I grew up in a gaming household, however was more of the standard cards (mostly Euchre and Gin Rummy), party games, Chess, Backgammon, and some "classic" Ameritrash. It was always very common to play a lot of Euchre at family gatherings.
Starting in middle school, I was blown away with the Avalon Hill Gamemaster series games of Axis and Allies, Fortress America, and Shogun (aka Samurai Swords, aka Ikusa). I was thrilled that there were better and deeper games than Risk, so I played them throughout middle school, high school, and college.
I was still a heavy card player in high school and college. I still played a lot of Euchre, even winning a tournament in college. I picked up card games of Cribbage, Hearts, Solitaire, 500, President, and Poker along the way.
From my young adult years in my current area, I still played a lot of cards and party games, as they were all I really knew what was out there. Cribbage has been the gold standard card game for me now over Euchre, being more accessible and the big competition with my dad, which started on a Cubs bus trip to Chicago, where I beat him 9-1 in games played, so it's now our big struggle when we see each other.
Entering my 30s in 2004, my gaming life changed forever. A close friend, billy_baroo, introduced me to "new" board games (again on a Cubs trip in Chicago.) I was blown away with Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, Zombies, Bang, and Carcassonne (which I actually didn't like at first). After this he directed me to BGG, where that year I started picking up the main popular gateway board and card games. Eventually I introduced them to friends and family, with these "wild weird" games and got gaming night every-other week.
After that scratched my itch, I opened myself up to more styles of games out there and built up a collection, from all types. By this time when billy_baroo moved to the area and schedules changed, our gaming group has met in most weeks, so I was gaming more and on BGG more.
I met my wife in 2007 in Des Moines. On my first date with her, I even stopped at a gaming store before our date and bought Mississippi Queen, just in case the date didn't go too well and I had something good out of it. (I did this practice on interview trips, too.) Luckily it all went well and found out she loved games as well, however mostly card and party games. Over the years of dating, being engaged, and married, I converted her over to being a decent gamer.
Together, our gaming preferences are usually worker placement and cooperative games. These two types usually have higher acceptance in my main weekly gaming group, so I'll generally gravitate to games in those areas. We also will play party games, gateway and gateway+ games, and card games. For myself, I also love games with maps, tile laying, civilization building, village burning (jerkstore) games, and ones with traitors. Player interaction ranks very high with me for the direct competition. I still like war games, however cooled off on them due to ability to get them to the table due to game length and theme. I love theme as well, especially fantasy and space. My wife also loves deduction games.
I've branched out from my gaming group of friends or family or my spouse and participated in some in the area, through contacts on BGG. I hope to do more in the future.
Games which turn me off, but will still play them if I have to, even Monopoly, are ones which I think have little decisions or ability to affect the game performance, major unbalanced luck or mechanics, pure economic games (bored), messy/fiddly rules or setup (tougher to get to the table), and very heavy games (tougher to get to the table and I tune out after long days at work.) Finally, I have a big hatred for any collectible or blind-buy type of game. I feel purchases should be known and gaming should be balanced, unaffected by big spenders.
My first gaming goal is to get to my first gaming convention. I've crashed one for a few hours to visit in-laws, however looking for a full weekend of dedicated gaming. My second goal is to play, rate, and comment on every game in my collection. I'm getting closer in that goal, however then buy new games (always) and mess it up. My third gaming goal is to keep a gaming household after our child(ren) are born and as they grow up.