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.

VS.


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!

3 comments:

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.

Lord Gwydion 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.

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