When I was a child I pushed to search my lineage. I have always been curious as to who was in my family. Many questions have been answered but many questions still remain.

Luckily my aunt Toni, who I am really grateful to for giving me so much information over the years, on my mother’s side of the family & my late great-aunt Juanita on my father’s side did genealogy.

If you want to have fun making up a fictional family tree then follow along because the wait is almost over for a little family fun. Coming soon to the board game world will be Ancestree from Calliope Games.

Ancestree is a game for two to six players, ages eight years to adult, & may take about thirty minutes to play. Ancestree was designed by world-class game designer Eric M. Lang. It was designed for the special Titan series that Calliope Games ran on Kickstarter a few years ago.

Ancestree is a tile-placement where players will draft tiles to create their very own, special family tree. There are only three rounds in the game so decision making is essential.

At the beginning of a game of Ancestree, each player will receive a scoring mat. This mat will have three rows representing each round & spaces in each round that will represent each each group of ancestor.


At the beginning of each round players will take six Ancestor tiles, which are face-down in a pile, & choose one. After choosing a tile all players will flip their Ancestor tile face-up & place it in front of them. After all players have finished placing their Ancestor they will then pass the remaining tiles in their hand to their opponent on the left.

The second tile they place will have to connect to the first tile in the form of one of the leaves on the tile, which are light or dark green. They may also connect to another tile by connecting half heart to half heart to form a marriage.


As you can see in the sample above, I have a European ancestor married to an Asian ancestor, who in turn is married to a Mesoamerican ancestor. The leaves are the children that these ancestors have had.

The round ends when each player has discovered five ancestors. The sixth tile will be discarded. Once the fifth Ancestor tile is placed scoring for that round begins.

Players will look at the tiles they placed & figure out how many current generations they have of each group of ancestors. They will compete for points against their opponent on their left & right.  Players will earn points equal to the round for each opponent they defeat in each of the six categories or ancestors. Players will also count up each gold coin, if there is one, on each of their Ancestor tiles. They will gain a coin for each one they have.

Scoring like this continues through the end of the third round. At the end of scoring the third round, players will score for how many marriages they have. Players will then add all of their round points, gold coins, & the points from marriages together. The player with the most points wins the game & of course has the greatest family tree ever.

Calliope’s first big showing of Ancestree was at Origins Game Fair this year. I didn’t get to attend this year but understand they peeked some interest.

But I didn’t miss Calliope at Dice Tower Con. I sat down & talked to Bill Fogarty of Calliope Games. We quickly discussed Ancestree. Bill showed me how to play several Calliope Games during the convention.

Ancestree is an easy to learn tile-placement game with a drafting mechanic. There isn’t really one right way to “discover” who is in your family tree. You can even have a long line of marriages. A player in one of the games I was in had seven people married to each other.

I’m sure that Calliope Games will be previewing Ancestree at GenCon. If you get a chance stop by & play.

Finished Family Tree

I can say that Ancestree is going to be a really fun game to get & play. Artwork is done by Larry Elmore & Adelheid Zimmerman. And I’ll tell you that the art is fun & quirky. Ancestree is one game I can definitely recommend for family game night.

If I understand correctly Ancestree will be available sometime in September. MSRP looks like it will either be $30 to $35. A great price for an awesome family friendly game.

Find out who is in your family tree & game on!

-Christopher Richter

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