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– by Fox Troilo

 

Die Hard: The Nakatomi Board Game Heist by The OP
Price:
~$40.00
Players:
2 to 4
Playtime:
60 to 90 minutes
Perfect for:
Fans of the Die Hard movie who enjoy a one versus many asymmetric game mechanic.

Die Hard: The Nakatomi Board Game Heist is a game that recreates the events of the classic 1988 action-adventure film, starring Bruce Willis. Players either choose to play as John McClane, the hero cop who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, as he attempts to stop the other players (thieves, not terrorists) from breaking into the vault deep in the heart of Nakatomi Plaza.

To begin, Die Hard: The Nakatomi Board Game Heist, one player collects all of the action cards, tokens, and the miniature that represents McClane. The remaining players gather the similar materials related to Hans Gruber and his gang. Both teams choose cards that will dictate their actions during the upcoming turn. For example, McClane has options that include moving, shooting, and shoving—activities that will bring the player closer to achieving specific objectives depending on which act the game is currently in.

RELATED: Tabletop Game Review: Jaws

The thieves have similar actions but while trying to eliminate the cowboy, they are also trying to crack the code that guards the valuables. This is done by selecting cards with numbers that match the digits on a series of randomly drawn cards. Once the thieves have filled up several series of lock cards (by revealing the necessary numbers on their action cards), they win. However, if McClaine can quickly meet the objectives in each act (three in total, representing the general beats of the film), the hero defeats Gruber and is victorious.

What works in Die Hard: The Nakatomi Board Game Heist is the representation of the material. Designers Sean Fletcher and Patrick Marino have a clear love and appreciation for the 1988 film, as the iconography, art, inclusion of quotes/references, and objectives all feel cohesive and clearly embody its cinematic spirit.

While Die Hard: The Nakatomi Board Game Heist generates fun through nostalgia, players may find the balance between the hero and thieves slightly askew. John McClane feels invincible which, in all fairness, would indeed be fitting with the film. In terms of gameplay, however, the villains have two rather disparate ways to win the game and it feels as though players must commit to one or other lest John waltz his way through the objectives. Furthermore, consider that the IP is all about direct conflict, Die Hard the board game feels light on engagement. The fighting can quickly relegate to inconvenient background noise as players focus on movement to accomplish their goals.

Die Hard: The Nakatomi Board Game Heist is great in terms of aesthetic design and adaptation, but the gameplay feels a little disjointed. Fans of the film will certainly find plenty to appreciate, but hardcore tabletop gamers may desire a bit more interaction and balance.

Recommended if you like: Ghostbusters: The Board Game, Jaws

Final Grade: B

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Fox serves as an entertainment journalist in the Washington, D.C. When not covering cinematic news for LRM, he critiques films as a member of the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association. Fox also has a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Strategy from Indiana University Bloomington.