Paper manuals are two edged swords. SMAC had decent size manual... only rushed out so quickly to come without an index and full of wrong info (game rules and values changed in last weeks game balancing) and quickly out of date, after the game patches adds commands and features.
A well balanced learning curve, a training small scenario, an enhanced Civilopedia (easy to upgrade to keep as for patches and mods/fan's scenarios): we needs more in electronic format.
I'll love the ability to add players notes to Civilopedia, to include any good suggestion and memo I planned and developed, or any wise strategy I learn from Apolytoner Game Masters.
Think about a Civilopedia that let you link something like Velocyrix's SMAC Strategy Guide, with reminders and trigger events!
E.g., you discover a new tech and Civilopedia pop-up the relevant suggestion of Vel or your Civ reach some power value relations to the others players and, as your Advisor try to suggest you standard Firaxis wise, it add (or replace with it) more deep notes you wrote/imported related to your usual style of play.
I had the SMAC Tech poster, but its flat paper limit can't help me to drill my way to wanted advance. I'll love a tool to better navigate and search on Civ III tech tree.
I remember a Intel Computer Show two years ago where they showed us an interesting interface concept, able to reproduce arguments and their relations, as a spinning globe (mainly made of exhagons) where every time you focused to an argument all the surrounding polygons where sorted for relations and relevance (the nearest are strictly related, others fade far).
Of course paper manuals helps a bit to fight sw piracy, as added bonus to customers, but we can have others tricks do the same: a brief proper history paperback (I'll love that, it'll help me to explain my purchase of CIV III to my wife ) , a bunch of small unit figurine (plastic or metal) to collect...
Admiral Naismith AKA mcostant