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.
Release Date: Jun 7, 2013

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Recommended By Curators

"Multiple-choice interludes with long-term effects on your in-game family. Recommended for fans of choice and consequence."

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

Windows
Mac OS X
    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
15 of 22 people (68%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 13, 2014
I only have 4 hours in this game. Its an interesting boaard game with a slot machine based asthetic. Basically you get tokens on certain turns that allow your current family to get rewards by moving to designated areas on the 'board' (dial thingy). It is focused around the notion of continuity and progress of generations, wthin the context of family life. Though this is a little more elaborate and unique than the Game of Life, at full price its expensive. If you do find this on sale, for really cheap and you would like something to kill time then this might be for you...unless you hate reading, cos there is alot of it.
Note - If you are visually impared, you can still play this fine in windowed mode using windows magnifier. There is alot of reading though.
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
13.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 29, 2014
Brief Synopsis:

7 Grand Steps: What Ancients Begat is a game made essentially by one man (he outsourced music and art assets, I believe). Originally, this game was meant to be part of a seven part series. The developer has mentioned however (in early 2014), that the second step (game) won't be coming for "several more years".

The game is stylized after the old coin games in which you insert a coin into a machine which triggers movement. Game play is relatively simple to understand, but is complex enough so that there is a layer of strategy involved.

The game is relatively simple. Through the use of coins and choices made during game play, you influence a family through the ages, determining how educated the children become and how powerful the family becomes. Play the game right, and your family could end up ruling over their city as high priest or even king.

Long Review:

Story: You start in the bronze age as a new family. Throughout the game, you'll be presented with story cards through which you can sometimes influence the fate of your family. There are several Ages through which you must progress in this game. Each Age follows several generations of your family. Some generations manage to reach high society while some struggle to survive as simple peasants. The story cards are very samey throughout a given Age, which can make the game a bit boring at times.

Graphics: The art assets are very well done in this game. Similar to the story cards, there aren't many different assets, but that's to be expected, given what the game itself is a relica of (old fashioned coin fed theatric game machines).

Music/Sounds: The music and sounds in What Ancients Begat are superb and really add a lot to the overall ambience and immersion of the game. They're not over done, but are instead rather subtle, which is exactly what a game like this needs to make it shine.

Length: According to the forums, the length of this game varies according to each person's play style. Some people manage to finish the game in less than 5 hours, while others take closer to 15 hours to reach the end. Personally, I got about 13 hours worth of play time.

Replayability: There is a bit of replayability in this game. In my opinion, it's well worth playing through at least twice, as the first time can be seen as an opportunity to learn the mechanics and work out a viable strategy for the second playthough.

Overall, I recommend that you purchase this game if you enjoy simple, historical, slow paced games with strategical elements and few art assets. It's definitely worth getting on sale, if nothing else.
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9 of 13 people (69%) found this review helpful
4.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 28, 2014
This was enjoyable for a few hours and then started to get tedious.

The gameplay mechanics are unique, and the board game component is kind of fun.

One of the goals of the game - to progress between layers of society - seems achievable at first, but as you move on it starts to feel more random and futile. This may be true to life, but it doesn't make it enjoyable.

At the higher levels of the game there are more elements to manage, like economics or defense, but these seemed less fleshed out than the board game part. Maybe I didn't give it a fair go.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 27, 2014
The mechanics are unique, which makes learning them a lot of fun.

There just isn't a lot of depth or quite enough going on to really keep you coming back.

Worth a spin at a discount.

3/5
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
18.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 10
Worth playing if only for the interesting game mechanics alone. It does strangely manage to capture the feeling of a family struggling to survive and prosper across the ages. Having your only child die is heartbreaking. Having two spouses who both love each other feels incredibly rewarding. But I don't see how they could sustain this across another game, let alone a total of seven.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
12.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 29, 2014
STRONG POINTS: elegant and steeped in metaphor. The game tells a story while you play. The actions from one generation build upon (and perhaps hamper those) of the next. Lots of interesting strategic decisions: when to marry (and gain an additional pawn), which pawn to move first to maximize your chances at points. The game expands impressively the further you advance, and when I first landed in the ruling class my jaw dropped.

WEAK POINTS: Those who dislike randomness will become frustrated with the inscrutable child-bearing mechanics. Sometimes you try and fail every time, sometimes your pawns won't stop having kids no matter how many you already have. :)

TO SUM UP: An epic strategy game that doesn't end up overwhelming. You stay focused on the here-and-now, even though the ramifications of the player's actions stretch beyond the immediate.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 23, 2014
Some interesting ideas and mechanics. Unfortunately, it quickly becomes repetitive. It's just a matter of applying optimal strategy and repeat the same process over and over again. And then something horrible happens - lady luck wants your skin. And gets it. And then you realize you've spent hours trying to see what else, if anything, this game has to offer.

