So I introduced a friend to AI Wars in large part thanks to Helper mode. It was a rousing success and another person has seen the light. So I wanted to share my experience.
Once we were in the game itself, the helper role worked perfectly. I was in the role of helper and it felt no different to me than playing normally. I let him focus on offensively taking systems while I stopped waves and otherwise just answered questions and provided suggestions. So a very good experience.
I did have a few issues, mainly with getting the game started. I'll pose them as a questions and a suggestion:
Can I host a game, but still be the helper? His computer is dying and so we'd prefer to have me host but we weren't able to get that to work with me as a helper. I suppose it may not matter too much who's helper but it feels correct to do it this way. I couldn't seem to get this to work with me hosting but being helper.
I'd really like to be able to start a new game using the Helper role. I feel game setup is pretty important and can be pretty overwhelming to a new player so if I'm taking someone through the game I'd like to be able to start at the beginning. Especially with him needing to host, he had to create the game, pause it, go into manage players to add a player and set the role. Just a bunch of stuff I'd rather do instead.
Other than those two issues, amazing job. Thank you very much guys!
Edit: One request from my friend: He would really like it if he could see what I have selected. Just the selection circles on units (the selection list for my units isn't needed). But it would help make it clear who was controlling what units when we both are managing a fight.