D&D General What version of the Basic D&D/BECMI starter set did you first own?

If the first Dungeons & Dragons product you owned was a Basic D&D starter set, which was it?

  • 1977, Basic Set (Holmes)

    Votes: 14 16.3%
  • 1981, Basic Set (Moldvay)

    Votes: 31 36.0%
  • 1983, Basic Rules (Mentzer, the "red box")

    Votes: 33 38.4%
  • 1991, The New Easy-to-Master Dungeons & Dragons Game (Denning, the "black box")

    Votes: 7 8.1%
  • 1994, The Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game (Stewart)

    Votes: 1 1.2%

  • Poll closed .
Huhn, I didn't realize Holmes was initially '77. I got mine in '79, with B2 Keep on the Borderlands, for Chistmas. Still had the chits, instead of dice.
yeah, that was my first one too, got it in 1980. The chits were so annoying that (literally) the next day, I went out and bought a set of dice, and consigned the chits to the trash can. The box eventually disintegrated, the B2 module ended up disappearing, but I still have the rulebook...
 

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J.Quondam

CR 1/8
I started with the Mentzer '83 "Red Box", but had/gotten a copy of the Cook/Marsh '81 Expert rules before the "Blue Box" Expert came out...which I then got anyway...

...cuz, you know,...had to get/have the matching sets.
Heh, that's what I did, too, except I never bothered picking up the "correct" Blue Box Expert set. Little-kid-me never realized they were really different editions! The little rules mismatches puzzled me slightly now and then, but we managed just fine.
And just to make the mismatch even more glaring, I eventually got the Companion set.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
Heh, that's what I did, too, except I never bothered picking up the "correct" Blue Box Expert set. Little-kid-me never realized they were really different editions! The little rules mismatches puzzled me slightly now and then, but we managed just fine.
And just to make the mismatch even more glaring, I eventually got the Companion set.
OH, of course! Even though I was well into playing AD&D (1e) by then, I still made sure to get the Companion and Masters boxes. Never did get my hands on an Immortals, actually.

I still have all of the BECM (not I) manuals. The boxes themselves did not fair through the decades as well. I still have the blue and black boxes (that are in near-total uselessness) but the others are long gone.
 




Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Red box

Older brother was the DM. I played Dweeny the Dwarf.
Moldvay.

The sitter saw I had Moldvay and knew how to play - which was good, because I don't think any of my friends did. My Halfling Antares had to cut off my Dwarf Alexis's hand off to save him from a cursed sword. Played them for many years with friends in the neighborhood.
 
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TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
Huhn, I didn't realize Holmes was initially '77. I got mine in '79, with B2 Keep on the Borderlands, for Chistmas. Still had the chits, instead of dice. I was only 10 and the rules were beyond me - my dad had to read and explain them to me. Sadly, I lost the rulebook after a month or so. Didn't have another rulebook until the '81 Moldvay set, which I loved to death.

Some of the earlier sets had dice, then chits, then the dice returned.

That 1977 box set included dungeon geomorphs and the monster and treasure and assortment. In 1978 they replaced those with B1 In Search of the Unknown, and then replaced that in 1979 with B2.

Which was also included in the very excellent Moldvay box set, which of course was the first D&D product I had.
 

JediSoth

Semi-Professional Author
Epic
We started playing with the Moldvay Basic set, the one my friend owned and introduced the game to me with, but when I finally found a copy of the Basic set to beg my parents to purchase for me, it was the Menzter Basic set (until then my group of friends had been checking the Moldvay set out of the public library on rotation when we needed another copy). We didn't really understand why there was a different set, nor did we comprehend the differences. I just know I hated Bargle for killing Aleena!
 

I had 81, but it was 83 when I got it. Or rather, my older brother got it from my father's friend. He didn't want it, so I did a bunch of his chores in exchange for the box. I think it turned out to be a pretty good deal for me. ;)
 

Emrico

Adventurer
81 Moldvay Basic. My mom got it for me in the summer of 81. A friend that played wargames with me (AH, SPI, etc) got it from his mom the same week. The two of us learned to play that summer and got a group together once school started. By Christmas that year we were jumping into AD&D and we all got loaded up with hardcovers, modules and Grenadier minis for Christmas.

Jim
 


GetInTheHole

Villager
I voted Mentzer's Red Box, but it was actually the Blue Expert that I first bought. Why? Because Waldenbooks didn't have the Basic box and I didn't know any better. Then I got UA. Why? Because it had classes and treasure in the same book! And Waldenbooks didn't have the DMG/PB that day and I didn't know any better. Added a few disjointed modules but my buddies and I basically scrawled out our own homebrew dungeons and somehow had fun.

I finally got the 1e DMG/PB/MM and we sort of morphed into mish-mash of 1e + Expert. I don't think we ever had Basic Red Box.

I don't recommend it, but pre-internet and no older players to lean on, a bunch of 13 year olds had to make do.
 


First played a Moldvay-Holmes-AD&D mashup that the 'big kids' (9 and 10 year olds) were playing. First owned a first printing Mentzer B and E (so with Moldvay thief progression and Magic User's to-hit progressions placed on the wrong lines) I got for my 8th birthday.
Mine was Gideon, the Fighter.
Mine was Gwystion. Was yours also a take on Chronicles of Prydain's Prince Gwydion?
 


Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I started with the Mentzer '83 "Red Box", but had/gotten a copy of the Cook/Marsh '81 Expert rules before the "Blue Box" Expert came out...which I then got anyway...

...cuz, you know,...had to get/have the matching sets.

Heh, that's what I did, too, except I never bothered picking up the "correct" Blue Box Expert set. Little-kid-me never realized they were really different editions! The little rules mismatches puzzled me slightly now and then, but we managed just fine.
And just to make the mismatch even more glaring, I eventually got the Companion set.
I voted Mentzer's Red Box, but it was actually the Blue Expert that I first bought. Why? Because Waldenbooks didn't have the Basic box and I didn't know any better. Then I got UA. Why? Because it had classes and treasure in the same book! And Waldenbooks didn't have the DMG/PB that day and I didn't know any better. Added a few disjointed modules but my buddies and I basically scrawled out our own homebrew dungeons and somehow had fun.

I finally got the 1e DMG/PB/MM and we sort of morphed into mish-mash of 1e + Expert. I don't think we ever had Basic Red Box.

I don't recommend it, but pre-internet and no older players to lean on, a bunch of 13 year olds had to make do.
Similar story for me. Got the Mentzer red Basic box in '85 for my 10th birthday, then went hunting for the Expert set and wound up finding the 1981 Cook version at Kaybee toys in the mall shortly thereafter. The mismatched art was a little confusing, but my brother and I and a couple of neighbor kids made do. Acquisitions shortly thereafter included 1E's Unearthed Arcana and Oriental Adventures, a copy of Mentzer Expert and a copy of OD&D Supplement I: Greyhawk from an older adult, and eventually the remaining BECMI boxed sets, playing a weird mish-mash until 2nd Ed AD&D came out and we transitioned fully to that.

My first was Forgo the dwarf. Still grieving his death. 🤣

Raven the Elf, for me. Died to a poisoned needle in the sample dungeon, after successfully evading the Carrion Crawler and defeating the Kobolds in the courtyard with a Sleep spell. :ROFLMAO:
 

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