I think we desperately need a tutorial. When I opened up Clash I was confused. Even though I read the manual beforehand, I was confused. Despite the fact that I've been on the team for upwards of two years, I didn't know what to do. Mostly this was due to the fact that I have not been heavily involved with the military and econ models, the two main things the demo has.
The current trend nowadays in games is to open the game up and start playing. This is especially the case with demos. None of the professional demos I download have ever come with manuals. They come with a tutorial/walkthrough scenario with some advisor telling me what to do.
This system works. It works well. People expect it. We don't have it. I think that may be a big reason that people who try thr demo walk off confused.
I vote that all manual writing efforts be devoted entirely to creating a walkthrough scenario. Vets don't need a manual and if the walkthrough is good newbies won't either.
Someone would open the game, choose a scenario, and see: Tutorial: Romans. They'd click on it and a popup window would come up, introducing an advisor. Give him a name, like Proconsul Marcus. This advisor tells the player what the game is, what the missions are, and what to click to accomplish it.
He should probably start by introducing the economy, explaining civ orders and square orders. (These should probably be renamed to "city orders" for now.) He would tell the player what all the boxes mean and how to read them. He would direct the player to do something like increase kapital production.
When the game detected that the player did so, Marcus would tell the player how to build a road. The game then checks for completion of that before having the next tutorial come up.
Then the advisor would tell the player how to make units and how to move them around. He would guide the player, step by step, through the capture of a neutral city. Obviously this would require a premade map and not a random one. A real map of central italy, like the one in demo 4, would be great.
At that point the player should know the basics and could finish the scenario. I guarantee that if this is implemented in even a miminal fashion, people would be a lot more impressed with the game and will stick around to make comments.