Monday, June 30, 2008

Nickeled and Dimed Challenge

Robin’s Nickeled and Dimed Challenge


I played by all of the official challenge rules. You can find the rules here or at the TS2 challenge yahoo group. I also chose “make it harder” by adding a second child, and I also made it harder by having a chance of accidental pregnancy. I use dice to create a 12% chance of having to “try for baby” instead of “woohooing” whenever I chose to let a sim woohoo. I decided to create the children’s personalities off of characters from one of my favorite books. I did not give any thought to strategy in creating the children. My version of this challenge is a foster home. The children have all been taken in by a single woman for the 20,000 simoleon handout. She has no skills or job. I rolled for the mother’s personality and aspiration, since the children wouldn’t be able to choose their new foster mom.


Chrissy Striker—Adult female romance sim
Capricorn Personality--neat 7, shy 4, lazy 1, playful 8, nice 5
Lifetime want—have 20 simultaneous lovers

Pete Striker—Child male sim
Gemini personality—sloppy 2, outgoing 7, active 8, serious 2, nice 6

Rick Striker—Child male sim
Gemini personality—sloppy 4, outgoing 8, active 8, serious 0, nice 5

Agnes Striker—Toddler female sim
Aquarius personality—neat 5, shy 1, lazy 3, playful 10, nice 6


Before moving the sims in, I set-up the house the way I would like. I used recolors to get away from the blue. I decided to get rid of the stove. Chrissy wouldn’t have enough cooking skill to use it safely for a while, and the sims can survive on cereal and sandwiches. Poor people sometimes can’t afford a stove, so that’s not unreasonable in the spirit of the challenge.

I used the money to purchase a television. Televisions are great for increasing fun and comfort, and it would allow Chrissy to learn cooking. I rearranged the house a little. I made a third bedroom for the toddler’s crib so that the toddler could sleep even when people were watching television in the living room.

I also got rid of the toy chest and chose the freetime children’s activity table. The activity table provides as much fun, but allows both children and toddlers to play with it and increases creativity and mechanical.

My plan was to have Chrissy use dating and outings to get what she wants. You can sometimes get bonus skill points and promotions from successful dates and outings. I chose Chrissy’s turn-ons as level 6+ job (so she is attracted to sims that might get her a promotion) and high mechanical (so she is attracted to sims she can influence to fix stuff for her).

I planned to be very conservative on food. Children can get by not eating at home at all and only eating school lunches, except for the weekend. I started a small garden plot, planning to use fresh food instead of buying groceries once the fridge finally ran out.

I also used the freetime lifetime benefits to choose decreased needs for any that were available. I figured that they would need this given their cheap furniture and lack of funds. I also gave Chrissy the benefit of picking chance cards more correctly.

How it Went

Pete was not happy with the new arrangements living with a foster mom. (Sorry. I planned to make a full story out of this, and took some shots for it. I loved this shot too much to leave it out.)

I had the children and toddler head straight to the activity table to work on learning mechanical. I had Chrissy sit in front of the television and watch the yummy channel. Chrissy used the welcome wagon to meet her first potential lovers.

Chrissy took the first job available to her as an aerobics instructor and hired a nanny to come while she worked. Chrissy was fired from her job the first day for poor work performance because her hunger was very deep red. I learned that there is no point in sending sims to work when their needs are that red. They will likely get fired and not get paid for that day’s work. You still have to pay the nanny, though, so it’s a big money loss. Adults can not get by not eating like children can. Children honestly can survive on nothing but school lunches, but adults need to eat at least a little bit before work.

Children usually come home with a want to do their homework or learn homework. I had Chrissy help the one that had this want with his homework. I waited for the one that did not have this want. If you let the kid sleep the night and then wake up in the morning, the child will usually have the want to do the homework. The children usually rolled a want to gain either a mechanical or creativity skill point on the activity table. This increased their fun, earned them skills, and kept their aspiration score up. The activity table was a very successful to keeping them happy. Between the activity table and doing homework, and then eventually bringing home A+s, it was VERY easy to keep the children in platinum.

