Why are modern board games so good?
A modern board game must meet a few criteria. A comprehensive list is beyond the scope of this page. However, one can present some of them:
It is easy to see that a classic game like Monopoly hardly meets any of these criteria. By today’s standards, Monopoly would never be published.
Game designers and publishers
Modern board games are created by game designers. Some of them are professional like Reiner Knizia, Bruno Cathala, Michael Schacht.
Designing a game is not something easy: game designers must work within the requirements described in previous section.
The initial idea of a game may be thematic (like a game on the Titanic). It may also be a mechanics. In any case, a good game will eventually see theme and mechanics melt together which will result in a fun and immersive experience for the player.
Once game designers have designed a playable game, they must then play-test it. This phase is extremely important as this is the only way to see whether the intended ideas/feelings/rules work in practice. More often than not, the game does not work properly until a lot of tests are completed and adjustments made to the rules.
When a prototype is finally good enough, publishers have a look at it. Only a very small percentage of prototypes shown to publishers are actually published and this is the first job of the publisher: selecting good games.
Once a game has been accepted by a publisher, another lengthy process starts: play-testing some more to get rid of the slightest issues, choosing the right material within the budget, improving the ergonomics/fluidity, finding a theme (for games that don’t have one yet), illustrating it, and finally bringing it to the market.
All in all, the creation of a game always spans over a long period, very often 2-3 years.
Some have argued that game design is an art. It is at the very least a very creative process.