Friday, July 19, 2013

Basic vs. Basic

With the release of Basic D&D at DriveThruRPG and DnDClassics I thought it might be nice for people to discuss their favorite version of D&D Red book Basic.


Who did it better?  What did you like or love about them? Or hate?
(I will do Holmes next time)

Let the "Edition" Wars begin!


David Larkins said...

I posted about this a few years ago. At the time, I was mostly curious about why Moldvay tends to enjoy a much better reputation than Mentzer. Based on a survey of forum posts on the subject, these are the main points I took away:

* Moldvay has a more concise, straightforward presentation that makes it easier to reference in play.
* Moldvay comes with a full-sized module.
* With Moldvay, everything's contained in a single book--again, the concise nature of the presentation wins out.
* ART. This seems to be one of the biggest divides. Either you like the amateurishly surreal art of Moldvay, or the clinical, fantasy-realist fare in Mentzer--and most seem to prefer the former.
* Most lamely, several posters seemed to prefer Moldvay simply because it was "first."

My views on why I prefer Mentzer are summed up in the post, which also generated some interesting discussion in the comments.

Dennis Laffey said...

I started with Mentzer, although my first glimpse of other people playing D&D was of Moldvay.

I do like Moldvay's concise nature. Mentzer was great for me starting up, but of course now I don't need the hand-holding anymore. Even as kids, once we got the Expert Set, that book became our main player reference, since it had info for characters from level 1 through 14. Occasionally had to look up a spell description, but some bit of minutia, but not often.

As a DM, of course, the Mentzer DM book was vital for the monsters and treasure tables.

I prefer the Elmore/Easley art, but I get the appeal of the Otus and whoever else art in Moldvay. Both win hands down over the RC's art in my book.

And I could be biased because it's the game I started with, but I prefer the more regular Cleric spell progression of Mentzer (although that doesn't come into play until the Expert sets so I guess it's not germane to the current question).

Anyway, one of these days I'm going to remake my "D&D Mine" using the concise nature of Moldvay as my guide, and use whatever of the art from both editions I like. This will be just for my own use, obviously.

Justin S. Davis said...

Mentzer's was my very first D&D box, so I love that one.

But my first Expert set was Dave Cook's, and I was completely thrown by the shift in art and writing. I couldn't reconcile the two, and I my 10-year-old self hated the "amateurish" art.

I've never actually paid enough attention to notice differences in the rules, to be honest. said...

I prefer the Moldvay Basic. (I always called them Otus vs Elmore) The artwork was better and more varied. (Never understood why Elmore gets so much love. He's not bad, but never liked his style except for Star Frontiers).

The mini adventure in the book was great and it had a defenite "tone" to the writing that is lost in the Metzner basic.

The opening adventure in the Metzner basic was also disappointing. Especially when they "Fridge" the cleric...

The new basic wasn't bad, but it was disappointing and I don't remember it coming with a module. (Moldvay came with either B1 or B2 if I recall)