10 Sims 4 Challenges to Add Variety to Your Game

A Sim thinking about a llama

10 Sims 4 Challenges to Add Variety to Your Game

The Sims 4 has a lot to offer and features tons of unique gameplay. Players get to create their own Sims, build houses, send them to school, start them on career paths, and so much more. Many players enjoy the game for the creative aspect. Building the Sims’ house, decorating it, and making it a true architectural masterpiece is, for many, the biggest draw of the game. That said, there are hundreds of ways to play. Theoretically, a player should never get bored.

That said, 2024 marks the game’s 10th anniversary. The Sims 5, which is currently known as The Sims: Project Rene, is still quite a ways off. The Sims 4 store does feature plenty of expansion packs and other bundles that players can buy to add variety to their game. Maxis, The Sims 4 developer, releases new expansions and packs all the time, so there’s always new content coming out. That said, a decade is a long time. For players who have been playing since the launch of The Sims 4, those expansions may not be enough to keep the game interesting. When a player’s done just about everything there is to do, even new content may not feel like enough to keep them playing.

This is where The Sims 4 challenges come in. Challenges aren’t official ways to play the game. They aren’t DLCs or custom content either. Challenges are just fandom-agreed ways to play the game in a specific way. Each challenge will test the player to play their game with a strict set of rules to achieve a specific outcome. Dozens of unofficial challenges floating around have helped keep players’ interest in the game. Each challenge presents unique requirements for playing, and fulfilling a challenge can be a rewarding experience for a Simmer who’s done it all.

1. The Rags to Riches Challenge

A Sims rundown apartment

©Isthatsims / Maxis / Electronic Arts – Original / License

One of the oldest Sims 4 challenges is the Rags to Riches Challenge. This challenge is self-explanatory. The player must make a Sim who starts with nothing but a plot of land. Aside from the clothes they get from the Create-a-Sim function, they have nothing. They start with no home, no essentials, no food, and no clothes. Naturally, the Sim still has all the common needs of a Sim. They need to eat, bathe, go to the bathroom, and make money, but at the beginning of this challenge, their options to do any of these things are extremely limited.

The goal of this challenge is to figure out any way to build the Sim up. For this challenge to be successful, a Sim needs to go from having nothing to having everything they want. To play the challenge correctly also means that the player isn’t using cheats to make it easier. They can’t use cheats to get more money or work around the Sims’ needs. Cheating defeats the purpose of this playthrough. Sims start off sleeping in public places, bathing at the local gym, and crashing on their friends’ sofas as they try to start earning money.

With some of the newer DLC packs, different versions of this challenge have emerged. Instead of starting on an empty plot of land, some players choose to start in a rundown apartment with the For Rent expansion pack. Whichever way players decide to start their Rags to Riches journey, they need to be prepared for how difficult this challenge is. This is one of the oldest and most popular challenges, but it’s also time-consuming and grueling to achieve. That makes it frustrating, but it also makes it an extremely rewarding experience.

2. The Off the Grid Challenge

The Sims 4 Off the Grid

©Petey Plays It / The Sims Studio / Electronic Arts / Maxis – Original / License

The Off the Grid Challenge is another straight-to-the-point challenge that presents the player with a unique dilemma. Playing Off the Grid means that the Sim has to survive without water and electricity. This challenge also usually removes the Sim from a close-knit neighborhood in favor of living somewhere more remote. This might take them to the woods or a remote island where they can truly live a life disconnected from the rest of the world. When living through some of the modern struggles of the world, this has become a fantasy for many people in real life. The idea of cutting ties with the modern world and living off the land sounds like heaven sometimes. It comes with unique problems to overcome, though.

This challenge removes all the creature comforts of home. Sims can’t call or text their friends. They won’t be able to distract themselves with television or video games. They won’t have electricity for lights or protection from the elements. If it gets cold, they won’t have access to heating their house, tent, or RV. Sims need to find more natural ways of cooking meals, collecting fresh food each day because they have no way of preserving things like meat, and protecting themselves from harsh weather. This leads many Sims to build a garden for growing fruits and veggies. They might learn to fish for food and cook over an open fire.

Bathing also becomes an issue when they have no clean water. Fortunately, Sims can collect water. If they decide to live off the grid on an island, they will have a much easier time bathing and keeping clean drinking water than Sims who live in the woods. Some DLC packs, like Eco Lifestyle, Laundry Day, and Jungle Adventure can be helpful in this challenge. They all have items that make living off the grid much easier.