Not worth the money and the time, IMHO.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 30, 2014
Digital board game of sorts. No real victory condition, gets kind of grindy after a while, but is nonetheless innovative and a great, novel experience.
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7 of 12 people (58%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 23, 2014
Ehh... this is really bare-bones for a $20 game, first of all. No animations, minimal art, practically a basic flash game.

Presentation aside there still isn't much I found myself liking. It's a board game with a heavy strategy element, but far too heavy on luck elements as well. I felt pretty clueless playing at first, and doing the tutorial again/reading all the info helped a little but it stilll felt rather overwhelming with how little control I had towards the game's outcome. It's not very engaging, either, rather tedious without much to actually do. Drag tokens, hope you get a decent amount of tokens from ingots, read the occasional piece of story that you may have already seen before even without only 90 minutes of play time. Just not enjoyable. There's probably a crowd for this game but it certainly isn't me. Fortunately this game was in a humble bundle, I'd never buy it otherwise even at 80-90% off.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 29
This is a lot like a board game, in that it's pretty much a board game...I like playing it once in a while, never finish an entire game (unless I die), and it can become very repetitive, especially once you learn the rules.

That being said...
It's lightweight, turn-based, isn't stupid "new" old school graphics, and allows the player to make a lot of choices. Nothing bad to be said of it really, I haven't encountered any glitches or bugs. So hey, if it's on sale definitely pick it up; if you get bored, you just put it away until next time.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
300.0 hrs on record
Posted: February 3
A simple concept and an addictive game. It can be played over again with different strategies used. Can jump straight into playing with little need for tutorials. Interesting story-telling in the background; I find the game more enjoyable when every story card is read.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 12
Despite its apparent simplicity, the gameplay is quite deep and not so easy! A unique concept that mixes storytelling and strategy, involving pawn placement as well as currency management. Feels like a German-type board game, with history and a family/generations story on top of it.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 2
This game hurts my soul. I understand the core mechanics and the point but man. The coins, just keep coming. And the need to put them in and collect beads, it's compulsive.

Overall, watch a video, read the description. There is not a lot to this game. If you enjoy slot machines and how the wonderous colors and lack of understanding make for compelling hours of time wasted, then this is totally for you. There is some strategy, there is some planning, but overall, it's just spin the wheel~spin the wheel~spin the wheel.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 5
Thumbs up for trying something new!
I loved the concept of this game, fun gameplay, awesome aesthetics and good unobtrusive music. However it does have a lot of downsides which stopped me wanting to play further.
The game is really punishing - there's no save, if you die you go back to the last generation which makes you so handicapped you might as well start again thereby negating the last 2hrs of play. The dialog is terrible and the "choices" you have to make have NO logic to them, it might as well be a coin toss - and that's the main problem with this game it's based too much on luck. All the time and strategizing you put in can all be undone by the roll of a dice.
Still worth playing but definitely not for 19.99
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 27, 2014
this is a mmust own game for anyone who loves reading and board games!!!! it is incredibly fun I AM SO HAPPY I GOT IT! super addicting; one of the few games you dont feel bad about losing!
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 27, 2014
"7 Grand Steps: What Ancients Begat" is a remarkably difficult game to define. It's a board game, of sorts, based on a system of aquiring and spending coins to advance whilst attempting to increase your social standing. It is however, inexplicably addictive and you may waste hours of time before you realise it.

However, the game isn't worth £15. Personally I'm looking at its current sale-price of £5 and questioning it too. However, there is fun to be had at the right price. The £5 mark is probably reasonable if you're really in to board games, I'd wait until lower than that if you're just after a few hours of casual fun.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
34.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 25, 2014
A great board game-type RPG. It's easy to pick up on, and gets kind of addictive. The ending sucks though, but I want the sequel.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 26, 2014
7 Grand Steps is an emergent narrative game about family generations surviving through the ages. Its story is driven by a core, board-game mechanic. The experience is like Civilization crossed with Oregon Trail. Beatiful graphic, immersive music and innovative gameplay! This is a must buy.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 15
Not a very complex game - good for playing during slow times at the office or when multitasking. Don't ever purchase at full price or you will be sorely disappointed.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 23
It's a bit boring. I think I got this in a bundle and I tried it out just now for the sake of it. It's not very fun and a little confusing/pointless. Not my taste.
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