The free dice have improved greatly since the first D&D boxed set my stepbrother got back when I was 9.
My stepbrother Josh used to get pissed and throw dice at his brother Sean the DM when he didn’t get his way. Those two dice were the only ones to survive.
Mom got me the AD&D Player’s Handbook and DM’s Guide for my 11th birthday, but I haven’t seen those books in years – I loaned them to Sean when he moved to California and of course never heard from him again.
In the 5th grade a buddy and I were building a Character Generator program in BASIC on an Apple ][ – we had most of it down, but got bogged with trying to type in the entire weapons and armor catalog.
We skipped 2nd Edition – none of their ‘fixes’ to Gary’s original (somewhat broken) rules meshed with our own house rules.
I picked up the 3.5 Player’s Handbook – mainly because it was the first to come with an official Character Generator program to help crunch all the math – but never ended up playing that version. The Ratboy got some use out of it.
Then there is the mess that was 4th Edition. We had some fun with it, but the whole “Dungeons of Warcraft” vibe got to be too much, and then Wizards tanked it right around the time my last gaming group imploded. I’ve got about 30 pounds worth of 4th Ed rulebooks on a shelf, if anyone’s interested…
Now the wife says she wants to run a game for me, the Daughter Unit and her beau, so we picked up the 5th Edition box set today. We’ll see how far we get between this and the online rules before we think about sinking $50 per book to get into the full set, and the basic box set is ideal for starting out a new DM. (And at $20, it’s not a huge investment.)
Just remember: dice hurt when thrown. Duck!