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The Sims 4: Off The Grid Challenge

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The Sims 4: Off The Grid Challenge

This challenge was inspired by the popularity of the Off The Grid poll option for the upcoming community-built Laundry Day Stuff Pack. I wanted players to be able to have that style of gameplay even though the option didn’t win. If it is ever introduced in a different pack, my hope is that this challenge will integrate with it nicely rather than conflict with it. This challenge has also been deliberately written so as to minimize the need for updates with future packs and updates. Of course, I can’t guarantee that it will never need an update because I can’t predict all future content, but I’ve tried to think ahead as best I can from a player’s perspective.

The Sims 4: Off The Grid Challenge

Objective

Your objective for this challenge is to build up a town with a tribe of Sims that lives completely off the land. No buying your groceries, no using technology, no indoor plumbing, no businesses or careers that make use of any of these things, and no outtings to community lots that have these things. Your Sims are 100% dependent on themselves and their own hard work to survive. The challenge ends when every household in your town has met the challenge requirements for being true off the grid masters (but if you are having fun playing this way when your challenge ends, feel free to continue)!

Story

A nomadic tribe of Sims who don’t believe in the ways of the 21st century stumble across a completely empty landscape and see a golden opportunity; to claim the land as their own and create a permanent village in this area that is completely free of the trappings of technology. This village will become one of the only villages left in the Sim world to be completely untouched by the influences of modernity. Together, the tribe will grow and prosper out of the dedication and hard work they’ve put into building a sustainable community.

Preparing the World to Live Off The Grid

  • Pick one of the following worlds to completely bulldoze:
    • Willow Creek (base game)
    • Oasis Springs (base game)
    • Newcrest (base game)
    • Windenburg (Get Together)
    • Forgotten Hollow (Vampires)
    • Brindleton Bay (Cats & Dogs)
      Choose your world carefully. Larger worlds with more lots provide a bigger challenge so think about the difficulty level you’d like to play before making your choice. San Myshuno and Magnolia Promenade are too urban to be suitable for this challenge and Magnolia Promenade is too small to provide a genuine challenge so they are ineligible to be used for this challenge.
  • Once your world has been bulldozed, pick the lots you would like to build your community lots on. For worlds with more than five lots, you may select up to three lots to be used as community lots in your world. For worlds with five lots or less, you are restricted to only one community lot.
  • The community lots can be anything you like with one catch; they cannot have any kind of technology or plumbing whatsoever. There are no exceptions to this. These lots will be the only community lots your tribe of Sims will ever be allowed to visit so think carefully about what your off-the-grid Sims might need off their home lots and construct your community lots with this in mind. If a community lot requires a forbidden object in order to function as your selected lot type, you must create a basement Sims can’t access and place the objects in there so that they comply with the lot requirements but are out of the way and unusable by your Sims. You may also download community lots from the Gallery as long as they meet these requirements.
  • The rest of the lots in your world will be residential lots where your tribe will make their homes.
  • Next, go into the game options and make the following adjustments under the Gameplay tab:
    • Auto-Age (Played Sims) – Only Active Household
    • Sim Lifespan – Normal
    • Fill Empty Homes – Uncheck
      You’ll be playing rotationally so these settings ensure that your other played households will not age while you are playing a different household. It also ensures that game-generated townies will not move into your lots.
  • After you create your tribe, make sure all those households are in your households list in the Household Management tab in Manage Worlds. Do this by selecting the heart icon on the household’s portrait if it is not selected already. This will protect them from culling.

Creating Your Tribe

  • Count the number of lots you have left over after designating your community lots. That is how many households you will need to create.
  • Your households can be single Sims, roommates, or families of varying age groups and sizes. It’s recommended to have a variety to keep things interesting but it’s not mandatory.
  • The Sims you create can have any traits and aspirations you want (but keep in mind some aspirations and some traits require/encourage your Sims to use objects that the challenge forbids; you may want to consider this when making your choices). They can have any appearance, walk style, voice and gender customizations you want. Of course, clothing choices that suit an off-the-grid lifestyle are encouraged but also not mandatory as this is purely an aesthetic preference. There are no restrictions when it comes to creating your Sims in CAS, just recommendations.
  • If you have any packs that offer alternate life states (such as aliens or vampires), you can create these Sims as well; however, aliens cannot wear the special alien space suit. It is considered tech.

