AT-43 is a tactical game in which players move miniature plastic soldiers around a battlefield and fight in mock battles. In the business it's known as a "miniatures game," because it uses miniature army soldiers about two inches in height. Most miniatures games require you to paint the soldiers yourself. In this sense the hobby is as much about the craft as it is about the game. AT-43 is a different sort of product in that it sells the figures already painted.
In AT-43 you place your miniature soldiers on a playing surface and fight a battle with them. The rules describe how figures can move, how far they can fire their weapons, and what happens if they're hit. I found the rules to be simple and elegant. My impression is that they're written with beginners in mind and designed more to please game players then to simulate strictly a combat situation. At the same time I found the rules support some fairly sophisticated play so they have that rare quality of being exciting for both beginners and experienced gamers.
In order to play the game one needs to buy a number of miniature soldiers. There are a number of different science fiction armies to choose from ranging from humans to giant armour-wearing gorillas. Players purchase a guide to their army and then purchase the miniatures required to create a force. In this sense it's similar to the collectible card games in which players try and create a deck of game winning cards, only in this case it's an group of game winning miniature soldiers.
At present the majority of the AT-43 line is on massive sale at The War Store online. I don't know how long this sale is going to last. Further, it may be a sign that the game is going to be discontinued. At present, however, parents have a golden opportunity to introduce their kids to miniature gaming at rock bottom prices. An interested person might start by buying the Operation Damocles boxed set and the basic rule book. The boxed set includes a pared down version of the rules. I found this to be excessively simple so if you're interested enough to buy the boxed set then get the full rules as well. The boxed set gives you enough playing pieces to give the game a trial run. If it turns out to be fun then buy an army guide and start building your force. The AT-43 New England Yahoo group describes local resources for people interest in the game as well. The group is moderated by a store owner, however, so some of the material in the group may reflect this. Finally, feel free to write me here if you have questions about the game.