Strangely enough, I never owned board games as a kid because I always saw them as too much based on luck and dice.
Then in my twenties a group of us had a whale of a time at the end of a raucus stag do, when someone got out a game of Hotel at 3am.
I then did my research and found that there was a whole genre of German Strategic games already out there, waiting to be enjoyed. Shark and Shocko & Co. were my first buys (they had been recommended in a business newspaper article). 300 purchases and 100 sales later I have a collection catering for a wide range of gaming tastes.
I have a wife and 4 kids aged up to 3, 6, 9 and 10.
The eldest wins more than his fair share of abstracts against me: Hive, GIPF series etc. However the 9 year old is the real gamer in our family. Alex can handle almost any game when the lure of Xbox and PS3 can spare him.
My long term favourites are AOE 3, Imperial, Dvonn, Power Grid, Caylus and Year of the Dragon.
I enjoy some heavier games like Die Macher, Brittania, Reef Encounter and Age of Steam.
Fillers I like, include: Coloretto, Q-Jet, Bluff, For Sale, Pickomino Saboteur, Bang, No Thanks and Cloud 9.
I have a particular interest in business games. If I ever get around to designing a game, one day, then this will be it. Power Grid is a clear winner in this category but even lighter business games like Shark, Acquire and Owner's Choice turn me on
But certainly no games beginning with 18XX (you know who you are, Railroad Freaks).
Among some of my favourite card games are Citadels, Blue Moon, Hera and Zeus, San Juan and Iliad.
My best co-operative game is Pandemic. I don't mind Shadows Over Camelot but Knizia's LOTR and expansions were all too lame.
Ricochet Robots, Zendo, Blokus and Boggle are easily top my puzzle styled games.
And games that deserve special mention for the introduction of some original mechanics are Mama Mia, Cartegena and Canal Grande.
Best Party games are Guestures, Chronology, Pass the Bomb, Wits and Wagers and a 6 player game of 6 Tage Rennen (if you can get hold of a copy).
Best abstracts are Dvonn, Hive, all the other games in the GIPF series. Khet is quite good too.
Star Craft is my only 'big-box' acquisition but it's too much like hard work and no fun. Plus it doesn't quite scatch my love of Science fiction. I'm looking forward to the new version of Cosmic Encounter and 'Dune' remake. TI3 appeals but it may be a bit too big and bit broken by most accounts.
For lighter War gaming A Game of Thrones surpasses all and Antike is brilliantly simple and entertaining for Kids as young as 6. Dust is a far superior Risk like game with heaps of cool pieces and strategy cards.
For heavier war gaming I enjoy War of the Ring and would probably love to play Europe Engulfed in another life, where time wasn't a dimension
More recently I've started into light RPG's : Prophecy and Cutthroats Caverns have reaally it the mark for me.
Where it is the intent of the game, I really enjoy managing the timing of when to switch from co-operation to betrayal.