A little about me:
* I purchased my first board game on November 15, 2009, and began playing them seriously about 5 months before that (not counting years of Monopoly, Clue, Risk, and Settlers of Catan).
* I strongly prefer board games to card games. I really enjoy the tactile experience of pushing cubes and chits. For the same reason, I'd rather have a game be too fiddly (component-wise) rather than not fiddly enough. I generally dislike computer versions of board games (including iOS games).
* I strongly prefer historical themes (especially with a fixed time and place) to fantasy or science fiction. I also love games about boats. But more important to me is that a game's mechanics are thematic; knowing the theme, I should be able to intuit a rough strategy before reading a single rule.
* I strongly prefer deep, tense, and brain-burning games. I either want a game that is itself such a challenge that it makes me sweat (Agricola, Space Alert), or a game that is a platform for creative player-driven strategies (Brass, Cavum). Light games, social games, and random games need not apply. But I still want it to play in 2 hours or less most nights.
* I'm not good at min/max calculations, nor am I great at setting a long-term plan and adhering to it. My gaming strength is sequencing short-horizon (1-2 turns) payoffs efficiently. I thus tend toward games that are primarily tactical, or that have strategic flexibility with identifiable intermediate goals.
* As a general rule, I dislike dice (but not luck) and trading/negotiation. A game would have to be extremely well designed to have me enjoy it when these play a central role.
* I play a lot of two-player games, and tend to think every game would be best with three. I struggle in games with more than three people - a function of the downtime, larger changes in board state between turns, and disincentives to attack other players (which is a two-player habit of mine).
* I greatly enjoy uncovering hidden gems and supporting lesser-known designers/publishers. The former is actually the motivation behind my series of reviews: What You're Missing.
A little about my ratings: I tinker with my ratings a lot. Try to take the numbers themselves with a grain of salt. Also, I update the numbers much more frequently than I update the comments. Be warned.
This is my rating scale:
.10!: Outstanding game. These are my all-time personal favorites.
_9_: Great game. These are some of the very best games I've played.
_8_: Very good game. These are games I play frequently (or would if I could). Review-worthy.
_7_: Good game. These games are consistently entertaining and are well done.
_6_: Above-average game. These games aren't usually my first choice, but are worth owning.
_5_: Average game. Can be fun in the right circumstances, but I have no real urge to play.
_4_: Below-average game. Eh, not so good. I'd rather try something new than play this again.
_3_: Poor game. These games I'd rather not play again.
_2_: Very poor game. The prospect of playing this again is almost laughable.
_1_: Black Hole of Fun. Overly simplistic, uninspired, or extremely tedious. I'm worse off for having played this the first time.
N/A: There are many games that I play and enjoy, but do not rate. For example, traditional card games, most party games, and board game expansions.
Top 10: These are my ten favorite games in (rough) order. I tend to revise my rankings after every few plays, but I don't always update this list.
Hot 10: These are ten games that I'm itching to play right now. In most cases, these are the new hotness - out and on the shelf. Occasionally, however, they may be classic, out-of-print games; whole genres I've not explored; or even buzzworthy titles still in development. The point is that this list represents the games I most want to play in the moment, regardless of merit.
Plays: I only began recording plays on October 15, 2010, so my first year in the hobby is basically missing.