Sims 3 Colony Challenge

This is a variant of the original Sims 3 Colony Challenge found here. This variant was done by Socks & Knightwraith after we started playing the original one and liked most of it. We just wanted to introduce our own little tweaks... You will need Sims 3 up through at least Ambitions AND you will need the Prius Pack from the Sims store (it's a free download). We encourage those of you with Seasons to muck about with the seasons on your "planet", and we highly recommend downloading the Ceres Isle world (created by owl_face (or owl face); s/he comments on the original Colony Challenge thread). If you do not download and use Ceres Isle, you will have to start a new game world and delete ALL townie homes, community lots, rabbitholes, etc. Nothing but blank lots - no parks, no nothing (Lunar Lakes works well for this, if you have that one).

The Setup:

You are part of the crew on a survey ship, inspecting new planets for habitablility. There aren't many such planets, and your captain presses on, further and further from the spacelanes, in the hope of a good find, and the bounty that goes with it. Finally there is a world that looks hopeful. A small survey team heads planetside, with their tents and prefab lab facilities, to investigate more closely. Only hours later, something goes horribly wrong on the main ship. An explosion in the engine room? Whatever it was, many lives are lost, and wreckage rains from the sky above the survey camp.

The survey team and their minimal facilities are now the only hope of survival in this unknown environment. No one knows when help will arrive - or if. You are a very long way from civilization as you know it, off the maps and without communications. It is quickly discovered that, while the planet may be habitable, it is by no means ideal for human comfort. Radiation levels increase sharply at night, making it unsafe for anyone to be outdoors after dark. Packaged rations are limited. Your sims must scour the area for supplies, at risk of life and limb. There will be plenty of trial and plenty of error.

Home Lot Setup

This is your base (aside from any starting advantages your team gives you). It has power enough for the lights, the computer, the fridge, and one more electronic device that you might be able to build/salvage later (but that you probably won't start with). You may add windows and doors as necessary. And yes, space'll be tight. Consider it...inspiration to get out and explore. You may landscape the lot if you wish. Use money cheats during this stage if you like. No home pond unless you have a surveyor. No fencing unless you have a soldier.

Your base needs power. You start with 1 Windmill and 1 Solar Panel. Until and unless one of your colonists maxes Inventing, you will never have more than 1 Windmill and 1 Solar Panel. You can build your base as large as your resources allow, but you won't be able to increase your appliances or have more lights.

Solar Panels can run 2 lights and 1 footprint's worth of appliances/electronics (i.e., a fridge, a computer, etc.), whereas Windmills run 1 light and 2 footprint's worth of appliances/electronics.

Starting Team

Your sims may be members of the survey team, or survivors from the main ship. Roll dice, or use an online random-number app, to determine your initial sims. If you get the same specialist twice, you may roll again. Start with a minimum of 4 sims, and a maximum of 6. All the founding sims should be YA or Adult. They should not be related to each other. Appearance, traits, etc. are up to you. Non-human life-states are at your whim, but most will probably take the challenge out of the challenge.

Team Member Specialty Starting Bonus (founders only)
Surveyor Water plumbing for an extra 5x5-tile area (pond, pool, bathroom)
Geologist Rocks, Metals start with sculpting station
Botanist Plants gain gardening skill without penalty
Biologist Animals, Insects start with 3 buydebug plants
Soldier Defense build fencing, leave lot without penalty
Medic Healing no fatalities at home (rolls of 6 are normal injuries)
Bridge Officer Governance add a junkyard (the wreckage of your ship) to the town
Cartographer Mapping start with an easel or drafting table
Engineer Construction start with an extra room, up to 5x5 tiles
Caterer Cooking start with a stove or grill
Technician Electronics start with inventing bench
Cultural Officer Art, Music may sell every 2nd crafted item
Shuttle Pilot Exploration start with one motorized vehicle or two bicycles
Records Clerk Paperwork funds after move-in are raised to $1000
Remember, bonuses like the Botanist's apply ONLY to that particular sim (only the Botanist can learn Gardening without penalty). Once your team is ready, move them in, using money cheats if necesary. Add any founding items you are entitled to. Then, reduce their funds to $100 - unless you have a clerk to fiddle the books.

Something to Think About When Making Your Team: You may have ONE founder who has the Lucky trait (and one ONLY). If your Lucky Sim wakes up with the Feeling Lucky moodlet, you may, at your discretion, re-roll one of their penalty rolls that day. You may only re-roll ONE penalty roll and you may only re-roll ONCE for that day. No moodlet, no option for re-roll.


This is an alien environment. Everything is unknown, and there are many dangers. Fortunately, the team learns quickly! As their skills and knowledge grow, the risks will be less. Every time you try something new, there is a chance of failure. When your sims leave the home lot, anything can happen to them:

Picking flowers/gathering gems does not incur a penalty roll, but if you pick up a space rock of any size, you must immediately Analyze it. If the space rock's value is greater than or equal to the initial estimated value, no penalty roll; however, if the game tells you that the rock is worth LESS THAN the initial estimated value, that means the rock is radioactive and decaying and you must make an immediate penalty roll.

