SIMS 4 AND THE APOCALYPSE #6

At this point in the challenge, I had complete a third of the careers. Frequently thrown under the bus of poverty, constantly under the yoke of bad moods, it was amazing that I hadn’t had a single Dead-End Sim. Thankfully, my pace to progress was about to experience a revolution.

The joint powers of Keisha and Evangeline’s peaked careers was game-changing. Suddenly I was no longer limited to inviting only one other Sim to join the family each generation. I no longer had to scour the street for a likely Wastelander, someone young enough to stand a chance at narrowly succeeding to bring this challenge one step closer to completion. I no longer had to perform manic juggling maneuvers between raising children to their full potential, and ensuring their elders went to work in the best possible mood under the worst possible circumstances.

Now, I could look through a catalog of highly trained operatives. The Gallery had opened its doors, and they were a beacon of hope to my Sim-addled brain.

Meet August, a highly skilled Sim by BoshtetN7.

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I immediately set him into the Astronaut career, with plans to make him the Interstellar Smuggler to Sally’s Space Ranger. She had no time for romance, of course. Her father and uncle were getting up there in years, and she needed all the mentoring she could get.

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Brice didn’t didn’t need any mentoring, but he still took the time to bond with his uncle Antony in meaningful ways.

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I was getting pretty worried about Antony. While his twin had achieved Hall of Famer status before there was grey in his hair, Antony was still one level short of peaking his bodybuilding career. His life had been longer than most of my Sims, due to his allegedly healthy, active lifestyle. I thought he was doomed when he went to work with a full life meter.

But sure enough, he came home as my Mr. Solar System. Goodnight, sweet prince.

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It wasn’t long before Keisha and Ryker followed him to the afterlife. I was down to a house of 4.

Which meant I could bring in The Girls.

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These are Maimouth’s Mean Girls sans CC via CrazyShan123.  I sat and pondered what these teenagers would be best suited for in the apocalyptic wasteland. Karen would be a Barista. Gretchen would go into Fast Food, Regina into Retail, and Cady into Manual Labour (sorry, Cady, but you seemed the least likely to care about breaking a nail). Soon I was going to have pizza and coffee and it was going to be magical.

Around this time Sally finally looked beyond the weights and saw the man breaking a sweat across from her in the gym. A coy glance here, a flirtatious gesture there, an encouraging smile from her father’s voyeuristic ghost, and before we knew it…

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Ah, love. Those space voyagers really know how to do it.

Between school and short work hours, The Girls took their time peaking their careers. Poor August. I’m not sure if he’s more sad about having fish tacos for dinner (again) or the endless gossip polluting the living room.

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But oh, that sweet day of victory finally arrived. In rapid succession the four teens polished off their careers, unlocking a multitude of petty abilities that I never realized I used so much as when I couldn’t. Hallelujah, we could do the shopping on a Tuesday! Grady loves the smell of freshly brewed Earl Grey in the morning.

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Since the four were no longer needed and were just taking up valuable space that could be occupied by other, qualified individuals, I put them in the basement.

And by basement I mean dungeon. Sorry Cady. You did great.

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One by one they… disappeared. But I had to keep the household to capacity if I wanted to be free of this challenge. So, Sally was soon expecting. But neither of us were expecting twins! (I wonder if going into space had an effect on the pregnancy). Lala and Sandra. By this point I had cleared all the really impactful careers. The ones I had left, while they may have made a big difference early on in the game, didn’t matter so much now. I decided that Lala would become a Secret Agent while Sandra would be an author. Still, it would take a while to raise them. Once again, the Gallery provided someone to help speed things along.

Denice (“Natural Beauty” by suvd) has a gift for music. Every wasteland needs music, it keeps up the moral. Fallout taught us that by playing Louis Armstrong while we crawled through ghoul infested subway tunnels. There’s Denice now, she’s the redhead.

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Brice finally became The Boss and celebrated his birthday on the same day. Lucky guy; he’s one the few who will actually get to enjoy some sort of retirement.

