Dungeons & Dragons is getting into the spooky season with an impressive boxed set of Curse of Strahd geared primarily to newcomers. Of all the adventures published by Wizards of the Coast for its Fifth Edition ruleset, Curse of Strahd remains one of its most popular. The semi-modular adventure, originally published in 2016, sends players to the gothic horror world of Ravenloft to face off against the iconic vampire Strahd von Zarovich, all the while dealing with untold danger that could leap out of the mists at any minute. Dungeons & Dragons has exploded in popularity since the release of Curse of Strahd, so Wizards decided to release a new edition of the adventure in a premium box set titled Curse of Strahd Revamped.
Curse of Strahd Revamped is a new boxed set concept for Wizards of the Coast. Previous D&D boxed sets released by Wizards of the Coast for Fifth Edition are primarily geared towards newcomers to the game, with pre-built character sheets and handy guides designed to help ease players into the world of tabletop gaming. By comparison, Curse of Strahd Revamped is aimed for players who already know how to play - the dice and player tools from the Essentials Kit or Starter Box are replaced with things like a Tarokka deck, handouts, and a sturdy map of Barovia, along with a nifty coffin-shaped box to store everything in. The tarokka deck, which the DM uses to spontaneously craft the path of the players during the first session, is extra slick-looking with haunting black and white illustrations by Chuck Lukacs. I'm also a fan of the Barovia postcards that can be mailed to players, inviting them to partake in the spooky campaign.
The box set also comes with a softcover version of Curse of Strahd complete with the latest errata, which scrubs some problematic descriptions of the Vistani, a group inspired by the real-life Romani people and removes a weird description of a disabled character that treats her missing limb as a dirty secret when it doesn't even hinder her regular monster hunting activities. To be clear - these changes will also appear in any Curse of Strahd printing moving forward, so you won't need to necessarily spend money on the Curse of Strahd Revamped box if you want the non-problematic version of the adventure. The 20-page Creatures of Horror booklet is another "new" innovation that I hope gets used for future D&D advantures. The booklet contains stats for all of the new monsters found in the adventure, giving the DM a less bulky way to access those statblocks in a heartbeat.
Of course, a premium D&D box set will inevitably draw comparisons to the box sets produced by Beadle & Grimm's, who coincidentally are making a "Legendary Edition" of Curse of Strahd that comes out in November. Although we don't have the Beadle & Grimm's Legendary Edition to review, our past experiences with Beadle & Grimm's suggests that the two boxes are built for different audiences. Curse of Strahd Revamped is designed for the "intermediate" D&D fan - the group of players that have already delved through the adventures in one of the starter boxes and are ready to dip their toes into a full-length D&D adventure. The Beadle & Grimm's box, with its full sized battlemaps, encounter cards, jewelry, and even finger puppets, are geared with the experienced D&D group in mind - those looking to really take a "step up" in their adventures. We won't recommend one box over the other (especially as Beadle & Grimm's Legendary Edition isn't out yet!) but I think that potential purchasers will naturally gravitate towards a box based on their experience level and price range.
While it doesn't have enough extra material to justify a second purchase, Curse of Strahd Revamped is a great box set for the DM/player group that hasn't traveled to Ravenloft and wants to commit to the campaign with a grim flourish. The box set definitely will enhance your Curse of Strahd experience, and the box alone makes for a great display piece on top of your bookshelf or in the D&D corner of your room.
Curse of Strahd Revamped will go on sale on October 20th for $99.99.