Speaking with my boardgamer head on! I would say that boardgamer creativity is alive and well and I especially see it for tactical type games in which there are plenty of people arranging new material. Interestingly I can play solitaire with total ease, playing both sides equally and fairly, while others just cannot get their heads around solitaire play and require an AI system. Likewise some people just have to have a points system to create a game, while others can put together something that feels right.
Some people can play games with non-historical match-ups, some people (me), would rather not! Some people can use grids without it being distracting(me), others not.
So I think we are all wired differently, whether one boadgames or figure games or does both or neither!
I do think that figure gamers are conditioned to have to do more to get a game to table, even at the base level of painting figures and preparing scenery (and of course rebasing at least 3 times 🙂 ).