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What Thai Survivors Should Have Learnedby David Bloomberg -- 09/17/2002
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This is the fourth edition of an article looking ahead to what Survivor contestants should have known before they set foot on the airplane that would take them away from the life they knew and to the life given to them by Mark Burnett. Each time, players have more history to draw on as far as how they should play the game, and thus this article gets modified appropriately.
So it’s time to bring us all up to date and take a look at what the contestants on Survivor Thailand should have learned by the time they got there. They had the opportunity to see all four of the previous series and to know that there would definitely be twists and turns. Whatever tribe they may start in (if they even do indeed start in a tribe – as there have been hints that this will be the very first twist), they may end up in a different one before the merge. This puts a new spin on a few points, though the same general ideas still apply.
The first run of the show made it clear that different people came into the show with vastly different ideas about what would be going on. Some came in thinking it would be all fun and games, and appeared shocked that others were plotting and scheming in an attempt to win a million dollars. As host Jeff Probst said at the end of the first series, many of them had "only the vaguest idea of what you were getting into," but Rich Hatch knew, and he played them all perfectly.
Players in Survivor 2 had no excuse, yet the final result came down to Colby deciding that his friendship with Tina was worth more than a million dollars. People were playing to win, at least until that final moment. In the first series, the best player ended up with the prize. It could be argued that Tina was the best player of Survivor 2, though she attributes much of it to luck, and there is some good cause to do so. She would not have even had a chance had it not been for Mike’s accident or Colby’s bizarre decision or any number of other causes. But the effects of luck can be minimized, and that’s what this article is all about.
Survivor: Africa saw some people revert to the cluelessness of the first series, owing mostly to those who admitted they had not paid much attention to the first two. Ethan, the winner, said that he watched the previous series; Silas, who lost, said he hadn’t. There is a big clue in that.
And Survivor: Marquesas showed us how not to win. You don’t win by showing your hand and practically daring anybody to go against you. You don’t win by being obnoxiously lazy. Much of the reasoning behind Vecepia’s win is still elusive and certainly a great deal of it stems from the irrational anger of several members in the Rotu 4 alliance who were tossed out by Neleh and never forgave her for daring to want to win the game herself. We did see that you can win by making whatever alliances are necessary – even if you need to switch them at a moment’s notice. But in the end, I’m not sure that explanation is enough.
Anybody who wants to be on the show needs to know a few things to survive. In previous cases, hunting, fishing, and making fire were downplayed – though still important. In Survivor: Marquesas, there were no rations and true survival skils should have risen in importance. However, as we saw with Hunter’s removal, that wasn’t necessarily the case. We haven’t heard about rations (or lack thereof) this time yet, but it is still likely they will not be the primary skills needed to survive the game this time.
So what should the Survivor Thailand contestants have learned? Let’s take a look at these updated and reorganized rules for survival. Each week, we will look back at this and compare how each losing player did or did not accomplish these goals.
1) Make Machiavelli Proud: Scheme and Plot
As noted above, hunting and fishing are likely not very big issues; instead, the real survival skills necessary here are more along the lines of something you might learn from Renaissance schemer Niccolo Machiavelli than anything you can get out of a survival book. (Indeed, I recommend the amusing and instructive book, What Would Machiavelli Do? for future Survivorplayers – you can read my review here.) From the very beginning, you have to start making alliances and cementing relationships. While it may be difficult to know whom you can trust after just a couple days (witness what happened to Kel and Mad Dog in Survivor 2), if you take too long to figure it out, you may not have to worry about it because you won't be around. Heck, Richard said he started planning even before he got to the island. Although he obviously couldn't have known specifically who he would ally with, he knew what kind of people he'd be looking for. Similarly, Sue has noted in an interview that the best preparation is to "read lots of books on game-playing, civil wars, the fall of the Roman Empire – don't waste a lot of time on survival books." In the second series, Debb talked about how she read up on the very books Sue recommended against! We saw how long she lasted.1 2 3 4 5 6 Next-->
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