Living Off The Grid

  • When you move your Sims into their remaining lots, the first thing you need to do is open up the cheat console by typing CTRL+SHIFT+C simultaneously, then type in “testingcheats true” (without quotations). You should see a message that game cheats have been enabled. Next, type “money 2000” into the cheat console (without quotations). Then count the number of dependents in the household. Dependents are children, toddlers, and pets (C&D). Add the following sums of money to your household:
    • §500 per toddler
    • $300 per child
    • $100 per pet (C&D)
  • Next, silence the cell phone for every Sim in the household. Your Sims will not be using it under any circumstances, ever. If for whatever reason your Sims receive a call or text that isn’t silenced, you must ignore it. Teenagers will often fiddle with their phones autonomously. You can safely ignore this since you have no control over it.
  • Your primary concern will be figuring out how to provide for your Sims’ needs without using technology. Your Sims will need to garden and fish for their food and find alternative ways to bring money into the household that don’t involve a traditional career (the cell phone cannot be used for any purpose, including finding a job, remember?)
  • Even though you are living off the land, that greedy Landgraab Power Company is still trying to rob you blind by charging you for the use of candles and wooden bath basins! The nerve! It’s best to pay your bills so you can continue using your homemade light sources and baths, but there is no challenge penalty for falling behind on the bills. Go ahead and rebel against those greedy corporations if you like.
  • It’s up to you to decide how long you want to play in each household but you must be rotating through your households. One week in each household is recommended, however. This gives you time to enjoy each household while ensuring all your households are aging at the same rate. If Seasons ever comes to the game, you may also choose to play one season in each household.
  • Children and teens may go to school in the usual fashion. Children MUST go to school to avoid failing and being taken away by social services, but there is no penalty to teens failing school except losing the bonus of starting an adult career at level 3. Since Sims cannot take traditional jobs in this challenge, anyway, it doesn’t really matter and you may keep your teens at home if you wish since failing teens don’t impact anything.
  • Sims may pursue any interests/hobbies you want and do anything they want with their lives. They may build relationships, get married, have children, build skills, do fun activities, etc, as long as they are doing all of this off the grid and complying with the rest of the challenge rules.
  • Same-sex couples cannot adopt children because adopting children requires using a computer which is tech and therefore not allowed. A way to get around this is by having one of your heterosexual couples have a child you don’t plan for them to keep and using Household Management to move the child into your same-sex couple’s household and treat it like an adoption. That’s perfectly fine to do and is actually encouraged for your same-sex couples who want families.
  • If Get To Work is installed and one of your male Sims is abducted by aliens and returns pregnant, you may keep the child as long as you switch the child out of its default space alien suit when it ages up.

Satisfying Motives

  • Hunger: Sims may cook meals using the Carbonette Charcoal Grill (BG), the BBQ Drum (JA), the Auld Crow Wood-Burning Cookstove (BG), or a campfire (OR). They may store the herbs, fruits and vegetables they harvest in the IceBOX Vintage Refrigerator (BG) or any of the storage chests in the game. Sims can only prepare a meal if they have all of the ingredients for the meal. If a meal requires no ingredients to make, Sims may not eat it. Sims may not grab quick meals. Toddlers may eat any meals adults prepare for themselves or the sandwiches and peas that are offered for toddlers through the high chair’s menu. Any processed foods like animal crackers or cereal cannot be consumed. Birthday cakes may be cooked and eaten, but only for the purpose of celebrating a birthday. A Sim must age up using the cake. You can’t just bake cakes for all your meals as a way to get around using ingredients.
  • Energy: Sims may sleep in any bed made of wood. Don’t sweat over if it’s laminate or real wood or if it’s polished/rough. If it looks like wood, it passes. If Outdoor Retreat is installed, Sims may also sleep in tents.
  • Bladder: Sims may not use any of the toilets available in Build/Buy. The bladder motive can only be fulfilled by building a toilet on the workbench which requires Sims to build the Handiness skill. If Get Together is installed, you may place a WooHoo bush to relieve the bladder motive as well. Yes, this means your Sims will likely pee themselves a few times before they are able to properly satisfy this need. It’s the price you pay for living off the grid.
  • Hygiene: Sims may not use any of the showers, tubs or sinks available in Build/Buy. The hygiene motive can only be satisfied by building a bathtub on the workbench which requires Sims to build the Handiness skill. Yes, this means your Sims will be smelly for a while before they are able to properly satisfy this need. That’s part of the challenge.
  • Fun: Sims may gain fun doing any activities that do not require electricity. Since this motive can be satisfied many different ways and we will no doubt get more ways to satisfy this motive in future packs, I’m not going to give an exhaustive list here, but some acceptable base game activities include reading books, playing non-electric instruments (acoustic guitar, violin, wood piano), and playing with toy box toys and dollhouses.
  • Social: Sims may only satisfy the social motive by talking to Sims in person. They may not use the cell phone or computer to communicate with other Sims. Children, toddlers, and Sims with the Childish trait can satisfy the Social motive by talking to stuffed animals.

Travel

  • As mentioned previously, Sims may not visit any community lots apart from the ones you set up when you first started your challenge.
  • Because your Sims are off-the-grid and therefore only travelling on foot or bicycle, other worlds are too large of a distance for them to cover. They cannot leave their homeworld.
  • The only exception to this is if Outdoor Retreat is installed. Your Sims may visit Granite Falls for the purpose of collecting insects, plants and fish that can only be found in Granite Falls and building the Herbalism skill but they can only stay on the campgrounds. They cannot rent any of the homes/cabins.
  • Sims may sell the herbal remedies they brew either through their inventories or by taking them to one of your allocated community lots and selling them via the flea market tables if City Living is installed.
  • Sims may build relationships with Sims that are not from their homeworld but they cannot leave their homeworld to go visit that Sim in their own world, nor can they use the phone or the relationship menu to invite that Sim over. This makes it more difficult for your Sims to build lasting relationships with Sims that live far away, but that is the nature of living in a tech-free community. You are isolated from the rest of the world and have limited interaction with it.
  • Sims may not use the public restrooms in the common space in their homeworld.
  • Sims may not take sick pets to the vet. They must wait for the animal to recover on its own.

Forbidden Objects

The following is not an exhaustive list but should give you some idea of what you cannot place/use during this challenge.

  • Anything from the Electronics category. This includes but is not limited to televisions, computers, stereos, fire alarms, DJ booths, gaming consoles, handheld devices, cash registers, etc. Rule of thumb here is if it runs on a battery or needs to be plugged in, it’s not allowed.
  • Anything from the Appliances category EXCEPT the following specific items: Carbonette Charcoal Grill, Auld Crow Wood-Burning Cookstove and IceBOX Vintage Refrigerator.
  • Anything from the Plumbing category. If you want to bathe or use the toilet, you must build these objects yourself at the woodworking table.
  • Any electric-powered lights from the Lighting category. You must rely on candles for light.
  • The cell phone.
  • The automated food dishes, self-cleaning litter boxes, and roombas from Cats & Dogs. Only the single-serving pet bowls and the basic litter boxes may be used for any pets in the household.

Helpful Objects

Many of the following objects come with add-on packs so they are not required to play the challenge. They are helpful for this challenge however and if you have the required pack installed, you may want to consider making use of them in order to make things a bit easier on your Sims.

  • Camping tents (OR)
  • Campfires (OR)
  • WooHoo bushes (GT)
  • Flea market tables (CL)
  • Street gallery display (CL)

All of these either help your Sims satisfy motives that might otherwise be difficult to manage or allow your Sims to sell their crafted items to bring money into the household.

Off The Grid Master Requirements

  • The challenge ends when your tribe of Sims have established themselves as a thriving off-the-grid community. In order to qualify for this achievement, each of your households has to build a proper home from the meagre beginnings they started with while complying with the rest of the challenge. Each Sim must also excel in an area that aids them in their off-the-grid lifestyle.
  • In order for a home to qualify as a proper off-the-grid home, it must have:
    • At least four exterior walls and a roof.
    • Every room in the house must be fully finished, with wall and floor coverings.
    • Every room in the house must have a minimum of one window.
    • A minimum of two doors.
    • Enough bedrooms to accommodate the entire household with no more than two Sims sharing a single bedroom. To be counted as a bedroom, the room must have at least one bed, one night stand, one light, one dresser, one clutter decor item and one decorative wall hanging.
    • A minimum of one bathroom (or outhouse) with one toilet built on the workbench, one bathtub built on the workbench and one mirror.
    • A means of cooking off-the-grid meals and storing harvestables and fish.
    • A minimum of three usable counter spaces.
    • Enough seating for every member of the household to sit down at once.
    • A minimum of one dining table and one coffee table.
    • A minimum of one light in each room of the house (candles only).
    • A minimum of three objects on the lot that satisfy the Fun motive. The toy box and everything in it counts as one fun item. It does not matter how many toys you buy for the toy box. If it can be placed inside a toy box, it does not count as an extra fun item.
    • A minimum of one clutter object and one wall hanging in each room, either crafted by your Sims or purchased in Build/Buy.
  • In order for a Sim to qualify as being a master of the off-the-grid lifestyle, the following must be met:
    • Each teen and older Sim in the household must have one of the following skills maxed out: Gardening, Handiness, Cooking, Gourmet Cooking, Baking (GTW), Herbalism (OR), Painting, Violin, Piano, Pipe Organ (V)
    • Each child Sim must have one of the following skills mastered: Social, Motor, Creativity, Mental
    • Each toddler Sim must have one of the following skills mastered in addition to the Potty skill: Movement, Imagination, Thinking, Communication
    • If Parenthood is installed, each teen must have at least one character value within positive trait range.
  • When all of these requirements have been met for all Sims and residential lots, you have won the challenge.
  • You fail the challenge if you cave and allow your Sims to do something that the challenge forbids or purchase a forbidden object for your Sims. You do not fail the challenge if a Sim attempts to do a forbidden action autonomously and you are not able to stop them in time.

Give Us Your Feedback!

The staff here at Sims Community love reading all your comments on our content, so be sure to let us know if you’re trying out this challenge. We want to hear from you!

About the author

SnarkyWitch

A cranky old lady who prefers the company of cats and Sims over people. Occasionally peeks out from her lair long enough to chuck Sims articles at innocent bystanders.

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