I had Agnes (toddler) focus on gaining skills using the activity table as well. It takes a long time to learn toddler skills, and it drains both the toddler and the parent. She was able to keep herself platinum gaining skills with occasional tickling or snuggling. She was potty trained right before she became a child. I worried some on losing the lifetime aspiration benefit points (freetime) from not having her learn the toddler skills (learn to talk, learn to walk, learn nursery rhyme), but I honestly don’t think it would have been possible.

Both the toilet and the television broke the second day. I misinterpreted the rules to think that Chrissy couldn’t fix them. They actually say that she couldn’t fix them if she had one mechanical point already. Regardless, fixing the television would have probably killed her, so in either case she needed someone to fix it for her. So much for my strategy of buying the television so that Chrissy could gain fun and learn cooking. Chrissy was exhausted, hungry, and in need of fun. I had her try to seduce Gilbert Jacquet. He was to be her first love, and then she could influence him to fix it for her. Unfortunately, the only way I could get her enough influence was to have them woohoo, and that took a lot of relationship building. Chrissy passed out from exhaustion A LOT.

Chrissy took a job available in the next paper as a cement mixer in the architecture career. Coming home from work with that paycheck was enough to pay for the nanny that day, but it didn’t add into the family funds until the nanny had already declared “what do you mean you don’t have enough to pay me” and stole the bookcase. Obviously, I had to replace that right away.

A couple of items that I missed the most in this challenge and wished I had the money for early on were a bathtub to bathe the toddler, a changing table (I was so sick of the toddler always being in pajamas instead of everyday, but could not fix it), and a wardrobe to have sims change clothes (sims had to take a shower to change to everyday). I should have let the toddler mess a diaper so that I could change her and increase her hygiene, but I didn’t want to risk losing that potty training time. Agnes spent most of her toddler days with bottomed out hygiene. The one time I thought she would be okay to mess a diaper was when the nanny was there. I was sure she would finally get her hygiene up, but wouldn’t you know it, it was the first and only time I ever saw a nanny take a toddler to the potty.

Agnes grew-up platinum from a toddler to a child, thanks to the activity table.

Chrissy finally got Gilbert to fall in love with her and she had enough influence points to have him repair the toilet and television. Of course he electrocuted himself on the television, but he was interested in woohooing Chrissy anyway. You aren’t going to believe this, but I rolled a 10 (out of 100) on Chrissy’s first woohoo, so she had to try for baby and got pregnant by Gilbert. This actually turned out to be an advantage to strategy, because Chrissy got to stay home for maternity leave and still got paid. The days fell just right so that she could stay home Saturday and Sunday when the children were home from school, so she didn’t have to pay for a nanny that weekend and still got paid from work. It worked out perfectly! I suggest getting your sim pregnant on Thursday night. Chrissy went to work and got promoted on Friday, then had Saturday and Sunday on maternity leave. Chrissy gave birth to Christine on Monday morning. By the way, Gilbert has beautiful genetics. His hair is naturally blond, died black.

Pete, Rick, and Agnes all eventually grew-up platinum into teenagers. I chose their aspirations based off of characterization from the book again. Pete was popularity, Rick was family, and Agnes was knowledge. I highly recommend choosing knowledge if you are choosing for strategy. Knowledge sims will have wants that will match your wants. You want them skilling to get into college and max out skills for points. It’s harder to keep other teens happy and meet your goals. I still recommend letting your teen sims date. They get easy aspiration boosts from dates, they get boosts to all of their needs, which is very helpful, and if you let them have first kiss and go steady, etc, they increase their lifetime aspiration bar. Go steady had a bigger boost to the lifetime aspiration bar than keeping a sim platinum for several days did.

My plants completely died in winter. I couldn’t keep them alive without a greenhouse. This strategy was a complete failure. I got no produce from it and it cost me money and time to keep the plants. Wait until at least spring to start a garden, and even then, I’m not sure that it’s worth it.

I wanted to have the teens take turns missing school and staying home with the baby, so that I wouldn’t have to pay for a nanny. This didn’t work. One teen (Rick) would not leave for school with the baby there, even if his brother was staying home. I let Rick be the one to stay home with the baby, which worked out because Chrissy had one day off from work when Rick could go to school and keep his grade up. Then the weekend was in there and then Christine became a child, so I didn’t have to pay for a nanny that entire time. Rick got one C+, but was able to get back to an A+ fast enough.

