In early 2011, around the time my board game was published and around the last time I posted here, I went back to school to pursue an MBA. I've been working on it ever since and I should be graduating early next year.
During this time of going to school, homework has dominated my free time. Because I'm married and have a couple of kids, this means that the natural give and take between husband and wife with respect to "I'll watch the kids while you go do x and then you watch the kids while I go do y" has very much been a matter of my wife watching the kids a lot while I'm putting in time with the books.
As such, my opportunities to game have been very, very limited. Further, because of when my classes have been happening, I haven't been able to attend the board game designers guild meetings for some time (I believe it's been at least 6 months).
The reason why I'm sharing all of this is because my gaming tastes have changed dramatically during this time. I used to be a typical Eurogamer with strong interest in balanced mechanics and only minimal interest in theme heavy games if they veer away from balance to much. However, with only limited amounts of time to game, I found that playing euro games was fine but I needed more. I found myself needing story. I found myself needing theme.
So, I've been putting in time running an RPG campaign. The irony is that running a campaign is usually a very time consuming bit. But, I have a group that is willing to meet once a month (or once every two months if need be) to accommodate my schedule. Further, when we meet is at an odd time (we usually have to start at about 9pm and game until midnight) primarily due to the fact that we have to game after my kids are in bed.
In running these RPG sessions, I've found a true love for the story-telling nature of games and I really appreciate the lasting impact of a gaming session (reminiscing with someone about some crazy turn of events that almost killed one of the characters, etc.). If having vivid story-driven experience comes at the expense of some balance or elegance, so be it. If rules start to become a bit crunchy so the elements involved in the story telling can come through, then that's fine with me.
In short, I've changed in terms of my gaming tastes. When I look at a new game now, I find myself looking for what kind of stories the game is capable of telling. This shouldn't be taken as some sort of rejection of past preference. I still love Puerto Rico, Princes of Florence, Caylus, etc.. I just find myself looking at different things now that previously weren't as important.