I'm a writer, artist, and entrepreneur. And I've worked as an English teacher in Mongolia amongst other things.
I came to the hobby through Catan in 2007 (3rd Edition) - it was my first real board game. I discovered Board Game Geek and was initially very quick to purchase more games based on theme and hotness. My first phase of purchasing was admittedly very impulsive, and led to many disappointments - as while as finding a few remarkable games.
In my journey I've since found it necessary to have some rules or fundamentals for games that I will consider purchasing:
To avoid hype and the cult of the new, a game must be at least 3-5 years old before I'll even look at it.
The game must be in the top 300.
The game must not have a gimmick or a humorous theme as its main selling point.
No resistance/werewolf/mafia style games, No party games, No games which are primarily "fun" dice-rolling games. No Munchkin or Killer Bunnies or other "Beer and Pretzels" type games.
No standard games (Chess, Go, Poker, etc).
No mass-market games (Monopoly, The Game of Life, etc).
Euro games emphasising control and predictability (with limited random elements) are highly preferred over games emphasising luck.
I've also found it necessary to implement a sort of Gentleman's agreement in the way we play our board games:
New players and inexperienced players should not be advised unless they ask.
If new and inexperienced players ask for advice, one should not give them advice to one’s own advantage, or to an opponent’s disadvantage. Give general advice rather than specific advice. Eg. “If you build track between two cities (unspecified) you can do X action which will give you income.”
Each player will play with the intention of individually winning. No coupling!
Unless required by the game, all in-game agreements are non-binding. Eg. In Risk if the Pope says “I won’t attack you if you do X” and then promptly attacks you (after you have done X), the backstabbing is acceptable (even encouraged in such games).
Under-the-table agreements should be avoided (unless playing a game intentionally involving secrecy etc).
Ruining yourself to destroy another player is generally bad form.
Anger about in-game events (eg. Backstabbing) should be limited to that specific game session. Compartmentalise.
Participants are encouraged to remember that it’s about having fun - and at the end of the day, it’s “just a game.” If you win it’s just a game, and if you lose it’s just a game.
To me the hobby is just something I do for fun, with the right people. Sociability is encouraged - with the right game of course. I try to keep my collection at 50 or below - which I think is a reasonable number.
You may be wondering why almost all my games are rated 7 or higher - that's because I generally get rid of any game below a 7.