Introducing Magnate

It’s time for Magnate, a project I’ve been working on for nearly 7 years, to become a reality

What if there was a game that felt like what you imagined Monopoly was going to be, when you were a child?

Not the crushing disappointment of what Monopoly actually is: a very random, overlong and mean-spirited game of simplistic and brutal zero-sum logic. But a game the captures the magic of Monopoly in the imagination: the feel of money in your hands, of the scramble to get the best property, dropping huge piles of cash on big risks each turn, the application of your cunning and critical thinking to make the best bet and sitting back to admire the empire you have made.

Now what if this game takes place in a city going through a property boom, where every decision you make, where to buy and what to build really matters. What if this game has a true strategic depth where opportunity constantly springs forth from what everyone else is doing; where a constant interaction between players leads to a city gradually and organically emerging before the player’s eyes?

And what if every game ends in the same way: with the perennial, cyclical crisis of capitalism that is a property market collapse; brought about by the players own greed and shaped by their actions?

Would you play it?

That is the dream of Magnate. It’s also what I have been working off and on for 6 and half years: prototyping, playtesting, returning multiple times to the drawing board to create something truly satisfying.

This year I will try to make that dream of mine a reality; publishing Magnate for as many people to enjoy as I can: in the hopes they might have even a tiny fraction of the fun playing it that I had in making it.

Magnate – coming to your favourite crowdfunding platform in 2018. Sign-up here and be notified as soon as the Kickstarter launches.

By James Naylor

I’m James. I’ve always loved boardgames: playing them, analysing them and most of all, designing them. Now, I’m trying to publish my own games.

11 replies on “Introducing Magnate”

I actually got the idea for Anomaly six years and three months ago. But I don’t plan on hitting any crowdfunder this year. On that topic, a while ago, I read about a board game exclusive crowd funding platform being launched. Think perhaps Jamey Stegmeier wrote it. Something you’ve considered?

Excellent! Great to know you’re keen to back already. I hope it can live up to pitch. 😀 Very intriguing. So your game has been in development almost the same time as mine then. Did I read correctly you’re into agile software development as well? You were saying something about it and if so, it seems we have a lot of overlap!

I hadn’t heard about that, but if anyone was going to do it, I could see him doing so. I’ve heard murmurs about Kickstarter’s future, but I think this is a perennial issue. It shouldn’t be too hard to make money in their line of work, you would think. Do you have a link to anything about it.

Nah, not really. Not at all, actually. I have a few friends who’ve been dabbling with agile and I like to throw around a few buzz words. I’m an environmental consultant and researcher actually and my programming skills are quite outdated by now.

The crowdfunding platform is They seem to be but not running, so to speak. Their take on it seems good enough, but I guess it’s not enough to talk the talk. Gotta walk the walk, and the KS-competition is probably a tough one.

Ahhh cool. What kind of environmental research do you do? I can imagine there are parts of Anomaly that must be really informed by that!

Looks like an interesting approach. The idea of building stuff around local game stores is a good idea as retail pledges on KS are a little complex to implement but keys competition with KS is HUGE and unless KS drop the ball, that’s going to be really tough.

I’m primarily working in the field of impact assessments (quarries, mines, water works).

A lot of the photos we use to illustrate Anomaly were taken during field visits and work travels – even long before Anomaly was in the progress. In that sense, my work influence Anomaly strongly. We have not (deliberately) added any real environmental science to it, that is for another game another day.

Using actual photos to illustrate Anomaly has been a lot of work. Sure, we had a whole lot of pictures to start with, visualizing the geography so to say. But the specific items required some quite amusing (and not always working) very basic special effects, since we didn’t want to make it digitally.

But it has been great fun! And, to me, this has been the lesson teaching me the difference between making games as art vs design. For the longest time, we never aimed at pulishing Anomaly. We – my friend and I – were the total target group. We wanted to make our game, for ourselves, and out of our common childhood/youth lore.

Over time, we realized that it might actually both be a playable game in the end – and a game that more people could enjoy. So now we’re struggling with a myriad of loose ends and not so thought-through decisions (as a result of our “art approach”) , trying to switch over to a design approach. And it’s still great fun!

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