Become A Property Magnate With Naylor Games On Kickstarter

November 27, 2019 by crew

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Taking control of the game and being the one with the most money is always a fun feeling. With that in mind, we took some time to look in more detail at Magnate: The First City from Naylor Games which is currently on Kickstarter right now.

Magnate Cover Art - Naylor Games

Check Out The Kickstarter Project

As well as learning more about the Kickstarter project we also got to talk to James from Naylor Games about the project, the game, inspiration and more. If you want to get stuck into a neat game of smart business decisions and tactical thinking, this is one for you to consider.

Ben: Could you tell us a bit more about yourself and Naylor Games; where did it all start?

James: Naylor Games began because I wanted to self-publish Magnate. I didn't try to take the design to other publishers first. I had a strong vision for the finished product in my head and I really wanted to go through the entire process of taking a game to market. I come from a product management and marketing background professionally so I figured I probably had the right mix of skills to pull it off. Now - I want to make more games: ambitious games.

B: You are currently on Kickstarter funding Magnate, could you tell us a bit about the core pitch for the game?

J: In Magnate: The First City, you are a property developer trying to make as much as you can in a city-wide construction boom. You'll have to choose the land you're going to buy and decide what to build there from a range of realistic 3D buildings.

You'll collect rent from the tenants you attract to your developments and then, when the time is right, sell your property for a massive profit. But beware, your actions will cause prices to rise. Eventually, prices will climb too high and the boom will turn messily to bust in a game-ending market crash! Don't get caught out when it does.

B: Could you tell us a little more about how a typical round of Magnate would play out as you start to build your little city-based empire on the tabletop?

J: Sure. Each round has three parts.

First, it begins with attracting tenants to your buildings from the previous round and collecting rent from all your tenants. You use dice to do this although it's pretty low luck: just enough to prevent total predictability and simulate how real markets work: uncertain beasts that very occasionally throw up upsets or even black swan events - not totally predictable maths fests.

Magnate #1 - Naylor Games

Second, you get to do three actions from a pretty simple menu: buy land, build on that land, consult (a simple money action), advertise to help you get tenants next turn and crucially, sell - which means giving up the property (and its rental income) for a lump sum. It sounds like a pretty simple list, but the choice of what land, what building, when to buy, when to sell are all critical - the game is very tight. In a two-player game, each player will only get twenty-one of these actions total.

Third and maybe most important - is the property market. New random tenants are added to the market and more land comes up for sale. Most important though, the economy changes as a result of players actions. Everything they do to build confidence will boost the overall price of land (sell some but not too much, hype everything with advertising), making it more expensive to buy land but sales more valuable. Everything that they do that might cause fear in the market will increase the chance of a crash through drawing risk cards (overbuilding, selling too much at once, stopping hyping the market with PR and advertising, pushing the price to dangerous levels). Eventually, prices climb too high and the market collapses. At that point, the game ends! Whoever has the most money is the winner.

B: What were some of the inspirations behind you deciding on Magnate as a game concept? Were you influenced by lots of PC sim games or did the idea come from somewhere else?

J: Monopoly was absolutely the original inspiration. I wanted to make a game that captured the vision of Monopoly I had in my head as a child (whether or not it was ever *really* like that in reality) - all the feelings of wanting to play it BUT using modern game mechanics and everything we now know about game design to make something truly strategically satisfying.

Magnate #3 - Naylor Games

That led it instantly to being a city builder which naturally borrowed thematic and mechanical ideas from Sim City, Crucially though - the players are property developers, not city planners as they needed to be actors which are inherently competitive for it to be thematically compelling. I didn't want to make another Suburbia. It's a great game, but it's been done.

B: We noticed the game comes with a way to play it as a solo experience. Could you tell us a bit more about how the game changes (if at all) when you play it by yourself?

J: It actually changes very little. I am not a huge solo gamer - I dislike most of them. The ones I do like work for me because the game plays like you're playing against another person: someone that makes logical plays but isn't entirely predictable. A player that has basically the same levers as you do and can be interacted with through gameplay like any other.

Magnate #4 - Naylor Games

So with Magnate the fundamental structure of the game is the same and human behaviour is simulated when its the AI's turn through some simple logic, a deck of cards and a levelling-up system where the AI gets stronger in a way that mimics a human player's typical game arc - with all the same level of variety that has.

B: What have some of the best moments been when developing and playtesting Magnate? Did anything happen that really made you think about the game in a different way or gave you a eureka moment?

J: That's a very hard question! There have been so many, many moments like this. Magnate was a long journey for me. It's almost unrecognisable from when it started - except for the core idea of being developers constructing buildings and moving tenants into them.

Magnate #5 - Naylor Games

But there's a recurring moment I always love to see - when you see someone really lost in the game. That utterly un-self-conscious expression where they are really grinding through the right answer in their heads. Seeing the fun they are having doing that is the best reward of all!

B: Could you tell us a bit more about the options available to those as part of the Kickstarter as backers?

J: Sure, we have four pledge levels for you to consider...

  • Basic - The core game
  • Tycoon - The core game plus three mini-expansions that we've developed during the process of wider playtesting (all stuff I love playing with, but not practical to go into the core product - if we are to get it into retail - which we'd like to do if the KS is successful enough)
  • A "name a neighbourhood" pledge which has already all gone, unfortunately!
  • A "your face on money" pledge where backers can get their face or a loved one on every note in one denomination in all copies of the game

Magnate is certainly sounding like a really fun game to dive into!

Download The Rules & Learn More

If you're fascinated about finding out more about the game then there is a draft version of the rulebook which you can check out HERE. As well as that, Girls' Game Shelf has put together a neat preview video which you can check out below which offers you a good look at gameplay.

Check Out The Kickstarter Project

This gives you a nice peek at gameplay and the rules so you can decide if the game is for you. One of the elements of it that really appealed to me was the way they've played around with the themes of older games like Monopoly but updated it with modern game mechanics and ideas to really get the theme across as well as the strategy. I love the idea of taking chances and pushing your luck in certain endeavours to try and make the most of the situation before your competitors leap in!

Could you see yourself diving into Magnate: The First City on Kickstarter?

"In Magnate: The First City, you are a property developer trying to make as much as you can in a city-wide construction boom..."

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"If you're fascinated about finding out more about the game then there is a draft version of the rulebook..."

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