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 4+ supplements could present a 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
Holmes Basic includes a 48-page rulebook, Module B1 (or B2), and dice (or randomizer chits)