First there was AD&D (or maybe D&D, although I think we butchered the rules so much the first game it wouldn't have made a difference). Then I played RPGs and the usual '80's fare of board games: Kings & Things, Chaos Marauders, Talisman, Space Hulk, etc. In college I found Magic the Gathering (or it found me), and I spent most of college playing CCGs with the occasional RPG.
After college CCG opponents dried up for the most part and I got back into RPGs until family and work made it too time intensive of a hobby (and the player base fell apart with moving to Maine). Now board games scratch the social gaming itch better than anything with comparatively minimal time outlay. I've started my own group, the Friday Nighters, and I am slowly amassing my arsenal of "worthy" games (and jettisoning the unworthy).
It must be my RPG roots, but I love theme in my games; abstracts generally make me cringe (maybe also because my Dad likes chess so much). Still the CCG player in me loves complexity and challenge, which might be why in the end my preferences tend toward euros (at least the more thematic euros).
I've lately tried my hand at game design with mixed results, probably because I usually start with a theme I love but then I'm never quite happy with the mechanics (are there any truly new
mechanics anymore?). Actually game design started out as a way to procrastinate from writing a novel and then at some point it took on a life of its own. Now a half dozen designs in I'm finding out that the conceptual explosion of ideas is a lot more fun than slogging through the rules revisions and prototype construction (and reconstruction and version 5.2
Still, I love playing games and making games, and as long as there is a vacuum in the game industry and my perfect games are missing, I'll be here trying to fill that void.