Off The Grid Challenge: All You Need to Know!

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Author: Jovanna
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Do you find off-grid living appealing? If you do, then off the grid challenge is just the right spice for your gameplay! Read on to learn all about it and how to play.

off the grid challenge
Learn all about the Off the Grid challenge for the Sims 4!

What is Off The Grid Challenge?

If you choose to play this challenge, you are left on your own devices and will live like our ancestors – no plumbing and no electricity. Your survival in the game, as well as fulfilling needs, will depend on your ability to gather food and water and find alternate ways to make money. The challenge was created by SnarkyWitch!

Although it sounds similar, this is not a Off the Grid lot trait (challenge), but a challenge with a storyline and more complex objectives you are meant to meet to complete it. To learn more about the Off-the-grid lot trait (challenge), which is an in-built Sims 4 perk, go here. Now, when that’s cleared out, let’s jump into how to play off the grid challenge!

How to get Started?

Here you are, starting your off-the-grid journey with your nomadic tribe of fellow Sims. First, let’s prepare the terrain! You will do so by choosing one of the base game words (Willow Creek, Oasis Springs, Newcrest), or any of the following game packs: Windenburg, Forgotten Hollow, or Bridleton Bay. Once you are in a map view, it’s time to set up the residential and community lots. You are starting off the grid challenge with empty lots for all households, so make sure all houses are replaced with empty lots. 

Place your community lots first. You are allowed to have only one community lot in smaller worlds (less than 5 lots), and up to three community lots for bigger worlds. Although you can play with any type of community lot, it’s better to choose more useful ones, as the number of these lots is limited. Just like homes, these should also have no access to plumbing or electricity.

If a community lot of your choice requires a forbidden object, place it far out of your Sims reach (in a basement or closed four walls with no doors). Once community lots are all set, transform all other lots into residential lots for your future off the grid challenge nomads.

Creating Off-the-Grid Nomads and Moving in

Now, let’s create your nomadic tribe. CAS mode doesn’t interfere greatly with the challenge, so you can play with characters like you normally would. The only restriction to be mindful of is alien suits, as these are forbidden objects and considered high-tech stuff.

Feel free to choose any aspiration you want for off the grid challenge. However, be mindful that you won’t be able to use some objects fulfilling certain aspirations (E.g. Computer Whitz aspiration).

You are allowed to have Sims and pets of any age, but be aware that the younger your Sims are, the more complex it will be to complete the challenge since you’re going off the grid, and toddlers, kids, and pets will largely depend on you. You will have to play all your households and switch from one to another, so take your sweet time to make the characters you’ll love playing. When playing off the grid challenge, you will struggle to take care of your pets, as taking them to the vet is prohibited.

Ideally, give each household a week or so of your time, as you will have to play everyone in your little tribe. This will give you more control over the aging process for everyone involved, but it’s up to you if you want to play a family shorter or longer than that.

Game settings for the challenge

Once you are set in a world you picked for off the grid challenge, go to game settings, and set up the following preferences to gain full control over the world you’ll play for the challenge and its inhabitants:

  • Auto age(Played Sims) > Only Active Household.
  • Sim Lifespan > Normal
  • Fill Empty Houses > uncheck the box 

Although this is called off the grid challenge, it’s not explicitly mentioned that you have to activate the off-the-grid lot challenge(trait), although doing so can make it so much easier for you to turn off water and electricity on lots.

off the grid challenge rules

Living off the grid will require you to ditch the conveniences of modern life, from readily-available groceries in the fridge and having a 9 to 5 job, to ordering stuff via the internet or even using a modern bathroom and toilets. You will be playing with not only one, but a few households, and all will need to become masters of off-the-grid living.

The main goal is to have your whole town live a nomadic, off-the-grid lifestyle. The bigger the world you choose, the more challenging it will be to compete for off-the-grid objectives for all households, and it’s up to you to decide how long you want to play off the grid. So, to complete off the grid challenge, you will have to:

  1. Build off-grid homes
  2. Earn money in alternative ways
  3. Have everyone in town master practical skills to become masters of off-grid living

1. Building off-grid homes

Each household in your world of choice needs to build a home starting from an empty lot. All homes in off the grid challenge will need to be aligned with an off-the-grid policy, so no plumbing, electricity, or forbidden objects are allowed. The home will need a minimum of four walls with a roof (one room with a roof), and at least two doors. Living off the grid should be fun, so you are required to get at least 3 items that can fulfill your Sims’ daily fun meter!

  • Rooms (General Rules): If you make more than one room, be prepared to invest, as all rooms will need at least one window, have floor and wallpaper of some kind, as well as some furniture. All rooms will need off-the-grid light and all will need some decor – one clutter item, and one wall decor of your choice (crafted or purchased)
  • Bedroom: Only two Sims can share a bedroom in off the grid challenge, and each bedroom needs to have a bed, a dresser, a night table, and a light The bigger your household the more bedrooms you’ll need to build. 
  • Bathroom: Build at least one bathroom. It needs to have a bathtub, both of which need to be handmade using a woodworking table. Plus, add at least one mirror to complete the interior. 
  • Kitchen & Dining room: These can be built merged or separately. For the kitchen, use only off-the-grid kitchen appliances, such as grills, and you will need at least three counters that are free to use. The dining room off the grid challenge rules imply that you should have at least one coffee and one dining table. So, for instance, if you have a family of 8 members, make sure they all have their seats in the kitchen/dining room area. 

