Now to answer the actual question–I’ve really had to wrack my brain. I’ve been a game collector for a long time, and so I was plugged into BGG from the earlier days (when Puerto Rico was king). I kinda drifted in and out of games for a bit, but when I came back, I was watching some of the old school reviewers (Vasel, Scott, …The Gamer’s Table? They weren’t all great early on…). Then I started actually buying the occasional new title.
Well, new to me, since I think the first official new game I remember getting to spark off my diving back into the games pool was Talisman–certainly not an SUSD recommendation.
But I found SUSD not long afterwards, (I think through their Dice Tower/Penny Arcade connections at the time). The first game review of theirs I was really excited to see was Descent (1st)–I had been lusting after it for a bit, but it was already a little hard to get at that point. Eventually I got Mage Knight (as a replacement for Descent 1st–that wasn’t quite what I had wanted) and then Descent Second Edition (which was!) But still, though SUSD were an influence, I was already pretty into both titles before finding their reviews.
The first game I got specifically because I saw it on SUSD was Mundus Novus, a mostly forgotten card trading game from Bruno Cathala which seemed pretty fun for what it was. Sadly, I’ve yet to play it with other humans–it’s an odd bird, and is from far enough back in the mists of time that it gets lost compared to new hotness at game night. Still, it’s a solid set collection game I think, very portable, and pretty enough to look at.
I think I can also give them credit for introducing me to Darkest Night (though that also could have been discovered from some top solo games lists I follow). I recently broke down and upgraded to the deluxe, complete edition, which is well worth it if you can find it on sale, otherwise, it’s a bit pricey to jump in on without trying it first. It’s basically like a simplified Arkham/Eldritch Horror, but with some cool character power combos to explore.
That’s the best I can tease out. Since then, there have been many games I’ve been influenced to get at least in part because of them (Pandemic Legacy I remember being pretty hyped about because of Quinn’s review), and several I’ve gotten despite their less than glowing reviews (Warhammer DiscWars, Sentinals, SW:Rebellion, etc.)
Their recommendations to me these days are secondary to the meat of their reviews–I feel like I can triangulate my feelings about a game from them and other sources, and that may not align with their overall verdict. Which, I think, is as it ought to be.