Greetings to you, TemplateRex! Your candor is refreshing, indeed. I believe that I understand your feelings about learning this game–Stratego is a highly unique game of puzzles and problems, and it does pose challenges that are unlike most other games. Where chess has the fundamental information in plain sight, and one my attempt to mount a highly complex and extensive action against the opponent, Stratego relies heavily upon unknown information. Gathering this information is one of the exciting aspects of this game, because as you must already have bore witness to some of the highly skilled players here–they have an amazing sense of how to read the board and their opponents pieces, too. Another aspect is being able to manipulate your pieces so as to command the control of the game–the truly great players have been able to develop a skill in which it is almost as though they are in the driver's seat and they are dictating the direction of the game–both players struggle for that level of control.
The only way to develop the skill is to continue to play many, many matches, then to reflect upon what worked and what did not, and to keep notes of patterns that become recognizable to you. You must have enough experience to know what I am speaking about–there are times your opponent does things and it will remind you of something you experienced in a previous match. Go with your instinct, because you are probably reading things correctly. Do not let the feelings of frustration hamper your fun and thrill with this game. Be sure, there are many players here who have no understanding of the game, they blitz and lotto blindly, and it is not a match of Stratego for them, but of "Treasure Hunt." In other words, you will distinguish between the serious Stratego players versus the weekend warrior who merely wants a quick bit of fun swapping pieces for no reason at all. (Once I made this distinction, I could allow a bit of frustration by referring to lotto players as 'dorks', but the quality players as great opportunities to learn.) You will learn from the savage players, those without care or respect for the game, but you will also develop your skill so you learn how to deal with such irritating opponents. When I lose to a quality player (they could be bronze, silver, gold, or platinum–quality is quality), I do not mind so much because I usually have the feeling that I did not waste my time, my opponent was using clever and careful skill in achieving their victory, and it is even better when your opponent turns out to be a very nice person–sometimes I get a very nice chat message and it makes all the difference in the world. (Whenever you get a nasty chat message, please...do yourself a BIG favor...close the chat, turn off the sound, and get back to concentrating on making a victory..or, simply surrender and find a worthwhile opponent deserving of your time).
If you want to make advances, set up some friendlies with people here and ask to play a best of two out of three matches and discuss the matches with them...Fairway is terrific and will keep you guessing, and he will talk with you about the match...any of us here, who are happy to offer insights and support, will be more than glad to play a match and to talk about it...because anyone who loves this game loves to share the fun of it! I'll add you to my friends list so that if I am ever online and you want a match, we can play. (I am not nearly as knowledgeable as many others here, but I would be glad to share whatever I observe...right or wrong... ).
Take it easy and keep up the good fight!