If you saw our list of the best board games of 2016, you'll know what a hot year it was for table play. And the great news is that, in the diametric opposite to real life, 2017 is shaping up to be even better.
Games on the horizon include novel improvements of several tried and tested genres. And there's even a couple of titles looking to break new ground in a hobby oversaturated with brilliance.
So grab your diaries and start pencilling in some dates - those pre-orders aren't going to make themselves. To help, we’ve even put them in expected order of release...
UnfaIr - Best for...management sim addicts
Due: early 2017
From the title, you might expect this game to have a mile-wide mean streak. In fact, Unfair about building theme parks, though it still has a hefty dose of added brutality.
You spend your limited resources each turn trying to grab the best rides and park upgrades. But you can also spare some precious actions on events to screw over the opposition instead.
Unfair has a fair amount of that one-more-turn feel that makes theme park management video games so addictive. The added competitive elements are just gravy.
This War of Mine: The Board Game - Best for...philosophical gamers
Due: early 2017
Misery simulator This War of Mine was a brave foray into moral realism in videogames. Now Awaken Realms wants to replicate those ethical dilemmas on the tabletop.
It's co-operative and, given the open-ended nature of the questions posed by the game, exploring them as a group should prove fascinating. Not that it's shy mechanically. It's got a glorious gamut of push-your-luck mechanics.
And there's clever re-use of a fate dice to minimise the rules overhead. Ultimately, the game may live or die based on the quality of writing in the included choose your own adventure-like Book of Scripts. We can't wait.
Dark Souls: The Board Game - Best for...dying repeatedly
Due: Summer 2017
Fresh off the back of an eye-watering £3.7m Kickstarter campaign, this has a lot to live up to. Players use node-based movement, card-based AI and stunning models to re-create boss battles from the infamous RPG.
Dark Souls: The Board Game promises to punish failures of strategy as brutally as the original punished failures of the fingers. The finished product will feature a modular board and exploration mechanics, so no two games will ever be quite the same. Except for the players dying and cursing a lot, obviously.
Near and Far - Best for...aspiring storytellers
Due: Summer 2017
Above and Below was a peculiar 2015 game that mixed economic efficiency with storytelling. It worked like a charm, oiling a potentially dry strategic engine with narrative grease.
Now the concept is back in Near and Far, with added exploration. Rather than building a village you'll be wandering over maps in search of lost ruins. Which, we presume, someone will find at the conclusion of the ten-game campaign.
And when you're done, the huge book of story paragraphs means you can lose the ruins and look for them again with a completely different narrative.
Pandemic Legacy: Season Two - Best for...Co-op fans
Due: Autumn 2017
Legacy games are an extraordinary new concept where you physically alter your copy of the game as you play. In time, your copy won't just look unique, it'll play uniquely too.
Co-operative classic Pandemic got the Legacy treatment in 2015 and, as a bonus, its campaign game told a story as you played. It's now one of the most acclaimed and best-selling board games around. And a continuation of that story is in the works with a season 2 copy scheduled for 2017.
Details have otherwise been closely guarded, so keep your eyes peeled. Expect it to spread like a virus on release.
Tiny Epic Quest - Best for: Zelda nostalgists
Due: Autumn 2017
Fantasy board games tend toward the western archetype, but Tiny Epic Quest instead apes the feel of the classic 80s JRPG (Japanese Role Playing Game).
Players explore and complete quests to earn points in a bright, colourful fantasy kingdom. It even comes with modular wooden pieces so you can see what equipment your hero is carrying.
Besides the setting, Tiny Epic Quest also has a novel push-your-luck mechanic that impacts everyone at once. It's a clever idea that helps the game create the illusion of a living world that all the heroes share. Promising strategy, narrative and excitement, this looks a sure-fire hit.
Anachrony - Best for...astrophysicists
Due: Autumn 2017
Being a smart Stuff reader you've likely wondered about time travel paradoxes. For example, what if you borrowed money from your future self, then refused to pay yourself back?
Well, Anachrony lets you do just that. And it has the answer - you'll lose three victory points and a spot on the board. This, and other cool time related mechanics makes the game stand out in the otherwise tired worker placement genre.
And that's good because at its best, worker placement build deep, engaging and replayable games. Whether it succeeds or not is a question Anachrony can ask its future self.
Charterstone - Best for...deep strategy fans
Due: Winter 2017
Charterstone is another 'legacy' game in which your copy of the game becomes unique as you play. What's got everyone particularly excited, though, is that it's porting the concept into a new sub-genre.
Existing Legacy games have tended toward exploration and narrative, but this brings the mechanic to the strategic heavyweight world of worker placement.
Although mathematically dense games might seem a poor fit here, there are precedents. Agricola and Robinson Crusoe are both deep worker placement games with tons of narrative. If Charterstone can pull off its lofty ambitions, it's likely to be awesome.
Rising sun - Best for...ending friendships
Due: end of 2017
In 2015, famed designer Eric M. Lang and publisher CMON teamed up to bring us the brilliant Blood Rage. They claimed its design heritage was very distantly rooted in family classic Risk.
Rising Sun is their next game and this time they've taken inspiration from friendship-ending classic Diplomacy. You'd expect a Japanese theme with that title and you'd be right. Except the alliances, negotiation and inevitable treachery play out in an alternate universe full of Japanese myth.
Expect a Kickstarter campaign soon this year and a possible squeezed release toward the end of 2017.