Remember rolling characters with an intelligence of 6? remember when Elf was a class? Remember when a 1st level character's survival rate was 4.8%--less if you created a wizard or a thief? Well, I do, and I miss it. I also miss mapping--that was my favorite part. The DM says, "You open the door to a 20'X30' room with another door in the middle of the east wall." Ah, those were the days. Too, I didn't have to crunch 4,000 numbers before swinging a sword or shooting a bow. Roll the d20. Hit? Roll damage. We had so much fun, and could easily complete a module (remember how fantastic those were?) in a day-long session.
My brother and I used to spend whole days with nothing more than the old red box starter set - exactly the one described here: some paper, some dice, a set of rules and Keep On The Borderlands. Borderlands was essentially a mini campaign, a brilliantly designed area for simple exploration which we plundered over and over again.
I can see the rationale behind a D&D based board game, having enjoyed games like Doom: The Board Game and Zombies, not to mention older games like Talisman - but I can concur that a truly simplified RPG ruleset would and should have a place in the franchise's lineup.
I've been poking at a web-based RPG parody using dice (think Munchkin) and I was pulling up the code - thought this was a poignant thought for a Saturday morning.