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A'Writhe

Spread corruption throughout Arkham with the help of your cultist, your hands, and your feet, in order to unleash a Great Old One on the world at large!

A'Writhe has players using their hands and feet to reach various spaces on the playing field, while their teammates advise them where to move in an effort to complete requirements on cards. The gameplay is a little similar to a certain classic party game, but puts its own Lovecraftian twist on the rules.

Gameplay

A'Writhe is played in teams of two. Whether playing with four or six players, you play with either sixteen mats placed in a four-by-four grid on the floor, or twenty placed in a five-by-four grid. Each mat represents a location in Arkham city, and each mat has a color and a symbol on it. All mats in one column have a matching color and all mats in a row have a matching symbol.

On each team, one player is the Great Old One and one player is their cultist trying to bring them into the world. Each Great Old One player chooses an indentity card, which comes with a unique special ability. Meanwhile, each cultist starts the game with a sigil card. The goal is to be the first team to complete three sigil cards. To complete a sigil card, five locations (or seven in a six player game) in a pattern shown on the card must be corrupted. A location is corrupted when a Great Old One has his foot or hand on that location. The cultist can rotate the card and orientate it how they like, aligning it to any of Arkham’s borders, in order to correctly form the required pattern as shown on the card. To complete a sigil card, the players corrupting the locations do not have to be your team member (there are more locations required to be corrupted than your teammate has feet and hands). The cultist can rotate the card and orientate it how they like, aligning it to any of Arkham’s borders, in order to correctly form the required pattern as shown on the card.

Players can either play chaotic mode, in which case everyone takes turns simultaneously, or play ritual mode. In ritual mode, teams take turns. All turns last ten seconds or the team loses their turn. On your team’s turn, the cultist suggests a move to the Great Old One player. The Great Old One player than moves a foot or hand to any unoccupied space (it doesn’t have to be the one the cultist named, but then again, the cultist is the only one of you two who knows what is on the sigil card). When the sigil card is completed, the cultist announces it, the other team confirms it, and then the cultist draws a new one. The sigil cards are double sided and when one team completes a card, the other cultists can choose to flip their own sigil cards over and use the other side (but they cannot look at what the other side is before deciding).

If a Great Old One player slips and loses their balance, or touches a part of Arkham they are not supposed to be currently touching, this player is considered fallen and switches roles with the player who is currently the cultist on the team, and their sigil card is flipped over to use the other side.

A'Writhe Components

Review

A'Writhe is a thematic twist on a classic game, while bringing some new mechanics to the table (or more accurately: to the floor). It’s ridiculous, it’s silly, but it can be a whole lot of fun. The team aspect is a solid addition and the gameplay, and the game is fast so you can easily switch off roles if you wish.

The Great Old One special abilities are varied and enjoyable. They include things such as Cthulhu being able to also use his head to corrupt a location in addition to his hands and feet or Rhan-Tegoth being able to let his cultist switch sigil cards with an opponent if the opposing cultist did not address her own Great Old One honorifically.

Chaos mode is likely to get quite chaotic indeed with everyone taking their turns as they choose, which can add an extra level of silliness to the gameplay. But there’s plenty of humor in ritual mode as well. The game doesn’t take itself very seriously.

The Twister­­-like mechanics aren’t for everyone and if your group is uncomfortable or unable to partake in the physical gameplay than there’s really nothing to do but pack it up and pull out something else. However, for people with fond memories of Twister or who enjoy the silliness of it then A'Writhe does a fun job of bringing a theme and team elements to the classic game. There is also no luck involved regarding where players must move next on the board, and there’s even a light bit of strategy as the cultist tries to figure out the best orientation in which to fulfill their sigil card and advise their teammate based on what the other team does as well.

All of the components are good quality, particularly the mats that are solid, should hold up well, and are lovely bright colors. The box is rather heavy however, which does make it a little less portable — not ideal for a party game.

A'Writhe can be a lot of fun. It’s a clever blend of mechanics and theme. It won’t be for every group, but it is nice to have a party game that gets you moving. If you like Twister, A'Writhe is a solid upgrade.

Pros: Flexibility in sigil card orientation, team party game, character abilities

Cons: Some people will be either uncomfortable or unable to enjoy the physical gameplay, in the box the game is rather heavy

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