Glad to hear that SoAK can be picked up by some on the run when playing with experience players. Not sure Barb and I yet count for that. Were they experience fantasy boardgamers or not? The ones here this weekend hardly play boardgames at all but are fantasy film/fiction enthusiasts.
The guy is the default playing partner for me, I tend to buy and learn a game on my own, then teach him after getting a hang of it. Though I hadn't actually played SoAK before that initial game (had a few RB games played though), had read and re-read the rules. Compared to base RB, it's really just Day/Night that you need to clear, Story die comes into it rarely at the start, you're still looking for experience initially, only after you get a LQ that refers to the Story die does it really need to be brought into the discussion. Of course, if a non-gem, non-town movement end happens, it's at least something you get to do in SoAK (which might of course increase play time if you fail to reach your goal at night and get Ambushed).