Rotational Play in The Sims 4

Managing the Game with Multiple Households

by Marian Taylor

What is Rotational Play?
Rotational Play is the term often applied to playing more than one household in the same "save" file. Sometimes people find themselves doing this accidentally when they move in a new sim to a game they'd already begun playing. More often, it's a conscious decision. A legacy player will decide that the "spare" should be allowed to marry and have children, too. A storyteller will want to control several households for the sake of the story - perhaps a Goths vs. Landgraabs feud. Or someone just wants to control every sim living in Willow Creek or Oasis Springs or both.

Playing multiple households lets you populate the town with your own Sims
One benefit of rotational play: having all the children at the playground be from "your" families.

Although it's called "rotational," it's not necessary to play every household for the same amount of time and the same number of times. You can play one household through 10 generations and another only once if you like. But for now, we'll assume that you're going to take an even-handed approach to your sims. Some people like to play each household one sim week at a time; some like to play through life stages, i.e., follow a married couple through the birth of a child and that child's infancy before moving on to the next family. I would recommend at least 3 days with each household to give time for work, skilling, fun, taking care of needs, and socialization.

To switch households in your game, click on the Options button (... in the upper right corner). Choose Manage Households. You'll be asked if you want to Save and go to Manage Households, or just go to Manage Households. I always choose to save, but your progress will be saved as long as you save before exiting. You'll go to the Map Screen, where you can click on the next household of Sims you want to play.

Try not to switch to a new household during working hours for that sim. With the active careers from Get to Work Expansion Pack, you'll risk lowering job performance for your Doctor, Scientist, and Detective. Your Sims in other careers may suffer from being late to work, too.

I would recommend against doing a "Save As" for each household as that will bloat your overall game unnecessarily. Saving before you exit will keep the progress in all the households that you played during that session.

Starting Out
If you have several Sims in the Gallery that you want to play, it's easy to get them into your game. Click on an empty house in your neighborhood or go to the Map Screen and click on an empty house. You'll get the option to move in a household from the Gallery. You can either play these households or not.

If you want to play a pre-made household and you don't want any extraneous sims in the game, once you've started, click on the Options button (... in the upper right corner), and choose Manage Households. You can evict the sim that you just moved in and then choose the household you want.

But let's suppose you want to play a family from a previous game. I've chosen my family from the Baby Boomer challenge, where I saved the household as it was at the end. I placed them at an empty lot in Willow Creek, and now I want to move out my 3 Young Adults.

A family in The Sims 4

The directions for moving out a single sim can be found here. Each of your single sims will have $20,000 to spend. If you move out more than one sim, you'll get an additional $2000 with each. It's a good idea to keep an empty lot or a very cheap house in your game as a starter place for new households.

You can move a sim to an existing house as with Hecate.

Moving to an existing house in The Sims 4

You can place an affordable house from the Gallery as with Fred. (Thanks to Shewolf13 for Artist Hallow.)

Placing a house from the Gallery in Sims 4

But Ivan wants something more expensive. Use Manage Household to go to the Map Screen. There, do a CTRL-Shift-c and type "freerealestate on" in the white box. Now, when you move Ivan out, you can choose any empty house on the map.

free real estate via the freerealestate on cheat in Sims 4

If you don't want to use a cheat, and Ivan's parents have a lot of money, you can buy several of the more expensive violins and put them in Ivan's personal inventory. Move him to an empty lot, sell the violins, and then move him to the mansion of his choice.

In Gameplay options, it's a good idea to uncheck the box to fill empty houses, although you can always evict a family that's living in a house you want. You can also move a sim in with a family, and then go to Manage Households to move everyone else out.

Aging in Multiple Households

TS4 gives you several ways to handle Aging. If you want a normal life span for your households (13 days for children and teens, 20 days for young adults and adults), you have to choose something other than aging on for everybody.

You can choose aging off and manually age up your sims. If you want to stick to a normal life span, though, you'll have to keep track of how many days you've played each Sim.

Theoretically, if you choose "Aging on for Active Household Only" and check the box to automatically age unplayed households and then choose a Normal Life Span, then you can achieve that. But if you're afraid that some of your households might be aged when you're not playing them, then uncheck that box and arrange to manually age up your unplayed households.

