Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How Rare?

Although I have electronic copies of its contents, I long ago lost or otherwise parted with my original Holmes boxed set. Lately, I've been trying to reacquire a copy of it and it doesn't look like it'll be hard -- or overly expensive -- to do. The problem seems to be that most of the copies I've found on eBay or through used game sellers include module B2, not B1, as I had when I got my copy back in 1979.

Does anyone know if the B1 version of Holmes was unusually rare? Or is it just that those who have the B1 version tend to treasure it more and thus not put them up for auction or otherwise sell them off? I'd really like to obtain a copy with B1, as it's one of my favorite modules of all time -- maybe even the top of the heap -- but it seems difficult to find for some reason and I'm curious as to why this might be.


  1. So far as I've been able to tell, it's tough to find a copy with B1 in it. I've acquired three of them so far--one with dice, one with chits, and one incomplete (neither dice nor chits) and all of them had B2.

  2. Just doing some quick research, it seems only the 4th & 5th printings had B1 in them. 6th had either B1 or B2, and anything printings beyond that had only B2. Interestingly, it seems the 1st - 3rd printings had Dungeon Geomorphs Set One & Monster & Treasure Assortment Set One instead of a module. So comparatively speaking it would be fairly rare.

  3. When I bought my Holmes boxed set recently, I discovered the contents were completely wrong. The right box, but inside was an odd collection of stuff: an AD&D DM's screen, some geomorphs, etc. Kind of cool stuff to get by chance, but not Holmes.

    I ended up assembling my Holmes box set myself. I kept the box, and bought copies of the Holmes book and B1 separately. Not entirely authentic, but my box set now contains basically what I thought should have been there.

    I guess my point is, if you're buying used, there's no guarantee you're really getting the original contents, unless you manage to pick up a still in shrink wrap copy. Is it really worth spending extra money on a set that contains B1 in the hopes it's really the B1 that originally came in the box?

  4. Ah, it amazes me (though i suppose it shouldn't) that there are actual sets to be had. I recently uncovered my copies of the Holmes rule book and B1 in my parents' basement (which I moved out of long ago, TYVM), but the box and the dice are long gone. I wish I could find the dice, because the d20 was pretty much round by the time I replaced it.

    Which is to say, good luck, and I hope you find an intact set.

  5. About 6 years ago I got a Holmes set off of ebay for $10. It was complete with the mono B1. (Chits, no dice.)

    Shoehorned inside the box (which was in remarkable condition considering the abuse) was an AD&D PHB with original demon-idol art. Completely unexpected. I looked back at the auction announcement after getting it and saw that it was actually included in the sale.

    Needless to say, that was one of my better ebay finds.

  6. My copy of the Holmes ed. came with B1, but it also came with some extras like the AD&D game screen with the Dave Trampier artwork and also some bookmark character sheets (I think homemade).

  7. I won a shrink-wrapped Holmes with B1 on eBay about 2 years back. I no longer remember the price but it couldn't have been ridiculous because I'm not a hardcore collector. My general limit on OOP D&D items is ~$30.

  8. I picked a copy of Holmes up on Ebay 3 years ago for about $20, and when I opened it (yes, it was still sealed...) it had a mono B1 in it. That made my day! So yes, they can be had, although they seem to be a bit rarer than copies with B2 as others have mentioned.

  9. My current copy of the Holmes boxed set is a mutant - 7th edition book (with intact chits!), but In Search of the Unknown as the module - I got it at Gencon last year for 5-10 bucks or so.

    You can still pick them up, and for reasonable prices - but it's kind of a crapshoot as to quality, and actual matched sets are kinda hard to find now, unless you manage to get one that's still sealed.

    My first D&D box (now long-since gone the way of the Dodo) was 4th edition - In Search of the Unknown, non-inked dice.

  10. I got my Holmes set for a very reasonable price, considering the condition. I got it for $30, but it was Cherry condition. The chits were new and uncut. The B1 Mod (!) was in beautiful shape, and the rulebook was crisp & clean.

    However, I will echo the comments of some other posters here. The B1, while quite pristine, was not the correct printing run that WOULD have come with the boxed set. So I got one that was pieced together, not the original box contents.

    But I'm still happy to have the set and in such great shape! :)

  11. This is off-topic, but I've always thought it was strange that D&D fans are able to refer to the modules by their abbreviations. On one hand, I did have a sort of collector's instinct toward them ("But if I got this I could complete the set!") but there were so many of them and some of them were so rare that using abbreviations never seemed like the right idea.

    Example: If I were to say "RotK", would you know I meant "Return of the King"? Of course you would, just like I would if you said "LBB". But if I said "QoE", would you know I was referring to "The Quest of Erebor" from the "Unfinished Tales" collection? Exactly (I'm going to admit, there probably is an abbreviation for those stories actually used in the Tolkein fandom, but I'm more of an observer to that). It's a peculiarity common to plenty of fandoms, I just think it's weird that it happened at all.

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  13. I've never even SEEN a Holmes boxed set with the geomorphs. Both boxed sets I have came with the chits and the mono B1, although I notice that not long after I bought mine, they switched over to B2.

    One of my sets, I bought when it was new.

    The other one, I found, sealed, at an antique and junk shop, for $3.

    Seems like the easiest way to do this would be to assemble it piecemeal.

  14. But the D&D modules had number/letter names in the original catalogs, and were organized by them. They also were clearly marked on the modules themselves. There weren't all that many modules, originally, so it was easy to remember them back then or pull them out of memory now.

    Surely there are old TSR catalogs that have been scanned onto the Web somewhere... you'll see just how easy it was to learn them. Especially if you read the catalogs over and over again, wishing desperately that your parents would give you an allowance or let you send away for stuff.