Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game is a fun "one versus all" board game that rewards smart early decisions and efficient moves by both players. The new game, published by The OP (formerly USAopoly), is a recreation of the original Die Hard movie, with one player assuming the role of John McClane, and all other players playing as Hans Gruber's team of thieves. Each side has different goals that play out over three Acts, which take place on a board that folds out and expands over the course of the game. As the game plays out, both sides will feel pressure either as they struggle to play the cards they need or as they feel the clock ticking down as their opponent slowly gains the advantage.
Really, Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game is two games in one, since the two sides have totally different strategies and styles of play. The player acting as John McClane is mostly concerned with completing the Act's objective while managing their Action Deck. At the start of the game, the McClane player draws a hand of five cards, which are then played one card at a time. When the player is down to two cards in their hand, they discard both and then restock their hand. Played cards are reshuffled into the Action Deck at the start of the next Act and gain additional abilities, but discarded cards are lost forever. Should the player ever run out of cards in their Action Deck, McClane dies and the thieves automatically win. McClane wins if they can progress through the act and ultimately push Hans Gruber off the building to his death.
Meanwhile, the thieves have to hinder McClane while dealing with the series of locks that protect the vault containing $640 million, which are represented by cards with a random sequence of four numbers. The team of thieves silently play three cards with different initiative numbers on them. The high and low initiative cards are used to break the lock, while the middle initiative card determines what actions the thieves can take. Players can use either the low or high initiative to clear a number from the lock...unless the low and high numbers are located next to each other on the lock sequence.
The thieves can't consult when they play their cards, so the key is trying to predict what their fellow players will do (in 3-4 player games) or by trying to predict which card they pulled from the deck and placed face down in front of them. Thieves can also clear the locks by completing their objectives, which include shooting or punching McClane. Every time McClane gets injured, the McClane player also discards cards from their Action Deck, which can hasten the end of the game.
What I loved about Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game is how the game recreates the more memorable moments from the game. Objectives range from shooting out glass to tossing thieves out of windows to alert the police that something is amiss to swinging on a fire hose to reach Hans Gruber. It's clear that the designers watched Die Hard a billion times, as every card, objective, and game mechanic were directly inspired by something from the movie.
The only real issue with the game is that players have to constantly adapt to new objectives in each Act. With the exception of the thieves' goal of shooting John McClane until he dies, each Act has totally different objectives, which really makes this three different games in one. Players will need to quickly formulate a strategy at the start of each round or else they'll waste valuable moves that will bite them later in the game.
Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game is a perfect entry-level game for those looking to dive into more complex board games. There's a lot of moving parts, but the game is still easy enough to pick up after just a round or two of play. Playing as the thieves or John McClane offer new ways to play, as does adding or subtracting the number of players in the game. This is a versatile and fun game that will appeal to both hardcore players or lovers of the Die Hard franchise. You can grab it on Amazon now.
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