Top critical review
Extremely Disappointed, despite excellent *content*
Reviewed in the United States on June 15, 2019
[Short Version]: My copy of the Monster Manual arrived "new" with a significant printing defect, as have those of some other reviewers. But the majority have no complaints, so it's up to you whether to... roll the dice.
To give some context to this review, I've been playing TTRPGs since the D&D Red Box, though I've been out of D&D specifically since 2nd Edition. Recently I've decided to add D&D back into the game stable, and was super excited to order all three of the core books.
The Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide were both excellent, in content as well as quality of the books themselves, and I was happy to read them cover to cover. The Monster Manual, though, isn't a book like that. It's more for reference, not a straight read-through. So after the introductory chapters, I browsed through the rest and set it aside.
Fast-forward six weeks to this weekend, earlier today, when I pull down the Monster Manual, this product, to put together some encounters for GMing (sorry, DMing) my first D&D game in decades. And imagine the ash in my mouth when I notice, finally, that two of the pages are completely unusable. You can see from the attached pic, it looks like the press just smeared a sheen of ink across that entire fold. Not only are those entries unusable, there are no legal alternatives for printing out PDF page replacements for them.
I understand this kind of thing isn't a big deal for a lot of gamers, maybe most. And, yes, I could run D&D games for the next 20 years and never once need a Gargoyle or Genie. That's why I settled on two stars instead of one; that, and the fact the other 99.9+% of the content is just fine, even excellent. But that doesn't erase the disappointment of having my return to the D&D fold marred by a damaged "new" core book.