Dream Home is, frankly, one of the greatest family games ever made. I mean, you get to draft cards to make… your dream home. That’s a sweet gig! It’s simple enough for young kids to play but interesting enough for adults to enjoy too. The theme is incredibly wholesome, the art is exquisite and looking back on your unique creations is arguably as good as playing the game itself. It’s my daughters absolute favourite game, so when an expansion was released we had to have it. Dream Home: 156 Sunny street is a modular expansion and if you’re a fan of the base game then this is the review for you!
In case you’re putting the cart before the horse and haven’t played the base game yet I’d better recap the basic mechanics. Dream Home is a card drafting game for 2-4 players. Each player has a house board with 2 ground floor room spaces, 5 first floor and 5 second floor room spaces. 12 room spaces means the game lasts exactly 12 rounds. Each round players draft 1 room card and place it on their board to slowly turn their house into a home. Some rooms can be expanded laterally to become more valuable. The clever thing about drafting in Dream Home is that you never just choose a room card. You will always draft a pair of cards, a room and the resource card linked vertically to it on the main board.
Resource cards come in various types. You have tools and helpers which let you break or bend the rules in useful ways. You have decor cards that award you with unique decorations for your home, these are worth endgame points. Finally, you have roof cards in various colours. Because you know what would be crazy? A Dream Home without a roof, that’s what! After 12 rounds everyone will build their roofs from cards they’ve collected and score their creations. Points for roofs, points for rooms, points for decor and finally points for functionality. Functionality is stuff like a bathroom on each floor and all the essential rooms, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, being present. Because even the dreamiest home needs the basics!
Now the fun part, let’s talk about what the expansion adds to the base game. Firstly it expands the player count. It adds a solo mode and components to support 5 and 6 players too. 156… get it? The solo mode is a very simple and straightforward beat your own score type, but it’s nice to have it there. Solo play is something that’s becoming more and more popular and important. I also think some young players will appreciate the opportunity to practice the game on their own.
There are 2 new player boards for the higher player counts as well as a main board extension to support more drafting pairs for up to 6 players. 24 new room cards make this possible too and they’re joined by 24 new resource cards. These resource cards include 2 new roof colour sets and 5 new decorations not least of which is a massive stable! Now it’s a real Dream Home. All these new cards can be used at lower player counts too provided the appropriate base game cards are removed first.
First of the all-new gameplay modules in 156 Sunny Street are the Construction Plans cards. There are 2 types of Construction Plan cards, 3 pointers and 5 pointers. At setup, players will be dealt one card from either deck but you’ll only ever score one of them, the highest value one. So if you complete your 3 point cards AND your 5 point card, at the end of the game you’ll still only score 5 points for Construction Plans. Remember the functionality scoring in the base game? Well, each Plan acts like a unique functionality scoring parameter available to just you. Things like: “Have a 3 card living room on the first floor”, or “Have 2 bedrooms next to a bathroom”.
The second module is called Family and Friends. This consists of 12 cards each showing an assortment of friendly-looking visitors. At setup twice as many of these cards are laid out above the main board. To invite friends to your house you need to have a particular assortment of rooms adjacent and on the same floor. On the turn you achieve this you can immediately draft that friend card and place it next to your home board to score points at games end. You can have a maximum of one friend or family card next to each of your main floors, so a max of 2 per game.
First Time Buyers
For some the fact that the expansion supports up to 6 players will make it an instant buy. For others, this will mean nothing as they’ll never play with that many. The main constituent for those folks then will be the 2 new gameplay modules. For me these two modules, both providing new point scoring objectives, are a worthy addition to this excellent game. By no means complex, they do however add a welcome splash of variety and asymmetry to each game. With everyone aiming to complete secret Construction Plans people are making unexpected choices. This livens up the draft as you attempt to predict your opponent's next move. The family and friends give you something else to aim for which doesn’t hurt the game one bit. But they also afford some extra competition between players racing to complete the highest scoring cards. These modules though modest are excellent and I kind of wish there were 1 or 2 more similar modules to discover in that big ol’ box.
The only thing that left a bad taste in my mouth was that the expansion doesn’t fit in the base game box insert. Meaning two boxes on the shelf for 1 family game, and 156 Sunny Street has a fairly sizeable box. Even though it physically hurt me to do it, I chucked the beautiful base game insert out. That way everything fits handily into the original Dream Home box.
156 Sunny Street is a decent expansion. Not a big expansion, but a solid one. It does all you could ask of it for the player count. The new room and resource cards don’t do anything wildly different. Although there are some fun little novelties to discover in them. I especially enjoy the Construction Plans and Family and Friends modules though. They give just a little bit more depth of strategy and opportunity for scoring without making it longer or taking the game out of the family weight category. It’s definitely a better game with these additions and it left me wanting even more. So if you’re a Dream Home fan who’s looking for a little more variety, 156 Sunny Street is the expansion for you.