You cannot be injured learning from books, from the computer (Writing), or while learning Painting, Charisma, or Logic. Because, really, that's just silly. Learning these skills in these ways NEVER incurs a penalty roll. Learning any other skills in any other ways means that, every time a colonist skills up, you must make a penalty roll to see if they injured themselves. (For example, learning Handiness from the book does not mean you have to roll, but learning Handiness from fixing the shower DOES.)

Each time a sim does a penalty activity, roll a die (D6). For leaving the lot, the roll can be made any time after they leave and before they return home. Group activites are a single roll for the group. If you have an appropriate specialist, they can protect the group they are with. Penalties stack - if a sim leaves to go fishing, roll once. If they catch new types of fish while out, make a roll for each unknown species. If they gain fishing skill, make a roll. However, if you send a biologist fishing with them, both sims may gain fishing skill freely because of the biologist's expertise. Toddlers and children do not need to make penalty rolls for skilling or attending school.

Odd numbers on a penalty roll are safe, even numbers mean your sim was adversely affected. Sims 'poisoned' or 'injured' by an activity must spend time recovering. Immediately, cancel any queued actions for that sim, and send them home if they are elsewhere. They must immediately be sent to rest and recover. To do this, turn on testingcheatsenabled ("testingcheatsenabled true") and drop their energy while simultaneously raising all their other motives (Hunger, Bladder, etc.). Once they're in bed, extend the sleep icon to its full time.

When they finally wake up and get out of bed, drop all their motives EXCEPT Energy to yellow or orange level (depending on how mean you want to be), and let them fend for themselves (do not tell them to go eat, use the toilet, etc. and just let them take care of things). Once all their motive meters are green and it is at least Noon of the following day, you may resume full control of them.

Rolling a 6 means a sim may be fatally wounded or poisoned. Roll again - another six means death. You must then kill, kick out or otherwise remove the sim any way you prefer, but they may never be playable again. If the incident affects a group, roll again to discover which sim is killed. 'Dead' sims must be removed from play within 24 sim-hours of the incident.

Any sim with Athletic 10 may leave the lot without a penalty roll. They do not have to be a soldier. However, they can only protect themselves, and any other sims on the outing will still have to make a penalty roll. Everyone still has to make required penalty rolls for activities during the outing.

Furnishings can be placed outside during the day, but must be brought in at dusk. Anything left outdoors overnight will be damaged by radiation, marauding alien wildlife, etc. Damaged items must be deleted. Build items, including pools, are exempt because they are made from local materials. Plants and animals are indigenous, and therefore also exempt. Vehicles are space-grade, and do not have to be garaged. If your survey team begins with tents, these will last one week before they are destroyed by the elements. After that, replace them or find a better solution!

The team will have to produce their own food. Supplies in the survey camp provide enough for 'quick meals' only. To cook, you must farm. Once there is a grocery store, it will be possible to purchase such luxuries as meat and cheese.

Expanding Your Base

There are measures to keep funds down, especially in the beginning. If you can't afford walls for a new room you want, think of it as reflecting the difficulty of collecting building materials from the environment.

All object costs are measured by how many tiles are required for them in Build/Buy mode, with the following exceptions:

Leveling Up

Once a colonist maxes their required skill, the entire colony benefits from their expertise. After the founders, any Teen or older who maxes a skill may take on the connected specialist role. Sims may not combine specialisations, but may choose to take on a different specialist role if they max another skill. Not every sim has to be a specialist.

When a specialist dies, their advantage is lost unless a new sim takes on the maintenance of that area. If you lose your botanist, for instance, farming becomes risky again. No new lots may be started without an appropriate master specialist, nor may new plumbing or electrics be installed. Established lots other than the current household are not affected by the loss of a specialist.

If your founding specialists are not what you would like, train them for a different role! So you might start with a caterer, getting a stove, but then train them in medicine so your sims will live longer. However, founders are only eligible for their original starting advantage.

Team Member Skill Required Permanent Advantage
Surveyor Handiness town plumbing system for all lots
Geologist Sculpture new items are of local materials and may be left outside
Botanist Gardening any sim may garden without penalty rolls
Biologist Fishing any sim may fish without penalty rolls
Soldier Athletic any sim may leave the home lot without a penalty roll
Medic Charisma no fatal rolls for skilling
Bridge Officer Writing enables new rabbitholes, one per week
Cartographer Painting enables new residential lots, one per week
Engineer Logic allows multi-storey buildings
Caterer Cooking allows new community lots, one per week
Technician Inventing can now build Windmills & Solar Panels
Cultural Officer Music allows new community lots, one per week
Shuttle Pilot Athletic allows new residential lots, one per week
Records Clerk Logic allows new rabbitholes, one per week

New Lots, New Sims

New playable sims can be added as necessary, but don't keep their money! New sims added before the birth of the colony's first child are founding sims, qualifiying for their starting advantage. Later additions must max a specialist skill to gain any advantage for the colony. You can marry in service sims etc. if you like after you have City Hall.


Eventually, this empty planet will become home. Once the population is too high to be worth keeping track of specialists, or you have all the homes and facilities you want, the challenge is finished. Or will your colonists build relationships with alien lifeforms, and benefit from their knowledge? If you have WA, travellers could be interacting with indigenous civilizations, or stumbling upon other settlements of survivors. Perhaps the world is not so empty after all.