We got into the board gaming hobby a few years ago when looking for something to do while my Wife
and I were dating. We wanted something affordable. We wanted something that wasn't blowing $20 to go to the movies to have just two hours of fun. We wanted value, and we found it.
We found Heroscape, and then that online community. Wife fell out of love with that game as I acquired more figures. They gave away a Sir Hawthorne on the Dice Tower podcast, and I had to listen to enter for my chance. He talked about this great site called Boardgamegeek, and the rest is history.
We saw a game that I heard discussed on the podcast called Carcassonne at Barnes and Noble. We bought that, and soon after found many of the games of our collection, and embraced many of the SdJ winners.
The toughest/longest game we own is Agricola. Our collection is mostly gateway games, because we enjoy games and time with friends more than sitting at a table for 4 hours to play a game that is mostly silent. We like games that are simple to learn, very replayable, and still take a long time to master a strategy, if that's even possible. Most of the games in our collection are very pleasing to look at, because if everyone's going to sit around a table and look at something for an hour, it better be pretty.
If a game is too long or complex, it simply won't make it to our table. We go play those games at other friends houses if we're interested.