Way back in 1980 TSR released two boxed sets. Each of these boxes had a number in the corner and the cover art on box one was used in the creation of the art for box two. Confused? You should not be. I'm talking about the 1980 editions of the Basic and Expert Dungeons & Dragons games.
The red (some might say orange) basic set was not the first, there was a blue covered version that came out previously, but it was my first.
I still remember the day my dad took me to the mall. I dragged him into a book store and showed him the two boxed sets. I had my own money with me so I purchased them.
I had seen them before at a friend's house, along with the hardcover Advanced version of the game. I could not afford the hardcovers back then. I made money working small jobs and my $5 a week allowance. To buy the hardcovers would have set me back over $36 rather than the $24 I spent on those two box sets.
The box sets came with a rulebook, module and some dice. The rulebooks were three-hole punched so I put them in a binder. Some time in the future I bought the books again because I had cut the binding off to let them hang loose in a binder. That did not work out so well as the pages invariably tore out and required repairing.
I don't have the original books I got on that shopping trip with my dad but I do have the copies I got later to replace them. I do have the original dice from my Basic set but not the ones from my Expert set.
The dice that came with my basic set were very nice. The came in multiple colors and were typically of the "waxy" dice from that era. Their corners have chipped off here and there but they still function with there own little biases. My Expert Set dice were just plain ugly. They must have gone through the molding process on a Friday after lunch because they were just wrong. They felt wrong in your hand and they looked wrong on the table. Those dice were often lent to players who had forgotten to bring theirs to the game session.
I bring this up because a few days ago I was cleaning up my game room and I came across my old green Accoring binder with the books inside. I sold off a lot of my dungeons and Dragons collection a few years back but there were somethingâ€™s I just could not part with, this binder was one of them.
With the advent of so much print-on-demand and PDF copies of game books I had decided to cash out on my physical copies while the demand was still there. I made a few bucks on some of the more rare items and kept the ones that I still felt an attachment to.
I don't know if my daughter will ever take an interest in role-playing games but the hope is there. In another two and a half years she will be at the age I was when I got into the game. Will she also feel the urge to explore the world of RPGs? I don't know but I'll still hold onto these two books in the hopes that she does. If not I can always put them away until grandkids appear!
Feeling the urge for some old school gaming? Be sure to check out Noble Knight Games. If you make a purchase a portion of the sale price will go towards keeping HMTK on the web.
Images courtesy of The Acaeum
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