At 12:01 AM my friendly local game store kindly sold me my reserve copy of the D&D Starter Set....soon, everyone will be expressing their opinions on it as other early buyers get their copies, but at least I can say I was in that group!
I'm still reading it obviously, but here's a few details to hold you over or help you make a buying decision:
Contents are one 32 page rulebook and one 64 page scenario book plus five double-sided character sheets. As shown elsewhere the pregenerated characters have five levels of advancement included on the sheet itself. The two books are thick glossy color paper but do not have different card-stock covers; this is a shame, I was really hoping we'd see some sturdier cover material. Also, no poster map in sight though the scenario book has five chapters and plenty of maps, along with a mini monster manual with 26 monster entries that tie to the scenarios.
At first glance the scenarios look like roughly 4 hours play per chapter, so I am guessing you can get five sessions out of this book but only an actual playthrough will determine if this is true. Losing a PC with only five pregens suggests a lot of recycling, or of course using the Basic rules once they are loosed into the wild later today.
The box is a real box, old school style, and feels sturdy enough to hold stuff. Nice.
The art in the books is nice. YMMV but I really like the game's new artists and look.
Overall not a bad deal for $20, worth it for collectors and the scenario book looks more and more promising. If I find time after I finish reading it I'll do a more detailed content follow-up. That said, as nice as the Starter set is I think the real meat of 5E is coming later today with the Basic D&D PDF release....