This may be one of the reasons why dice rolling is evergreen in combat games. Emotionally, tossing a bunch of dice does not feel so different from thrusting forward recklessly with a sword or axe. The mechanics are there, but players accept them as a direct analogy to the game world actions.
Above all, it is crucial to remember that a simple wargame that is played will be more instructive than a detailed wargame that is not.
Try to find a likeminded group of people to game with. Read history, view films, and check out the various groups on the Internet. It’s a wonderful time to be a wargamer.
One exercise I remember from high school was to write instructions for how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Other students would then stand at the front of the class with bread, a knife, and jars of PB&J, then try to follow our written instructions as literally as possible, not making any assumptions. This was an activity we were all obviously familiar with, but it was amazing how poor most of the instructions were, omitting all kinds of details.
Board games draw upon the tactile pleasures associated with toys.