There are lots of resource management games. The plot is usually easy, you have scarce resources so you try, turn by turn, to make your village survive. In these games, players play the good hard-working trustful role of an omnipresent major. You play the hero. But what if besides resources you had to manage… people’s sacrifices? What if you were the bad guy? Who would you choose to punish?
The Sacrifice gameplay is pretty easy to understand: you have 5 families to be assigned 3 tasks, to forage, to build and to evangelize. Three of the families show expertise in one specific task and the other two will have generic skills. So the game makes this decision for you and you just have to decide the tasks for the other two families depending on food, shelter and happiness levels. Usual stuff.
However, by the end of the season, you will have to sacrifice one person to the unknown town’s gods. No choice nor way to avoid it: just sacrifice someone to gods to go on. You have to choose between 5 proposed people, one per family, in order to keep gods happy (you never know who these gods are or why the sacrifices are needed).
A short description of them will help you to choose: a person who is weak but make everyone happy? A person who is questioning the sacrifices but works hard? Or maybe a weak woman with a very young child? Just like that, one brief description to decide over life and death. You will have to balance sacrifices among families and every decision will affect happiness and the secrecy levels of your violent cult.
It’s easy to fail and to lose, as you will notice it is quite difficult to sacrifice people and keep them happy at the same time. Soon you will find yourself concluding that everything would go better if sacrifices could be stopped. Especially when there is no logical reason to understand why sacrifices are needed. But, if people were not scared about the randomness of their deaths, why would they follow your lead?
This original reflexion about power and fear, by team Foxboard, was developed to compete in one of Ludum Dare‘s challenges. The website proposes every now and then a plot to be outlined in the form of a video game. Community members to upload their games in a sort of a continuous Game Jam that has been alive since 2002.
You can download The Sacrifice for free from Foxboard’s website. Or you can also take a look to the gameplay in the video below.