Don't give up! First, I am a newb as well. I've been tinkering with this for a few weeks. Like you, I am mostly competent with Java.
Setup takes a little effort, but you should be able to get a project going with setup-ui and having it run on Android, desktop, and web pretty easily.
Get eclipse. If you're on Mac OS X you need to do this with 64 bit everything.
Install the Android SDK into eclipse. http://developer.android.com/sdk/instal ... g-adt.html
(I do not use the ADT)
Get GWT in eclipse. make sure to install the SDK inside that as well. http://www.gwtproject.org/usingeclipse.html
(These are rough instructions)
For tutorials, dermetfan's are great. I really enjoy his delivery.
As for newbie friendly, I would say it is very newbie friendly. Everyone here seems passionate about games. The experienced fellows provide great assistance.
So, what trouble are you having with your environment?