Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
Mousechief’s 7 Grand Steps is an intricate mix of strategy board game and family management simulation – with the look of an antique coin-op fortune-telling machine – that tasks players with guiding a family, generation by generation, through 5000 years of human history. That family will contain farmers, doctors, empresses, and priests, all of whom fall in love, have children, make friends, and fight with their siblings. And all of them will die – by starvation, war, or pestilence. During the Sack of Rome, marauding Goths slaughtered Faustine, our most successful family member, at the height of her power in the Imperial Senate.
All of the game’s action is governed by tokens. They allow players to move along the circular game board in search of beads, but they’re also used to educate any children the family has. Beads allow families to climb the social ladder, but better-educated children are more likely to make friends and find mates when they come of age. Sibling rivalry adds another wrinkle: Pay too much attention to one child and his resentful brother may sabotage him later. The trick is to use your tokens as efficiently as possible, while keeping some in store for the children’s inheritance. 7 Grand Steps is full of these interlocking mechanics, and its design is undoubtedly complex. It’s also elegant, cohesive, and finely tuned.
A byproduct of that complexity is that 7 Grand Steps can’t be "gamed" or manipulated to achieve a certain outcome. Mistakes are often easy to recognize in hindsight but impossible to foresee. As a result, the story always feels player-driven and dynamic, lending each decision more narrative weight than the game's rudimentary aesthetics might suggest. Still, there are times when the design squirrels away too much information: Failure seems unfair when it's unclear what went wrong.
The game’s penny-arcade sensibilities give the game a slot-machine-like rhythm – tokens go in, the game board whirrs and cranks, and something exciting happens. Those tokens also illustrate Mousechief’s larger goal, though: 7 Grand Steps is about money, how and why it’s spent, and how it can topple empires or elevate individuals to greatness
The bottom line. A rare treat, 7 Grand Steps is an ambitious and daring strategy game that balances its epic scope with a humble narrative about family ties.
Mac OS X 10.5.8, 1 Ghz Processor, 1GB RAM
Player decisions drive a grandiose story. Game mechanics are complex and rewarding.
Failure can sometimes feel arbitrary or out of players’ hands.