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 (252 reviews)
Release Date: Jun 7, 2013

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$19.99
$6.59
 

Recommended By Curators

"A casual game of dynasties, commingled with choice-based text-based interactive fiction"

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August 18

All Mousechief games, this week, discounted 50%.

The new mousechief dot com website announces our next game, TANK or BOYFRIEND (deep in development). In celebration, we're having a sale!

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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

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
6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 13
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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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
4.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 28
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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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 23
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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4 of 7 people (57%) found this review helpful
44.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 7
Cool game as an app for a phone maybe or while taking a ♥♥♥♥ in a public restroom.

Worth at most, one dollar.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 30
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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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 23
Not the best, no resolution options so your stuck with the standard, Bit slow paced and not much gameplay. Don't buy
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1 of 11 people (9%) found this review helpful
14.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 5
all my children died and then i died..... 10/10 100 out of 100 5 stars
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18.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 24
Here's the thing. You pretty much have to review a game at the full price. That's the value of the game in the eyes of the publisher.

In that case, 7 Grand Steps fails utterly.

Graphics, audio, story, documentation. No aspect or combination is worth the full price.

The game concept and overall execution isn't bad, but suffers from simply pretending to be more than it is. A lack of documentation that serves to feign complexity.

Example: You're given 4 questions with 4 options each. The degree of success determines how well you will do in the new age, while complete failure will outright kill the character. That sounds fair.
However, picking the exact same options on a second playthrough might result in different results. Why? The stats or family of the character? The reputation of the character? Wealth of the character? Any missions undertaken by the character? Pure chance, possibly with a greater chance of success for certain options?

Yeah, good luck figuring it out, because the game doesn't tell you. Initially that is of little consequence, but it becomes more important as the game proceeds through the ages.

Overall, not recommended. Perhaps on a 90% sale, if you can handle the frustration.
Look at earlier Mousechief games, that have a good deal more to offer.
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16 of 18 people (89%) found this review helpful
12.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 18
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.
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15 of 20 people (75%) found this review helpful
3.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 18
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.
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11 of 13 people (85%) found this review helpful
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 22
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.
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9 of 11 people (82%) found this review helpful
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 4
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.
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6 of 8 people (75%) found this review helpful
13.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 21
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.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
3.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 28
I kind of have mixed feelings about this game. I would give it 5/10. Good, playable, but with serious drawbacks.

Upsides:
It does give you a strangely epic feeling - you do feel like a part of history itself, looking at stories of families not at the level of each individual, but ultimately, for the entire family bloodline, as a whole. I would say that this epicness is the most unusual part about this game, which no other games I've ever played offers.
The graphics and music is also not bad for a game of its size.

Downsides:
The biggest problem is the disconnect between player's choices and their consequences, and the lack of any coherent logic as to how and why to make decisions. For example, when your family is facing a crisis of the age, you are given 4 questions, each with 4 choices - and after you choose all 4 answers, you kind of get a "score" on how you did. But there is absolutely no prompts as to why one answer may or may not be correct - and the worst answer kills your character outright, and the previous 2-3 hours of your gameplay is wasted. What the hell?! This happens in other places too...

To make this even worse, there's no SAVE functionality in this game - just Pause/Continue. I understand that history cannot be rewinded, and that decisions are decisions. It makes sense, but this is a game, for people to play. It is not meant to punish the player harshly. If the character you control dies, you lose your previous 2-3 hours of progress; If all you characters of the current generation dies, you are dead. Your game progress is completely erased. What the hell?!

Overall, I like this game for what it's good for, but I hate it for what it's bad for. I'm not playing it again.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 11
Why the f*ck did I buy this piece of sh^t?
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
12.9 hrs on record
Posted: September 23
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...
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
21.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 10
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.
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5 of 9 people (56%) found this review helpful
4.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 14
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.
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
4.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 18
In short. Not at all.

Boring. Completely and totally boring.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
5.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 2
If the title wasn’t a glaring red flag for you, here’s a tip: this game is really ♥♥♥♥ing weird. There is not a single part of the entire process of playing this game that is not unusual in one way or another. Reading through the story creates a great sense of unease which would normally be obtained by talking to a cult member, or perhaps a diehard conspiracy theorist. The game also requires you to click and drag a coin into a slot to do pretty much anything. I only wish I had found the “Quit” slot sooner.
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