Wizards of the Coast (WotC) has been steadily re-releasing old Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) products, and they’ve finally hit the end of the line. A reprint of the original “white box” game books, from when D&D first found its way onto store shelves nigh 40 years ago, plus a few expansions has been released. Dungeons and Dragons has come a long way from the 1974 release. While a D&D book today is hardcover, covered in full-color artwork, and runs hundreds of full-size pages, the original game was played with just a few small rulebooks, each decorated with but a handful of black and white drawings. Role playing games might have higher production values today, but the newer values come with much higher complexity. There have been several OSR (“old school renaissance”) games that have tried to capture the glorious simplicity of original D&D, but even good OSR games, like Castles and Crusades, are still just imitators of the original groundbreaking game.
While WoTC wisely isn’t touching the old rules with the Dungeons and Dragons White Box, there are a few changes. The cover art, some of which was a little objectionable, on the little manuals is changed. It also all comes in a very sweet wooden box. The dice are also much higher quality than of 40 years ago. Heck, my first D&D game didn’t even have dice, instead it had “randomizer chits” you had to cut with scissors and put in a bag). Old school wannabe heroes won’t pay an old school price, however. This set has a MSRP of $150.
That might seem a bit steep for books that used to sell for $5 a pop, but not bad considering what the originals go for on E-bay. I have a few of the originals, myself, but not all of the ones in this set, so I might just pick this up and see everything original D&D had to offer.
Product Page [Wizards of the Coast]