I've had the same experience/thoughts.
I just picked it up on GoG last weekend, and I enjoyed the heck out of the first three tutorials and my first game. But, after growing pretty well (I think?) and hitting a few achievements, I really wanted to end it and start over. In the end it worked out OK. I used my last 5-10 minutes to push my global prosperity and experiment with some transformations that came with a few late ambassadors.
I feel like I'll probably burn out on the game if/when I push to the higher levels (since there are so many arbitrary transformations that I'd need to memorize if I wanted an optimal build order, and--generally speaking--I always spend a ton of time studying my strategy games and math-optimizing my tactics).
However, the in-game help and tooltips have given me just enough info so I feel like I can make informed strategic decisions without resorting to a wiki guide. I'm very happy about that as it lets me enjoy the game's theme and aesthetics without breaking into resource tables (in contrast to something like the Anno games where I loved the immersive graphics/setting but I found that I had to check the wiki so I could remember the hidden stoichiometry of each production chain).