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.
On this page:
- How to start playing a Scenario in The Sims 4
- How Scenarios work in your game
- What are the rewards for completing a Scenario?
- The Sims 4 Scenario tips
- Making Money
- Finding Love After a Breakup
- Too Many Toddlers
- Perfectly Well Rounded
- Surviving the Holidays
- How to play time-limited Scenarios after they expire
How to start playing a Scenario in The Sims 4
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 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.
The household you initially create needs to meet the exact specifications of the Scenario. This generally means that you're limited to one Young Adult or older Sim unless the requirements of the Scenario specify otherwise. You can't have any additional household members like children, pets, or even roommates. However, you can add more Sims after you move in by merging two households; this shouldn't cause the Scenario to fail unless the new household members cause a direct violation of the victory conditions.
How Scenarios work in your game
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.
What are the rewards for completing a Scenario?
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 Sims 4 Scenario tips
At launch, the feature introduced two permanent Scenarios: Making Money and Finding Love After a Breakup. Further time-limited Scenarios are being added periodically.
Unfortunately if you didn't start the Too Many Toddlers, Perfectly Well Rounded, or Surviving the Holidays Scenarios when they were available, you no longer have the option to begin them, at least for the time being. As of January 5th, 2022, there are no time-limited Scenarios on offer, and only the two permanent Scenarios are currently available to start in the game.
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:
- This Scenario isn't currently available to start, but you can still play it if you have a saved game from 3rd-17th November with the challenge active within it.
- 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.
- The challenge needs to be completed with just one adult living in the household, but getting paid help doesn't violate this rule. Have your caregiver Sim get a day job and hire a Nanny (and a Maid if you can stretch to it) using their earnings. This might sound counterintuitive, but you can still control the toddlers while their parent/guardian is away, and an NPC nanny can help them develop their skills almost as well as your playable adult. (They can even be more efficient — kind of — given that their needs never seem to run low.) As an added bonus, the toddlers' main caregiver will usually return from work with higher needs than if they'd spent all day juggling childcare tasks, allowing them to spend quality time with the toddlers in the evenings.
- Focus on getting all three toddlers' Movement and Potty skills up to at least Level 2 as soon as possible. This will give them greater ability to take care of their own basic needs and move around the house independently, and means that the caregiver won't need to constantly be attending to all the toddlers at once.
- Feeding one toddler in a high chair in The Sims 4 is a nightmare, and trying to feed all three this way seriously risks some of them being taken away by social services for critical hunger failure. Instead, cook a family-sized serving of any non-spicy food and place it somewhere the toddlers can reach, such as a coffee table. Then they can grab a snack whenever they're hungry, and your adult Sim won't waste unncessary hours lifting them individually into and out of high chairs.
Perfectly Well Rounded
In the Perfectly Well Rounded challenge, your task is to create a Young Adult or older Sim and help them juggle several simultaneous goals. The victory conditions for this Scenario require your Sim to be knowledgeable (have maxed out three skills to level 10), well-liked (have five friends), and have followed their dreams (completed an Aspiration). To be honest they sound a little bit annoying, but with almost every other Scenario to date focussing around you rescuing a trashfire Sim from their own poor decisions, maybe one where you make an average Sim perfect instead will prove to be a nice breather.
Tips for getting started:
- This Scenario isn't currently available to start, but you can still play it if you have a saved game from 18th-30th November with the challenge active within it.
- This is honestly a pretty easy Scenario, but I have a few recommendations for Aspirations and Skills to pick if you want to complete the challenge most efficiently:
- Pick a Popularity Aspiration to gain access to the Gregarious bonus trait, which will make your Sim's friendly social interactions worth more relationship points. This will make it much easier to form and keep five friendships — not only that, but you'll actually need more than five friends to complete these Aspirations anyway, allowing you to effectively double-up on meeting two of the victory conditions.
- Alternatively, if you have access to some of the game's add-on content, the Location Aspirations added in Island Living, Snowy Escape, and StrangerVille are all good choices for this challenge. These Aspirations are quite linear and don't require a huge amount of in-game resources to complete, so consider them if you're trying to speed-run this challenge.
- There are no skills you particularly need to focus on for this Scenario, but matching your Sim's traits to skills you want them to pursue so that they can learn faster is a good idea. Also, you should avoid putting time into the following skills, since they only go up to level 5 and so don't count towards the victory conditions: Bowling, Cross-Stitch, Dancing, Juice Fizzing, Media Production, Mediumship, Pet Training, Photography, and Selvadorian Culture.
Surviving the Holidays
Finally, a time-limited Scenario that actually justifies itself with a (somewhat) seasonal theme! This Scenario feels like it was ripped straight from your favourite festive comedy. Two Sims who are sworn enemies are forced to live together thanks to some sort of inheritance clause/real-estate scam/provide your own back-story, despite having a whole slew of negative Sentiments towards each other that makes being in the same room unbearable for both of them.
To begin, you simply need to create two Sims who aren't related to one another and are Young Adults or older. Victory occurs in one of two ways: when all of their negative Sentiments towards each other are wiped out and they recognise each other as Friends, or (the more dramatic option) when they become "Enemies with Benefits".
Tips for getting started:
- This Scenario isn't currently available to start, but you can still play it if you have a saved game from December 1st-January 5th with the challenge active within it.
- This isn't really a tip, but it's probably worth knowing that, regardless of whether or not you have Seasons installed, this Scenario doesn't literally require you to observe any in-game holidays. That part is strictly meta.
- There's a fair bit of overlap between this Scenario and Finding Love After a Breakup, but with a few key differences. Namely, you can't work around this one by moving one of your warring Sims into another household so they stop upsetting each other. No, these sparring Sims have to reconcile with each other one way or another for you to claim victory. For advice on how to do that, see the other enemies-to-lovers Scenario and our guidance on it below.
- The trickier — but oh-so-delightful — route to victory in this Scenario is to go for the Enemies with Benefits outcome. This is one of the hardest relationship states to obtain in the game, since it requires you to keep the Friendly relationship extremely negative (between -100 and -70) while building a decently positive Romantic relationship (anything over +50). This can be extremely difficult, since successful romantic interactions in The Sims 4 often give a boost to the friendly relationship meter too. On the upside, the Sims in this Scenario are uniquely well-positioned to succeed in this effort, since it's much easier to start with the "enemies" part and add the "benefits" later than the other way around. Have your reluctant roomies chug a few Flirty Potions from the Rewards Store and while its effects are active, they can happily woo each other without it otherwise affecting their mutual animosity.
How to play time-limited Scenarios after they expire
You can continue to play any time-limited Scenario after it's no longer available, provided you have a saved game with the Scenario still in progress within it. So if you really want to make sure you have ample opportunity to enjoy the challenge, 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 it has officially ended, just as long as you don't lose the save.
Furthermore, a little bird has told us that if you disconnect your PC from the internet, clicking on the New Scenario button will give you access to a full list of every Scenario that currently exists in the game code. This includes all of the time-locked ones. If you can see them, you can start any of them you like. Just don't tell EA we told you. Remember, it was the bird.
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.