From the Introduction:
Welcome to a special introductory edition of the Hoard of the Dragon Queen adventure, designed specifically for D&D Encounters (an official in-store play program) and the D&D Adventurers League (the official D&D organized play system).
This edition of the adventure is designed for 1st- through 3rd-level characters, and is divided up into three episodes of play. Characters who finish all three episodes should reach 3rd or 4th level at the end. Characters of 5th level and above cannot play in this D&D Encounters edition of the adventure, though they can pick up with episode 4 of the full adventure of Hoard of the Dragon Queen. Each episode should be played over multiple sessions of play. For D&D Encounters, the recommended session length is two hours. The full adventure contains additional play beyond this edition.
Playing this adventure in store as a part of D&D Encounters is fun and offers additional benefits to enhance the experience. Folios connecting characters to different factions in the world of the Forgotten Realms are provided for players, containing information and accessories, along with exclusive rewards. Dungeon Masters (DMs) receive a folio as well, themed to the storyline season (for this season, Tyranny of Dragons).