Similar for me. I have all their games for years, but need to commit the time to master - and remember! - all the functions. What always happens is I wing it, enjoy the battles, and leave, as AI can take care of itself pretty good. Combat Mission is more micro-intensive but I understand it. It just took about 17 years since Beyond Overlord
But the ultimate challenge will be preparing for Operational Art of War IV.
My experience exactly. I feel the same about Combat Mission, I've sunk so much time into it that their system feels obvious, when a total newbie might be quite lost, especially on the finer points of LOS and such.
Oddly, I didn't find Operational Art of War 3 to be all that difficult to play when I first learned, but then I took a few months off and forgot everything . Hoping the new version will be streamlined in that regard, those hundreds of scenarios covering everything you could possibly want sure are enticing.
Think I'm finally comfortable with the UI. How do I know this, well after not playing for months I jumped back in and knew what I was doing,mostly. Here's a couple of suggestions that helped me. Turn the new order system off, it limits your orders and will frustrate you. Set your battlefield size to limited to start, less units to monitor. Don't try to micro everything. I give most of my orders at start and adjust as the situation develops. Recon to here,move in single line, spread out. Tanks move here, single column along road. My problem was trying to micro everything. The new system since Mius is easier, the manual is better but it still doesn't cover everything. I print screen of the controls and print them out for reference. The basics of orders is select unit, right click on a map location and an order wheel pops up, select your base order by left clicking on it, done, but if you want to set the modifiers for the order right click on the order to open the modifier wheel and select those you want. Once you get a bit comfortable with the system it gets easier but it will take time. The AI does a reasonable job acting on your orders. It's just one of those games where once it clicks, your good to go.
Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
"Be Yourself; Everyone else is already taken" ~Oscar Wilde
*I'm in the Wargamer middle ground*
I don't buy all the wargames I want, I just buy more than I need.