I like Eurogames (think Settlers, Arkham Horror, etc.). I sometimes have a tough time getting along with the other players, and now I'm nervous about joining board-gaming groups.
I rarely get a chance to play these games, so my play style is different from the style of more regular players. Since I'm pretty new to most games, I play to explore and have fun. This sometimes baffles and upsets my partners and opponents. They have usually played any given time many more times. They play strategically, exploiting deep game mechanics and tendencies ("Bob, go to the general store! The shotgun is more likely to show up there!"). I'm the guy who chooses characters and abilities because I like them, not because I know that there are more monsters who are strong against dark than against fire.
So, my game collaborators (in cooperative games) and opponents get puzzled when I make a move that I think is interesting, but they think is illogical or inefficient ("What are you doing? The orb is in the other room!"). It's not that I'm not interested in winning, or that I'm trying to make it harder for the other players, it's that I'm curious about "what's over there." As for me, I start getting bored when a dominant player emerges and starts directing what the others should do ("Jim, go for the dynamite! Beth, start the truck!"). I really don't like it when the game becomes a chore. As you can also guess, a game like Epidemic is far from a favorite: I have no intuition for it, so my options are either to follow explicit instructions or hold everyone else back with my "experimentation."
I guess people in my situation are more likely to play party games, but those just bore me. In my experience, party games often fail to hold the group's attention as players drift off into conversations or lose track. I'm looking for something a little more involved and interesting.
I've had this issue develop several times with different well-established groups. I conclude that I fall into the twilight zone between rank amateur and steely-eyed duelist.
Should I try to change my play style somehow? Focus on particular game genres? I've tried introducing people to new games in order to, er, level the playing field, but have had unimpressive results. (For example, at one party where I tried to introduce Gloom, someone sat me down and patiently explained to me why Gloom is a mediocre and unengaging game.) For reference, my favorite game so far is RoboRally, which combines rigorous planning with hilarious unpredictability·