Things really started turning around for Chrissy when she brought home a friend from work. Unfortunately he was a married sim from my prosperity, so I wouldn’t let her date him, but I had them go on outings. Since he was at the top of the architecture career, each outing resulted in her getting a promotion. She just got promotion after promotion with absolutely no skills. If you get the outing score to the top, then the sim will get a promotion the next day. One strategy that might be worth trying in this challenge is creating a popularity sim as your single parent and giving them the lifetime aspiration benefit of bringing home more friends from work. You could then use outings to easily get promotions that way.

I had NO luck trying to get my teens jobs. Rick had to quit his job the first day because I couldn’t have him and Pete go to work before Chrissy came home, even though they would pass each other in the driveway. Pete got fired from his job the first day due to a bad chance card. Since they don’t make that much, it seemed to make more sense to have them focus on skill building to get into college and earn points for maxing skills.

I let Agnes buy a restorable car to work on her mechanical skill. She was able to earn fun while working on mechanical, but it was draining on her and it did not take her very long to restore it. Since you can’t sell it once it’s made, it really wasn’t worth the money I spent purchasing it. But, it did give me a back-up method to get to work in case Chrissy ever missed the car pool. And, it was a new place for her to woohoo.

Christine grew-up platinum into a child as well. She learned to talk and was potty trained. I'm not sure how much of a benefit having her learn to talk was, but it was doable this time around. She spent most of her toddler time learning mechanical on the activity table.

Chrissy continued to sleep her way around town, and had five simultaneous lovers. The children all found her behavior repugnant.

I had my teens focus on skilling to keep their aspiration high, get into college, and earn points. I had to let Rick get a steady girlfriend to keep himself happy, and sometimes I had to give them small wants so they would roll up a skill want, but for the most part I could keep them platinum just skilling. Pete, Rick, and Agnes all got to go to college with scholarships in grades, mechanical, creativity, and logic. They all transitioned platinum. Agnes (the knowledge sim) actually managed to max out 3 skills.

The challenge still isn’t over for me. I still have Christine to get through her teen years, and wouldn’t you know, Chrissy just got pregnant by Gilbert again (not by my choice, another dice roll). So, I still have lots of fun to have with this family.


Platinum age transitions (9) +18

Maxed skills (4) +8

Kids to college (3) +15

Pregnancy resulting in single child (1) +10

Sharing story with others +10

Current Total 61

I will of course get more points (Chrissy’s current pregnancy for sure) once I finish the challenge.

Review of Challenge

I found this challenge to be really fun to start off with. I loved the money challenge part of it. I also liked not being able to use aspiration reward objects and really having to work for anything you needed. It was fun coming up with the strategy for survival.

The only negative I will mention is that it got a little boring towards the end for me. It was just school, skill, sleep. Repeat. It got a little monotonous for me. But, it might also be because I’m use to switching houses more often than that. I might try it again (once I finish this one) and not allow myself to use dates or outings for promotions. That would make it much harder. Or maybe I’ll try focusing more on trying to get the teens toward their lifetime wants.


  1. I loved your story. It's one of the more challenging "challenges" I've completed.

  2. I guess it's because I was more focused on completing the challenge than earning points that I didn't get more children. You had an interesting strategy that worked well. I wish I'd had the time to do outings, but my mom was too drained to do anything but eat and sleep for the first half of the challenge.

  3. I don't know if you read my N & D blog, but I also found the early years to be the most interesting. I took a different tack--I never bought a TV, just had them play together for fun, and that seemed to work okay.

    I got bored when my oldest child left for college, and haven't finished the last years, although finally they have enough money to get by, so it should be a breeze.

  4. I was just checking out the nickle and dime challenge rules on the sims 2 bbs and reading people's stories. I liked your story and one thing that really had me laughing out (very) loud was your picture of an electrocuted Gilbert romancing Chrissy. Thank you for sharing your story. It was very fun to read. I generally prefer funny stories. :D