Challenges The Community

The Sims 4 Decades Challenge: Discover History in a New Way!

sims 4 decades challenge

Are you a history buff? Do you love The Sims? In that case, you’ll want to check out The Sims 4 Decades Challenge! This fanmade challenge will take you and your Sims on a journey through time as each new generation of your Sims family progress farther into the future.

The Sims 4 Decades Challenge

Become a time traveller in The Sims 4 Decades Challenge!

We’ll walk you through the basics of this challenge and show you where to find the official rules so you can get started with this unique challenge! While using mods and custom content aren’t strictly required for this challenge, they can help improve historical immersion, so we’ll also point you to some sources where you can find historical mods and custom content.

Getting Started with The Sims 4 Decades Challenge

decades disco
The 1970s

You might be wondering, what the heck is The Sims 4 Decades Challenge?! Don’t worry; we’ll break it down for you so you can get started without having to figure things out on your own.

What is The Sims 4 Decades Challenge?

The most recent version of The Sims 4 Decades Challenge has been written and updated by CuteCoffeeGal, but the original rules are by ZombieCleo. You can also opt to play with alternate rules by kakeru_naruse. We’ll be focusing on CuteCoffeeGal’s rules for this article because it is the most frequently updated and comes with a handy PDF version of the rules, but feel free to play your own way and explore other rule sets.

The Decades Challenge is a new spin on the traditional legacy challenge by Pinstar and ImaginingMystic. The basic premise is the same; play through many generations of the same Sims family, but that’s where the similarities end. In the Decades Challenge, you are not following all the same rules as the Legacy Challenge. For one thing, you are playing through up to 14 generations rather than the traditional 10 generations. For another, you’ll be keeping track of your Sims’ ages to determine when to start a new decade, starting with the 1890s. Your main focus is adhering as closely as you can to the time period your Sims are currently in.

A New Generation, A New Decade?

decades workout
The 1980s

The easiest way to play the Decades Challenge is to start a new decade with each new generation. Play on your preferred life span and when the chosen heir becomes a young adult, a new decade begins. You can certainly play the Decades Challenge that way if you’re not big on doing math, but if you want to go the extra mile and be as accurate as possible, CuteCoffeeGal has outlined how to manually keep track of your Sims’ ages.

Basically, each Sim day spans 6 months of real time, so two Sim days amount to one year. This means that every 20 Sim days, the decade changes.

To keep your Sims aging accurately according to this model, CuteCoffeeGal outlines when to age up your Sims. She recommends playing on Long life span so your Sims don’t accidentally age up too soon. Due to average life spans being drastically shorter in earlier decades, there are two aging systems; one for Sims born before 1950 and one for Sims born after 1950.

There are additional rules for how to accommodate university and holidays if you play with Discover University or Seasons, so be sure to read over those as well.

Again, if this is all too much for you, it’s fine to just play on whichever life span you enjoy the most and treat each new generation like a new decade. It’s not as realistic but it will work perfectly if that method is more fun for you.

How to Start The Sims 4 Decades Challenge

decades grunge
The 1990s

The good thing about The Decades Challenge is it offers you a little more leeway when creating your starting Sim(s) than the traditional Legacy Challenge. Rather than being restricted to making only one Young Adult to start the challenge with, you are allowed to start with a married couple and a set of parents for your starting Sim.

Once you have your starting family created, you may move them into your world. There are a variety of restrictions here so make sure you read the rules about where your Sims can settle down. For example, Del Sol Valley is off limits until the 1950s and only single Sims may live in apartments. Once they marry, they must move into a house.

There are also rules about what technology you can start with. Since the challenge is intended to be played without mods or custom content, there are certain exceptions allowed. Cell phones can be used as early as 1890 but only because it’s the only way to access certain portions of the game. The cell phone can’t be used for socialization and entertainment purposes, however. Players may pretend that a computer is a typewriter for the purposes of writing books, for example, but can’t be used for any other purpose.

And don’t forget! There are wars happening during many of these time periods so you will be sending your Sims off to fight… and possibly die. This is simulated by using a die and a Cowplant. Good luck!

Journey Through the Decades

ts3 dragonvalley town

Once you are all set up, it’s time to start playing The Sims 4 Decades Challenge! We know this might seem daunting at first; what exactly are you supposed to do in each decade? What’s allowed? What’s not allowed? The good news is CuteCoffeeGal has done an excellent job of breaking down each individual decade for you.

Each decade has their own succession rules and rules surrounding who your Sims can marry. It’s important to note here that these early decade marriage and gender restrictions are meant to be as historically accurate as possible. They do not condone these restrictions as morally right in any way. If there are restrictions you don’t like and don’t want to play with, you are absolutely free to adjust these rules as you see fit. It’s your game and you should enjoy it the way you want to.

Each decade is also very detailed about which objects are allowed and how those objects are allowed to be used. You really don’t need to be a 19th and 20th century history expert at all in order to play this challenge. All the rules are clearly laid out for you.

Your ultimate goal for The Sims 4 Decades Challenge is a simple one; all you need to do to complete the challenge is play up to the present day with a single family while adhering to the rules of each decade. However, if you’re a hardcore player and a completionist, you might be interested in logging your progress on the scorecard for this challenge.

Helpful Mods and CC

The Sims 4 Decades Challenge does not need to be played with third party content. In fact, the rules are written with the assumption that you are not playing with any mods and CC. However, if you do enjoy playing with mods and CC, you might find some of these resources helpful for making your Sims and homes look more authentic to the time period.

Official Decades Challenge Rules

Now that you have a good idea of what this challenge is and how to play, you probably want to know where to find the official rule book. We’ve only given an overview summary of the challenge but you’ll need to have the full set of rules to play.

The rules for this challenge are hosted on CuteCoffeeGal’s blog. Just click the button below to be taken right to her page with the challenge rules! Have fun and Happy Simming!

If you loved this article on The Sims 4 Decades Challenge, try another unique challenge! Replay the classic PS2 Sims story mode in The Sims 4 with our Get A Life Challenge!

About the author


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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