Aging up your unplayed sims can be done with the CAS.fulleditmode cheat in Household Management. At the Map Screen, the Household Management button is in the upper right corner, next to the button for the Gallery. Click on Unplayed Households to bring up all the sims you're not playing. The CAS.fulleditmode cheat gives you access to the Personality section. To age up a household, take each member and click on the next age over. If the household contains an elder, then you can remove the elder by clicking on the x that appears when you mouse over the portrait in the lower lefthand corner.

When You're Not Playing a Household
Your sims will make friends (and enemies) when you're not playing them. They may even develop romantic relationships, but usually at a low level. I''ve not had any new romantic relationships start for married couples, not even ones with the romantic trait or the Serial Romance aspiration, but some people have had a problem with that.

Your sims will usually not make progress in their jobs or at school. They might make progress in Skills, especially in ones where skilling equipment is available on a public lot (the monkey bars for children, for example). Because of a recent patch, however, they might have a job if they were previously unemployed. If you don't want your sim to have that job, you can have him quit. So far, the only sim I've had lose a job while I wasn't playing him was a teen with the insane and lazy traits. It's a good idea to click on the employment button when you come back to a sim that you haven't played in a while.

Stuff in your sim's personal inventory will move with her when you move her out. Furniture from the family inventory won't. If your sim unlocked a career object, you'll be able to buy that again, but your sim won't be able to keep the free version.

Bills won't accumulate while you're playing other sims, but neither will royalties. Your sims will get income from retail stores if one sim that you're playing shops at a store owned by another. If one of your sims buys something from a store where you're playing the owner, that object won't appear in your inventory, but you won't be charged for it. The exception is with clothing. An outfit that your sim buys when not under your control will still appear in the sim's wardrobe.

Infants that are born to a household you're not playing will be given names. There's a high probability that a pregnant sim you're not currently playing will produce twins. You can age up infants manually or send a sim you're playing to the infant's home. In that case, the child will be given a random trait and aspiration.

Changing Your Town - Households

At the Map Screen, you can click on the Household Management button in the upper right hand corner and pull up both your played and unplayed households. Unplayed households consist of the in-town pre-mades as well as homeless townies who show up in community lots. If you have Get to Work, your sims' co-workers in active careers and customers will also show up here.

When you click on an unplayed household, there will be four buttons at the bottom right: Edit, Move to a Lot, Transfer Households, and Delete.

Manage households in your town

The Edit button takes you to CAS where you can do quite a bit. Besides changing the clothing for the sim, you can add a spouse (even an alien spouse if you have GTW), and use the genetics button to produce children and/or teens. The cheat CAS.fulleditmode enables you to change the ages of the sims as well as their traits and appearance.

Toy with genetics and add new household members


The Delete button is also helpful. You have a limit of approximately 180 sims. As time goes on, the number of unplayed households increases. If you don't cull sims from your unplayed households, the game will start doing that for you - and it might remove the sim that you intended to use as a spouse for a sim you play. Worse, it might take away a household you play, although sims in houses are supposed to be safe from culling.

Changing Your Town - Lots and Buildings

If you have many households in a game, you'll probably want to start changing lots and perhaps using some of the buildings from the Gallery.

With regard to changing lots, the place to start is in Build Mode on the lot you want to change. In the upper bar, click on "i". This brings up everything you'll need.

Changing Lots

Click on the Bulldozer at the far right to clear the lot.

At the left, you'll see the type of lot. At the moment you can have Residential, Retail, and a variety of Community lots. Residential lots don't have any requirements. For Retail and Community lots, there are a few requirements, which can be found if you mouse over the space.

In the middle is the name, which can be changed if you like.

At this point, there are probably thousands of buildings on the Gallery. How do you find what's right for you?

When you open the Gallery, go to Community. At the left, you can choose from All, Households, Lots, and Room. For buildings, you want to click Lots.

Sims 4 Gallery

You can narrow down your choices to buildings made by members of this Forum by going to the upper right corner. Mouse over the shaded space and pick #Hashtag. If you type #Carlsguide, you'll see some very nice buildings made by people on the Forum. And you can use the Hashtag and OriginID options to find good houses done by others as well.

