I'm interested in buying this game but am concerned that the learning curve is too steep [sic] for me to enjoy it.
Ok, you look like a prime candidate to watch the 5-minute intro video - found over here :
What can say ? COTA is pretty easy to get started in. I know because I've literally given dozens of 5-minute instructions demo-ing the game at a number of wargame conventions.
Just using the move, attack and defend orders and using common (military) sense will get you up and running in no time. It's a game you grow into. At first you don't need to bother with the finer parts, just give orders to your battalion HQ's and they'll execute them well enough, after a while you'll start to micro-manage your arty or think you've found a better spot for that AT company but as a game COTA keeps you focused on the operational strategy, not the drudgery of having to move and order each unit every turn.
The thing is : in Cota you won't want or need to do that most of the time. Let me give you an example : say you want a battalion (a battalion HQ, it's companies, some supporting mortar, heavy machine gun and AT units) to defend a town.
Cota allows newbies to do this : <click on Btl HQ unit> <click on "Defend"> <click on the town> done. If that was a sound move from a military operational point of view (the battalion is not out on a limb, nearly encircled etc. ) that was a good move to make and you can easily win a game like that.
But when you're a bit more used to this whole "worry about the strategy, not about implementation" way of wargaming you'll start to notice that the default footprint (frontage / depth) that battalion has can maybe be enhanced somewhat - and Cota lets you do that easily. The next step is that you notice that the battalion has a rather feeble AT company and that for best effect you could maybe place it somewhat to the right/left of the main highway leading into town because you know the enemy is usually scouting with light armoured cars and getting flank shots would be nice, etc.
The point I wanted to make is that Cota lets you micro-manage *everything* if you wanted to, but that most gamers don't bother because in most instances the AI commander does a credible job himself so you only intervene at the critical points and if you just need to garrison a flank that is not threatened even the most experienced players will just <click unit> <click defend order> <click location> and go on to focus where his attention to details matters : at the focal point of the attack.
Now, if the above sounds suspiciously like the job description of the divisional or corps commander that's because Cota is simply the best simulation of commanding at that level available on today's market.
[old hands might have noticed this is sort of a copy&paste job from other posts I made - believe me, I know all there is to know about Real Life (tm) pressure so I tend to take shortcuts ]