The players guider PFD and/or hardcoveris a must-have so your layers can look stuff up outside of the game (e.g. all the careers, actions and talents, etc.). Can you imagine playing D&D or Pathfinder without the players having their own book? This book includes the Rat Catcher's Tale in printed form that was released for free online evidently just to pad the pages.
The creature guide hardcover is the best we've got for a quick reference guide for all the monsters and their special actions. Although the layout of the book is retarded, and you'll need to download/print an action summary (gitzman's) to the back of the book, it is much more convenient for browsing (and has adventure hooks for every monster) than the cards.
The GMs guide hardcover and/or pdf is a blasted waste of space if you already own winds of magic, signs of faith and the core set. It is for completionists only. This book reprints the entire adventure from the Core box GM's book just to pad the pages.
It should be noted that for each of your guides, you will want to scan and insert the cards from your later purchased products (such as Omens, Lure, BFP, Witch's song and Hero's call) into the backs of your hardcoers for complete reference. I put the monster stat lines from those books into my creature guide as well. It is a smart idea to scan your cards from later products anyways because heaven forbid you lose one... This game really needs a Player's guide 2 and a Creature Guide 2 if anyone wants a job
On a historical note (info and opinions you don't want to know): Although I love these hardcovers (and use the PDF's constantly for reference), I believe were a Fool's Errand attempt at placating all of the implacable, childish groaning and edition sabotage put forth by the 2e fans who felt slighted that "their edition" was replaced by a 3rd edition (in 22 years). There is some really great stuff in there and they are a great summary, but I believe had this edition been less of a giant playtest for Star Wars, and more of an effort by fan-writers, we'd also have a Player's Guide 2 and a Creature Guide 2.
If it's any consolation, our group is firing up a One Ring min-campaign and quickly realized that the books for that are terribly organized as well. I theorize (off on a tangent much?), I theorize that poorly organized games get a lot more fluff and redundancy and seem "plenty complex" whereas better organized and established games require a lot more crunch-complexity (e.g. Pathfinder or D&D) to demonstrate how complex (Rube Goldberg) they are. WFRP3 looks pretty simple though when you look at the 3 hardcovers.
Anyways, you'd get a LOT of use out of the Player's Guide and the Creature guide.
Edited by Emirikol, 08 June 2014 - 12:40 PM.