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 (328 reviews)
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
14 of 17 people (82%) found this review helpful
8.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 28
The game is okay, but the price is absolutely ridiculous. I got this in a bundle and paid less than a dollar for it, and it's been worth that much. But there are literally thousands of other games I would buy before this one at full price.

Essentially, you control a family from ancient times as they make their way throug the ages. The entire game happens in this weird wheel segment, with tokens representing your husband and wife moving around on it. The game mechanics boil down to spend coins to move clockwise on the game board, and collect "legends", points that go towards earning discoveries, which can give you technological advances, earning you big chunks of coins, or help you move to the outer rings of the wheel, where you have more movement options. You have children, and spend coins to boost their skills. These skills help them earn more coins when they take over the family line. But as far as I can tell, that's about it. It's an endless cycle of earning and spending coins. The story elements aren't compelling at all, as they come in tiny fragments and don't seem to affect anything visibly. Like I said, mildly distracting, but far from addictive and not worth twenty bucks.
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16 of 21 people (76%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
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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11 of 13 people (85%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
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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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
17.6 hrs on record
Posted: April 21
A quite unique game with a strange combination of tactical board game and roleplay & story-telling. As first side, the game seems like a "Monopoly": you start by moving your character-token and gathering ressources (token and achievement points). But you'll quickly discover that the gameplay mecanism has quite some depth: how to optimize your itinerary by minimizing ressource-token used and by maximizing achievement points gain, how to use "boost" of movement etc etc... There are a lot of tricks that can give you some tactical advantage over AIs.

However, this gameplay discover phase may take you 2 hours or so, and then you may start to feel some repetitiveness: the game has 3 main phases (copper age, bronze age and iron age), all of them have absolutely the same gameplay mecanism. The only thing that changes with the ages is the "ruling game", which you gain access by uplifting to the highest rank. Honestly for me, the ruling game is the true shining point of the game, they are kind of "management & simulation" like mini-games. I found them pretty well thought, as they fit very well to the historical aspects of each age.

One major default is that the "random side stories" you can encounter. The problem is that... well they are random, but the pool of available events are extremely low... If you chain several "heroic deeds" quests, it's very likely you'll get the same story twice or more. For a game which is supposed to centered on developping a story of a clan/family, I found this very annoying.

Overall, I rate this 7/10. Repetitiveness and the lack of variety in "random events" are the major default, but it is still worht playing if you seek an unique game with an enjoyable board-game gameplay and interesting story.
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
14.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 10
I really like the concept of this game and wanted to love it, but unfortunately I do think that it gets way too repetitive. At first it's pretty exciting to work to get beads to advance your goals and watch your family change, but I hit a point where I'd seen a lot of the stories you can get multiple times, and once you hit that point the game starts to feel pretty unexciting, which exposes how repetative the gameplay really is. As a board game that lasted a few hours I can see this game being kind of fun, but as a game that lasts around 15 hours, it's easy to get bored of it really quickly.

I think the devs could probably improve the next release of the game enough to make this series worth playing, but for now, although I'm really intrigued by the ideas present in the game, I can't really recommend it. If you really love board game mechanics, family building, and history, consider checking it out on sale, but for everyone else I'm afraid I have to suggest you give it a pass.
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