I purchased the revised set around the holidays and just recently got around to painting and getting it on the table. Great game! Really surpassed my expectations. Has been very exciting and love the manageable time required to play. I am primarily a family gamer as well and chiefly play this with my 8 y/o son. I have (over-zealously) purchased most expansion sets in my excitement to keep this thing I have with my son going. I also paint them as a hobby when the kids are in bed (I’m very new at this, but learning…)
- I think the above poster is referencing the "macowargamer" YouTube video. It is worth watching. He has a great channel that makes me witch I had more time and money. But, I stress this, it is not definitive. There is no "best way".
- You are on the right track by identifying the distinction (mainly the range of the Axis). A number of sites/blogs show you the cards of the expansion sets. Find one interesting to you that will compensate. Close combat for Axis (Zombies or Gorillas, etc). Ranged weapons for Allies (I do like the often recommended Grim Reapers and their aesthetic is a natural complement to fight alongside the Hammers. Red Devils work as well, nice contrast to Heavy Laser Grens with their phaser weapons. We grabbed the expansion with Markus and Ozz-117 which are natural fits for new heroes to go with Gorillas and Grim Reapers. We choose Gorillas over Zombies solely because my son found them more interesting. Just adding those two squads and two heroes to the entire revised core balanced things quite a bit for us. (Damage resilience is tougher to overcome for Allies, use your jumps and movement to the fullest.) Red Devils for Allies and Battle Grenadiers for Axis closed the infantry armor class divide (A British kill squad and 5 man axis laser grenadiers would have done the same if that appealed to me more).
- I like some imbalance in my scenarios. I like to give my son a slightly more powerful force and scenario to favor his capabilities. A natural handicap that allows me a more fun game to compensate for the adult problem solving and predictive analysis advantage.
- My above recs for expansion keep the game a slugfest, which appeals to us right now. We wanted a little "more of the same" in terms of gamelplay. Other sets bring in new rules. I also suggest you consider rules you want to introduce that might appeal to your family. The command squads (Boss/Kommandotrupp) add mechanics, medics, and artillery observers. They add a lot of depth which may be good or bad initially (overly complex for beginners/young players?). If you want the artillery, you'll want med walkers. Spec Ops introduce snipers and also have low point cost forward observers to help with artillery.
I don't think you can go wrong by picking what your family thinks is the most appealing next set. I do personally recommend getting similar/complimentary units at the same time (as opposed to an Axis heavy walker and Allies Spec Ops squad).