There are hundreds of miniatures games on the market and ever week I see the confusion this can create. Interested folks come into the Hobby Bunker, watch some games, and then look back with bewilderment at the shelves lined with gaming material. They listlessly pick at a few things and then wander off, unwilling to invest in a game that may never be played. To some extent that's good thinking because most addicted gamers and painters (ahem...) agree that they only play about 10% of what the own. So what should an interested miniatures-gamer-to-be invest in?
To be sure the answer is probably "whatever the local gamers are playing" but if you've just moved to Houlton, Maine and you are the First gamer there, I would recommend Disposable Heroes (DH) from Iron Ivan Games. DH is a skirmish game set in the Second World War. In order to play it you need about fifteen miniature figures per side and some nice terrain. We had a great game last week and some photos are arranged here. DH has a lot to recommend it. Briefly, the rules are simple, the game is easy to invest in, and there are a number of expansions that allow you to play modern combat, zombies, the battles for Poland and the Netherlands, etc. etc.
Beyond the game system itself the period has a lot of affordable choices for new gamers. You can purchase 1/72 scale figures from Revell, Italieri, and Caesar that are high quality and dirt cheap. Look to Plastic Soldier Review for examples. Bolt Action/Warlord and Artizan make terrific 28mm figures which are a little larger than 1/72. Finally, there are relatively affordable vehicles which will top off your army and a good sized force can be purchased for $50 total.
My gaming group had a terrific time with DH and several beginners ran off after playing to buy some minis for themselves. I think the game is a good choice for new players and certainly simple enough for ages ten and up. Of course, the game does deal with war and combat. Every family manages that issue differently. I personally make sure to explain to younger players the actual effect of real war, a lecture that I suspect bores them to tears but may sink in after multiple repeats or some aging on their part.