Back to the lefthand column. In the middle is Advanced Options. If you click on that, you can narrow your selection by price, lot size, and/or by building type. For a starter home, you'll want the $10,000 - $20,000 range. At the bottom of the column, you can choose whether to include unowned content and custom content.

Finding things in the gallery

You can expand your options by choosing All Downloads rather than the default, which is Most Recent.

You can also choose Rooms instead of Lots. Again, the Advanced Options can narrow things by size, type of room, and cost.

Rooms and lots in the Sims 4 Gallery

Once you've found it, click on the house. You'll be given a choice between furnished and unfurnished. Click on the arrow in the bottom right corner to place it on your lot. Once you've placed it, you can click on the + in the top bar to move either the house or the lot. If you use someone else's house or building in a story, it's nice to give the person credit.

Moving to a New Save File
Surprisingly, a Save file for a Rotational game is not that much larger than one for a Single Household game. My current 8-sim, 200-day save file is at 177 mb, which is smaller than my save file was for the 1-sim, 42-day save file for the current Skill challenge. It might be possible to play 10 or more generations without having to move your game to a new save file, but if that's necessary, here's how.

Note: Before taking this rather drastic step, try doing a Repair game in Origin. Open Origin, go to My Games, and right click on the box image for The Sims 4. Click on Repair game. This will take 5-10 minutes, depending on how many EPs and Gps you have. I do a Repair game every time I change families and also whenever I start getting glitches like the refrigerator one.

  • 1. Go to "Manage World"
  • 2. For each household that you intend to move, choose "Edit household."
  • 3. Once in Edit household, choose "Save to My Library."
  • 4. When you have saved all your households, go to the houses that you have built or significantly altered. Click on the "build mode" symbol and choose "Save to my Library."
  • 5. Save and exit to menu.
  • 6. Choose new game.
  • 7. You'll start in CAS, so go to the gallery, go to your library, and pick one of your households to replace the sim in CAS. Move this family to an empty lot.
  • 8. Go to Manage World and click on Edit household for each of the filled houses. Once in Edit household, choose Delete. If you just evict the family, you'll have a second version running around town in addition to your version.
  • 9. Bulldoze the houses that you have altered and replace them with the ones from your Library.
  • 10. At the Map Screen, do a CTRL-Shift-c and type in "freerealestate on".
  • 11. Click on the "Move out" option for your family, and move them back into their house.
  • 12. Click on the empty lot, and choose "Move in." When you're in CAS, pick go to Gallery. Go to your library and pick another family to replace the sim in CAS. Then click on the check mark at the bottom.
  • 13. Keep doing steps 11 and 12 until you've resettled everyone.
  • 14. Once you've finished moving in all your families, go into Manage Worlds, then Household Management (upper righthand corner). Check your "played households" and make sure everyone is there. Then go into "unplayed households." If you have extra copies of a family, delete them.

Moving families into a new save file causes you to lose several things. Inventories don't carry over, and neither do items in the refrigerators. Your sims will lose their relationships, and family trees won't be right any more. Also, any sims that picked up traits by completing childhood aspirations will lose those traits. Other aspirational and reward traits remain, however.

More Information
Marian posts updates to the thread on rotational play here. Check there for more tips on playing multiple households or to thank her for the info!

How You Can Support The Site and Channel

If you like my sites and Youtube Channel, consider supporting me on Patreon to help me to continue. If you'd like to support my guides in another way you can use our Amazon link for your next purchase (if in the US). We also offer a paypal donate link so you can contribute directly.

Back to The Top

Check Out My Youtube Channel!

We now have a Youtube Channel with over 50 guides in video format to go along with the huge site I've already created. Check it out and consider subscribing if you like my style.

Share Tips and FAQs (45)

Our Sims 4 Community is the place to go for faster answers to questions and discussions about the game. Use the form below to share your own experiences and provide helpful tips to other readers. We are not affiliated with EA and cannot make changes to the game, nor fix bugs.

