Name: Numenera Player’s Guide
Type: Roleplaying Game
Publisher: Monte Cook Games
System: Cypher System
Size: 28.3cm x 22cm x 2.5cm
(4.0 / 5)
The Numenera Player’s Guide is a full colour soft-back expansion for the Numenera roleplaying game. This is a nice looking book, full of solid, evocative illustrations that help players and GMs alive to visualise the weird world of the Numenera setting.
The primary role of the book at the gaming table is to give players quick and easy access to all of the basic information they will need for their character. The book is essentially a reprint of a few sections from the core Numenera book. It covers character generation, including full rules for all of the foci and descriptors from the core book, the full equipment lists (such as they are) from the core book and the basic rules of the setting.
The main use I’ve had for this book is that it helps speed up group character generation because you have a full set of character information in another book allowing 2 players to simultaneously create characters (more if, like me, you plumbed for PDFs as well). Even though Numenera has a ridiculously simple chargen system having a 2nd set of information allowing multiple players to create characters at once is a godsend. Once a campaign starts having this book on hand allows players quick and simple access to their abilities, without them having to scour the bulky core book, which is helpful, and it prevents easily distracted players from browsing the core book during sessions since the Player’s Guide is pretty focused in its content.
I’ll admit, I was massively skeptical of this book when it was released, going as far as to unwittingly insult the generosity of my group, who had got it as part of my birthday present, by telling them that I thought it was pointless. A book that just reprints parts of another without adding any original content seemed to be a bit of a money grab to me and I couldn’t justify it because, while not particularly expensive, it just looked utterly superfluous. Even as a collector of games I couldn’t see a point it buying it and I pride myself on complete collections of settings and systems.
In retrospect I was wrong, this book has seen substantial use in both chargen and in sessions and it actually prevents overuse and damage of the stunning core book. It’s a useful, small aid to have on hand for the players to be able to check what their abilities and powers can do and this is doubly useful if you have players new to Numenera in your group.
You should know going in that this book doesn’t have absolutely everything you need for chargen, there isn’t a character sheet included, although a link to the downloadable version is mentioned and the sections of the core book that detail the various Numenera aren’t in there either. This just means that you can’t just take the Players Guide to a friends house in order to build a character, you need the core book (or Technology Compendium) as well or else you need to have rolled up what Numenera a character will have ahead of time. It is also worth knowing that the Players Guide contains only the Descriptors and Foci from the core book and not those included in the Character Options book.
Would I recommend this book to someone? That’s a tough question because it’s certainly not something that is required or that I would consider essential but it is really useful and an asset to the table. If, like me, you get the book as a present or you can buy it as a present for another player in your group then it’ll be graciously accepted and it’ll see a lot of use but unless you are a completionist or have money to burn then there are more important books in the Numenera line to pick up first.