What Ancients Begat is a complete (~15 hour) game of family generations surviving the rise of western civilization. Survival is the ultimate goal. The sub-goals, you choose, build their story. Experience an abstract telling of the lives of our earliest recorded ancestors.
User reviews: Mixed (243 reviews)
Release Date: Jun 7, 2013

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Recommended By Curators

"An interesting blend of classic arcade and board game elements. Made by 1 person, which is always impressive."

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August 18

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Why a new game, instead of another 7GS? The answer is complex, involving earnings from 7GS, code portability, and some burnout. In short, I'm moving my game development to new tools, and TorB is a way to learn new tools, refresh myself, and release a game in a shorter time span than a 7GS sequel. I hope begin work on a sequel after this quicker game is shipped.

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Reviews

"An engaging combination of board game mechanics and pure storytelling, 7 Grand Steps is an addictive telling of one family's journey through history."
Gamespot

"...it’s so clever that you can’t help but love it."
Indie Statik

"7 Grand Steps hides a deeply strategic experience behind its deceptively simple and charming graphical appearance, ...immersive and engaging gaming."
GGS Gamer

"...entirely apart from the hundreds of games that have passed through my PC..."
Rock Paper Shotgun

"...I walked away from it as though I was telling a story that reached through time."
G4TV

"It's a simple looking game, but -- I found myself unable to stop."
KillScreen

About This Game

What Ancients Begat is a complete (~15 hour) game of family generations surviving the rise of western civilization. Survival is the ultimate goal. The sub-goals, you choose, build their story.


Experience an abstract telling of the lives of our earliest recorded ancestors. Part board game, part machine, part nod to computer games of yore, it begins with a simple mechanic. Spend tokens to traverse the wheel of life. Earn tokens by tempting the jaws of death. Then, like layers upon a pearl, game play expands, introducing fresh tactics and strategies which, turn by turn, drive a sophisticated, emergent narrative. How you play defines the lives of one family's generations through the changing ages.


An enormous tableau of ancient western culture awaits your exploration:


  • Core Mechanic - Back and forth tactics, across four social boundaries, to win legend points.
  • Family Strategy - Romance. Raise children. Rite of Passage.
  • Family Drama - Tales in the life. Sibling rivalry. Failed branches. Graveyard of ancestry.
  • Grand Legends - Earned over generations, they strengthen your family: Discoveries and Invention. Social Advancement. Heroics.
  • Ruling Games - City Administration. Warring Kingdoms. Imperial Senate.
  • The Challenges of an Age - Special for each social level. Survive and overcome, to enter a new age.

System Requirements

PC
Mac
    Minimum:
    • OS:XP
    • Processor:1GHz
    • Memory:1 GB RAM
    • Graphics:1024x768
    • Hard Drive:200 MB HD space
    Recommended:
    • OS:XP
    • Processor:1GHz
    • Memory:1 GB RAM
    • Graphics:1024x768
    • Hard Drive:200 MB HD space
    Minimum:
    • OS:10.5.8
    • Processor:1GHz
    • Memory:1 GB RAM
    • Graphics:1024x768
    • Hard Drive:200 MB HD space
    Recommended:
    • OS:10.5.8
    • Processor:1GHz
    • Memory:1 GB RAM
    • Graphics:1024x768
    • Hard Drive:200 MB HD space
Helpful customer reviews
0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
1.1 hrs on record
Nice idea, but interaction is minimal and for 20€ nowhere near enough game for the money,
Posted: October 3
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21.6 hrs on record
What a strange and fascinating game...that was literally my first thought when playing this game and it still accurately describes what i think of it now. Even after 20+ hours of gametime I cannot think of many other experiences as unique and interesting as 7 Grand Steps.

But is it fun? Yes...if you are into this sort of gameplay...which I now realize is probably difficult to pinpoint the audience for this game. It is probably most accurately described as a storytelling boardgame that lets you build generations of your family trying to achieve advantages to overcome "challenges of the age," which are basically disaster events that wipe out most everyone but you (if you pull it off). Strangely enough, the gameplay sort of simulates the constant struggle of trying to stay ahead in society and still provide a better future for your children (basically by teaching them better than you were tought). It works extremely well at keeping a feeling of tension and accomplishment throughout, and I found it pretty addicting. It is definitely a game that warrants a few hours each time you play instead of one to two hours.

