July 11th, 2010


The Property Ladder Challenge

I have spent some time prototyping an original "city challenge" for Sims2, that is to say, a challenge that is about a whole neighborhood rather than a family. Similar to the "Prosperity" and "Build a City" challenges that I have done before. It is actually loosely based on another challenge ("Boomtown") I saw and tested but quickly discarded. It was way too much work, based almost entirely on the Open for Business expansion. This one, however, is based on the Apartment Life expansion, although I suppose it can be played without it.

As implied by the name, it is roughly based on the British concept of the "property ladder", where you trade up to new homes as you can afford it. (However, you are not actually required to move more than two times, depending on how big a lot you buy when you first become a homeowner.) In the imaginary society where this challenge takes place, employment and education and even marriage depend to some degree on where you live. It's all about the money. The happiness of your sims is optional, although of course to me it is important. Besides, happy sims are productive sims. ^_^

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This challenge is pretty single-mindedly capitalist, but as always you can play it whatever way you like and have fun. I feel that it scales quite well as it grows, since you get new strategy elements later in the game: Construction investment, balancing the values of subhoods and eventually choosing your clusters. You will definitely have to break out the spreadsheet if you play long enough, but not until the game is starting to become routine. It starts very simple and has a leisurely learning curve. This was my overall design goal, so I am happy.