Buy Sims and any other item at Amazon to support our forum

Support The Site via Amazon
1 2 > Last
Tracy Sim
where to type death toggle.false and motherlode to get $50 000
7th December 2015 3:59am
When in Live Mode, pause the game. Open the cheats console 'Control-Shift-C' . In the small line this opens you can type your cheats. Many cheats need 'testingcheats on' but you can read all about this in Carl's guide to cheat.
Cheats Guide
14th January 2016 11:02pm
Zackary Bradley
Hey I have another cool thing I do for aging manually and keeping track that I'd like to share:

In the sims 4, I keep a tally via the online tally counter (

I keep track of the Year, Week and the ages of specific sims of my choosing.

Note: 4 weeks in my sim world equals 1 year. (Akin to seasons in the sims 3.)

Babies: 0-2 years old
Children: 3-12 years old
Teens: 13-17 years old
Young Adults: 18-35 years old
Adults: 36-59 Years old
Elders: 60+ years old

I usually make my Adult sims start to get graying hair and look older than Young adults at Age 45 (Like more modest and older clothing for example: a tank top with belly showing would look pretty scary on a 50 year old in my opinion)

And to determine death by old age I roll one 20 sided die only once when the sim reaches the age of 60 and then i subtract the result from 100 and have that be my sims age at which they will die. ( ((alternatively you can also reroll the dice to see if you can cheat death before the sim reaches the age, however, if the result is equal to or below your sim's current age, the sim dies.))

Now obviously this does not qualify as a legacy challenge or whatnot. But it is something i like to do for fun and to make the game more enjoyable.
8th December 2015 3:13pm
That sounds interesting Zackery! I've always had a hard time matching up sims' age lengths to human years.
2nd January 2016 7:12pm
Hi! How do I get it so that I'm only playing one household in a game? And that if I start a new household it wont send it to the same game? I'm really confused by all this. When I go to the main menu and create a new household, it sends it to the same game all my other households are in.
Have I done something wrong or is this how Sims 4 works out?
17th December 2015 10:20am
You would need to make a new instance. You must do this from the main menu instead of using Create New Household in your existing world. In the upper right of the main screen, there is a plus sign - that's what you need to make a fresh game.
28th December 2015 12:44am
I want to make NewCrest have only sims I've made, but I don't want to control them. I want them to live and do things but not control them and have them interact with my Active sims, would making them Unplayed do that?
30th December 2015 1:39am
Yes, I've done this when moving in fun households from the gallery that I don't want to control but want to be able to interact with.
30th December 2015 9:46pm
I want to make NewCrest have only sims I've made, but I don't want to control them. I want them to live and do things but not control them and have them interact with my Active sims, would making them Unplayed do that?
31st December 2015 12:06am
It's as easy as going into manage worlds, moving sims in and then resuming play with the household you want to control. The other sims will live their lives as townies, free to be interacted with as you please.
Hope this helps!
1st January 2016 10:37am
I find it extremely frustrating that my Sims can't function when I'm not playing their household! I wish there was a drop down menu or something where I could tell them to care for themselves or build skills like you can when playing one household but some Sims are away from their lot.
4th January 2016 1:03pm
You can have your at-home sims do a few things. If you click on the little sign in the upper right corner of the face that shows in the lower left, you can have them tend the garden, take care of themselves, or build a skill that they have a point in, provided there's something they can use to build the skill with.
9th January 2016 2:44pm
I think the low level romances that develop during rotational play are a function of the Sim's charisma skill. They unlock the "enchanting greeting" at around skill 7-8 (sorry, I didn't look it up) which starts the Sims relationship with friendship and romance bars. Sims WILL use this greeting autonomously once it is unlocked. Frankly, the low level romances have zero to minor game effects if you don't actively pursue them, so there is little point in fussing over them. Since I do FOTW on virtually all of my sims, I tend to always get these romances on rotational play. For the most part you can just ignore them.
17th February 2016 7:08pm
Hi Michael,
I didn't realize that higher charisma would have that effect -- that's a good point. I agree with you that the random romances can be ignored.
18th February 2016 7:13am
Some of these 'romances' are assigned by the coding and not a function of anything the sims in question have actually done. Mostly they do not interfere with normal game play but they can cause some interruption to peoples games if they have been playing with a particular story line in mind.
18th February 2016 6:28pm
Ilona lewis
i want this game
18th March 2016 9:08pm
I actually bought the game in a sale. They often have seasonal sales such as for Christmas, which was how I managed to get the digital deluxe for £20 instead of £60
I can't promise you'll find an offer as good as that, but it's worth a look :)
20th April 2019 11:30am
Hi, how do i stop my sims relationships fading when they are unplayed this never used to happen, even though they have had children together and are married this seems to still keep happening. They are also now gaining muscle from them roaming which again this never used to happen, from what i remember there was a option to switch this off but i cant seem to locate it please could i have some advise this is becoming highly annoying having to constantly re work on relationships and change my sims appearance.
22nd June 2016 12:31pm
Sims losing relationships is due to a game mechanism that was introduced in a patch around the time Get Together was introduced. Certain things are supposed to render sims immune to this relationship culling, spouses, family members in same household, exchanging numbers, recently woohooed, BFF. Unfortunately it doesn't work all the time. Currently, without modding your game there is no way to stop this.
As for the gaining muscle problem, sims will gain muscle if they go to the gym and lift weights while not being controlled. There is no option to stop this but I guess you could change them in CAS by enabling testingcheats on then cas.fulleditmode on and shift-clicking them.
24th June 2016 6:33pm
Will my baby sim age if I do not play on the household?
23rd June 2016 11:24am
Yes they will age up and become a child automatically. If you have aging on for all sims or played households then in time the child will age up into a teen and so on. If aging is off then they will not age up past the child stage.
24th June 2016 6:19pm
Important note for rotational players -- the patch for Dine Out introduced a problem for families with infants. Parents' relationships with their babies can decay to 0, causing the baby to be taken by the social worker the next time the player returns. Apparently this can happen in as short a period of time as 2 weeks. Until this is fixed, we're recommending rotational players to check on their families with infants at least once a week to make sure the parents are friends with the baby.
3rd July 2016 7:03pm