However, my biggest complaint with the game is...the sequel. Or rather the very low chance of getting one. I would LOVE to see this game continue, and I really hope it sees more attention.
Posted: October 10
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1.7 hrs on record
It's very much a board game. I'm sure it has some appeal for people into the genre, but it's not my bag.
Posted: September 27
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26.4 hrs on record
Fun Game, very interesting. It lacks instructions or in my opinion too reliant on random variables, there are times where I am just left scratching my head thinking what the F happened? still it's supposed to be a family simulation I think, and life is sometimes random, so I guess that's fine. all in all I would recomend the game.
Posted: October 6
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17.3 hrs on record
Haunting, kind of depressing , ..you get a real sense of urgency to try and elevate your family standing when you are getting on in years. Very, very different and worth it just for the unorthodox and unusual gameplay
Posted: October 5
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0.5 hrs on record
Turn the wheel... What the hell is going on?!?!
Ok, it was a neat game but a bit...
I dunno.
Posted: October 11
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16 of 17 people (94%) found this review helpful
12.1 hrs on record
Slow to develop, and maybe a bit too repetitive after a bit, but plays nicely, and is not trivial to survive. Some neat long lasting effects from real decisions meant to represent daily struggles in ancient times. One for board game lovers, especially on sale.
Posted: August 18
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14 of 17 people (82%) found this review helpful
3.0 hrs on record
Fun game if you are looking something different. You have to pay attention and rely on a good amount of luck to win this one.
Posted: August 18
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11 of 12 people (92%) found this review helpful
3.8 hrs on record
This "singleplayer board game" is damn surreal, and very complex, but weirdly compelling at the same time. Games go on so long you may never finish your first one, but you'll at least have enjoyed the time you spent.
Posted: September 22
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8 of 9 people (89%) found this review helpful
1.9 hrs on record
This one I got on a sale, and am suprised to find out that it costs 20 bucks...

7 Grand Steps is a sweet game, it has an interesting concept but yet it is very plain and eventually that's a board game, and I got the feeling that the advertisements tried to make it look like something more than that..

While I can't say that this game is *just* a board game, because, yes, it is more than that, it is still *mainly* a board game,

It has story elements in it, as it involves raising a family (kind of), and progress with it from generation to generation holding onto the wheels of time (really, the board is a wheel of time).
During the board-game moments you'll have to spread skills to your children and make some decisions from time to time when some textual messages show themselves, describing a certain situation.

Those are the basics, and yes, there IS some more, but not much.
This game really rocks, as a board-game, because it's different and executes new and original ideas in it.
Yet, it's extremely simple and eventually it's merely a time-killer, for me at least. And while I really liked it and played it for a couple of times I just didn't feel like returning to it and felt I've already seen everything this game can offer rather quickly.

I do recommend it, but perhaps when it's on a sale or something, because I can't see why it costs 20 dollars.
The title on the steam library says "7 Grand Steps, Step 1.." So maybe that means there are other parts coming out, but I don't see any official statement about it.
Posted: June 4
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
13.5 hrs on record
Eminently addictive and fairly deep despite being simple to play. There's probably a great boardgame hidden in this somewhere, but for the dearth of tokens it definitely benefits from not being one. The game could certainly use a bit more to do in some areas and the events tend to repeat a bit often between consecutive generations, but on the whole it's just a great "one more turn" type deal.
Talking about deal: Wait until it's on sale or in a Humble Bundle. I doubt I'd be as happy about it if I had paid $20 for it.
Posted: September 21
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7 of 12 people (58%) found this review helpful
14.0 hrs on record
The game is moderately interesting to begin with, the concept itself is quite appealing: this mix of tabletop game and an arcade machine, the artstyle and so on. It, in fact, could have been a nice game... if it were about 5 times shorter and 10 times cheaper.

One playthrough takes wa-a-a-y too long, even if you don’t take into account the possibility of your family dying out halfway through, which of course makes you start over, as there is only one save. For the first couple of hours planning on your family’s development, balancing between producing tokens, spending them and moving forward is interesting, even fascinating – due to the novelty of this experience, probably – but it gets old really fast.

You rise up to the very top of your ancient society, become an ultimate ruler… and then the Age ends, and you find out that you have to do the same thing yet another time. And again, in the third Age. The art changes from Age to Age, the icons on the board change… everything else remains the same, over and over again. Once you start climbing up the social ladder during the third Age, the routine gets depressingly, brain-curdlingly repetitive and boring. The ruling mini-games are the only thing that is different among the three ages, and again, after you organize your city’s grain supplies for 30-odd turns, repeating the same set of actions…

The title implies that the developer plans on continuing the series, this time showing the way of a family through the Middle Ages. If the sequel ever gets around to being released and it will be similar to this game in terms of game mechanics, well… I can only say that the developer is really, really optimistic if he plans to keep it up for all 7 steps.
Posted: May 19
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
12.9 hrs on record
Tl;dr: Weird but evocative.

