We're in our forties and fifties, and we've been meeting once a week for a couple of decades to play board games. Occasionally we meet with other people, but usually there's just three of us: two women (a professional video game programmer, and a teacher at the University of California, Berkeley), and one man (a librarian).

When we find a good game, we get obsessed, playing it week after week for hours on end and inventing multiple variants just for fun, so that we can play it for even more weeks.

We like games with lots of pieces that look attractive and feel good to touch. German games are particular cool in this regard.

In games that allow trading of resources, we seldom trade; we're paranoid about each others' motives and suspicious that we won't get a good deal. In games that allow paid-passage on other players' routes, we seldom do so, prefering to build our own routes and travel on them rather than enrich someone else's coffers. In games that allow but do not require direct conflict, we often avoid attacking one another (except in Solarquest, because--come on!--how else are you gonna win except with a "stab at thee" laser war if you fall seriously behind?). We prefer to build our own routes, collect our own resources, and play our own game, and many of our variants are designed to extend play for several hours so that we can max out the game's routes, resources, and scenarios.

One of us whines a lot when she gets behind. One of us has freakish luck with dice. And one of us is a master of optimizing variables.