I forgot to add this one to the list. Chris ended up buying the core set after listening to my ongoing, unwavering obsessional ramblings about this game.
We played the basic scenario in the core set, with two basic player decks, just to go over some of the main mechanisms involved. We ended up winning the scenario in pretty good shape, our main issue was wounds caused by a couple of shadow effects during combat.
Chris, you played very well! It took me longer to get a good feel for the basic mechanisms involved, and the game has a lot to keep track of. I'll be interested to see if the gameplay alone keeps you interested, given you aren't into the theme as much as I am.