Widely regarded as where the entire role-playing hobby began, the very first Dungeons & Dragons game was developed by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson based on the Chainmail miniature wargaming rules with a fantasy supplement written by Gary Gygax and Jeff Perren in 1971. Chainmail's main contribution was in giving hard combat statistics to characters and monsters via a 'Combat Matrix'. Originally published by 'Guidon Games' the company TSR was formed to develop it further.
Correspondence between Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson about how the latter was using Chainmail in a fantasy campaign led to meetings, games and the development of the first Dungeons & Dragons rules in 1974 - and a hobby was born!
Note that most of these early books went through several printings - if you are interested in the minutæ of these, visit The Acaeum which is designed with the collector in mind and details every possible version that they can find!
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