This is the first time I’ve had the UK Edition of BECMI D&D in the shop. It’s a small book instead of a box set. This version of the Frank Mentzer-edited rules calls itself “3rd Edition”, and is rare on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Acaeum notes:

Fifth UK print (1986).  Same artwork as the Twelfth print US version, but consists of a single digest-sized booklet, 272 pages in length (roughly the size of a paperback novel).  Published by TSR UK, but actually printed by Garden City Press.

Auction ended 19 March 2023 at $320 in 17 bids.


Here’s a photo of the familiar US 1983 box set (left) and the 1986 UK paperback (right). The book combines the staplebound DM & Player booklets from the US edition, with very few changes mostly amounting to the King’s spelling of English words. The paperback measures 7 5/8″ (H) x 5″ (W).



The art in the book is different. All the Larry Elmore art is gone, replaced with illustrations by Helen Bedford at the beginning of each chapter.

The other difference is at the end, which has a guide to D&D adventures of the time:


This book is only your first step into the exciting world of D&D gaming. There are many more thrilling ‘adventures available as well as rulebooks to take your characters deeper into the dungeon and also into the fantastic world outside. If the shop where you bought this book doesn’t stock the full range of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® products, look for one that does — if you have any difficulties, just write to us here at TSR UK Ltd, The Mill, Rathmore Road, Cambridge CB1 4AD and we’ll send you our mail order catalogue.

Ready To Play Adventures

There are many different kinds of adventures available. The ones that go with this book have codes beginning with the letter “B” (for character levels 1-3). As you have read this book you don’t need to buy the D&D Basic Set (in the red box). However, as your characters approach 4th level you will need the D&D Expert Set (in a blue box) which details characters up to 14th level. The adventure modules for Expert play normally have an “X” code, but module BX1 “Night’s Dark Terror” has a special code to emphasise that it is a transitional adventure designed to introduce Basic players to Expert play.

Expert Play

The Expert rules open up the fantastic lands that lie beyond the dungeon. When this occurs the best players and dungeon-masters begin to see that campaigns —adventures ventures that are linked together by a common background devised by the DM specially for his players — offer better playing conditions. By adventuring with a consistent background players can learn the arts of role-playing. True role-playing involves a character developing a real personality, not simply always doing what is logical or correct. For many dungeon-masters and players, campaigns and the role-playing they encourage are the most important aspects of the D&D game — much more important than memorising rules which can always be looked up. Allowing a campaign to grow around the individual adventures usually involves both DM and players in a little more work than otherwise. It is well worth it as the effort of weaving together the characters’ adventures against a colourful background is amply rewarded by the extra enjoyment gained by all involved.

This section ends with a discussion of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, noting that AD&D “is a different game system, though bearing many similarities.”

See Also: