Origin and EA have The Sims 4 on sale for $4.99 this holiday season (until January 11), so “sul sul!” to any of you who downloaded the game and are joining the world of the Sims for the first time. The Sims is a very open sandbox-style game where you can play in an infinite number of ways with fairly minimal objectives or direction from the game itself. This can be very freeing for some people and overwhelming for others. Thankfully, there’s a whole community of simmers who have come up with challenges to give your game some structure, or an added level of difficulty.
The Legacy Challenge is one of the oldest Sims challenges, created by a player called Pinstar all the way back in Sims 2. The purpose of this challenge is to start off with a single Founder Sim on an empty lot and play through 10 generations of the same family. Start with a single young adult sim and move him/her onto a 50×50 lot. Now play through your Founder’s life, having him/her find a partner, have kids, and grow old. When the Founder sim dies, it’s time to choose an heir from among their children. The challenge has rules for this, too, composed of three compentents: heir, gender, and bloodline. Once you decide on your set of succession rules (for example, first-born female with an unbroken genetic line to the founder), you have to follow the same rules through the whole 10 generations. Since this is supposed to be a challenge, no cheats or restarting after a bad event (like if you burn your house down making a grilled cheese). Your family can, and should, develop and upgrade the house as you go, but the family must stay on the same lot (although grown siblings of each heir can marry/move out to make room for the heir’s family). For all the rules and scoring, a free scoresheet printable, or to watch someone play their Legacy Challenge, check out this excellent site.
Rags to Riches Challenge
For a real financial challenge try Rags to Riches! After making your single young adult sim and moving him/her onto the largest empty lot in the neighbourhood, use the cash cheat (shift+ctrl+c to access cheats, then type cash 0) to reduce your sim’s household funds to absolutely nothing. Starting from the bottom, you must scrounge and forage in public areas to find food or items to sell (no planting a garden in your lot until you have a house). As you earn funds, you can invest in an easel or guitar to earn money (in public spaces, again) until you have enough to start building a house. You’ve completed the challenge when you have: built a house with at least 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, dining room, living room, study with at least one computer, garden, and a pool; marry a sim, have at least one child, and become a grandparent; reach level 10 of a career and earn the Entrepreneurial lifetime award; complete one aspiration goal for your sim, their spouse, and each child; have a home worth at least S100,000 and household funds of at least S200,000. There are also optional goals and some mandatory steps to accomplish before doing things like building a house or starting a family. Think you you take your sim from abject poverty to stability and success? Check out SimishGamer’s original post outlining the challenge on the Mod the Sims forum.
Black Widow Challenge
You can probably figure out the goal of this challenge from the name alone. Start off with a single young adult sim and give him/her the traits Snob, Materialistic, and Romantic and the Love aspiration with Serial Romantic sub-category. Then, let your sim loose on the unsuspecting sim population. Meet and marry a partner, then throw a big dinner party to show off your new love. During this party, select your next mark. Start building a relationship with the new sim until you can move him/her into your household. Let your current spouse catch you in the act with your new fling, then kill off the spouse before marrying the next one. Repeat until you have 10 gravestones or urns on your property. Your sim is never allowed to get a job, they can only sell foraged items before starting the string of chain marriages and the spousal earnings that come with them. Your sim should also max out the Cooking and Charisma skills (just like any good stay at home spouse!). Get all the details from Simalot on their website and enjoy playing a sim that will eventually live in a haunted house.
100 Baby Challenge
Next to the Legacy Challenge, this is one of the most popular (and daunting) challenges. The objective is to have 100 babies in as few generations as you can. As usual, start out with a single young adult Sim, only for this challenge your sim (the Matriarch) must be able to get pregnant (the game allows non-binary genders, but for simplicity I’ll refer to the Matriarch as “she”). She can have any traits or aspirations you want; obviously Romantic and Family Oriented work well for this challenge and you’ll benefit from a trait that will support a money-making skill, but you can use whatever you like. You don’t need to start out in self-imposed poverty, just set your sim up in whatever household she can afford and start chatting up some fellas (or any sim that can get your Matriarch pregnant). Each child must be conceived with a different donor sim (this can get pretty Jerry Springer as the baby daddies start piling up) and the Matriarch is not allowed to get a job; she must stay home caring for the children and use skills like gardening or painting to earn a household income (teenage children can help out with part time jobs). Older children can be moved out when they age up to make room for more kids until the Matriarch is passed childbearing age, at which point the youngest childbearing sim is appointed as heir to carry on this baby debacle. Challenge creator Ashleigh825 has put all the rules and details together in a google doc here.
This is the most unique challenge I came across, it was created by LibrarianSimmer who admits to a fascination with the psychology and sociology of cult and commune dynamics. You start by creating a Founder, who can be based off a real cult or commune leader or someone fresh from your imagination. Pay special attention to the traits you choose; you’ll want to pick at least one trait that will help gain followers, such as Insane, Creative, or Genius. Choose a non-job-related aspiration with a mind to what will make a good Founder: Friend of the World, Big Happy Family, or Public Enemy are good options for this. This is also the time to decide what kind of leader your Founder will be; benevolent and caring, lazy and bossy, or with an eye to world domination? Find a plot with lots of foot traffic thats near a pond or park (the full rules has a specific suggestion for this) and set up a tent and grill for your Founder’s humble beginnings. You can also pick an activity item that suits your founder’s character: a guitar, bookshelf, microphone, etc. However, you can’t make money from these things in the beginning, that would be too easy. After these purchases set your money to 0 with the cash 0 cheat. Since the point of cult/commune life is to escape the enslavement of mainstream society, your Founder can’t get a traditional job. Once your campsite is set up, recruitment starts. Look for single teen or young adult sims of the opposite gender to your Founder and try to get them to move in with you on first encounter (no using the phone to invite them over at a later time). Each person who moves in gets assigned a role to perform for the commune, such as gardener, collector, fisher, cook, etc. The challenge is completed when you have raised 3 generations in your community. The full rules go into a lot of detail here.
I’ve been playing The Sims since the very first game and I love incorporating challenges into my gameplay (I tried Legacy and 100 Baby in Sims 3, but haven’t completed a challenge yet). There’s even a version of the Legacy Challenge in the trophies for the PS4 version of Sims 4. I kept this list limited to challenges that can be played with just the base game, but there are lots of challenges for the expansions, too! Good thing the game allows multiple saves, because I can see myself taking a shot at each of these challenges!