I had remembered how they were so many amazing games out there that I'd never heard of. Effectively, I was years behind in the cult of the new. So there were many games that were new to me that had years of people vetting them and figuring out what games were good.
So, my rose colored memories make it seem like I had just entered a candy store of gaming. However, what I realized I was overlooking was how limited my access to that candy store was.
By the time we moved out of Chicago, there was a gaming store fifteen minutes from where we lived and there's one about ten minutes away from us here in Tucson. When I first started, I'd have to drive out to the suburbs (Hi, Games Plus!)
For that matter, the online retail market wasn't as rich, although that was still the main way I got most of my games. And the idea of finding a game like Catan or Carcassonne in a store like Target was silly.
By the time we left Chicago, a lot of my friends had good-sized game collection. Pretty much anyone I've gamed with since getting to Arizona has had a collection.
So, back when I first was looking at designer games, if I wanted to try something, I had to buy it. This probably helped me buy too many games and be the game closet for a bunch of my friends.
The internet did give me two really amazing resources. Boardgame Geek was an amazing site to research games. Breitspielwelt, an online German board game site, was how I did get try out games.
Yes, it was an amazing experience to discover designer board games. But I have to remember that it actually took some effort to get into them.