The words "Basic D&D" can conjure up different images for different gamers, largely depending on when they started playing the game. Some will think of the Mentzer set, others Moldvay B/X, and some gamers will recall a familiar shade of blue.
As OD&D's popularity spread like wildfire in the 70's, the wizards at TSR wisely decided to release a beginners D&D set. OD&D was not incomprehensible, but it was written with somewhat experienced wargamers in mind as opposed to absolute beginners. Tasking Dr. Holmes to design the first beginner's set turned out to be a very good move. The box set covered the first 3 levels of the game (a concept that has been repeated over the years), and the original rules and some of those of the supplements were reorganized and rephrased to make more sense to the uninitiated. It was also packaged with an awesome adventure, "In Search of the Unknown". What some call a drawback of this adventure, I consider its greatest asset: while there are room descriptions provided, it is up to the DM to populate the dungeon and add treasure using lists in the back of the module. Though Holmes did not write the module, it really helped bookend this classic set, letting fledgling DMs and players get right to it.
Fast forward to today's OSR movement. Classic editions are getting the retro-clone treatment, helping introduce new generations of players to old rule sets. Considering the often steep price of some of this stuff, this is commendable and helps keep games alive. So whether your blue book is coming apart at the seams, or if you have never even heard of Dr. Holmes, you will want to check out this new free retro-clone, BLUEHOLME, care of Dreamscape Design.
Special thanks to Zenopus Archives and Tenkar's Tavern for bringing this to my attention. If you are an OSR junkie like myself, they are both great blogs you should be following!