Who Will Build the Most Prestigious Family in Ancestree? | Casual Game Revolution

Who Will Build the Most Prestigious Family in Ancestree?


In Ancestree, players are building their family tree, one ancestor at a time, tile by tile, in hopes of having the most glorious family of all.

Form marriages, discover new children, and draft wealthy ancestors, in order to have a family that beats them all.


All the ancestor tiles are shuffled and placed face down in a large pile. There are four features a tile can have. One is the heritage feature which will say which of the five color-coded lineages it belongs to. Next are half leaves. Connecting one tile’s half leaf to another in your family tree represents children and parents. Some tiles will not have a half leaf along their bottom to connect to descendants, while others may have one or even two half leaves. If a tile has half a heart on it, this tile can be added to your family tree by connecting it to another tile's heart, representing a marriage. Finally, a tile can show one or more coins to indicate the wealth that person brought to your family.

The game takes place over three rounds. At the beginning of each round, all players draw six facedown ancestor tiles from the pile. Everyone will then choose one tile from their hand and pass the remaining to the player on their left or right (depending on the round), and everyone simultaneously reveals their ancestor tile and adds it to their tree, either connecting it by heart or by leaf. Once a tile is added it cannot be moved. Players then continue selecting and passing tiles until each hand only has one tile remaining, which is then discarded. The round is now over.

At the end of each round, players earn one point for each coin that appears in their family tree. Each player also compares each lineage with the players on their left and right. The goal is to have the longest, connected vertical line (or generations) of tiles that belong to the same lineage. You earn a token for each neighboring player you beat in each lineage. These tokens are each worth one point if won during the first round, two points if it’s round two, and three points during the final round. At the end of round three, players also earn points for how many marriages they have in their family. The player with the most points then wins the game.

Ancestree Components


Ancestree has a clever theme that works well with the mechanics and the tile-laying aspect of the game. The fact that you compare lineages to the players on either side of you helps to limit the number of players you have to keep track of and ensures that decision making runs smoother. It’s also a neat element that while you might lose a lineage to one neighbor, you can still earn a point for beating the other.

There are lots of things to consider when drafting each tile. Of course, you consider lineage or how many coins the tile will bring to your family tree, but you also have to consider how the family will grow out from there. Does it have half a heart for marriage or leaves for descendants? So you need to keep an eye to points but also for room to continue to grow.

There is some opportunity lost in the artwork. The illustrations are nice, but pictures are repeated, and it does feel like it would have been more enjoyable to be connecting known figures from history, given that the theme is about family trees and creating a unique and great lineage. This also would have helped players feel more attached to their individual families.

The game also definitely has a sweet spot in player count of about four, as well as taking up a lot of table space, so you need the right setting to properly enjoy it.

If you enjoy drafting games, Ancestree does drafting well, offering plenty of options and an unusual theme. The scoring system is fun and clever, and it’s enjoyable to see the family tree you’ve built by the end of the game.

Pros: Scoring system works well, unique theme that works nicely with mechanics, good choices each draft

Cons: Would have been more fun if the game featured historical figures, takes up a lot of space, better at certain player counts

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.