I'm an amateur game designer. I've built a story-driven game prototype. I've been struggling with freelance programmers for several months in my attempt to finish a demo to show potential crowdfunders - in order to finance real programmers to finish the game.
I just need a few scripts written and a bit of advice along the way. Why is that virtually impossible?
It's tough working with freelancers, but as you mentioned, it's sometimes necessary at early stages due to a lack of funds. You can either
1) Learn to code yourself
2) Find a software engineer co-founder
3) Learn a better system for working with freelancers
So I'd recommend the 3rd option, and you can always work on the other two in parallel. There are certainly specialized techniques that will let you work more effectively with freelancers (either foreign or local). A good, concise summary of these techniques can be found in a free e-book by Amol Sarva (http://knote.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Ship-While-You-Sleep-Final.pdf). Skip to chapter 2 (page 18) if you want to jump into the meat of it. I co-founded two companies with Amol using the methods discussed there.
If you have any further questions about anything you read there feel free to give me a call,
all the best,
What i've seen in the past, is people building simple clickable-prototypes using something like InVisionApp or even using Keynote presentation software + http://keynotopia.com/ to build clickable demos within that. Hiring programmers to build out your prototype is tough since the low-cost will get you developers with not enough experience knowing how to build "just enough". And hiring expensive ass developers will get you a project that blows through your budget just coming up with a style-guide.
How we usually help people in your position is: build a very quick proposal of work done with time + cost, and then see what its going to take to get you in front of people to get more money to finish the build-out. It's just like buying a house: you can't get a mortgage unless you put a little something in first, to get the bank to help fund the rest of it.