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Sally and August soon followed in peaking their careers. Followed by little Grady becoming a Supreme Villain. Good thing too, he’s getting pretty old… Hey! Wait a second! This career branch actually has 11 levels?! Did Pinstar ever address this?? (He did, you just have to go through his answers in the comments). Through gritted teeth, I held off my Epic House Reno until he was promoted to Triple Agent, just in case.

When August croaked he had the biggest funeral in Sim History. Who knew he was so popular, the whole neighborhood turned out.

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I brought in another one of BoshtetN7’s creations: Desmond. Master Mixologist to be.

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Desmond was already fairly skilled, so by the time the twins were grown he had already peaked his career. He and Sandra hit it off, and soon enough they had their very own Jerome. He would grow up to be a painter.

Grady finally made it to Triple Agent. I was so excited; I had big plans for making my Wasteland Sanctuary a true bunker. I kept the outside of the house mostly the same, but completely revamped the inside. I spent hours on it. It was the most fun I had had in generations. I’ll save you before and afters, and skip right to the afters of the house overall and my new and improved basement (you know, that big room crammed with skill equipment that I never show you).

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Each room of the basement is designed to evoke a suitable mood, and each is equip with the corresponding skill equipment. That tiny room between the gym and the studio is just a zen-bath, though. Below the basement is still the dungeon, same as ever. See, there’s Desmond and Gerome enjoying a focused game of chess!

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Gerome soon had a little brother, Misha. He would be an Investor when he grew up, so that they could sell his brother’s paintings. Denice peaked, and I maintained my momentum by importing one of my own creations at this point too, Stella Evans, who would be a Patron of the Arts.

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And… that’s it. I stared at these latest three. And I knew. I knew that it was a pointless circle. I had gotten my last high from the recent reno. To peak a career in Sims 4 requires so much micro-managing of mood and skill building that it had killed all joy I had for the game. I write this final post in October, but I last played Sims in July. Three months ago. I had pushed myself to finish the challenge so hard that I felt like a kid after they eat all their Halloween candy when they get home (and I’m talking trick-or-treating scores like I used to get, at least two pillowcases full).

Pinstar, thank you for developing a series of challenges that I have played since Sims 2. This challenge was satisfying at first, giving me a real thrill when I beat the odds and my family survived another day. But eventually, that thrill was negated with easier conditions, and then altogether outweighed by the tedium of promotion-chasing.

I think I’m done now.

Happy Simming,

Laura

Sleepybirchtree’s final score: 20 out of 25 careers.

SIMS 4 AND THE APOCALYPSE #5

In our last episode, all of the career-pursuing adults in my family had died off. All I had to work with was a retired-Babysitter and his three teenage siblings. It was time to add another member to the family. I immediately sent Dante out into the night to speak with the neighboring Wastelanders.

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Since I had so many Sims and had unlocked Management (which meant I didn’t have to worry about carefully timing pregnancies to avoid missing work), I wasn’t too concerned with finding someone young on the YA meter. Apparently it was Formal Night out on the street, and Dante quickly befriended a well-dressed lady. When he asked her to move in with them… we found out that she had a daughter. Who was a teenager. Who was happy to join the household without her mother.

“Moving in a teen Sim isn’t that bad,” said my Moral Compass. “It’s not like on your second play-through, when you used this same loophole to move in a child for your Founder to raise as his wife.”

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And so, Keisha joined the family! I adore her big hair. Something about it and her golden sweater made me see Entertainment in her future.

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We soon had a problem paying the bills again. I didn’t think ahead when Rigoberto reached the top of his Startup career; I rashly upgraded the kitchen and the beds and whathaveyou to the best I could buy. Unfortunately, expensive did not mean unbreakable in the case of the fridge. Or fire-proof in the case of the stove. I spent what little money we had left over to buy a cheap stove and shoved it in an unused square.

