So I thought I'd collect all the rules that are whirling around in my head and post them here in case someone wants to start their own empire city but doesn't really know how! Like any challenge, you can adhere to these rules as strictly as I do or you can edit them to your liking and only use the ones you want, it's your choice! But this is how I play:
Each household will be played in one-day rotations. The rotations will always be in the same order and at the end of each rotation, every house in the neighborhood will be on the same day of the week. Rotations will last from 7PM-7PM. You can leave the household during the night and finish the rotation later, but it cannot be left during the day! Do not get off rotation! It helps to keep track in the family description of what day of the week the house is on and what number it is in the rotation. If sims are moving houses, they must move out of their house on Sunday or Monday and MUST move in on Monday.
Each married couple must have or adopt at least one child, can have/adopt no more than four (the exception being if they have three and mom gives birth to twins, etc.) and cannot have/adopt more than one unless both parents roll the want and neither roll the fear to. Engaged couples may not get married until both sims roll either the want for marraige or a wedding party (these wants may be locked). ABSOLUTELY NO MONEY CHEATS EXCEPT FOR CHARITY SYSTEM (later). If you want sims to save money, you can put objects into their inventory to be sold later (e.g., if you want a sim to put $300 in the bank, put a $300 shrub in their inventory, then sell it when they need $300). Teens must go to University if they roll the want, and they shall leave when it is two days until they age up (unless they max out a skill, in which case they skip a few grades and head off to college early).
You must build a school for your sim children, either a decorative community lot or a school using Inges' mods, which must have a principal and at least one teacher and come at the end of the rotation. You may decide the other rules for running the school.
You can choose the religions for your sims, whether they be Christian or Muslim or Jewish or an entirely new religion exclusive to your neighborhood! Each religion you choose, you must build the corresponding place of worship for.
There must be a community lot for each job your sims take. You MUST build the following lots for the following jobs:
Athletic- Sports Arena
Law Enforcement- Police Station
Education- School, but this is there anyway
Political- City Hall (if you're lazy you can just build the outside like me)
Slacker- A convenience store or similar type of thing
Business- A tall decorative building. You must place the smallest residential lot near this and this becomes the "bank" where sims in the middle of moving may withdraw from their inventory bank account.
Criminal- None! This job is done around the city!
Military- Also none, unless you really want to build a military base in your neighborhood.
Of course, anything required to be "built" can also be downloaded...but it's more fun to build them yourself!
Once you have Open For Business, you must try to make it so that all the community lots (except for the decorative ones merely for a workplace) are owned by sims in the neighborhood. You must also build a graveyard for your neighborhood, where every sim's grave will be moved immediately after they die. In mine I have a small memorial area for when sims who were in the military career track as a way of honoring "those who served". It's currently empty, but my hood is young.
You may choose the number of subhoods you make, but one of each kind is required! HOWEVER- when placing Bluewater Village you must evict the current sims and leave them in the family bin (if you know a way to SAFELY delete them that will not completely blow up your game, do so, but for those of us less experienced, the bin will suit them fine.) Here are the subhoods I have in Stonebridge, to give you a few ideas:
3rd Street- The Maxis Downtown with a new name and the houses taken out.
Summervale- A pre-bon voyage "vacation destination" that has a few summer homes and a ton of summery stuff like docks, spas, a day hotel, cabins to stay in, and a hot springs!
West Stonebridge- Merely a downtown that will hold the overflow of the neighborhood...that template filled up quick!
The charity system- You can use the familyfunds cheat to have rich families "donate" to charity and, keeping track of how much is in the charity funds, use the same cheat to add to poorer families.
Do keep track of how many weeks it's been since the neighborhood started. Gotta know your history!
And you MUST MUST MUST roll the pacifier every time you start the game! THIS IS THE ONE RULE YOU CANNOT IGNORE. I will literally come to your house and rip the hood out of your computer if you let your sims succumb to firstborn syndrome. Well, probably not. But still. ROLL THE FREAKING PACIFIER.
All cheats are allowed EXCEPT:
Again, you don't need to follow every rule. See what you like and what you don't. As Peni Griffin once said, "The only wrong way to play is the way that bores you." So, above all, have fun!