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You are here: Home / Blog / Original D&D White Books 2013 Reprint Special Collector's Edition Boxed Set - Unboxing

Original D&D White Books 2013 Reprint Special Collector's Edition Boxed Set - Unboxing

by Hawke Robinson published Jun 20, 2015 05:05 PM, last modified Feb 05, 2023 12:22 PM
A walk down a path of RPG nostalgia / history, Wizards of the Coast has reprinted the original D&D white book set, and bundled it in a wooden box with dice. Here you will find many photos of the unboxing process with a few comments, and a comparison my ancient original of one of the the Blackmoor supplement...

You may watch a video version (additional information) on the RPG Research Youtube channel.

Part 1: - Unboxing part 1.

Part 2: - Unboxing part 2.

Part 3: - Unboxing part 3, plus slideshow, and additional commentary.

Part 4: - Reading of Book 1 Men & Magic - Foreword, plus additional commentary.

Part 5 - - As requested, Original D&D reading from Book 1 Men & Magic Introduction, pages 4, 5, & 6. Let me know if you would like more.


I was first introduced to tabletop role-playing gaming around 1979 or so, thanks to an older cousin that was visiting, and as was the case for most, was introduced through Dungeons & Dragons(tm). There are many tens of millions of Americans (and elsewhere) that were introduced to Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) in the late 70's and early 80's, mostly around the time of TSR's release of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D), or the boxed "Basic" D&D set . There were a number of versions and changes between the original and the AD&D that ee grew up with, but here are examples of the book covers that I believe the majority of role-players from that generation grew up with.

Though most of us started role-playing gaming with these sets, they were not the version of D&D that "started it all". The handmade, hand stapled much smaller format and page count, paper booklets, made by Gygax, Arneson, and others, that formed into TSR, were much more the style of the then-popular wargaming booklets (a la their Chainmail system prior to D&D). As D&D took off at an incredible rate, the game changed significantly, as did the format. Instead of small "cheap" stapled booklets, large format hardcovers, and a more formal writing style took over.

I manged, sometime in the early 80's to pick up a copy of the Blackmoor booklet for about $5.00-$6.00 at a local hobby store in Salt Lake City / Sugarhouse, Utah (Hamond's Toy & Hobby). I have used the hit location charts in there even in current 3rd Edition D&D  campaigns, but I never had a chance to even see, let alone play, the original set in person.

Though I never actually played the Origindal D&D, many of my cohorts have a nostalgia for the heady early days, and Wizards of the Coast has sen fit to capitalize on this with a reissue of all the Original Dungeons & Dragons (OD&D) White Books, bundled in a nice wooden box, with fancy dice. I will be providing a video review about the system later but for now, here are photos of the unboxing process, with some commentary.

The local gaming store here in Spokane, Washington (Merlyn's), will be setting aside an evening with the owner, myself, and a number of others, to play the original system. I hope to record, maybe even broadcast live, the whole session for those that may be curious. There are MANY differences between the original rules and later releases.I will be commenting on this in upcoming videos on the youtube channel.

By the way, the first booklet, Men & Magic, states that you need to have the Chainmail rulebook to play the game.

I think it would have been nice/wise for WotC to include a version with this bundle. Fortunatley I have a copy, but most people probably do not.

Meanwhile, enjoy the photos below, you may click on the images of the Original D&D photos (not the other versions) to see the full size versions (very large).


AD&D Player's Handbook:

Revised version:


AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide

Revised version:



AD&D Monster Manual:


Revised version:


D&D Basic Set:


Basic D&D set (Red box):


Shipping box (Made in China), and wooden box still in plastic

001 ODnD Shipping Box



The wooden box from an angle, note the etching is actually etched into the wood, not just a label on top.

002 ODnD Wood Box Exterior 1



Two sides are etched with "Dungeons & Dragons"

002a wood box side DnD




Two other sides have indentations to ease the removal of the lid.

002b Wood Box Side indent



Inside are various pieces of paper, including a contents list...

003 ODnD Contents List



A sort of acknowledgement/welcome letter, and various advertising handbills.

004 ODnD Letter Mike Mearls 2013



Opening the lid, you see that the lid has artwork inside it, and two dice trays on either side of the pack of booklets.

The red ribbon is to aid in removing the booklets from the box, this is handy, as they are a little difficult to remove otherwise.

005 ODnD Inside Lid and Box Contents


The artwork is in the current style (too cartoonish/anima-ish for my tastes, but that is the current style/trend)

It is actually in an offset frame. It's all just cardboard glued to the wooden box, but it is a nice little touch.

I would have preferred if it was some of the artwork from the time-period being recreated. There is a cardboard protector within

to protect the offset frame from damage during shipping. Simply squish it flat, and then bend in the middle to remove it carefully.

005a Inside Lid with cardboard protector


I inserted my thumb into the frame to help show some of the depth of the offset.

005b Inside Lide without protector at angle to show offset depth



Holding the box itself, with the lid removed...

006 Booklet Pack and Dice Racks in box


Lifting out the packet of rulebooks, they were initially bundled together in one plastic wrapping...

007 ODnD Lifting out Booklet pack 1



008 Lifting Out Booklet Pack 2



009 Lifting Out Booklet Pack 3


There is a complete set of dice, with 1d4, 4d6, 1d8, 2d10 (tens and singles), 1d12, and 1d20.

All the dice have fancy scrollwork. At first I was worried they would be difficult to read, but so far

they seem to actually work okay. We'll see when we're playtesting with the group later this month.

The brackets containing the dice are made of a soft foam (not styrofoam). The only problem is

that the dice are seatedso deeply, they are kind of difficult to pry out.

010 Removing Dice rackd


The dice are normal size, someone commented that they looked smaller than normal in my photos, my apologies for that,

I'm 6'7 with above average hand size, so my hands tend to distort relative size, rest assured they are "normal" size dice, not mini-dice.


011 Dice d4



012 d6



013 d8


d10 (tens)

014 d10 tens



016 d12


017 d20


Here is a size view of the rulebook packet after removed from the plastic wrap.

018 Booklet Pack Unwrapped Side View


Here are the rulebooks laid out flat...

019 Booklet Pack Laid Out All 8


I have a 9th printing of the original Blackmoor (dated 1979), the brown one on the right is mine,

compared with the white one from the reprint set. Sorry about the stain on the original.

Notice the difference in artwork, layout, font, and of course business logo/listing.

50 Blackmoor Front Covers Old is 9th Printing Nov 1979


They did a fair job matching fonts to the original, they are not perfect, but a reasonable facsimile.

51 Blackmoor Inside First Page


The Foreword page...

52 Blackmoor Forewords


The Index and first page....

53 Blackmoor Index plus


The 2nd & 3rd pages. Note the same artwork.

54 Blackmoor Pages 2 and 3


The last page. Note the reprint just has the notes section (as did the original),

but does not have the marketing material in the back that the older version had.

Not at all a criticism, just something noted.

59 Blackmoor Last pages



I have begun reading through the rules, and will be making characters with my youngest son (13).

I will be providing commentary on that experience, probably by video since it takes less time than writing these up,

so watch for the announcement here and on the RPG Research youtube channel,

Until then,

Happy Gaming!