I have played boardgames for all my life, but the last 7-8 years I have been playing the really great games. It started with Settlers, given to me as a gift. To me boardgaming is both fun and educational. Can you ask for more?
I am not a game collector. My goal is to have the most diversed gamecollection as possible; a game to play in all kind of settings. This means that if I have games that are very similar (mechanics and theme) in my collection I will sell/trade the one that I consider the weakest.
Nowadays I see a new trend in my taste, and theme is more important to me now. Games with trading in the mediterrian in the 17th century, is one of the themes that bores me now. I also seem to enjoy more of the lighter games. That doesn't mean I won't play the heavier ones, but they have to be worth the time and effort. Also, longer, more complicated games need to be played pretty often if you should get the right feel for them, and you also need to play against others that have played the game as much as you. Or else it won't be nearly as fun.
My favorite mechanics are wargames, hidden roles, bluffing, alliances, push-your-luck and memory. Auction is also good.
I also enjoy 2 player games, which I play a lot with a friend of mine. My favorite 2 player game is Cold War: CIA vs KGB.
Generally I dislike games with a lot of bookkeeping and bunch of bits, cards and boards that make games feel more like work than fun. Still I rate Agricola and Small World a 10. Simply because of their fun-factor!
My favorite designer used to be Reiner Knizia. That is because his games are usually simple, elegant and contains the typical "Knizia-rule" that makes the games extraordinary. But like I said, theme is more important to me now, and his games often lack that aspect. Still, you can't beat Knizia if you want to play a simple, fun game. Faidutti and Randolph are also game designers I like a lot. To me they make games that are fun to play.
I love games made by Days of Wonder. They are the perfect familygame. Simple, beautiful games with great themes.
By the way, I try not to be a snob when it comes to boardgames. That means I don't dislike luck in games, and I seriously think the memory-mechanic is great and a lot of fun
. But still, I love to hold nice components in my hands, and the smell when I open new gameboxes. So, maybe I am a snob after all?!