I got my copy of the FGCG today. The first thing that struck me was the fact that it reminded me of the 3e Eberron CG. Something about the way it was set up made me think of that book. I haven't really had time to read it, but rest assured I will be positing my opinion about it in the near future.
My first impression is that it feels like a rip off. By this I mean that now we have to buy 2 books where as before we only needed one. To get the full use out of the FRCG you will need the Players Guide. I think that sucks.
I could deal, with some grumbling, with having to buy a second and possibly third PHB to get the additional classes and races that were left out of the PHB1, but I just realized that 4e is a bigger money trap than I originally thought.
Not only do we need the core books (PHB, DMG, MM) to play, we will need the future PHB releases (PHB2, 3, 4, etc...) to get all the races and classes we want since many favored classes and races(except Gnomes.. leave the gnomes out of it) were not in the first PHB. They will undoubtedly release more Monster Manuals, of which you will at least want to get MM2. Then there will likely be a DMG 2. That doesn't even take the specific Campaign Settings into consideration.
For which ever setting(s) you want to run you will need that setting's Campaign Guide(now just a campaign specific DMG) as well as the Players Guide (a setting specific PHB).
So assuming that you both DM and play a PC and you want to play a Bard or Druid (assuming that those classes actually are in the PHB2) in the Forgotten Realms you will need a total of 6 books to both play and run that setting. The 3 core books (PHB, DMG, MM), the PHB2, the FRCG and the FR Players Guide. WTF!!!!That is something like $200+ if you want to play and run Forgotten Realms campaigns.
What if you want to run Eberron as well... add another $50-60. Given that I've seen future Dark Sun novels listed on Amazon.com and the WotC site I think it is safe to say there will be a Campaign Guide and Players Guide for that setting as well. (They bring back Dark Sun and kill Mazitca... damn you WotC!) Now add the fact that there will likely be setting specific Monster Manuals and supplements, you end up with a lot of books to run/play a single setting.
Granted you could just stick with the 3 core books and be able to play the game, but that is kind of like playing a PS3 or 360 game on a 13" black and white TV. You can play but you don't get the whole experience, you are missing a big part of what makes the game great. Unfortunately the new model for playing D&D seems to be a page straight from the Palladium play book. You may not need all of the books to play the game, but no single book will give you everything you want/need in your game. So you buy another book but only get a part of what you want/need in and you find that you really need to buy one more book, and then another and another... ad nauseum.
While I was man enough to admit I was wrong in my initial opinion of 4e, the system is good and I like it. My opinion of WotC, however, is becoming less and less positive. I will buy the FRPG because I already bought the FRCG and I'll buy the PHB2 because there are classes in there I want for my games, but after that I'm done!
At least until Eberron comes out......