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Between Dante (who was now pursuing a career as a mediocre artist) and Evangeline (who had joined the criminal career in hopes of balancing the bad luck surrounding her life), it wasn’t long before the electricity and water were shut off. The pressure was on Ryker and Antony to hurry up and grow up.

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A few days of stench and suffering later, the two celebrated (sans cake), and joined the athletics career as mascots. I dig their uni-llama-sus outfits.

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With four working adults, the bills were paid and a very happy mailman informed us that the water and power were to be turned on again! Hurray!

As part of her job, Evageline had to perform mischief actions. Of, course this meant that when the street was lean with neighbors, her brothers got the tail end of her practical jokes. Poor Dante.

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Keisha grew up and started entertaining. Ryker finally made his move (poor guy had been smitten with her since she moved in!) and they fell in love. It wasn’t long before they had a bouncing babe of their own, little Brice.

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Too paranoid to invite anyone to the house, Antony filled the hole in his heart by focusing on his bodybuilding career. He made time to looking after Dante’s fitness, too.

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Soon their nephew was helping with that quest, using his annoying nature to motivate Dante to sweat off those pounds!

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The years rolled by. Dante became an old man. Ryker became a Hall of Famer, suddenly allowing the whole family to spend those aspiration points they had accumulated.  He and Keisha had a daughter, named Sally, who looked to the stars and knew just what she wanted to be when she grew up.

But astronauts require a very diverse range of skills. Sally spent most of her childhood playing with the chemistry set… something which often put her whole family, including her unborn baby brother, at risk.

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Her big brother, meanwhile, never outgrew his… annoyingness. He aggravated every Sim he met. I couldn’t stand him. He was destined to be a criminal, and there was no stopping it. Actually, an end to paying off the mafia every time the bills came due would be a huge relief…

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Keisha became a true Show Stopper, a master of the comedic arts. Not that any of that mattered once Little Grady was born and the household hit capacity. Since his elder siblings had already started to hone themselves for their vocations, it only seemed fair that he be the one to tackle this problem. Grady was going to grow up to be a Villain.

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Evangeline’s bad luck almost made her a dead-end. With her life meter at its max, she finally became an Oracle.

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And then she died.

I’m not sure what became of Dante. I think he died in the basement working on one of his “masterpieces”.

SIMS 4 AND THE APOCALYPSE #3

First off, sorry for the rather long and unannounced disappearance on my part. I moved, and am only just getting to the point where I can pick up my hobbies again. If you care to know more about the situation, you can go read the comic I made about it on Monsters and Molecules. Now, without further ado, what’s new with with my Apocalypse family?!


The Apocalypse truly seems to be taking its toll on the community. I noticed something strange roaming the neighborhood, multiple something’s, even. Children. As far as the eye could see. 04-26-15_10-56 PM I was so surprised by the sudden abundance that I used my omnipotent powers to take a peek at the world’s household management. None of the children had families. The world was full of orphans. I should have guessed that this could be a possibility, seeing as how neither of my boys (Rigo and Dalton) had reached adulthood before joining the orphan club. But REALLY? None of these orphans even had teenagers to look out for them, they were completely alone. … I wonder if it would be against the rules to set up an Orphanage… it could be handy, in times when the child population is lean and you have a Social Butterfly in the house. By afternoon, only elder Sims roamed the streets, punctuated periodically by the occasional YA male. 04-26-15_11-01 PM I may look into completing the Oracle career sooner rather than later (to plop into existence a Sim of the desired sex to further the family line), but  first I needed to find a lady to neutralize all of the testosterone in this house! I was looking for a teen– I know that sounds creepy, but hear me out. One of the boys would befriend her to the point where she visited every day. Then we’d wait until she aged up and voila, ask her to move in. By having only just turned into a YA, she would have plenty of time to reach the top of her career. After several days of waiting (hovering over the neighborhood like a hawk waiting for prey), a teenage girl strolled by. Rigo ran out to greet her, and they talked late into the night. I tried to move her in then and there (I can try, can’t I?) but the game wouldn’t allow it. I just have to hope their friendship is enough to lure her back… 04-26-15_11-50 PM What is with this girl and only showing up at night? She and Rigo became best friends, only then did we find out she’s Evil. That should pair nicely with Rigo’s Good trait… not. I had forgotten that you can Research on the computer to spark moods like “Inspiration”! This will help Dalton pursue his Journalism career immensely– and the sooner Rigo can have a shower, the better! 04-27-15_5-23 PM I had been playing for a while, and I wanted to achieve something before calling it quits for the night. I decided to invite the first YA female I saw to join the household. She may not reach the top of her career, but at least the family will continue. Meet Ashleigh Orlando, fellow Good Sim! 04-27-15_12-09 AM

