The Sims Edit

Players who have The Sims Complete Collection should always use the first CD of that compilation. For those who do not have Complete Collection, the general rule is to use the first CD for the most recently released expansion pack. The expansion packs, in order of release, are:

  1. Livin' Large
  2. House Party
  3. Hot Date
  4. Vacation
  5. Unleashed
  6. Superstar
  7. Makin' Magic

The Sims Deluxe Edition was released after Vacation and before Unleashed. While it is a compilation of the base game and Livin' Large, it is treated as an expansion pack when determining which disc to use when starting. If Deluxe is installed, and Unleashed, Superstar, or Makin' Magic are not installed, use the first CD of Deluxe to start the game.

The Sims 2Edit

In The Sims 2, the general rule is to start with the first CD of the most recent expansion pack. However, if Mansion & Garden Stuff is installed, it must be used to start. Also, since a stuff pack may have a more recent version of the game engine than the most recent expansion pack, it is sometimes necessary to use the most recently released stuff pack.

The expansion and stuff packs, in order of release are:

  1. University
  2. Nightlife
  3. Holiday Party Pack
  4. Open for Business
  5. Family Fun Stuff
  6. Glamour Life Stuff
  7. Pets
  8. Happy Holiday Stuff
  9. Seasons
  10. Celebration! Stuff
  11. H&M Fashion Stuff
  12. Bon Voyage
  13. Teen Style Stuff
  14. FreeTime
  15. Kitchen & Bath Interior Design Stuff
  16. IKEA Home Stuff
  17. Apartment Life
  18. Mansion & Garden Stuff

According to this thread at Simbology, stuff packs between Family Fun Stuff and H&M Fashion Stuff are based on Open for Business, while stuff packs between Teen Style Stuff and IKEA Home Stuff are based on Pets.

The Sims 2 Store Edition is a special case. If the University Life Collection, Best of Business Collection, or Fun with Pets Collection is used to install it, the DVD for that collection must be used to start.

The Sims 3Edit

The Sims 3 generally follows the same policy as The Sims 2 above, although this time the most recent game is used regardless if it is an expansion pack or a stuff pack. The expansion and stuff packs, in order of release, are:

  1. World Adventures
  2. High-End Loft Stuff
  3. Ambitions
  4. Fast Lane Stuff
  5. Late Night
  6. Outdoor Living Stuff
  7. Generations
  8. Town Life Stuff
  9. Pets
  10. Master Suite Stuff
  11. Showtime
  12. Katy Perry's Sweet Treats
  13. Diesel Stuff
  14. Supernatural
  15. Seasons
  16. 70s, 80s, & 90s Stuff
  17. University Life
  18. Island Paradise
  19. Movie Stuff
  20. Into the Future