork and the non-existent additional content. It was a very lazy move to populate the books with comic artwork. I felt like the artwork was strangely off from the get-go and sure enough, once I started comparing it to the comics, I found at least 90% of the art is directly cut-and-paste. The art’s not atrocious, but it’s meant for comic panels and not to showcase art spreads. The lack of effort with the artwork here really makes it seem like a cheap cash-grab which it didn’t need to be.
My other big gripe is that while the humor works, I had expected to see some Rick and Morty themed monsters or magic items. I really wanted full stat blocks for Meeseeks, or some Rick-styled technological widgets. Instead, we’re still using standard goblins and bugbears, with just a thin veneer of Rick and Morty flavor. It’s still fine for new players, but I was expecting some themed content and it was a real let down.
I think it’s important to lay out what this is and what this isn’t. This is a rebranded beginner box, and not a Rick and Morty expansion to D&D. If you’re an experienced D&D player, there is really no need to pick this up, just like you wouldn’t pick up a beginner box. The Rick and Morty content may be enough for you (but really, if you’re that big a fan you were going to buy this regardless). The dice are nice, and the adventure is fun (even if it is extremely simple), but I wouldn’t pay $30.00 for it when I could buy a setting book or a full adventure path.
If you are a new player, then this becomes a real option for you. The price difference between this and the normal box is $5 to $10, and the extra dice and adventure path might be worth that price jump. It’s not a perfect product, but if you or your friends are both Rick and Morty fans, and want to start playing D&D, this is a fine option. In any other situation, you’ll probably be better served to grab the beginner box or just starting off on one of the big adventure paths.
Final Score For New Players: 6 out of 10
Final Score For Everybody Else: 3 out of 10
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Last updated: January 27, 2019
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