So this is probably my first foray into the complex gaming world -ish...
I've played the wargames like axis and allies and I even bought War! age of Imperium a few years back, mostly because of the pretty colors, and I've been a long fan of the warhammer series (mostly the smaller style games like Necromunda), all of which were fun, but relatively inaccessible to outsiders. I've played Magic, which is cool if you can get away from the 13-year-old ueber dorks that dominate the genre and still manage to convince someone to play it with you. And of course if you can manage to have enough cards to play a fun game without spending like a million freaking dollars.
I really like this game because it's complex, but easy to learn, is a complete package, and the theme grabs pretty much everyone who sits down to take a look at it.
My question: what else can I get ahold of that has enough draw to the casual gamer that I can bust it out regularly, and yet has enough complexity to keep me interested in playing it.
Characteristics: Theme is incredibly important.
Next is probably versitility, I want to be able to
play with a party and yet still pull this out with my
girlfriend when we want a night at home.
It needs to be relatively short: Bottleggers pretty
much caps the limit on play time (this last game was
like 3h) most casuals won't sit for longer.
I would recommend Ticket to Ride by Days of Wonder. Basically the game is about trying to connect train lines and complete the 'tickets' you have in your hand. Takes less than 3 minutes to learn, but you can probably play it 1000s of time without getting bored. Although, I must add, there probably isn't as much bargaining and backstabbing as you would have in Bootleggers.
You can check out the Ticket to Ride website about the game at http://www.ticket2ridegame.com/. There is even an online version of the game, so you might want to try it out before you actually purchase the game.