How do Scenarios work in The Sims 4? There have been fan-made Sims challenges for as long as there have been Sims games, but now the makers of The Sims 4 have introduced Scenarios into official gameplay. This new type of gameplay challenge works a bit differently to existing Aspirations, Lot Challenges, and so on. Scenarios are attached to every Sim in a household, have a unique set of starting and victory conditions, and — crucially — are quite open-ended, leaving it to the player to work out the best way to complete them.
If that all seems a bit confusing, don’t worry! In this guide we cover how to start a new Scenario in The Sims 4, the rewards for completing one, and tips on getting the best possible start in every Scenario that’s currently available.
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In order to begin playing with scenarios in The Sims 4, you first need to ensure that your game is updated to Patch 120. This is a free base game update released on November 2nd, so as long as you’re connected to Origin you should see it download automatically the next time you play.
At this time, you can’t apply a Scenario to an existing household — however, EA seem to be aware that this isn’t ideal for many players, and have hinted that they’re working on implementing this option.
As it stands, there are two ways to initiate a new Scenario, but they both begin with you clicking on the Start New Scenario button that’s appeared in the main game menu just below the New Game and Load Game options.
Clicking this button will bring up a menu of all currently available Scenarios. Click View on a Scenario to see its starting and victory conditions. From here there are two options: Start in a New Save or Start with Existing Save. Either way, you’ll be taken to Create-A-Sim, where you create a brand-new household to play the Scenario.
Once your household is created and moved in, you can view or hide the victory conditions for the active Scenario by clicking the little flag icon in the upper left hand corner of the Live Mode screen. You can also cancel the Scenario from here if you choose to, with no penalty (other than the fact that you’ll need to create a new household from scratch if you decide to restart later).
While playing a save with an active Scenario, you can switch to other households and play as them without cancelling the challenge. However, you only progress through the Scenario whenever you switch back to playing with the founding household.
When viewing your Saved Games list, you’ll see the flag icon on the thumbnail denoting that there’s an active Scenario in the save. You can have multiple active Scenarios in the same save. I haven’t had a chance to test it thoroughly yet, but there don’t seem to be any limits on how many concurrent Scenarios you can have.
Successfully completing a scenario in The Sims 4 rewards the whole household with several thousand Satisfaction Points apiece. Satisfaction Points can be spent on bonus traits and powerful potions in the in-game Reward Store.
Now, you may be interested to know that you can use Cheats to meet all victory conditions and win a Scenario with no penalty. (Furthermore, you can just use Cheats to load up on Satisfaction Points if that’s your whim.) So my advice would be to play Scenarios because you want a gameplay challenge, not because you’re grinding towards the rewards, since honestly they’re not in any way special or unique.
The launch of the feature in the latest base game update included two Scenarios, though it seems like the dev team plan to keep adding more over time. In fact, a time-limited third Scenario (Too Many Toddlers) will go live for a three-day period starting 10am PST / 1pm EST / 5pm GTM on November 3rd.
Below we’ve summarised the existing Scenarios, and given you a few tips to help you get each challenge off to a good start.
In this Scenario, your household’s funds are drained to zero Simoleons once they’ve paid the move-in fees on their chosen residential lot. Naturally, you’ll want to start making some money straight away — the end goal is to become a millionaire, but in the short-term, your Sims still need to eat.
Tips for getting started:
- Give your founding Sim a Fortune Aspiration so that they can benefit from the Business Savvy bonus trait, which grants higher salaries from conventional careers. You can even switch Aspirations in-game via the Simology panel to something you prefer, and still retain the bonus trait.
- Tempting as it is, it’s actually better not to join a Freelance career straight away. Almost all freelance and crafting jobs require you to buy materials up-front for a gig. Aspiring writers, however, are an exception, as they can travel to a Library lot and use the computers there to write for free.
- Join a career with a high starting salary. Spend Day 1 of the challenge keeping your Sims’ needs as high as possible and working on any career activities you can do for free, so that they go to work in a good mood the next day. If you want to really play the numbers game, Tech Guru (from the base game) and Civil Designer (from the Eco Lifestyle expansion) have the joint-highest per-hour starting salaries in the game.
- Have your Sims eat only Quick Meals from their refrigerator to begin with, as (unless you’re playing with the Simple Living Lot Challenge from the Cottage Living expansion) this will allow them to eat for free. Alternatively, head to any public area with a barbecue grill and wait for NPCs to start cooking huge plates of food they then tend to abandon.
- If you have Eco Lifestyle installed, vote on Neighborhood Action Plans and apply Lot Traits that will reduce your household bills.
Finding Love After a Breakup
In this Scenario, you play as a couple who have recently broken up but are still living together (for now at least). The set-up requires you to create a household consisting of two Sims who are Young Adults or older, and are not related. When loading into the Scenario, their romantic relationship values towards each other are set to -100, and their friendship value to around -25. They’ll receive various negative Sentiments towards each other and will recognise each other as Exes.
Tips for getting started:
- There are three victory conditions for this Scenario, and the challenge ends when you meet any one of them. You can win by having the two exes reconcile either as Soulmates (at 60+ Friendship and 75+ Romantic mutual relationship values) or Best Friends (at 80%+ mutual Friendship and after performing a special social interaction). The third victory condition is triggered if one of your Sims truly moves on and becomes Soulmates with someone other than their ex.
- Give your founding Sims either Romance or Popularity Aspirations, as the Alluring and Gregarious bonus traits respectively improve the success of Romantic and Friendly social interactions.
- The easiest (though not necessarily the most satisfying) way to win this one is to split up the household and focus on having one Sim find a brand new partner. (Note that only the Sim who stays in the original household will still be part of the Scenario.) This way you won’t be fighting against Sentiments that regularly tank your Sims’ moods whenever they’re around each other, and won’t need to actively reverse those negative relationship values.
- If you’re committed to reconciling the exes, it’s going to be an uphill climb. However, a good start is to have both Sims repeatedly perform the Apologise interaction from the Friendly social menu on each other. With their starting relationship so low it’s unlikely to be well-received straight away, but eventually exchanging apologies should have a chance to wipe out negative Sentiments. The Sims will still dislike each other, but will no longer be rendered utterly miserable in one another’s presence — a perfect recipe for romance, surely?
Too Many Toddlers
This Scenario sees a solo caregiver challenged with raising triplet toddlers to be upstanding members of Sim society. The set-up requires you to create a household consisting of three Toddlers and one Sim aged Young Adult or older. The victory condition is met when all three Toddlers have achieved Level 3 or above in 4 Toddler Skills.
Tips for getting started:
- I think we can all agree it’s weird that this one’s time-limited, right? Well, the one silver lining is that by all accounts you won’t need to have finished the challenge by November 6th, only to have initiated it. You can (allegedly, I haven’t been able to confirm this yet) continue to work towards completing the challenge for as long as you like, just as long as you have a save with the Scenario active in it.
- If you really want to make sure you have ample opportunity to complete the Scenario, duplicate your save as soon as you begin and keep a “clean” back-up copy in your Saved Games folder. That way, in theory, you can always return to the start of the challenge after November 6th, just as long as you don’t lose the save.
- Go into the Gameplay tab in the Game Options menu and set the Sim Lifespan to Long. This way the Toddler phase will last 32 in-game days, giving you the maximum possible time to complete the Scenario.
Scenarios are just one of many ways of expanding your gameplay in The Sims 4. Check out our picks of the best DLC for The Sims 4 if you’re trying to decide which paid add-ons you might like to treat yourself to. Or for community-created and completely free cosmetic additions to the game, see our favourite Custom Content hair and clothing in The Sims 4.