Came into gaming after years of average-at-best ASL play.
Still love that game above all others.
Friends brought a copy of Die Siedler back from a trip to
Europe in the mid-90s and their appeal (social, more than 2
players, shorter play time) was obvious for times when I
couldn't find an opponent and 6+ hours for ASL.
And... things accelerated with some serendipitous discovery
of local gamers, and acquiring more than I could play shortly
That said, 1/2" and 5/8" counters on paper maps will always be my true love, with wooden cubes and other bits (and the usually more social atmosphere they bring) closing that narrow gap in 2nd.