3. The Big Brother Challenge

Two frustrated Sims

©The Sims / Electronic Arts / Maxis – Original / License

The Big Brother Challenge is based on the reality television show of the same name. The goal of this challenge is to build a large house and move a bunch of random Sims in. Every week, the player evicts one Sim who has the lowest relationship with the household, just like the actual show. This slowly weeds out the weakest links and creates drama between the remaining Sims.

The more variety the Sims have, the better. Players should focus on having a diverse cast of Sims who have a wide range of interests, personality traits, and pet peeves. Having Sims who may not get along will create a much more entertaining outcome than a bunch of like-minded Sims. The key to good reality television is drama and the key to a good Big Brother Challenge run is the same. This challenge isn’t difficult because it’s not focused on a strict way of playing. Off the Grid and Rags to Riches, both have a long and grueling process, but Big Brother is all about interpersonal relationships. Players who have done this challenge claim it’s a lot of fun to watch the outcome unfold naturally.

4. The Homeless & Dumpster Challenges

A homeless Sim

©ISP / Maxis / Electronic Arts – Original / License

The Homeless Challenge is when a player makes a Sim and strips them of all their money. They don’t have a place to live and they don’t have any way to pay for anything. Needless to say, they also don’t have a job. It’s a rule of the challenge that the Sim isn’t allowed to get a job. This leaves Sims to rely on public facilities, like showering at the gym and taking advantage of restaurants that give away free promotional food.

Sims aren’t allowed to get jobs, but they can earn money by other means. If they take up a hobby or start doing something like fishing or collecting, they can use these skills to make some spending money. The goal of this challenge is to earn enough money to build the Sim a house. Once they have the proper funds to do this, they are no longer homeless, and the player finishes the challenge successfully.

For players who want to take this one step further, they can take a crack at the Dumpster Challenge instead. The Dumpster Challenge is the Homeless Challenge cranked up to 11. This challenge forces the Sim to live in a dumpster. They have no money and everything they own, wear, and eat comes from the garbage. They aren’t allowed to use things like free showers at the gym or free food from a restaurant. Everything must come from the dumpster. This takes the concept of the Homeless Challenge and makes it significantly more difficult.

5. The Black Widow Challenge

The Grim Reaper standing over a Sim

© lilsimsie / Maxis / Electronic Arts – Original / License

The Black Widow Challenge, not to be confused with Marvel’s Natasha Romanoff, is a challenge where the player creates a Sim whose entire goal is to marry for money. The Sim must meet a wealthy person, seduce them, make them fall in love, and eventually marry them. Traditionally, a Black Widow Challenge would be a female Sim marrying a wealthy male Sim. The black widow trope is named after the spider of the same name. Female black widow spiders often eat their male mates after procreation. This is reflected in the way a woman murders her husband to inherit everything he owns.

That said, players can do whatever dynamic they want as long as the requirements are met. One Sim purposefully finds a rich counterpart, seduces them, marries them, and inevitably kills them to obtain all their wealth and power. The goal of this challenge is not only to obtain wealth from one victim but to continue the spree. The current spouse should find their partner cheating on them with her next victim. That’s when the murder happens and she moves on to the next husband. The goal is 10 consecutive marriages and murders without being caught. By the time the player has gone through 10 marriages, they should have more wealth than they know what to do with.

Some versions of this challenge require more specific requirements for the Sim. Some insist that the Sim should have specific traits. Her aspiration should be Serial Romantic and she should have the snob, materialistic, and romantic traits to make her a true black widow.

6. The Zodiac Challenge

12 Sims standing together

©Nina’s Planet / Maxis / Electronic Arts – Original / License

The Zodiac Challenge is a long playthrough that takes the player through 12 generations of Sims. Each generation’s heir should be a new Zodiac sign. Ideally, the player should start with the first Zodiac sign, Aquarius, and cycle through to Capricorn. This challenge takes a little bit of precision, so each new generation is guaranteed to be the next Zodiac sign in the line-up. As long as the player pays attention, this shouldn’t be an issue.

This challenge focuses on the different personality types of each Zodiac sign. According to the Zodiac, each sign has specific characteristics that they’ll likely display. They have specific signs they’re compatible with and signs they’re likely to butt heads with. Many of them will take on specific traits and interests that align with their Zodiac sign as well. This challenge emphasizes the unique variations of each sign, so the player can experience every single Zodiac sign’s life.

Some players choose to approach this challenge differently. Instead of playing through 12 generations, they create 12 Sims at once who all represent a different Zodiac sign. They pair these characters up by having them live together, making them family, or making them friends. This is a fun variation on the challenge that adds a bit of drama to the fold when certain signs don’t get along.

