Hi all! Thanks so much for reading my Orphan’s Challenge – Harkins Family story. I am a bit OCD so I wanted to end on an even number of chapters, so I decided recently that instead of splitting the last story chapters, I would make it one. The wedding seemed to not really be full other than screenshots so I decided I would tell the story of the “incident” along with the wedding and then wrap up the story with an Author’s Notes chapter to conclude at an even 20 chapters.
So, onto my notes and reflections of this challenge.
So, why did I decide to play the challenge? Well, honestly the challenge was released within a month of me returning to Simming and to the Sims Forums. JoieWilder posted the Orphan Challenge on August 5, 2016 and I was reading through the rules thinking…’Yeah, I like difficult, meager beginning challenges too!!’
Setup and Challenge Basics
I had absolutely zero plan when I started the challenge. I just read through the rules and made the 10×10 lot space and put trees and bushes and everything around the living space.
You could spend almost as much as you wanted of your initial funds on landscaping/trees stuff, but you could only spend a certain amount of your funds on actual living items. I chose to play on hard mode Option 2. I didn’t choose option 1 because I didn’t want an additional sibling! (more on this later!!)
My starting funds for the Harkins girls in hard mode was $800. So everything for living that the girls needed had to be purchased with that small amount of funds. As you can see from the picture, I bought tent, lantern, chair and a toy for Sophie (the llamacorn as it had creativity and social).
Toughest thing in my opinion was feeding the girls originally. On hard mode you couldn’t really eat anything other than harvestables or fish. Because I misinterpreted the rules, I thought you weren’t allowed to grill anything at the public grills. However, after finishing the challenge, I realize that you could put a fish in your family inventory and grill on public grills. (This would have made my life soooo much easier!!) So I played to start, with zero fishing skill I had to come up with 3 fish! This was the hardest thing of the entire challenge for me, and I didn’t have money to buy a fire pit originally and I didn’t realize that with a fish in your family inventory you could just walk to a public grill and just grill up some food! I didn’t think you could use the public grills for anything. If I do this challenge again, I think I would continue with that spirit of nothing comes for free, and even though the fish in the family inventory was supposed to represent the food you were grilling on the grill, I think I would still play it that I would have to have a fish for each person then delete the fish after consuming the grill item. I also think that the firepit would be my very first purchase, rather than the tent or chairs etc. I think I’d have my orphan’s nap on the bench near the fishing hole! I kinda liked the extra hard mode of not using public grills at all until such time later as the family has a refrigerator.
The Story & The Optional Events
This story was originally just supposed to be a for fun challenge without a story for me to be able to play the game while waiting to catch a bit up to my Delaney Family Legacy. I didn’t intend on a story really coming out of this.
Not long into it though, I started to really see potential for story telling. I sorta liked the idea of chronicling these girls’ experiences and finding creative ways to explain how they were getting money. My favorite was the frogs.
One of the interesting things about the Orphan Challenge was the ability to affect game play using Optional Variable events. JoieWilder called them ‘Flavors’. I chose to use the negative flavors. Which means once per game week something challenging at best, awful at worst happens to the family. The first of the negative flavors was another orphan showing up and the family taking that child in as well. Obviously I didn’t really want an additional kid because I would have chosen Hard Option 1! But I went through with it anyway, but I decided that it would be a bit silly to have more than three orphan’s wandering the Windenburg area, so I knew from the start that even if a #1 came up again I would disregard and re-roll after the first time. Fortunately I didn’t have it happen more than the first time anyway.
Another of the flavors was both Sophie and Josef getting sick during the challenge. The $300 deduction happened twice! It made paying bills tough for sure!!
There were a few other times I had the plant fungus too, but other than that, nothing too catastrophic happened. I did roll a wind storm event one week,
5. There is a huge storm with record-speed winds. All portable items* (camping gear, toys, etc) not inside a shelter with four walls and a door are blown away.
but because I already had a shelter with four walls and had the family moved inside at that point, there was no real problem with this one, and it even says that the fire pit is exempt as it could be rebuilt. Over the length of the challenge, I believe I started adding the flavors in week 2, I had the extra orphan once, the child sick twice, the fungus twice and the wind storm once. Not too bad, and we came through all of these tragic events. After both Victoria and Sophie were young adults and the house was really on it’s way to completion anyway I stopped worrying about the flavors at that point as it seemed the spirit was more to make it tougher to get and earn money – but both ladies had jobs and Victoria was still breeding her Whirlyflower frogs ($160 for breeding!) and art work and stuff at that point so money wasn’t as much an issue.
Part of Hard Mode Option 2 is that your Teen sim is supposed to get a little wild and crazy on their YA birthday and it will result in a pregnancy. However, you aren’t supposed to move in the partner. I was trying to think of an interesting reason that Victoria’s partner wouldn’t have stayed and asked her to marry him etc and raise the baby together. I figured Wolfgang though one of his traits he’s generated with is Mean, I don’t take Mean to be that he didn’t care about her, just that perhaps he may lose his temper more often or say things without thinking first that are hurtful. Also – both Max Villareal and Bradley Gill both had the Evil trait. So…yeah, I could see them both having a darkness inside. Something that may make them go off the deep end. I actually met Bradley for the first time by a random birthday party invitation. I seriously looked at the invitation and was like what can I do with this? Hmmm would he care if the kids came too? I thought it suddenly would be very interesting if Victoria were dating an affluent person and maybe his parents didn’t approve of her.
It was very early on I decided that Wolfgang was going to be Victoria’s love. First he also had the gloomy trait so I thought they would understand each other. Also, he walked by their lot all the time and once, I had Victoria talking to him and he followed her back to their camp. Though I immediately told him to leave and it didn’t make it’s way into the story!! I seriously was like…why did he follow her back here?? He also was at the park often when she took her kids there and she would get whims to be friendly with Wolfgang.
As soon as I decided on Wolfgang as her romantic interest, I wanted to create some tension between Wolfgang and Bradley so I decided that Victoria joining the Renegades was a great way to bring some of Bradley’s families traits into play. He was evil and his father was materialistic and his mother was a snob. So I was like yeah…he could be snooty and a bit of a snob too! I also knew that Max being a teen and Wolfgang being young adult that there wasn’t anyway as long as Wolfgang didn’t know about Victoria’s condition that he would let that teen go to jail or prison. I knew early on that Wolfgang was going to take the wrap so his ‘brother’ wouldn’t be ruined by the system. Plus as I said, it fit the challenge that the partners wouldn’t get together.
Anyway – I think that’s really all I wanted to say. I do have a few previously unreleased pictures to share.
Enjoy, and thank you again so much for joining me for this challenge!