I've been a member of BoardGameGeek since August of 2005. I've made several good friends herein and have corresponded with many bright, creative, talented, and funny and fun people.
I've learned over time that it's important for one to know what kind of games one likes, on what subjects, and what relative complexity. It's easy to get caught up in buzz about games, but many games that are enormously popular or that are considered gateway games have flopped badly with either my family and me, or me personally. These include: Ticket to Ride-Europe, Carcassonne, Dominion, Roll Through the Ages, Colossal Arena, Citadels, Hive, Washington's War, Star Wars/X-Wing Fighter, and Small World. Yep, go figure.
A couple of other things I've never quite understood: people who list all kinds of games they want to trade for, but who don't list a single game of theirs for trade; people who indicate that they want to buy a game, received a price/shipping quote, and then never again communicate to me. And, the one guy to whom I sent money for a game--still a BGG member as of May 2014--then delivered a succession of excuses--some of them doozies--as to why he couldn't ship me the games I ordered, eventually simply not responding.
And one pet peeve: when designers or people who work for companies involved in selling games jump in and provide ratings, which I find disingenuous. Hey, if you really think your game's good, let people who play it say so!
But on the whole my membership herein has been beneficial beyond belief, and has been the source of much joy for me.
Grew up during the '60s, playing the usual stuff. My sister, 2 1/2 years older than me, and I played mostly Clue, Chinese Checkers, and Sorry. Never liked Monopoly, never big on poker or other standard card games.
Made up my own board games by the time I was a teenager, including stuff like "Cops vs. Hippies," and my own soccer and basketball games. My breakthrough with board games came at age 15, when a friend introduced me to APBA Baseball, a game I've played ever since.
In my early adulthood, I got into many Avalon-Hill games, like "Platoon," "Gettysburg," Gladiator," "Circus Maximus," "Battle of the Bulge," and "B-17." Also, various baseball games or other sports games (loved "Bowl Bound" and played "Title Bout" a lot), and a smattering of games, such as "Kwa-Do" and "Game of Ur."
Never really got into video games, except a couple of text baseball games. I watch young people--or my own 3 sons--play them, and I realize why they're interested in them, but really, they don't appeal to me, because it seems to me that the imaginative part one brings to playing a board game (not to mention the social interaction) has already been thought out by someone else, which robs a player of his own creativity and is fundamentally an alienating experience. In short, I just don't 'get it.'
After becoming a member of BoardGameGeek, I've been introduced to a whole new generation and world of board or card games, which have provided me untold hours of fun, as well as introducing me to some designers or players who have become friends and who strike me as fun, smart or creative people.
I joined BGG in March of 2005 and for a year and a half played various types of sports game. Then I started getting other types of games, like Angelo Porazzi's fantasy battle game, "Warangel," which opened my eyes to other possibilities in board game enjoyment;and after that, stuff like "Memoir '44," Battle Line," Porazzi's "Peacebowl," "Monsters Menace America," and "Battle of Bunker Hill" (Chatham Hill Games). Over the next year or so I continued to pick up more varied types of games, including Euros, newer types of war games, and of course, family games (having a wife and 3 boys).
Briefly, a word about how I rate games, based roughly on the BGG system: a "5" is a game I can take or leave, but could be talked into playing; a "4" is a substandard game in some ways and one I'd rather not play; a "3" is not a game I'd care to play, for specified reasons; a "6" is a game that has some shortcomings, but is nevertheless one I'd play once in a while because there's some challenge or fun or reward involved; a "7" is basically a well-designed, enjoyable game that is a solid design and overall a "good" game; an "8" is a game that has something extra special to it in its design and execution; a "9" is game whose design I consider brilliant and whether or not I play it all the time, I'm nevertheless struck every time I do play it, just how outstanding it really is; and a "10" is that rare game that I can play just about any time, love, and always expect that I'll play.
After my Top 10 games--which are basically my "If I was on a desert island and had only 10 games" list--on Sept. 29, 2015, I listed rest of the top 100 games I own, in a similar kind of order, namely, roughly the order in which I'd keep or let them go (so this is not the same as how I rate the games overall as a design, for example):
1. APBA Master Baseball Game
3. Victory: The Blocks of War
4. Commands and Colors: Ancients
5. Pacific Victory
10. Mission: Red Planet
11. Forbidden Island
12. Nexus Ops
13. Caesar’s Gallic War
14. Ancient Battles Deluxe
16. Heroscape (series)
17. The Hanging Gardens
18. Clash for a Continent/Hold the Line
19. Around the World in 80 Days
20. Ultimate (Porazzi)
Battle for Germany
Chalons: Fate of Europe
Clash of the Gladiators
Battles for the Ardennes
End of the Triumvirate
Field Commander: Rommel
Bastogne: A Desperate Defense
A House Divided
Mystery Rummy: Jekyll & Hyde
Memoir ’44: Pacific Theater
Battle of the Bulge (A-H, 1981)
Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage
Star Wars: Epic Duels
World in War: Combined Arms, 1939-1945
The War of 1812
Harry’s Grand Slam Baseball Game
Victory in the Pacific
Hammer of the Scots
Tahuantinsuyun (Four Corners)
Caesar’s War: The Conquest of Gaul
Liberty: The American Revolution
Athens & Sparta
Afrika Korps (AH-1965)
2 de Mayo
Lord of the Rings (Knizia)
Corps Command: Totensonntag
Paul Koenig’s D-Day: The American Beaches
War at Sea
First Blood: The Guadalcanal Campaign
Zulus on the Ramparts
Ticket to Ride
10 Days in the…(series)
Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation
Knights of Charlemagne
Settlers of Catan
Second Season Pro Football
Beowulf: The Legend