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Though any relationship with her nearly ended before it started. Rigo REALLY needs to bathe.

Turns out she was good in many ways! She already had levels in almost a dozen different skills, and was only a couple of days into her young adulthood!

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Rigo and Ash’s hobbies include playing chess together and mourning Travis’s death.

Remembering a comment made by Judith129, and the family’s most recent financial troubles due to Tamyrn having to quit work for the boys, I decided to start Ashleigh out in the Business Management career. That way (once she peaked it), she could continue working even when preggers.

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The stove caught fire. The boys fled the house AFTER Ash put it out.

I don’t know if it was because she was starting at level 1, that the business career is insanely easy, or that “bored” is secretly the magic mood, but Ashleigh very nearly earned herself a promotion on her first day of work.

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Rigo and Ashleigh, tense from work but nothing a quick game of Blicblock won’t fix!

On the other hand, I find Journalism to be insanely difficult. It plummets the moods (which are brutal to pick up again, when the items necessary to satisfy your Sims’ most basic needs are locked), and the daily task (interview people and then write articles) is time consuming. At least I know that Dalton will peak after Rigo, so we’ll be able to immediately get the best showers available!

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Dalton will be lucky if he makes it to bed. No daily tasks for him tonight 😦

04-27-15_11-19 AM  Mourning Travis’s urn became a serious problem. I watched Ash leave the house and make it as far as the sidewalk on her way to work. I went to check on Rigo, who was doing some quick research to get in a logical mood before heading out as well. Next thing I know, there’s Ash. Crying over Travis’ urn. She didn’t even know him! 04-27-15_11-52 AM Ash and Rigo hit it off as she was practicing her charisma! Hurray! Now to just get them to the top of their careers and roll in the next generation of Neighborhood Heroes…

Sims 4 and the Apocalypse #2

Hello again! Time for an update on my poor Apocalypse family.

Something that I love about the Sims is, no matter how many times you play through the “same” story, it always finds new ways to surprise you. As this is my sixth (give or take) attempt at this challenge, I really thought I had things figured out. Everything went swimmingly for my founding generation; both Tamryn and Travis managed to reach the peak of their careers (chef and eSport, respectively). Their sons, Rigoberto (Rigo) and Dalton were doing well with their studies…

And then Travis died.

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Is it just me, or is that Sim on Death’s tablet wearing scuba gear?

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The next morning, Nina Caliente (who was not friends with anyone in the household) swung by to die in the front yard. Her expression reminds me of one of those “shamed pet” photos.

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Despite Travis and Tamryn making up for lost time in those final days, she really didn’t seem phased by her husbands passing. No time to grieve in the Apocalypse, I suppose.

Since I hadn’t been very good at counting the days for a safe (aka, no-risk-of-losing-your-job) pregnancy, Tamryn had to quit her job as Celebrity Chef when she had Rigo. Now that Travis was gone, so was their only form of income. To help fend off the mob, she took up a Business job that she worked at until her dying day.

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Shortly after their mother passed, Dalton aged up. He is the spitting image of his father, sweater and all.

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Now that they’re both teens, the boys spend as much of their time as possible working on the skills that will help them later in life. Unfortunately, Tamryn’s short time working did not earn enough to pay the bills, and the boys were hard pressed. Rigo tried hacking and doing freelance work, but 48 hours later, the worst happened.

