My fave flavor of S&W is WhiteBox. But I also dig Core.
Despite official support Core seems to have been lost.
WB was truly the one left languishing, but has of late (thankfully) received a good deal of quality third-party support. Heck, Barrel Rider Games' WB stuff were all top-sellers on RPGNow/Drive-Thru RPG.
WB has a pretty decent fan base.
Complete seems to be the main S&W that is the go-to for those who dig S&W at all.
Even most in the blogosphere who were Core fans have since switched to Complete.
Core, as I stated, has actual official support and has an attractively produced pdf (and soft and hard back Lulu POD books). Something WB does not, despite WB carrying a larger more dedicated fan base than Core.
It's almost as if many think of Core as: "Complete....but missing stuff", which is a shame.
I love S&W as a whole due to it's covering (in it's way) each major flavor of D&D for me.
I love WB because of it being...well..WB. That incredibly simple and low-power-curve baseline of old school original D&D. Even better than OD&D, it doesn't even worry about all the particulars of the game. (some consider this as being 'missing core rules'. As a fan of lite games and T&T in particular, this is cool by me. I suppose I sort of view WB as a D&D-mechanic version of T&T after a fashion. It's a wholly-D&D-compatible...fantasy game resolution engine.
I love the idea of 'AD&D lite'. C&C would seem perfect for this but even it is too rules-heavy for me. Labyrinth Lord + Advanced Edition Companion is where many flock to for this but even that is too much and anyway...like C&C and AD&D1E...those spell descriptions and stuff. Ugh. Heh.
Besides. I want it in one short, concise book (as much as it can be).
Complete does this.
But...C&C has the greatest ranger and bard in all of D&D-dom, IMO.
S&W Complete doesn't have the OD&D bard (weird! ?!?) and the Aragon class instead of a ranger class. No illusionist. Sigh!
Suffice to say, I dig the idea. I'm not a big fan of the execution.
WB is a missed opportunity. Most especially now that we've passed the "OMG this is totally NOT OD&D exactly! Gasp!" and most finally accept that it is it's own thing: A spirit of OD&D play in a simple package.
But, to where I started. What this is really about:
Left all alone.
What is it?
Well...yeah, we all know it's S&W's 'voice' of the 3LBBs + parts of Greyhawk that were most commonly used. That is to say: kinda Holmes and kinda B/X.
But that's why I love it. I love B/X. I love Holmes. I love what they both should be and could have been.
I wish both would have been slightly simplified and edited in one, hardback volume. I'd love it that they would have either only gone to or at least gone up to level 10.
I'd love an awesome cover.
It's like Holmes+. B/X is super. It's perfectly edited and pared down to brass tacks. What if it was made even more succinct and concise?
Oh, yeah. S&W Core.
Yes, it's not perfect in that/those regard(s), but gosh is it ever super-close.
Perhaps this is an incredibly narrow portion of D&D desire. Thus it's nowaday second-rate status.
More's the pity.
How often have you wanted "Holmes+" without going all OD&D + Greyhawk or returning to B/X or whatever? I know I've been there. Often.
Thankfully Core does that.
It's just as easy if not easier to expand or change than B/X or OD&D (to me, at least).
Core remains just as vital as WB and even more viable than Complete.
But, just as important is that it's one facet of the jewel of S&W.
Want a super-simple OD&D game? WB. Do I want something like A&D but easy and do-able for...maybe a Ravenloft game without the work? S&W Complete. Something akin to a B/X game but more malleable? Core.
With S&W it's all done.
I guess I just wanted to give a shout out to the S&W that was the first and is now the 'forgotten' one and doesn't deserve to be.