Dominic Crapuchettes (founder of North Star Games) talks about the renaissance of modern board games. A few main points:
Tablets are making traditional board games obsolete.
Similar to books vs. ebooks: the production process is very expensive compared to buying a game from the App Store, and the convenience of a tablet is certainly desirable.
Game Designers are no longer anonymous.
You won’t see the name of the Monopoly’s or Scrabble’s designer on the box; prior to modern board games, designers were completely anonymous. In this case, designers receive no upside from sales even if the brand is massively successful, and receive no recognition for their work.
In modern board games, designers have become more like authors and artists. The trend started in Germany with the award Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year). The prize is always awarded to the designer not the publisher, and he/she will receive royalties according to the success of the game. Designers now take on the role of entrepreneur with intense passions for their craft and the opportunity to make a living from it.
The craft itself has improved.
Modern board games get rid of the mechanics that are not fun, though common in older games like Monopoly:
- Waiting for your turn.
- Not allowed to play, i.e. losing and being knocked out of the game.
- Unpredictable play times (will it take 1hr or 24hrs?).
Finally, the space is crowded. New game designers now see themselves as artists, they find a concept and use the craft of board game design to involve people in that concept.