Since about the year 2000 board games have been becoming increasingly popular, especially in young adult and adult markets. Along with this there has been a change in modern parlance, and 'board game' has become somewhat non-literal. That is, board games now include games that do not have a board, and, in fact, include some games (e.g., Sushi Go!, Fluxx, Smash Up) that are actually pure card games. While it is hard to define what exactly 'board game', in the modern sense, refers to, some overtones include:

  • It is unusually not a traditional game, and especially not a game played with a standard set of playing cards. (That would be a card game.)

  • It is usually popular with adults, and is fairly complex. Technically games such as Snakes and Ladders are still board games, but that's not the sort of thing that most people mean (that would be a kid's game.)

  • It is usually played primarily for fun, not intellectual stimulation. There is certainly some variation here, but when most people say board game, they don't mean chess or go.

  • They tend to pander to snappy play or geeky interests; Monopoly and Life are rather boring games by today's standards.

All of this is very much a matter of opinion, of course. While no one might complain if you pull out Carcassonne at board game night or when both KeyForge: Call of the Archons (a MtG-like game) and The Mind (a card game in which you practice reading the other players' minds; yes, really) won BoardGameGeek's Golden Geek awards in 2018, some pedants still might claim that they aren't really board games... and they'd be right. But they would not be in tune with common usage.