Friday, July 31, 2009

Gardenia Completes the GAC Challenge! (Days 44-45)

Gardenia slept for only a few hours Monday morning--she was too excited about being so close to finishing the Gardener/Angler/Cook Challenge.

Restless, she got out of bed and checked her mail. She was puzzled to find a certificate from a cooking group congratulating her on "knowing all recipes".

A quick check of her skill journal confirmed Gardenia's suspicion that she did not in fact know all recipes--she knew only 93% of them.

"Perhaps by 'all recipes' the cooking people are referring to only those recipes that I've acquired just by increasing my Cooking skill, and not also to the recipes that I have to buy from the bookstore?"

Confused, she returned to bed.

She got up again after several hours, and spent quite a bit of time tending her garden.

"I sure do have a lot of dead Death Fruit plants lately!"

She harvested 3 more money bags, which she sold for $989.

She took a long nap in the late afternoon, so that she would have enough energy to read the last couple of recipes she needed to learn.

On her way to the library, she stopped by the 4 businesses in which she was a partner. She was thrilled to find out that the investment she had made in the theater just the day before had already netted her profits of $3,000!

This, added to her profits from the bookstore,

the grocery,

and the bistro,

together with the $2,199 she got from selling her remaining fish and produce (Gardenia was so certain that she was about to complete the GAC Challenge that she sold everything left in her inventory except for the one Flame Fruit that she carried around to improve her mood),

brought her Household Funds up to $14,928 by early Tuesday morning.

In a very good mood, she went back to the bookstore to purchase the last 2 recipes she needed.

Before 4:00 a.m., she had learned how to make Baked Angel Food Cake,

but she thought she should attend to some of her low needs before tackling the final, difficult recipe--Ambrosia.

Since she had sold all her produce, she had to eat fruit off the trees in Central Park for nourishment.

She showered and used the toilet at the gym before resuming her reading.

Mid-morning Tuesday, she had to take another break for nourishment.

At 10:57 a.m. on Tuesday--Day 45--Gardenia learned the recipe for Ambrosia, and so completed both the "Menu Maven" challenge and the Gardener/Angler/Cook Challenge!

Her score follows:

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Because the Deadline is flexible, Gardenia could have continued playing, but the game crashed and all her files on my hard drive were instantly deleted (both her active file and her backup file). Since I was visiting my Dad at the time, and he doesn't have internet access, and my most recent Carbonite back up was from 2 days prior--which was more than a week in Gardenia time--her progress was just too painful to redo. (I still have that 2-day-old version, so I may catch her up at some point.)

Too bad, because Gardenia--the enthusiastic hard-worker that she is--would probably have scouted around with her Collection Helper, making money hand over fist, till she owned every business in town. She's competitive, and certainly would have liked to break 100,000 with her score.

Things Gardenia sorely regrets not having done: She didn't finish the Omni Plant Challenge. She never found a Life Fruit seed, so didn't have that plant. She wanted to make enough money to buy the beautiful beach house overlooking Sunnyside Strand. She wanted to adopt a baby girl and raise her into a fine gardener, and leave her a comfortable lifestyle.

You, dear readers, may have noticed the "Deadline-While-Elder" entry from the spreadsheet above. That's because, since Gardenia completed the goals on Day 45, she's technically an elder (which happens on Day 42 with the Normal lifespan that's required by the GAC Challenge). Because of a (-nother) glitch in my game, Gardenia didn't age from Young Adult to Adult till Day 24 (instead of Day 21). So--Gardenia being the honest person she is--she didn't try to claim that she had achieved the Goals while still an Adult.

I would love to hear everyone's ideas on scoring and strategy, either by comments here or in the S3 Yahoo group.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gardenia: Days 41 - 43

When she woke up Friday before dawn, Gardenia--her needs high--set out again for the library to try to master the Cooking skill, which was one of the very few requirements she still needed to fulfill for the GAC Challenge. She resumed reading "Cooking Volume 3".

