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 (416 reviews) - 59% of the 416 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Jun 7, 2013

Sign in to add this item to your wishlist, follow it, or mark it as not interested

Buy 7 Grand Steps

LUNAR NEW YEAR SALE! Offer ends February 12

-50%
$19.99
$9.99
 

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 16 people (94%) found this review helpful
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 21, 2015
7 Grand Steps is weird. I don't really have a better way to describe it, because it aims to be a life simulator in the strangest way possible. You guide the lives of a family through many generations of early human history, raising them up through the ranks of society from farmers to rulers. The way you do this is by feeding tokens into a fancy machine that moves your little people along an ever-turning wheel. The wheel turns counter-clockwise towards the crocodiles (representing death in the fine Egyptian tradition) every turn, and spending a token on your character moves them ahead to the next instance of that symbol on the wheel. You can also have your characters make new tokens, which keeps them stationary or moves them backwards depending on the proximity of other pieces, so you have to balance spending and making tokens. There are other characters on the wheel representing neighbors and acquaintances, and they have their own agendas as well.

You also produce children who become your new characters when the current ones die, and you can spend tokens on them to train them for life. The token system is a very clever representation of wealth and resources. Trying to balance their uses gets really tricky, especially when you get the chance to move to a higher ring on the wheel (representing higher society) and have to start collecting and using different tokens. As you move you also collect counters towards a life goal, which has dramatic effects on the wheel like changing token symbols or opening up new rings. There's quite a bit of storytelling to it as well, with some Crusader Kings-style choices to make about your family. Additional gameplay systems come into play as you ascend through society as well, such as ruling over others, and the game purports to have 15 hours worth of content. I didn't get that far because honestly this doesn't feel like my kind of game, but it's unique and worth trying to see if it's the kind of thing that clicks with you.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
13 of 17 people (76%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 4, 2015
I have no idea what this is actually supposed to be. It's sort of a board game, sort of a strategy game, and sort of a roleplaying game and exists as something entirely its own thing.

Normally I'd call that a plus, but as you might have guessed by the gratuitously pretentious title, it's a game much more full of itself than it is actually well-designed. Playing as a family, you use tokens to move forward on a board that's constantly rotating towards a pit of crocodiles which represent failure to thrive. As you play, you might produce children, and one of those children moves on to be your next player character and start a new generation eventually. Choices you make, like neglecting one of your offspring, might affect you down the line.

Pretty cool in concept, but everything is just so slow and boring that it lost me. I remained curious and entranced despite the repetition for a while, wanting to know where this was all going, but eventually I realized just how much time I was wasting clicking on tokens again and again. Every actual in-game action is so far removed from the overall story it's trying to tell that it requires you to bring your own personal narrative to things just to make it interesting. Coupled with a really self-satisfied writing style and a way of trying to sound philosophical without saying much, and my goodwill quickly faded away entirely.

This was a bundle game for me, but I'm still not interested in playing any longer. That it sells for $20 normally is insane. Some people might find something of interest here in the unique concept - I do recommend giving it a try if it makes its way to your library via bundle - but everything it was trying to do just didn't work for me.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
20.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 25, 2015
Towards the end of the Copper Age, things were finally looking up for my family. After many years of being bottom dwellers in the social caste system my family discovered the "alphabet" and the art of being a "physician". This thrust us into the upper middleclass, and my only daughter, Senet, became the best child this family had ever seen. She was above the other children in the village with an absolute understanding of science and literature. When Senet left to discover herself she took a sizable inheritence with her.

But as this game will teach you..life can be cruel even to those more fortunate.

After watching all the other neighbors get married and start families, Senet was left alone to focus on her career. And about midlife, still with no suitor or successors, Senet decided to pay a matchmaker in the town to find a worthy husband. What she got a was drunk who stole from her and gave her three rotten children who weren't good at anything but lying and stealing, constantly bickering with each other. Now towards the end of her life, and the families fortune all but squandered the children were fighting over the meager inheritence they would get. War had broken out in the surrounding lands and many people were flocking to the city Senet and her family lived in, bringing with them disease and poverty. This disease ultimately spelled the end for Senet and her family, as they were now too poor to move away or pay for medicine. The plague took all of them, and in retrospect it was probably for the best that the family line did not continue at this point.

I really enjoyed this game and plan on doing another run through soon. I read a lot of negative talk about this game being repetitive and that can get boring. Is this game repetitive? Sure it is. But so is Monopoly and other boardgames. Stick with it long enough, though, and things become interesting. I enjoyed the concept of this game and watching a family trying to struggle in one generation and succeed in another.

*To the developers: just a fun little thing to add at the end of the game would be a family tree of sorts. Showing all the paths you took and how they ended.

There are some grammatical errors in the game and I have no idea how they determine the outcome of some of the story choices. I would also like a little more coherence with the character designs, especially from age to age. Overall, though, a fun and relaxing game.

P.s. I paid a couple dollars for this in a bundle pack. $20 is way too much when compared with what else you could get for that price tag. Wait until on sale for less that $5.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 22
Very interesting and original board game...

Pros:
+ Original concept
+ Clever mechanics
+ Many things to discover
+ Fun

Cons:
- Solving "wtf is that?" is a somewhat long process
- Price tag is absurd

Final verdict:
An original, fun board game to kill some time (*cough* if you grab it on discount *cough*).
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 18, 2015
Enjoyable, but the price tag is out of the park for what amounts to a clever boardgame
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny