It was initially released in theaters on March 6, 1999, coinciding with the Japanese premiere of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie. The official, widespread release date was twelve days later, on March 18. In addition to these cards, both releases of the Starter Box included a Deck box with belt clip, a Life Points calculator, six Star Chips and a playmat.
Konami substituted cards in the Starter Box between its theatrical and official releases. Those who purchased the Starter Box at screenings of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie received "Aqua Madoor", "Trial of Nightmare", "The 13th Grave", "Dark King of the Abyss", and "Turtle Tiger", while in the official release version these cards were replaced by "Genin", "Kageningen", "Rock Ogre Grotto #2", "King Fog", and "Spiked Snail".
Like other cards printed early on in the game, the cards in Starter Box have no printed set numbers, and lack the holographic Eye of Anubis in the lower right-hand corner of each card.
Of the fifty cards included in the retail release, all but 14 ("Ancient Tree of Enlightenment", "Change Slime", "Dark Prisoner", "Genin", "Lunar Queen Elzaim", "Madjinn Gunn", "Masked Clown", "Monsturtle", "Mountain Warrior", "Mystery Hand", "Serpent Marauder", "Shadow Specter", "Spiked Snail" and Rock Ogre Grotto #2 ) have been since been released in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game; none of those 14 have ever been re-released in the Japanese OCG after Series 1.
Each version of the set contains 50 cards. These consist of: