I think I can safely say now
"I've come full circle to a 'normalised' state
(i.e. my thoughts, feelings and behaviour) with card/board games".
Coming 'full circle' starts with my earliest childhood memories of playing games with my family, then with kids in our street (Monopoly) then with friends from school (Risk, Cosmic Encounter), finding gaming groups (Seidler, 6 Nimmt). Then back again to family environment when I migrated with Amanda and stayed with my adopted Australian family (Settlers, 6 Nimmt) then into gaming groups (mainly Euros). But I realised being in gaming circles feeds an unrealistic obsession, taking me away from the circle of family and friends where playing truly belongs and can be 'normalised', as the intimate circles won't tolerate the rules overhead and moving parts, boring accounting exercise or take that/elimination attitude (unless tempered in some way).
'Normalised' in that I realise the true importance of playing is to not only to engage mental faculties via puzzlement, but to spark an interest in an otherwise dull subject (e.g. Medici), to spark conversations (e.g. Say Anything) or more importantly to spark positive, humourous memories to reflect on (Taboo): living is an opportunity to make such memories, and I realised I was doing so in the circle of strangers more so than family and friends where such reflection matters most.
What I've learned in the process is the importance of knowing your audience AND knowing your material
to increase the likelihood of a positive, memorable
To know your material is to have a game collection that sparks enough replay that when an positive opportunity arises, you can easily recall without much rules referencing (either because the game has a simple ruleset or during explanation or play a player can almost formulate the ruleset because of logic or theme). These are the games I've recently playedGames on my wishlist