2. Earning money the alternative way

You will be starting your off the grid challenge journey with only 2000 in household funds. To ensure that, you will have to use cheats. First, open the dialogue box by clicking Ctrl+Shift+C, type testingcheats true, hit Enter to activate cheats, and then use the money 2000 cheat to set their household funds to 2000. These will be your starter funds if you don’t have kids or pets. If you do, you can add an extra sum to that 2000. The extra for a toddler is $500, for a child $300, and for a pet $100. So, for instance, if you have two toddlers and a cat, you can add an extra $1100. 

You will get bills, and be required to pay them as you normally would, but can choose to ignore. If off-the-grid lot challenge is on, you won’t have to deal with bills.

Since you are not allowed to use a PC, don’t have access to the internet anywhere in your chosen world, and will be required to silence your Sims phones and not use them, you won’t be able to get a job. This means that you will need to earn a living the alternative way by playing an instrument for tips, making art, and selling what they make, grow, catch and collect and find. You can sell on a flea market table, or directly from the inventory if you don’t have City Living installed for off the grid challenge.

3. How to make Sims become masters of off-the-grid living?

Living a nomadic lifestyle with off the grid challenge requires some serious life skills! This means that to survive and thrive off-grid, all your tribe members from toddlers to elderly folks will need to master some practical skills:

  • Teens-Elders: Max out at least one practical or artistic skill: Handiness, Cooking, Gourmet Cooking, Baking, Gardening, Herbalism, Painting, or any instrument but electric. If you have The Sims 4: Parenthood game pack installed, teens will also need to have one positive character value.
  • Children: Max out at least one kid’s skill (Creativity, Motor, Social, Mental)

Toddlers: Max out at least one toddler skill (Imagination, Thinking, Movement, Communication) + a potty skill during off the grid challenge

Social life and activities in Nomadic Tribe

Although things are ‘’back to the basics’’ in terms of how your Sims live their lives, their social life and hobbies won’t be challenged much. Your characters can develop skills, and pick up leisure activities, as long as they don’t involve electricity, plumbing, or forbidden objects. Once your families are settled on their lot, you can move them around, have them join another household, or get married, as long as you don’t leave their original lot empty. If you end up having an alien baby via alien abduction during off the grid challenge, just make sure it doesn’t wear a high-tech alien suit when they grow up a bit.

Having kids with fellow nomads is also allowed, except for adopting, which requires tech stuff. School life for kids will remain the same. The only difference is that your teens can now let loose and won’t be in trouble if they skip school. Since they are prohibited from using phones, all their interactions will need to be face-to-face, like in the good old days!

Traveling rules & Getting your Sims Needs Met

Living off grid, your Sims will have a difficult time meeting their needs, especially in the beginning of off the grid challenge. These are the alternative methods you’ll have to follow to keep them happy and alive:

1. Hunger & Energy

Hunger: To survive off grid, you will need to catch fish and grow plants. Cooking is limited to learned recipes that require collecting ingredients in the world, so no burgers, eggs and toast, grilled cheese or similar, so they will have no quick meals. You can cook on a campfire, a grill, barbecue drum, a wood-burning stove, and store your food in storage chests only. Only toddlers can have organic quick meals via a high chair. 

When it comes to energy needs, off the grid challenge isn’t too strict. To recharge them after a long day, get them to sleep in a wooden bed or a tent.

2. Baldder & Hygene

The only toilet available will be the one your Sims made on a woodworking table. Make sure that you buy a woodworking table as soon as you can, as you will need it to make a bath and a toilet. Until you make one, your Sims will be stinky and will have to relieve themselves the uncomfortable, natural way in the first days of playing off the grid challenge. You can also use bushes for toilets. Although they can visit any community lot you place, they are not allowed to use bathroom facilities in any of them.

3. Fun & Travel

Fun: When playing off the grid challenge, you can have all the fun you want as long as it doesn’t include electric gadgets. 

Travel: Your nomad Sims are not allowed to leave their home world, except Granite Falls (without staying overnight), where they are allowed to collect collectibles, plants and fish. Relationships with folks they meet in Granite Falls can only be maintained in person, which will be challenging, so don’t waste too much time getting to know fellow visitors from other worlds. They are not allowed cars, and can only move around on foot or by bicycle. 

If you love challenging your Sims, check out the Rugs to Riches Challenge!

Forbidden and Allowed Objects for Off-Grid living

Besides not fulfilling skill and building requirements, you can also fail the challenge by using any of the forbidden objects. Forbidden objects in off the grid challenge are ALL objects from the Plumbing, Electronics, and Appliances category in buy mode. Auld Crow Wood-Burning Coockstove, IceBOX Vintage Refrigerator and Carbonette Charcoal Grill are the only exceptions to the rule, as these are necessary for cooking off-the-grid and keeping your fish and harvestables fresh. Never use any electric light, so you will have to brighten up rooms using candles only. If you have pets, you are restricted from using any automated and self-cleaning objects.

You are also restricted from using a cell phone (silence your phone and ignore all calls and messages). The only time using the cellphone is ok, is when Sims do it autonomously. 

Objects that are allowed for off the grid challenge, and will make your life off-grid easier, especially in the beginning are:

  • Outdoor Retreat (campfire and camping tents)
  • Get Together (WooHoo bushes)
  • City Living (street gallery display and flea market tables)


Living like a nomad is a fun way to challenge yourself and your Sims. This is a chance to live like people of the old times, connect with nature and learn some serious survival skills. It’s complex, but it’s super fun. If this guide seems like a fun journey, try it out yourself. Happy Simming!

Your Author: Hi! I'm Jovanna

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