From Latin, sacrificium, i.e., something made sacred.

The primary meaning of the word comes from the practice of just about all theistic religions in which humans would seek favors from a deity by giving it a gift.

This, however, presented a problem: How do you give something to a deity that does not live in the physical world? The problem grows even bigger in monotheistic religions based on the belief there is one God who created everything and owns everything anyway.

The problem is solved by giving something up rather than giving it away. Historically, people did this by taking the best of what they had, for example, the best animal of their herd, or even the best member of the human society, and killing it/him/her on an altar. This practice seems cruel to us today but we really cannot and should not judge the practices of past cultures by our modern standards. To them, it was a very holy act.

The practice of giving something up for religious or spiritual reasons is still common today, though generally it does not involve ritual killing anymore. An example of such a practice would be fasting, i.e., giving up a meal. This is often done at a specific time. For example, for centuries the Catholics used to give up eating meat on Fridays (many still do). Or, they (and other Christians) may give up smoking, or swearing, or candy, during Lent.

The word sacrifice has extended its meaning outside the realm of religion to giving up something for a greater cause. This is perhaps the main meaning of the word sacrifice today: For example, a soldier who dies defending his country is said to have sacrificed his life for his country. Or parents may sacrifice their career for their children when they quit a prestigious or well paying position and get a less prestigious or less paying job which leaves them with more time (or better quality time) to spend with their children.

Sacrifice is a game which seems to be the going trend in RTS games. It's made by Shiny Entertainment, and is out now.

Unlike most current RTS games, in which the player has to manage a large and complicated set of resource gatherers, and develop an intricate tech tree, all from the POV of an omniscient observer, Sacrifice puts the player onto the game map, as a wizard serving one of the five Gods. The simplified tech tree develops as the wizard gains experience points by casting spells, and killing enemies. The only resource in the game is the soul, which is used by the wizards to summon minions. As the wizard becomes able to summon more powerful creatures, those creatures may take two, three or possibly four souls to summon. These creatures are usually able to account for several of their single-souled brethren, however.
To collect more souls, one must kill enemy creatures, and keep their controlling wizard from recovering the souls before you can convert them. There are two types of souls. Blue souls are collectable simply by the wizard moving near them. When your own creatures fall in battle, they produce blue souls which can be collected and recycled. Enemy creatures produce red souls, which means they have a belief system too foreign for you to use directly. You can convert them by casting the convert spell. This summons a Sacrifice-Doctor, who will take the fallen enemy back to your altar and perform a purification ritual. Once this ritual is complete, the soul becomes immediately available for your use. Because souls are so vitally important to the game, you may have to kill the enemy wizard before killing his forces. A discorporate wizard cannot collect souls, nor cast spells.

Each wizard has an altar to serve as their home base, and a direct link to their patron god. So long as a wizard's altar stands, they cannot be permanently killed. A dead wizard can reincarnate by standing next to a mana fountain or their altar until their health is full, and they've recovered a quarter of their maximum mana. To banish an opponent, and win the map, one must desecrate the enemy altar. During a desecration, one of your own creatures must be sacrificed to the effort, and sac-doctors will perform a ritual. During this ritual, the altar's wizard will take magical damage. If the wizard is slain during a desecration, then they are permanently banished.

Any wizard standing near an unclaimed mana fountain will recover mana and health automatically. A wizard can claim a mana fountain by casting a manalith on it. Manaliths prevent any opposing forces from drawing from a mana fountain. At higher levels, mana fountains can be converted into shrines, which becomes useful because sac-doctors need only take souls to a shrine to convert them. This may prevent a cross-map run by the sac-doctor. The other useful feature of manaliths is that they may have a spell called guardian cast. Guardian binds one of your creatures to the manalith, and receives increased stats, and regeneration for it. Also, the manalith cannot be destroyed until all guardians are slain. The downside is that it may not stray far from the manalith. Any number of creatures may be attached to a manalith.

Combat is simple, with a paper-rock-scissors approach, (or Fire-Water-Groo if you're a Zork fan). Flying creatures counter melee troops, melee troops counter ranged attackers, ranged attackers counter flyers. Some of the higher-level creatures don't fit so neatly into these categories. Also, the wizard can directly effect the battle by casting either direct damage spells, or healing magic, in addition to spells that summon walls, freeze enemies in place or similar effects. Most creatures have some special ability that recommends them over similar troops of a different god.

Sacrifice has five gods, Persephone, James, Stratos, Pyro, and Charnel. Persephone is the goddess of life, James resembles Earthworm Jim, who seems to have been deified after defeating Queen Slug-for-a-butt, and controls rock and earth. Stratos commands the air, Pyro is a fire god, and Charnel is the god of death and strife. Each god has a distinct personality, and their units and speeches in the single player campaign reflect this.