7. The Runaway Teen Challenge

A teen Sim checking her phone

©DeeSims / Maxis / Electronic Arts – Original / License

The Sims 4 released a patch where teens could live without adults and this patch brought forth the Runaway Teen Challenge. In this challenge, the player creates a teen Sim who runs away from home and creates a teens-only household. One of the pinnacle points of this challenge is that the runaway teen (or teens) should avoid talking to adults at all costs. They also aren’t allowed to get a regular job, meaning they’ll have to get creative with ways to come up with cash.

This is a fun challenge because it means the runaway gets to live a grown-up-free life, but it also comes with unique hurdles. There’s a reason why most kids can’t leave home until they’re at least 18. These days, many kids continue to live at home well into their 20s due to the cost of living. Running away from home before turning 18 and living alone is no easy feat in real life and it isn’t easy in The Sims 4 either.

In a way, this challenge is similar to the Rags to Riches Challenge. The teen starts with nothing, not even their parents. They need to figure out how to make ends meet by fishing, digging, or gardening. They can find a place to settle down or they can continue moving from place to place. Most playthroughs of this challenge encourage the teen to drop out of school. Eventually, as they become a young adult, they need to make something of themselves all on their own.

8. The ISBI Challenge

A disappointed Sim

©The Sims / Electronic Arts / Maxis – Original / License

The I’m Surrounded By Idiots Challenge (ISBI Challenge) is one of the most difficult and frustrating Sims 4 challenges. This challenge requires the player to play through ten family generations while only controlling a single Sim. Players usually have control over every Sim in their household. They can make their Sims do just about whatever they want to ensure they get the results they’re after. The ISBI Challenge erases all of that. In a way, this challenge is the truest simulation of real life.

As a person, we only have control over ourselves. We’re forced to live with our family, friends, roommates, or by ourselves. We have to deal with all of the drama that comes with having interpersonal relationships, a job, school, health issues, and so on. We have no control over what the people around us do. That’s what this challenge is designed to emulate. Players are not allowed to interfere with any Sim other than their chosen character. They must then experience what an authentic life for that Sim would feel like without any meddling.

Many players find this challenge difficult to complete. When the game gives the player so much control, it’s difficult to have the self-restraint not to dive in and make changes. This challenge also highlights all of the struggles of being alive with little control over the world around you. It’s an interesting challenge, but it’s not for the faint of heart or easily frustrated.

9. The Asylum Challenge

The Sims 4 asylum build

©Simproved / Maxis / Electronic Arts – Original / License

The Asylum Challenge starts with the player building an asylum for five Sims. The challenge usually suggests five Sims, but the player can put as many characters in the asylum as they want. Each Sim needs to have the insane trait. All of their other traits need to be randomized. The only trait they are not allowed to have is the self-assured trait. Each Sim in the asylum is a patient there for treatment. This creates a tense environment where the Sims don’t entirely trust themselves and they also don’t trust the other Sims around them.

After building the asylum and filling it with the desired number of Sims, the player needs to choose one Sim to play as. From there, the player needs to help their chosen Sim achieve their Aspiration. The road to this goal is a long and grueling process where the Sim needs to confront their demons and learn healthy coping mechanisms. Once they achieve their Aspiration, they’re ready to re-enter society and leave the asylum. Once their chosen player leaves, they choose a new Sim to play. The player then repeats the cycle of helping the Sim achieve their Aspiration. Once all the Sims have completed their treatment and left the asylum, the player completes the challenge.

10. The Alien Adoption Challenge

An alien baby in The Sims 4

©Whiny Brit / The Sims Studio / Electronic Arts / Maxis – Original / License

The Alien Adoption Challenge is one of the most popular Sims 4 challenges out there. Aliens have always been a fun part of The Sims. Most Sims fans remember the days of trying to get their Sim abducted by aliens back in The Sims 2. This often resulted in the abducted Sim conceiving an alien child regardless of gender or sexuality. Fortunately, Maxis has kept the aliens as a constant aspect of The Sims, and in The Sims 4, there are many ways players can interact with aliens.

This specific challenge tasks the player with taking in an alien baby after its ship crash lands. Essentially, the player saves the baby from the crash and adopts it as their own. This provides a fun challenge because the alien child will grow up differently than normal Sims. The player also won’t be able to control the alien child until they become a young adult. This puts the player in the position of acting as the alien child’s parent without any unnatural interference. They can only raise the alien, but they cannot control the alien to try and rig the outcome of the child’s life.

The Alien Adoption Challenge is a fun and rewarding experience that removes some of the player’s control. It also literally allows them to raise an alien and help them integrate into human society, which is awesome. Name another life simulator game that would allow players to adopt, raise, and play as an alien lifeform.

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