What are the options for creating a game board (like Monopoly) where the pawns hold on to it?

You know the situation... one player pushes the board by mistake and all items fall over. I'd like to avoid this in my game.

I'm designing my own custom board game, of which I will produce just 1 item.

As a child I had a wooden travel chess, and the pawns had a magnet glued at the bottom. I don't know how the wood was made magnetic, there was nothing visible.

I plan to get my board printed on foldable carton by a specialized custom board game printing service. But if it's a better solution then I can also have just the design printed by a local print shop, and fabricate the carton myself.

The side on the pawns is clear, I'll glue magnets at the bottom (or magnetic stripes from tape). That's doable.

What I don't know yet is the counter part on or under the board. The options I've figured out so far are:

magnetic paint, magnetic paint spray

It's actually paint with metallic particles, to attract the magnets.

The reviews I have read about these products are bad. The magnetic force is very weak. The products are expensive. And I don't plan to glue the board myself, so I can't apply the paint directly under the design but above the carton.

galvanized steel under the carton board

Would it work to glue something like this http://www.amazon.com/dp/B014X6WGZI?psc=1 under the carton, would that be attractive enough for the magnets through the carton?

Or should I use hinges to combine 2 plates (foldable), and use it as the base, and glue the design on top directly, no carton?

Any theoretical and practical (from-experience) answers much appreciated.

1 Answer 1


There is no need to magnetise both the board and the pieces. Remember that magnets stick to iron, nickel and cobalt (and alloys comprised of these, e.g. steel). If you magnetise both the board and the pieces, then you risk making a mistake and the board repelling the pieces.

As mentioned in your chessboard example, the mechanics are that the pieces are hollow with a small magnet, and they are attracted to a thin sheet of metal placed under the wood. Depending on your pieces, gluing thin magnet strips may be a better option if making hollow pieces is going to be difficult.

The hardest part is testing the thickness of the board and strength of magnets to make sure that they stick as required, but are easy to move too. In this case you just have to experiment, but there are plenty of companies that produce magnets for miniatures. This site discourages specific product suggestions, but Googling something like "miniature magnets" will give lots of options.

  • Small rare earth magnets (which is a specific type, not a brand) are a solid choice for this. They have a good strength-to-size ratio and are ideal for holding small pieces on a ferrous board. I've seen these used to great effect to create troop units in miniatures (e.g. 40k) games. Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 21:13

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