OD&D Edition Experience: Did/Do You Play Basic D&D? How Was/Is it?

How Did/Do You Feel About Basic D&D

  • I played it, and I remember liking it.

    Votes: 53 53.0%
  • I played it, and I wasn't impressed one way or another.

    Votes: 7 7.0%
  • I played it, and I didn't really like it.

    Votes: 3 3.0%
  • I'm playing it right now and so far, I like it.

    Votes: 7 7.0%
  • I'm playing it right now; I'll have to let you know later.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I'm playing it right now and so far, I don't like it.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I never played this edition, but I'd like to.

    Votes: 13 13.0%
  • I've never played this edition, or even considered it tbh.

    Votes: 12 12.0%
  • I've never played this edition, and I don't really want to.

    Votes: 5 5.0%


Limit Break Dancing
With all of the talk about the Golden Age of Gaming, and with all of the retro-clones floating around, I'm curious about the older editions of the game. I wonder how many folks on ENWorld have ever played the older editions of D&D, and what their satisfaction level was...or is, if you are one of the rare birds that still play an older edition.

Last week, I surveyed my fellow gamers about the original Dungeons & Dragons game that was released in 1974. Three years later, two new D&D products would hit the market. The first of them was the D&D Basic Set, and I'm curious how many of us remember playing it. (Or are still playing it, maybe?)

By "played," I mean that you've been either a player or a DM for at least one gaming session. And for the purpose of this week's survey, I'm only referring to the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set rules, the ones that were first published in 1977. Also called the "Holmes Edition," with this awesome cover by John Blanche David Sutherland:


Note that this is not the same edition as "B/X", or "BECM", "Moldvay Basic," or "Cyclopedia"; those editions wouldn't hit the market for another 5-7 years. And this isn't the same edition as D&D 1E, or AD&D, which were released that same year but were quite different.

Feel free to add nuance in your comments, but let's not have an edition war over this. I'm really just interested in hearing peoples' stories of playing the Basic Rules Set, and fighting over the coveted polyhedric dice (they were quite rare back in the day, and apparently this edition caused a dice shortage.)

Next week, I'll be doing the AD&D 1st Edition (aka "1E") survey. So if you were wondering about the other 1977 edition of D&D, stay tuned!

Other Surveys
OD&D Survey
BECMI / Rules Cyclopedia
D&D 3E
D&D 4E
Survey Results (24 Apr 2020)
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That is a David Sutherland cover.

I started with the LBBS and this and a MM. So yes. Played it. Still run it on occasion, especially now that Dr. Holmes' original manuscript made it's way into the public after all these years.

This BLOG series is a must read if you are remotely interested in the Holmes Basic set. It goes through all the Edits TSR did to the Good Dr.'s original manuscript and solves a lot of the :scratcheshead WTF? : rules issues about the published booklet.

The Holmes Manuscript

Summoning @zenopus
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Limit Break Dancing
I didn't get a chance to play this version either. I started playing when I was in middle school, and by then, the AD&D/BECM games had totally taken over the hobby. I don't think I've ever seen a hardcopy of this edition.

But I'm always down to try something new. (Or old, as the case may be.)

That is a David Sutherland cover.
Woops! Right you are. I've revised the original post....thanks!
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Actually looking at the cover I remember now. My first game of D&D ever was with this edition! I met a friend of my best friend at a presentation of Ralph Bakshi's LOTR animated movie. When we came out I said it would be great to have a game were you could play LOTR characters. The guy said there is a game called Dungeons & Dragons. I was floor.

A while later I went to his home and played a solo player game with him as DM. I wanted to be Gandalf so I played a Magic-User and rolled 1 for HPs, non constitution. My character died 3 times in the first room against the same kobold. For the 4th attempt I asked to have 4 HPs but he refused saying it was how the game was played. It was not a very good experience. I left never wanting to play D&D ever again.

Luckily my parents had seen my interest in LOTR and D&D. They gave me the Moldvay Basic set that Christmas. The rest is history. I've been playing D&D practically non-stop since 1981.


I don't think I'd bother playing with this edition of basic now, I'd rather go back to the Rules Cyclopedia. Especially if you add in the various classes from the Mystara Gazetteers for a bit more variety.


Rob Of The North
This was my first edition, and to this day I still run people through the ruins under the wizards tower. The map had unusually large rooms but great encounters.

I wouldn't play it again as B/X was a better rulebook.

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
We played this, but it had a blue box iirc.
It was good, but then MM and then PHB AD&D came out, and we never went back to playing this. I wouldn't want to play it now. If I recall, you were limited to 4th or 5th level? That was a deal killer for us.

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