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The power was shut off. This meant that neither Rigo nor Dalton could work on their skills! Rigo was still days away from becoming an adult. Another 24 hours went by, and their water was shut off too.

On a sidenote, can I mention how much I LOVE this new spin to bills on The Sims? It is not only more realistic than the repo-man, but way more fun to play with.

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Finally, stinky and sick to death of socializing with his younger brother, Rigo grew up. He took a job in the Tech career, and earned enough money to pay the bills. (Here’s a tip: if your Sim does well enough in high school to start their adult careers at level 3, they will get ALL of their promotional bonuses for those levels immediately upon starting their job!).

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Of course, things can’t seem to go well for these two brothers for more than it takes them to sleep. The kitchen caught fire on Tuesday (why is it ALWAYS A TUESDAY?!) which meant they had to eat salads for the next 5 days. Here’s to hoping they continue to get promoted, at that the overly-male population of their neighborhood evens out long enough for them to find a “roommate”.

 

Sims 4 and the Apocalypse #1

Sims is a fantastic franchise. Maybe I’m biased. Maybe that’s the addiction talking. But ever since I watched my friend plop a second floor atop the Newbie family’s house, 15 years ago, I have been hooked. It offers endless possibilities: want to live out that tween crush? Build a beautiful mansion with a secret mad scientist’s laboratory? How about a run down shack in the middle of the desert, with no food or running water?

Make-believe. Architect. Challenges. And there is no challenge that gets me as excited as Pinstar’s Apocalypse challenge.

The general premise of the challenge is that your Sim family has to rebuild humanity. Pretty much everything is “locked” (from fridges to emotional auras), and the only way to get access is to reach the top of an associated career.

Seems easy, right? Especially for someone who played similar challenges in Sims 2 and Sims 3.

Nope.

It took me 4 tries to get to a point where my family didn’t crash and burn by the 3rd generation. I’m writing this blog mainly to provide some tips and tricks that I have picked up, to help others to play through this infuriating enjoy this tactical challenge. I strongly suggest you familiarize yourself with the challenge’s official rules, otherwise some of what I say may not make sense.

I should warn you that this challenge destroyed my concept of Ethics like Game of Thrones destroyed my Compassion. I only hope that you find some of my suggestions amusing, at the very least.

Laura’s Top 5 Tips for Surviving the Simpocalypse:

1) Basic needs come first. This includes hunger, hygiene and fun. While surviving on BBQ is doable, just remember that the more time you spend fishing, the less time you have for skill-building and washing your hands in the sink until the soap has crept up to your armpits (which, btw, really makes me miss the “sponge bath” interaction from Sims 3).

2) Be prudent with your population. I thought I was being brilliant when I had a household of 8, considering that any one Sim can only unlock one career. However, at least one of my tries failed because I had too many Sims too fast. This may not be a problem for those with superior macro-management skills, but I could barely keep everyone fed and happy, let alone focused on skill building. I was left with an entire generation that were going to work in a huff or missing that skillpoint they needed for their promotion. Try playing with 4 Sims. Once you unlock some things, and can more efficiently deal with their needs, breed some more.

2.5) Time your pregnancies. I once made the mistake of having my Sim go into labour while at work, thus losing her job and everything she had spent her life working for. So when its time to make a baby, check your calendar. Count the days so that she’s pregnant while at work, but come the third trimester (usually 4 days after conception) she will be home. Until you unlock the Mixologist restrictions (ie, baby bottles) I strongly suggest you do not have a baby until your mama-Sim has unlocked her chosen career.

3) Choose your spouse wisely. Do a background check on your neighbors, and select only the best for your founder. Zoom out and watch the neighborhood like a hawk until they stroll by, and then swoop in and greet them. Travis Scott is excellent for a female Sim skilled in cooking, as he is already level 3 in the Tech Guru career. I have another tactic, but I am keeping it in the bag for now. When you are ready, young grasshopper.

