Catan was really my first board game that opened up the vast tabletop experiences available. Catan is a staple, with strategy and luck mixed with elegant design.
If you haven't played Catan before, it is a resource management and development strategy game. You'll start by developing some settlements, expanding across Catan to increase your faction's standing. Dice rolls keep an element of randomness to who is getting resources, and who is lagging behind. However, good strategy will usually overcome, but that doesn't mean that someone can't get luck and win anyway!
This is a fun game for beginners and veterans alike. With easy-to-understand rules, and a load of expansions available, your Catan experience starts here, and won't get old.