So the OSR section of the blogosphere has come to the consensus that today marks the 40th anniversary of when Dungeons & Dragons first hit the market (based on this detailed research from the author of a history of roleplaying games called Playing at the World).
Sounds good to me. And while a lot of old-school D&D players associate the game with the original white box, for me D&D will always be linked to the first basic set, edited by J. Eric Holmes. That was my first roleplaying game, and I got it on my birthday, which is also in January.
numbered chits instead of dice. I raided the family's Risk box for six-siders to roll up characters, and soon after, I had my bemused parents and brother at the table, taking them through an adventure for an evening, the first (and only) time we all played D&D together.
That box and that rulebook are long lost--the container was flattened and thrown away, and I cut up my original blue book to place the sample dungeon in a folder with adventures pulled out of various issues of The Dragon--but this version of the game will always be my favorite. I've since replaced the boxed set with a used earlier printing acquired for ten bucks at a hobby shop (which also contained three original D&D supplements and Swords & Spells) and even found a couple more copies of the blue book in used bookstores.
And after months of thinking about it and weeks of preparation, a couple of weeks ago, I brought to my table a half-dozen players to go through a dungeon I created, going (mostly) with the Holmes rules as written. Now, the game I got as a birthday present more than thirty years ago is celebrating a milestone of its own.
Happy 40th, D&D, and here's to many more!