An interesting game that plays pretty much like a cross between a board game and a poker machine. The basic idea is that you try and elevate your family through ancient society to accept challenges related to technological discovery, prestige and heroism by gathering tokens and using them to advance yourself while educating your children - heavy stuff for what looks like on the surface to be a casual puzzle game.

Some people have an issue with the random number generator suddenly throwing your family back amongst the peasants through misfortune, but I feel it encapsulates the idea of struggle - and once you get a feel for the best strategy you can reduce the likelihood of that happening. In one instance, the parents played favourites too often so the next generation was plagued by a sibling rivalrly when my useless brother kept stealing my tokens.

If you get to the top rung it opens up another game-within-a-game depending on the era, at one point I was a general (and was really bad at it), on another playthrough I got to play senator with all the powerplays and shenanigans that involves.

All the individual game elements are pretty basic but they form a quite evocative experience, much of this down to the excellent writing of the challenge scenarios. I should note that this is apparently the first of a series of games, so this particular episode stops kind of abruptly after a few eras with a "to be continued" placard. Even so, you might start off thinking it's a bit lame but then hours later...
Posted: September 23
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
12.9 hrs on record
Tl;dr: Weird but evocative.

An interesting game that plays pretty much like a cross between a board game and a poker machine. The basic idea is that you try and elevate your family through ancient society to accept challenges related to technological discovery, prestige and heroism by gathering tokens and using them to advance yourself while educating your children - heavy stuff for what looks like on the surface to be a casual puzzle game.

Some people have an issue with the random number generator suddenly throwing your family back amongst the peasants through misfortune, but I feel it encapsulates the idea of struggle - and once you get a feel for the best strategy you can reduce the likelihood of that happening. In one instance, the parents played favourites too often so the next generation was plagued by a sibling rivalrly when my useless brother kept stealing my tokens.

If you get to the top rung it opens up another game-within-a-game depending on the era, at one point I was a general (and was really bad at it), on another playthrough I got to play senator with all the powerplays and shenanigans that involves.

All the individual game elements are pretty basic but they form a quite evocative experience, much of this down to the excellent writing of the challenge scenarios. I should note that this is apparently the first of a series of games, so this particular episode stops kind of abruptly after a few eras with a "to be continued" placard. Even so, you might start off thinking it's a bit lame but then hours later...
Posted: September 23
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
Second generation my daughter was forced to bear a child a against her will... oh goodness things are not going my way at all her son the product of ♥♥♥♥ must carry on this bloodline but at a great disadvantage. Then all of a sudden he must complete his rite of passage! He hits it big his now deceased mother would be proud he managed to marry a wealthy women and discovered an amazing deposit of clay! Then everyone died of wild chompy alligators...

Let's start again!
Posted: September 24
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18 of 36 people (50%) found this review helpful
8.1 hrs on record
A very interesting concept for a slotmachine / board game / stratgy game. Too bad it is ruined by EVERYTHING being dependent on RNG.

Regarless of how well you try to play it RNG will always get you in the end. If you like playing games that are 100% based on RNG and luck, this is the game for you! All it has done is made me hate humanity. The rich get richer and the poor get poor. 10+ hour game and die to poverty on the lowest rank? Yeah, why not. What a ♥♥♥♥ing waste of my life. Make one tiny mistake in the game, or don't it doesnt matter. You are bound to die alone and without an heir.

The AI is unfair and it's the biggest waste of time on steam I have found so far.
Posted: May 24
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3 of 6 people (50%) found this review helpful
4.1 hrs on record
Very board game-y with a bit of narrative thrown in, though it's not clear what the narrative does or how it affects the game. Becomes repetitive after a bit. Ultimately not very fun.
Posted: June 14
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
13.1 hrs on record
Repetetive and booring. More like a Boardgame that would maybe a nice Idea to play with others.
Posted: August 18
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
1.8 hrs on record
This is a sub 3 dollar game. Thumbs up at that price.
Posted: June 22
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3 of 7 people (43%) found this review helpful
1.3 hrs on record
Kind of like a board game.

I get it and I see what they are trying to do.

It's just not fun.

Not for me
Posted: July 6
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