If you were not aware , The Border Kingdoms is a little explored area of the Forgotten Realms that has been selected by a gaming convention in the Us, GameholeCon to base new CCC (Convention Created Content) there. This is Gameholecons 'creation' in a sense and is out there for dms and players (its never really clear who its pitched to) to get a better idea of the area. I settled on it being pitched to dms because of the 'insider' information it gives the reader about some events and people.
The Border Kingdoms is similar in ways to the Bandit Kingdoms of Greyhawk fame .. and both are lands of petty lords and small areas of control which supposedly change ownership more often than not.
Before I go any further, I felt this need to point out this : http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/archfr/frbk
That archive was released by Wizards around 2005.. which was the mid point of 3.5 edition of D&D. The reason I point it out is that while reading through this product, I got a major sense of deja vu from the wizards archive of articles. So much so that lines seemed directly cut and paste from those older articles which is perfectly appropriate...considering that only 100 years have passed time wise between the 3.5 era FR and the 5e era (1372 to roughly 1471). However it being FR I did expect more changes to the localities that dont really arise.
The book itself is physically layed out well, the localities are layed out in alphabetical order and follow and introduction to the BK as well as a geography and a way of life section. It makes good use of layout and stock art also.
Some locations have more information than others, which is to be expected. Again because I had read the wizard archive articles, my Deja vu came up a lot.. but there was also more recent information.
Finally we are left with a 1490's plots section, which will likely see some relevance in future CCC scenarios in this region.
I think what this product lacks is some player level information. It would of been great to perhaps see some background tables or hooks for people looking to make characters from this region. Use the information already provided to create some tables.
I would of also have liked to have seen some more... general information on the region. a Table perhaps where I could see which was the largest city by population, what the human/demihuman ratio was like, where was the largest temple, the most prominent faith.. the wizard schools. Information that might be buried in each location section information but which would be more useful if you only had time for a cursory glance when a player asked a question.
I think for a DM this is a great product. I think its also going to help me create characters based on the metagame knowledge I know. What I think the product does not do as well, is provide an entry point for the newer or existing player.
MAP : This product comes with the 3.5 archive era map. As the world has more or less 'reverted' to this geographical look its a welcome sight. I do wish it was bigger though.
(27/7 EDIT) I edited the rating down based on the comparison with the other recent guide out for the Moonshaes. While this guide is bigger, it actually offers less to the prospective player)