The original Dungeons & Dragons (White Box / Little Brown Books) was a hit in the mid-70s. But the scattershot game rules spread across 3 books and 5 supplements could present an barrier for entry for new players.
Gary Gygax decided to remedy the problem.
“Organizational work was in progress when correspondence with J. Eric Holmes, professor, author and incidentally a respected neurologist, disclosed that the Good Doctor was interested in undertaking the first stage of the project — the rewriting and editing necessary to extract a beginner’s set of D&D from the basic set and its supplements. The result of his labors is the “Basic Set” of D&D”.
Gary Gygax, Dragon #14, May 1978, Sorcerer’s Scroll
I admire the resulting D&D Basic Set. The Holmes edition is complete in one box, accessible to even the uninitiated. Holmes Basic also serves as an introduction to Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, as they are – broadly speaking – compatible.
I got in a nice-looking set in the shop, and took photos.
For those looking for more (much more!) about Holmes Basic, I’d suggest Zenopus Archives. It’s all about the D&D Blue Book: History, Trivia, Printings, Artists, Expansions, Variants, and more.
D&D Basic Set (Blue Book)
1977-1979 … Gary Gygax & Dave Arneson & Eric Holmes (editor) … TSR 1001