My interest in boardgames didn't broaden beyond chess until my exposure to Settlers. My only other exposure to boardgames were in elementary school during which my parents got me Scrabble and Conquest of the Empire (they're the only two I remember memorably). High school through college, I really got into chess and also got swept up in the CCG craze.
My other gaming experience pertained to computer games, most of which were CRPGs or turn based wargames. My friends and I used to stay up til morning in the computer lab playing Strategic Conquest.
I've always been drawn to wargames but the high cost for table top wargames kept me away. My love of wargames was incorporated in a new CCG called L5R. I took the bite and entered the world of CCGs and have been smitten with that game ever since.
A friend of mine introduced me to Settlers. He in turn was introduced to the game by a co-worker from Germany. My friend told me how he had never experienced such a game before and how much fun he had with people he knew very little about. He was right! From my first play on, I have become a Catan fanboy. More importantly, it led me to find out more about other boardgames coming from Europe.