GrogHeads’ 2014 Holiday Buying Guide Extra – For the Junior Gamers!

frontier wars 728x90 KS

Christmas Suggestions for Potential Junior Gamers

Avery Abernethy, 17 December 2014

Any great hobby needs new converts and Christmas is a great time to provide unexpected gifts to unsuspecting grandchildren, nephews, nieces, cousins and the like to encourage them to join our hobby. A good gift for a novice should be relatively easy to play, provide wonderful fun examples of classic game genres, should work on a wide range of inexpensive PCs, have multiple difficulty settings for a range of intellectual and ability levels.  A good section should also include major elements of the game genre.

An unexpected and unrequested gift should also be inexpensive.  Honestly, if you are providing a true “surprise gift” to get the next generation interested in PC gaming you will probably make a number of gifts to several youngsters before finding that special, gifted young person who will truly appreciate the gift and enjoy the hobby for years to come.

But the most important element is fun.  You want the game to be relatively easy to learn but a lot of fun.  Nothing drives away potential converts than thick rule books, complicated play, and less than fun games.  Do not give your novice grandchildren War in the Pacific, War in the East, or Dominions 4.  I’m not recommending any shooters since any youngster with even a minimum of interest has played Call of Duty or some other shooter on a game system.

Tactical Wargame

Panzer Corps – available on sale from Slitherine on sale now for $10


  • Fog of war
  • Zones of Control
  • Combined Arms Tactics
  • Range of difficulty settings
  • Limited number of units
  • Some limited ability to recognize European maps
  • Kids get to learn the difference between a Panzer 3, Panzer 4, Panther and Tiger tank!
  • Kids get to learn why the German 88 was such a beast
  • Very fun!

Because this game has some very easy settings it can appeal to the absolute novice.  Yet the game introduces many critical components of tactical wargames.  This game has had remarkable popularity and is a good start to this side of our hobby.

4X games

Heroes of Might and Magic 3 Complete available from for less than $10


  • Town building for better troops but it is not too complicated
  • Fog of war
  • Hero units with lots of spells and items
  • Range of difficulty settings
  • Tactical combat – but with a limited number of units
  • Integrating spells, special attacks, movement, etc… on tactical combat
  • A really great, fun game



Baldur’s Gate or Might and Magic IV – both $10 right now


  • Party based combat
  • Learn different types of spells and character types
  • An overriding story
  • Difficulty levels (at least for MM6)
  • Will work on most any PC
  • Lots of help guides on the internet for free
  • Very fun!

Both Balders Gate and Might and Magic 6 have held their popularity for more than a decade.  Balder’s Gate does use the D&D system, so it is pretty complicated.   Might and Magic 6 is a more simple game, but the graphics are somewhat more dated.


Grand Strategy

Risk or Risk 2

Grand world conquest with really simple rules.  This game could also be played over the holidays in a board game.  All wargamers should be familiar with Risk and it is one of the easiest to comprehend games of its type.  The PC version can be picked up anywhere from $5 at Wal-Mart to perhaps $15 from Amazon for Risk 2.


Flight Sims, Tank Sims or Ship Sims. 

I know there has to be a good one for starting out, but this is not something that I play.  Discuss away and suggest your options for novices!

Your thoughts below, or in our forums >>

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