Even after years of playing, noob moments still happen, this game is incredibly deep.:b:
I can't speak for others but I can make you recommendations to help you make it much more than just a game: an experience!
First, the advice would be (if you didn't already of course) to read the introduction story of how the UN mission failed and why (if you didn't already of course). Journey to Centauri is downloadable at: http://www.firaxis.com/smac/assets/journey.rtf
And then, to read the 2 novels quoted (in the printed manual, that you probably don't own) as the most influential in making this game:
- Frank Herbert's The Jesus Incident (for drones and native life)
- Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars (for terraforming and faction leaders...and so much more)
By doing this, the game becomes alive. Awesome!