I was initially skeptical about Fantasy Flight's new edition of WFRP. I had purchased and loved WFRP 2nd Edition from Black Industries, and news of the many changes led me to be wary of the new edition. With the news of them releasing a Player's Guide with all the basic rules for making player characters and playing the game, free from the boxed sets and multiple books of the basic set, I decided to make a leap of faith which I'm very happy to say was rewarded.
The book itself is beautiful, as are all of Fantasy Flight's products. The binding is solid, and the book itself is full colour with glossy pages that make it an excellent addition to any gamer's shelf.
In terms of the content, I'll begin with what it doesn't have - GM material and monster information, and the specific dice set. These are available in the Game Master's Guide and the Monster's Guide respectively, and there isn't anything within the players guide that deals with these aspects of play. As such, in order to actually play the game, you will need at least the Monster's Guide to provide characters with challengers, and a packet of the specific dice. You'll probably want the GM Guide also.
The good news is that these are reasonably cheap, and similarly nice books. You don't need all of the components and tokens from the core set in order to play the game, I should mention here. It might make things easier for an inexperienced group, but any player familiar with RPGs will be fine to manage the required data on a good ol' fashioned character sheet (which you can now download free from the Fantasy Flight website).
As for the dice, these are indicative of the core mechanic of the game which is surprisingly both simple and intricate all at the same time. Essentially, it's a dice pool mechanic which grants you bonus dice based on your abilities and skills, and adds negative dice for bad circumstances. You roll, and the good and bad cancel each other out until you are left with either more successes or failures. Along with this are dice representing luck, and banes or boons. These also cancel each other out until there's one type left, but instead of being indicative of the success of your test, they depict in a narrative way whether or not your success was good or bad. An example would be if you made a successful test to break down a door, but rolled a higher number of banes, and the door might fall on you. On the other hand, you might fire an arrow at an orc and miss, but roll a higher number of boons, and so the arrow might nick a rope suspending a carcass from a nearby branch which then falls and trips the orc. Simple to learn, and fun to boot.
After reading the book, I'm inclined to think that some of the components offered in the Player's Vault for instance, might be a good buy as well. While you don't *need* them, they would certainly add an ease of play to the game.
All in all, I was very happy with this book, and it's worth a look for anyone considering getting into WFRP 3rd ed, and it's a must-have reference for anyone involved in a game already.