If I start a new game but I have a 'Save As' files already. (And a lot of households too) I saved on one household the Segarras, where, a lot of households I made are there. I don't want to loose them >.<. I want to start a new game though, so I'm asking if I start one and if I want to go back to the previous one, if I click one of the Save As files will all of my households almost everything will come back like before..?
14th July 2016 11:02pm
I'm a little confused with your question... but to start a new game click the '+' sign at the top of the loading screen. To play one of your older saved games click on the 'Load Game' option and then choose which one you want to play.
Older games will still be exactly as you last played them. Just remember to 'save as' correctly when you are playing so you don't accidentally save over an older game.
15th July 2016 6:58pm
Hey! (:
I'm trying to create a huge family line and it involves a lot of people. I currently have sextuplets and want them to move out and have their own life as adults but at the same time play as them and create a bigger family is that possible? Sorry I just recently got the game so I'm kind of a noob. Since I wouldn't be able to squeeze them all in one home I eould have to put them in different homes.
10th August 2016 2:24pm
1 2 > Last
Page 1 of 2

Join in:

(never displayed)
Bold Italic Strike Quote Line Bullet Numeric Link Image
Smile Sad Huh Laugh Mad Tongue Crying Grin Wink Scared Cool Sleep Blush Unsure Shocked
Notify me of new posts via email.
Remember my name and email for future contributions.
I have read and understand the privacy policy. *

Support Us

Readers who use adblock or those who'd like to thank us for our efforts can now pledge $1/$5 monthly via Patreon to help us retain the freedom to do what we love to do.

New Videos and Guides

Armageddon Mod (Mod/CC Reviews).

How to Write Songs in The Sims 4Latest in The New How To Section : Learn How to Write Songs and Make Money with Music in The Sims 4. Also, How to Get Abducted by Aliens. We have a guide for using Pregnancy Cheats, Get a Job, Adopting a Kid and How to Cheat.

Alien Abduction in The Sims 4Alien Abduction: I made a Video Guide to Alien Abductions, Alien Babies in The Sims 4 Get to Work.

New How To Section : The new How To's section is updated with How to Get Abducted by Aliens. You can also learn how to use Pregnancy Cheats, Get a Job, Adopting a Kid and How to Cheat. It's meant to help newcomers or those with specific problems and will be greatly expanded over coming months.

New Charisma Video
I've created a fairly detailed Charisma Video Guide to accompany the normal Charisma text guide. My goal is to have every skill covered by the end of the year, if possible.

Seasons and Guide Updates