4) Childhood isn’t a game. If you’re lucky, you will roll an relevant aspiration for your children (for this reason alone, fulfilling the teen babysitting career is amazing, because then you can choose). Say your child is a Social Butterfly– if you manage to fulfill all of the goals of this aspiration, they will learn related adult-skills (i.e. charisma) faster. If you don’t get a relevant aspiration, try to complete it anyway and roll for a new one once its done. Unfortunately, until you unlock the Space Ranger and Villain careers, the Rambunctious Scamp aspiration is kind of a dead end (nowhere to put that jungle gym). Also, get those A’s! An A in high school means you’ll start your career with at level 3.

5) Grandmother, Live-In-Nanny, House Elf. These are the Sims who have maxed out their career (often teen careers) and no longer have a purpose in life. Unless that purpose is to cook and clean and repair all of the broken sinks you are going to have.

Bonus Tip) Get the official scorecard, and add a column for the necessary skills to reach the top of the career (for example, Tech Guru – Startup: 10 Programming, 6 Charisma, 5 Video Gaming).

My Latest Attempt: Captains Log, First Entry

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Meet Tamryn: a WonderChild Sim trained specially to bring humanity back to The City of Glassbolt. She is a master of Cooking (regular and gourmet), and has several bonus traits (savant, entrepreneurial, speed cleaner, and carefree). Also, she doesn’t look like a Who, which is a huge plus in my books.

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The Apocalypse House. The screenshot was taken after after some career unlocks, thus the object seen in the lower left window. If you don’t want to build your own starter, you can find this one on the gallery (rocket pad not included).

The first few days were pretty nondescript for Tamyryn. She went to work, while I hovered over the neighborhood, on the lookout for her spouse-to-be. Thankfully she was home when he finally showed up. And it took no time for her and Travis Scott to hit it off, and for him to move in (I think he realized he didn’t stand a chance out there with only Liberty Lee and Summer Holiday to catch his fish for him).

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Alas, the two lovebirds didn’t have much time for each other. Tamryn’s career promotions were racing against her biological clock, and Travis was making up for an entire childhood wasted doing… nothing. He didn’t even have skill in video gaming.

So they got by with the occasional quick kiss and conversations over yet another plate of tofu dogs (I don’t have the Outdoors pack, so had to do the whole catch-a-fish-and-put-it-in-the-family-inventory scenario). Until, one day, after they had both left Young Adulthood far behind them, Tamryn was promoted to a Celebrity Chef! On a Tuesday! Which meant more tofu dogs for another 5 days, but at least they didn’t need to trade fish for them.

But more importantly, it meant that she could get Preggers.

4 days later, Tamryn and Travis were happy to announce the birth of their baby Rigoberto (seriously, leave the name picking to chance, it’s glorious). Rigo soon grew up and became a Wiz Kid. He also left that cradle available.

4 days later, baby Dalton.

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The boys are awesome– I was really lucky with their rolls. Rigo is Outgoing, but his fullfilled Wiz Kid aspiration gives him a boost to learning programming. Perfect Tech-Guru Startup material right there. Dalton is a Social Butterfly with some creative flare, so I have strong hopes that he will get Glassbolt’s story to the press, and some running water into Glassbolt.

All of those plans, however, hinge on their Father.

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My face matched Travis’ exactly, when I realized he was becoming an elder at only level 8 of his career. My fear was well earned— I had “lost” this challenge before when my spouse failed to reach the peak before peaking the hill. But this time, with only days left to live, Travis finally became a Champion Gamer. Thank goodness, because Rigo is already a teenager and needs to get programming! The family can now get a Gaming Mat (there is nothing about these incredibly overpowered fun-machines in the rules, but I think its safe to assume they follow the same restrictions as computers and TVs).

I hope this blurb has been helpful and/or entertaining! Stay tuned for more updates on this family and their (mis)adventures to save humanity!