“Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs...”
Let's set the scene. Its Christmas time in Los Angeles. NYPD officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) has travelled to Nakatomi Plaza to repair his rocky relationship with his current wife Holly at her work Christmas party. An attempt which is interrupted by the versatile Hans Gruber (played by the late Alan Rickman) and his plans to steal the gold stored in the vault inside the building.
This is where you come in, as a group of 2-4, players will take their roles in a 1 VS many game where one person plays the role of John McClane whilst the other players co-operatively work together to try to either kill John or break into the vault and steal the gold.
Peaked your interest?…
“Welcome to the party pal"
As mentioned previously one player takes the role of ladies man John McClane in an attempt to survive each round by completing the pre-set objectives in order to advance to the next level until eventually meeting in an action filled finale with Hans, causing him to fall through the window and ultimately thwarting the robbery.
The player taking the role of John will have their own deck of cards they will have to manage carefully for each round, this is uniquely important in this game as the player will only be able to carry cards they have already played and now make up their discard pile into the later rounds and all other cards will be discarded from the game permanently. This presents a rare challenge of having to balance between playing your strongest cards early, or keeping hold of them with the possible result having to discard your strongest cards from your hand for the remainder of the game.
John will be given a number of objectives he must complete at the start of each round that are very thematic to the film such as: to kill one of the terrorists and throw them out of one of the windows on the game board, to alert Officer Powell down below, or to obtain a machine gun… “Ho Ho Ho… now I have a machine gun”.
On the other side, the players taking the roles of the bank robbers have a number of objectives each round also, and one objective that carries through every round of the entire game - to crack the vault code and steal the gold, if they manage to do this then the game immediately ends.
The individual round objectives for the thieves are focused on stopping McClane from achieving his goals or, to slow him down buying themselves more time to unlock the vault. This is done much the same as the person playing John, by use of clever hand management tactics and card drafting. Each of the cards has multiple possible actions however, only a limited number can be taken per player per turn.
Amongst the objective driven game there are also gun battles, fist fights and more one liners than you can wish to see in a 90’s action flick, which is exactly what this game feels like
“Nine Million terrorists in the world and I gotta kill one with feet smaller than my sister”
Artwork & Theme
There are many cases where games can be successful without having the best artwork or thematic gameplay, fortunately this is the case with Die Hard The Nakatomi Heist board game. What it lacks in surface beauty it more than makes up for in movie flashback moments, fun one liners and a deeply engrossing game that by the end feels like you have truly played through the first film.
For most people the attraction to this game will likely be a personal connection or love of the film franchise, which is what got me to part with my own hard earned money! However, if you don't have that emotional connection to the theme, then I think this is a game that may be best skipped, play a friends copy or at a game cafe due to its lack of table appeal and without the versatility of other popular games, which is something that is common with most OP games. It is a real shame that it appears as though Usaopoly didn’t have the official rights to the art work from the first film and I know for me that was a big put off before I bought it as everything looked so generic that it felt cheap… a feeling that was long gone after my first play through and Usaopoly deserve a lot of credit for this.
The designers ability to craft a game that closely follows the story of the first film throughout, manages to engross the players providing choices that feel meaningful and to create a balanced game, all whilst never losing the core of the theme is what makes this game worth picking up if you’re a fan of the films. Even if you’re not the biggest Die Hard fan, its worth a play although that may not be enough to convince you to part with your cash on this one.
Worth a buy, avoid or wait for a sale?
This is always a difficult question to answer and one that is usually very personal to you as an individual. But as this is my opinion, for myself a Die Hard fan since I was a young child, this game was worth every penny even if it becomes a one time play through and to glance at as I walk by my display reminding me of the many great Die Hard memories.
In my opinion the retail price is a little high if you’re not a fan, but still not completely unreasonable to pay for a really well designed game, but if you can get it cheaper, such as on Zatu right now, then its a fairly priced game that provides some good laughs and at least a couple of hours of enjoyment, still cheaper than going to the movies!
If the theme isn’t something you’re necessarily in to then you could easily skip this however, I still feel as far as 1 VS many type games go, this is one of if not THE best I have played so far. Die Hard Nakatomi Heist is a well balanced, enjoyable experience. The question is probably more appropriate depending on your bank balance and that might ultimately be your decider if the theme alone doesn’t make this a must buy for you
To summarise, I always ask myself for a game to be worth buying, if I ignore everything else, did I have fun when I played it? And do I want to play it again? If both those are a yes then its worth my time and money invested into it. My experience of Die Hard Nakatomi Heist left me with no doubt and easy answers, both were definitely a YES!
That's all for now, Yippee-Ki-Aye!