On the cover, beneath the title, the contents of the Handbook are described as: "Painting Guide", "Fictional Ethnic Descriptions," and "Man-to-Man Action Rules."
Description from the Rulebook
Here is action with a single man or small group of men pitting their abilities, skills, and courage against other men or fearsome Beasts in settings from dank, poorly lighted underground dungeons to the swirling, desperate hand-to-hand battle raging on the deck of the flyer a thousand feet above the ground. The clash of naked steel. . .the test of manhood and courage. . .this is the essence of a life on Barsoom!
In these guides, flyer combat and army level conflict are included primarily to flesh out the adventure. They occur constantly on Barsoom, but Carter's manuscripts show these greater conflicts are merely the backdrop for the small personal adventure. It is for this kind of adventure that the man-to-man guides were developed.
This is not a game. We would like it very much if you did not consider it as such. Games have rules not guides and are often taken as the final word. Rules often become some kind of demented bible. This is a guide because it is designed to show you a pathway to adventure, a kind of glory road. It is a pathway, an outline, a suggestion. It is only something for you to construct your own adventures around. This is not a game, this is an adventure of the heart and mind.
We hope that you have fun with Barsoom. I am sure that you will.