Sacrifice can be played as a multi-player battle, much like Warcraft, or Starcraft, in which each player starts with a given number of souls and must exterminate his or her opponents with the resources available. In this variant, the player chooses a god, and uses only that god's spells, with more becoming available as the wizard gains experience. It also has an intricate single-player campaign in which the player may choose which god to perform missions for. This means that deep within the campaign your wizard may have a hodgepodge of spells from this god or that. Every choice you make has a consequence, and by making one god happy, you earn the ire of one or more others. Eventually, the gods you have disdained will no longer allow you to work for them.

Shiny was good enough to include Scapex, the level editing tool for Sacrifice. It seems powerful, and has useful triggers, much the same as the Starcraft Campaign Editor.

All in all, Shiny Entertainment has produced another excellent game, one which will become a benchmark against which other games of this genre are compared..

Sacrifice is proof that people are ruled by ideas. That they put concepts and notions and the continuation of society above their own lives, whether because they're dedicated to a cause or simply to weak to stand up for themselves on a point of contention with their fellows.

Who cares to sacrifice, and why do they do it? People who believe in something, maybe because it's easier to believe in than nothing, or easier to believe in than themselves. The great irony of sacrifice is that it seems more often offered as atonement for past sins or a pledge of dependency than because it is truly required.

If you think you're a better person because you sacrifice, forget it. You do what you do because YOU want to, even when you think not. Because you have made a choice to select that path instead of another. Why live in illusion?

In baseball or softball type games a sacrifice is when there is a runner on second or third base and the batter hits a ball in the air. A fielder catches the ball and the runner at 2nd or 3rd base tags up and gets to the next base without getting out. Also known as a sacrifice fly.

The Altar

I desperately stepped into one of two altars
Of a thick dark bosquet
That steals the sky’s bright stars:
Riches that none else will inherit.

A goblet rested on the stone,
Glimmering mysteriously in the dark.
It stood solemn—alone—
In the sea of void, it was a shark.

I approached gingerly
As if it may strike violently,
Then as I tried to stop,
My hand flew to collect the bright crop.

My hand held its neck between its fingers
And cupped it like a skull.
In midair their movement became null;
Petrified, like one caught committing murders.

I thus held my Lady’s head
And surveyed the goblet’s content:
Her eyes of stone, her hair of lead;
Her life that to my hand she had leant.

Then, as if the grail had motive,
Its lips neared mine.
And I too edged towards its rim’s line
As if it were my fuel to live.

Her blood—her existential nectar—
Spilt on the unappreciative floor
Before she kissed my facial moor
And did my clay spirit stir.

I drank her bloody kiss;
Received the deep red life of the grail:
She filled me with the bliss
That she had drawn with a nail.

And as the oral bridge was consumed slowly,
The goblet faded into the darkness
Before glowing again from the abyss
By the divine love that now shone from me.

Sac"ri*fice [OE. sacrifise, sacrifice, F. sacrifice, fr. L. sacrificium; sacer sacer + facere to make. See Sacred, and Fact.]


The offering of anything to God, or to a god; consecratory rite.

Great pomp, and sacrifice, and praises loud, To Dagon. Milton.


Anything consecrated and offered to God, or to a divinity; an immolated victin, or an offering of any kind, laid upon an altar, or otherwise presented in the way of religious thanksgiving, atonement, or conciliation.

Moloch, horrid king, besmeared with blood Of human sacrifice. Milton.

My life, if thou preserv's my life, Thy sacrifice shall be. Addison.


Destruction or surrender of anything for the sake of something else; devotion of some desirable object in behalf of a higher object, or to a claim deemed more pressing; hence, also, the thing so devoted or given up; as, the sacrifice of interest to pleasure, or of pleasure to interest.


A sale at a price less than the cost or the actual value.

[Tradesmen's Cant]

Burnt sacrifice. See Burnt offering, under Burnt. -- Sacrifice hit Baseball, in batting, a hit of such a kind that the batter loses his chance of tallying, but enables one or more who are on bases to get home or gain a base.


© Webster 1913.

Sac"ri*fice : cf. F. sacrifier, L. sacrificare; sacer sacred, holy + -ficare (only in comp.) to make. See -fy.]


To make an offering of; to consecrate or present to a divinity by way of expiation or propitiation, or as a token acknowledgment or thanksgiving; to immolate on the altar of God, in order to atone for sin, to procure favor, or to express thankfulness; as, to sacrifice an ox or a sheep.

Oft sacrificing bullock, lamb, or kid. Milton.


Hence, to destroy, surrender, or suffer to be lost, for the sake of obtaining something; to give up in favor of a higher or more imperative object or duty; to devote, with loss or suffering.

Condemned to sacrifice his childish years To babbling ignorance, and to empty fears. Prior.

The Baronet had sacrificed a large sum . . . for the sake of . . . making this boy his heir. G. Eliot.


To destroy; to kill.



To sell at a price less than the cost or the actual value.

[Tradesmen's Cant]


© Webster 1913.

Sac"ri*fice, v. i.

To make offerings to God, or to a deity, of things consumed on the altar; to offer sacrifice.

O teacher, some great mischief hath befallen To that meek man, who well had sacrificed. Milton.


© Webster 1913.

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