The Nakatomi Heist – Yippee Ki-Yay board game review, now in tabletop form! – GAMING TREND

die hard stands for action and is widely considered a classic, with the property found in nearly every medium available, from the original novel to an arcade classic and multiple console releases. But the question here is: how die hard translate into board game decor? The answer is surprisingly good.

Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game one player takes on the role of John McClane, with a set of mandatory tasks to complete straight from the movie, while 1-3 other players take on the role of thieves – or Hans Gruber’s henchmen – who must work together to take shoot John McClane or break into a safe before McClane defeats Gruber.

Unlike McClane, Rogues don’t have any required tasks to complete – except for one at the very end of Act III – but do have optional tasks that speed up the process of safely cracking. But let’s go back and explain the layout of the game.

the die hard The game board is quite unique as it is designed to expand as you progress and features 3 separate boards to explore, one for each act of the game. The three acts of the game closely follow the film and allow the individual to play as John McClane to recreate many of the film’s iconic settings, such as blowing up the elevator shaft, while the thieves work feverishly to crack a safe and win.

The game can be won by the Rogues in any Act, but can only be won by John McClane defeating Hans Gruber at the end of Act III. Overall, the game is stacked against player dweller McClane, as the Rogues almost always have the upper hand – and rightly so, as they did in the film – forcing McClane to chart his own path to victory. Luckily, McClane receives some tips to help even the odds in the final Acts.

Setup is simple: At the start of each act, you have cards that explain both McClane’s goals and those of the thieves. You then place McClane on his starting space and place colored tokens around the board, which will help both McClane and the thieves achieve their goals. Finally, you place the thieves on their respective green spaces. All games are determined by cards, of which McClane has a stack filled with actions that can be taken – and which vary depending on what act the game is in – while the thieves’ cards not only allow them to ‘take actions, but also to work on breaking a safe.

The safe is determined by placing two cards on the board, each bearing four numbers. Thieves will always draw three cards and place them on the board in numerical order, determined by the numbers in the upper left corner of each card. The left and right cards provide thieves with the numbers they are allowed to attempt to break into the safe with, but they can only unlock one number per turn, unless both numbers they have appear adjacently. The middle card determines the actions the thieves can take. Each time the vault is cracked, thieves must then move to a larger vault, eventually having to lay out four vault cards at once for a total of 16 numbers to crack.

Actions for Rogues and McClane involve either moving, shoving, shooting, punching, sneaking, or fetching. When a card says Move, it will provide you with the number of steps you are allowed to progress (Ex: Move 3). During movement, your goal is to reach the tokens on the board and find the items needed to complete your goals. Cards that say Shoot, Punch, or Shove will be followed by a number (Ex: Shoot 4, Punch 3), and to perform that particular action you must roll a dice and land on that number or above. If McClane shoots or kicks a thief, they are removed from the game board. Jostling simply moves the thief one space in the direction of McClane’s choice. If a thief hits or shoots McClane, they place a token on a Blood Drawn card. Enough tokens on this map and thieves receive two free numbers to unlock on their vault. Thieves may forgo using their middle card for a turn in order to bring back a fallen thief. Recover allows McClane to recover a card that was lost due to a thief attack or danger on the board.

All of the other optional objectives for Rogues result in free Vault unlocks and completing these objectives is the surest way to win before McClane can reach the end of Act III. McClane can also lose by running out of cards in his deck, but in my games this has never been an issue. McClane can only move on to the next act by finding the required items and completing the required tasks, after which he can proceed to the objective space on the board. Once he has reached the objective, the board will then be cleared, opened to reveal the next act, and new cards and objective tokens – along with more enemies and obstacles – will be placed on the board .

From the outside, the game looks very complicated and stressful, but looks can be deceiving. die hard plays quickly once the rules are learned and is highly strategic and competitive without being too taxing on those playing. McClane will rush to eliminate enemies and complete objectives, while Rogues will work together to block his path and essentially give him a hard time. It’s really fun.

I don’t want to waste too much time explaining the rules, because they can be found anywhere. The main question in a game review is: is the game fun? And that answer is a resounding yes. Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game is the perfect game for an evening with friends. I’d say the game falls into the middle tier in terms of difficulty, so it’s harder than your average classic board game like index, monopoly, etc but is not so complicated that you will spend all night trying to decipher the rules. I believe any group with about a good two hours should be able to completely finish a game, even for a first playthrough.

The painting and figures are all beautiful, although none are incredibly detailed. Don’t expect minifigs that can be painted, as what you get are color-coded plastic figures with no real details and a board that more than serves its purpose – and contains three acts on a fold-out board – but don’t won’t be overwhelming you with intricate artwork. The cards are a bit more lively, showing scenes and quotes from the film and are made of good card stock, especially the Act objective cards which are thick and well designed to be easily used throughout multiple games without fear of damage. Components may be slightly lacking, but provide what is needed to play the game smoothly.

I admit I had my doubts that Die Hard would translate to a board game setting, but I was quickly proven wrong. Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game is a love letter to the action classic, while delivering a surprisingly well thought out and fun adventure for two to four players. My only complaint is with the generic plastic figures and the somewhat plain game board; while they do their job adequately, I think most people would happily pay more for more detailed components. That said, I highly recommend adding Die Hard to your game night rotation.

—Richard Allen

Richard Allen is a freelance writer and contributing editor to various publications. When he’s not writing for Gaming Trend, you can find him covering theater for Broadway World, film and TV for Fandomize, or working on original stories. It was recently published in Deception: A Writing Bloc Anthology. Passionate about retro games, he is too obsessed with Dragon’s Lair. You can find him online under @richardallenwrites on Facebook and Instagram or under @richallenwrites on Twitter.