Dungeons & Dragons vs. Rick and Morty Sold Me on Starter Sets

If you’ve never played Dungeons & Dragons, there’s plenty of ways to start. Any of them are as good as the next, broadly speaking, and the possibilities range from a couple different starter sets, homebrew games, various modules, to honestly just about anything. But if you’ve seen Rick and Morty, the adult animated comedy on Adult Swim, it’s hard not to recommend folks start off with the new Dungeons & Dragons vs. Rick and Morty starter set that brings the popular series’ characters into the role-playing game as half-orc rogues, elven mages, and more.

Prior to the game’s launch, I had the opportunity to play the new starter set with a bunch of folks at a press event where D&D designer Kate Welch served as our DM. While this certainly isn’t going to be the normal version of the game for most folks, it played out in much the same way as any D&D game I’ve even been apart of: failing puzzles, stabbing our way out of situations, and generally cracking each other up.

Overall, it’s not too wildly different from your traditional Dungeons & Dragons experience despite the Rick and Morty flavor. As anyone that’s played for any length of time can likely tell you, sometimes a campaign just gets… weird. And the Rick and Morty starter set is most definitely weird. In a good way, but definitely, absolutely weird.

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(Photo: Wizards of the Coast)

In one instance, our party had to take on a batch of living pickles, and a bite from one of those monstrosities turned one of us into a were-pickle. Er, a lycanthropickle. Whatever; they were cursed with the ability to become a pickle whenever they wanted. No, being a pickle didn’t have any particularly special powers associated with it. They just happened to be much, much smaller when they transformed. And, one assumes, somewhat briney.

Beyond the general plot and narrative of playing through a D&D dungeon crafted by the actual Rick Sanchez, there’s something to be said for the meta interaction that playing as characters playing characters adds to the adventure. I’ve never given the Stranger Things set a go, but my experience with Dungeons & Dragons vs. Rick and Morty was made infinitely better by the fact that I knew I was playing Morty playing a rogue in the game itself. Jokes about Jerry, unearned confidence, and the helpful knack for sometimes understanding Rick better than any of the other characters all naturally came into play during our session.

Up until this point, D&D starter sets have felt… not really for me? As a veteran player, I appreciate that they help new folks get into the game, but beyond a new adventure -- which is a good thing, but not by itself enough of a selling point -- I previously never felt that these sets offer anything of significant value to me. If I want to play in a new world, I will, and can do so easily without purchasing a starter set. (I mean, it has the word “starter” in it for a reason.)

rick and morty dnd cover art full
(Photo: Wizards of the Coast)

But shockingly, the thematic nature of the Rick and Morty starter set totally works for me. It adds just enough of an extra layer to be worth it. If there’s a path forward for these, it’s probably in even more licensed starter sets for other properties. Not everything makes sense, of course, but there’s no reason there couldn’t be a Community starter set, for example. Plenty of other media properties dip their toes into this same pond! Riverdale would be another good get. And those are just the naturally synergistic ones -- there’s no reason there can’t be a version based on Westworld or some other equally popular show.

And honestly, what better praise can I give than the fact that it’s convinced me on an entire genre of goods? Dungeons & Dragons vs. Rick and Morty is a hoot, and I’d be willing to play again in a heartbeat. Anyone looking to spice things up at the gaming table would do well to seriously consider it.

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Dungeons & Dragons vs. Rick and Morty is now available on Amazon (34% off).

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