You do not really need that firm a grasp of rules and battleboard. My mate read the rules about two month before the game, about 1 1/2 month. We both gave it another read the afternoon before the game. We only made one mistake during the game (allowing each crossbow a shot instead of every second) and things went smooth. I think the batteboards are a bit abstract until you really roll the dice. So it is enough to just have a basic knowledge of what ability does what and you are good to go. The rest comes during play.
Games are meant to be played with 4 to 6 points plus a Warlord. Each pont can be between four and twelve models. So anything between 17 and 73 models goes. I found the best units to play with are Heathguards (four models per point) and Warriors (eight models per point), so you will most likely end up in the lower half of those values!
Sounds good. I like a game where you need to buy only one box to have an effective force, or two! (Gripping Beast's box looks quite nice and with 44 models you could make two bands of 22 each ).
Now if only they bring out a box of plastic Irish warriors I'd be set. I already have St Kevin's Church in Wicklow built, from an excellent article by Paul Davis in the 'Vikings in Ireland' issue of WI.