I have decided to revisit my post from a while ago about why B/X is my favorite flavour of D&D.
#1 A complete system in 128 pages
I know I have seen on other blogs and internet sites the page counts for all of the various versions of D&D but I am too lazy right now to dig it up.
I began with B/X at the age of 10. There is definitely and unapologetically a nostalgia factor involved. I actually remember when I went into the store to buy it. I actually went to a local game store to buy the AD&D players handbook but my mom convinced me to pick up the basic set instead. I am glad that she did. Moldvay's basic rulebook includes everything you need to start and it is well written and concise. My brother and I had innumerable hours of fun using just these rules (64 pages) and B2.
Later I purchased the Expert rulebook (another 64 pages) and we had the same amount of fun exploring the jungles on the Isle of Dread. I wonder what the hour of fun per page of rules ratio would be?
As for other editions of D&D:
- OD&D - just the first 3 books have a smaller page count. The open ended nature of those rules and the writing style always instills a sense of wonder and mystery. But a 10 year old first picking up these rules would likely have a very difficult time.
- Holmes D&D - a smooth 46 pages. This is my second favorite version of D&D and the second version that I owned. It contains much of the wonder and mystery of the original 3 books but in a slightly better organized format. I have little doubt that if it was the Holmes version on the shelf when my mother convinced me to buy the basic set that it would be my preferred version. The main reason it doesn't hold the top spot is that, even though it could be used exclusive of the other versions and has been expanded using fan created companions, it is not a complete set of the same scope as the other versions.
- AD&D, 2E,... These are just too big to even consider.