About 5 and a half hours later, Gardenia reached Cooking Level 9 (though she still hadn't finished the book).

"Even with that 'Fast Learner' Lifetime Reward I purchased, it still takes me a really long time to complete these higher skill levels," she said to herself. "I bet someone with the Bookworm trait would do much better. If I ever write a blog about my experience, I'll be sure to pass that idea on."

By late afternoon, she was so tired she had to give up and go home. "This must be the longest book I've ever read!"

She went to sleep just before 5:30 p.m.,

and slept well into the night.

Saturday morning, Gardenia harvested her garden, talked to her plants, and sold 12 money bags for $2,223.

She found that she finally had a few--but only a few--of the Outstanding steaks that she needed for the Omni Plant challenge.

She returned to the library to study Cooking, and just after 7 p.m. on Saturday finally reached Cooking Level 10.

"I still have to learn a few more recipes, though."

On her way home, she stopped at the grocery and sold her extra produce and fish,

for the impressive total of $5,399.

(Gardenia had decided to sell all of the Vampire Fish and Deathfish that she had accumulated, as she had determined that stocking her pond with various types of fish was not worth the trouble, since it took her so long to catch anything at home.)

Gardenia went home, slept for a few hours, then went to the Science Facility early Sunday morning to try to catch the last type of fish that had so far eluded her.

In about an hour, she had caught a Robot Fish,

and so had completed the Amateur Ichthyologist Challenge.

She also caught an old electric guitar, which she sold immediately for $600.

She checked her Lifetime Happiness points, and found that she was back up to 9,592 points.

(Gardenia was saving up her points for the Bookshop Bargainer reward, so that she could get a good discount on the remaining recipes she needed, including the recipe for Ambrosia, which she had heard normally cost $12,000. Gardenia had been hoping for a 20% discount from the bookstore, but so far there hadn't been one.)

She spun a wish to catch an insect,

so used her Collection Helper to find the nearest bug,

and quickly caught an uncommon Rhino Beetle,

netting her 350 Lifetime Happiness points. Since she was already at the Science Facility, she quickly sold the insect, for $132.

Gardenia now had more than $23,000 in family funds, and she elected to invest $18,000 in the theater.

Gardenia knew that partnership profits for every business in Sunset Valley were always paid on Mondays, and she wasn't sure whether investing on Sunday would get her a profit payment as soon as the following day. "I guess we'll see," she mused.

She returned to the library before noon on Sunday, and sat down to read the last recipe in her inventory, Eggs Machiavellian.

Having mastered that, and still having some energy, she went to the bookstore and bought another recipe.

"I sure hate paying $650 for a recipe!" Gardenia needed 4 more expensive recipes, so she was still hoping for either a big sale at the bookstore or to amass enough Lifetime Happiness points that she could get a good discount.

By 4:13 Sunday afternoon, Gardenia had mastered the Tri-Tip Steak recipe,

and had reached 9,933 Lifetime Happiness points. (She needed 10,000 for the Bookshop Bargainer reward she had her eye on.)

Anxious to learn all the recipes required by the GAC Challenge, Gardenia ran to the bookstore to look for new recipes.

The next recipe, for Stuffed Turkey, was priced at $800. Though Gardenia technically had enough money to afford it, she balked at spending that much.

"Oh come on!" she cried. "I'm not going to pay that, and I'm just sure I can earn a discount before too long!"

To increase her Lifetime Happiness points, she went to Central Park and fished, which always made her happy. She caught yet another electric guitar, which she immediately sold, for $600.

She was soon over 10,000 points.

Gardenia then purchased the Bookshop Bargainer reward she needed to make the remaining recipes that she needed relatively affordable.

Gardenia went back to the bookstore, and was delighted to see that the recipe prices had come down considerably.

She returned to the library and learned her new recipe.

She headed home to sleep at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday, stopping only at the grocery to sell a few items.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Join us next time, for the completion of Gardenia's GAC Challenge!