Fair warning: this post is kind of jumbled because I am just riffing on the necessity of rules, and what the players need to know in order for the game to work.
|Excitement clearly abounds|
I don't think player rules mastery is critical like it is in a video game or trading card game. The important thing is the rules work so the men in their world seem real and relatable. It's helpful to have guys around the table that know the rules but the rules you use all the time are so simple you can almost put them all on one side of a paper or just tell people once or twice and they will know them.
One time I wrote out all the charts I really needed to run a game and it turned out to be like three charts! (Aha! Here it is! NB: the Morale numbers are reversed. I was trying a new notation which I have since abandoned.)
By the way, there need not be any mechanism or in-game reward for RP and the Ref doesn't have to be responsible for the story. Things just have to work in a consistent believable way to create a framework for the story the several players tell in common.
So it's the stories that matter rather than the mechanics;
but it's the mechanics that allow for the story to be meaningful!