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There are many, many PDFs for Lamentations of the Flame Princess. I'm confused! And the website doesn't help.

What do I need? There doesn't seem to be a central book. What's the minimum I need to play? And what else would you recommend?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

I'd suggest starting with the Free PDF of the rules and magic book. That's enough to start playing. If you like it, you can buy the complete game and get the tutorial and referee books, which are both fascinating but not strictly essential. You also get a couple of adventures. I think an adventure will help you "get" the tone and feel of LotFP - we played through Tower of the Stargazer and it was a good introduction to weird fantasy, Flame Princess style.

The character sheet will also be useful but is not essential.

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LotFP: Weird Fantasy Role-Playing is the name of the core rules.

That PDF, which includes the Tutorial and Referee material not in the free download, can be purchased here, here, here, and here.

The physical box set is out of print but still available through various vendors.

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