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Survivor: Guatemala – Advice for the Remaining Fiveby Jeffrey Clinard -- 12/07/2005
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I always like the auction challenge because it reveals quite a bit about the thoughts and values of each of the Survivors. Each time it’s done it gets better, with items like letters from home showing up and now personal luxury items (like mosquito netting), visits from family members, and the big one; the immunity challenge game advantage.
The restrictions on pooled money added a new angle and forced an examination of who was pooling money with whom. It was particularly important at the end, when pooled money was used to purchase a visit from a loved one. Judd won the auction with a combination of his own money and the money Cindy gave him. They had never seemed to be terribly tight before, but there is obviously something I missed. On the other side of the bid, Stephenie was getting her cash from Lydia. Both of those actions were something of a tell in how they were trying to buy some goodwill.
Judd, having won the bid, had to pay a second price - a decision of which others to get a visit from a loved one, and, conversely, which three tribe members were sent into exile at the old Yaxha camp. The separation is another side effect of the reward (which Danni used to some advantage with Rafe). Each time the tribe is split up overnight, the more chances there are for private plotting. In addition, there is also the jealousy factor. It didn’t seem to show up, but it did at the last reward challenge. The unleashing of basic desires to people who have been starving for 30 days is always interesting.
However, while food, netting, and visits from loved ones are nice, the most important auction item was the game advantage bought by Danni for $200. It was probably the best money she ever spent as it was the key that allowed her to win both immunity and a new position within the tribe. After she won immunity she was in a position to try to crack the alliance apart, and she succeeded. It only takes three votes to control the tribe now, and without any strong partnerships, which people come together to control the vote is up for grabs.
I always look at Survivor as a game of individual decisions, rather than alliance or tribal decisions. The immunity game advantage is a classic example of how all these individual decisions resulted in a different outcome than a group decision. Danni was obviously the next target, and a group decision would have been to deny her the game advantage (if she was the target, then the goal should have been to deny her immunity). Apparently nobody felt they were in danger of going home even if Danni won the necklace. To be fair, most of them probably felt that Lydia would be voted off if Danni won immunity, but things changed. I think future Survivors should take a serious look at this phase of the game, as it is where people who feel safe find the game has changed right underneath their nose. Gregg (Palau), Leann (Vanuatu) and now Judd lost the game at points where they felt safe.
Still, the game continues, and the three votes needed to control the tribe can come from anywhere. What should each player be doing? It’s advice for the remaining five.
Danni: You bought yourself a new position in the game by winning immunity and pulled off an even better trick in helping turn everybody against Judd. Your immediate problem is getting into a group of three people who can control the vote. This may be hard if the original Yaxha people stick together, so your best bet is to win immunity, or at least keep it out of Cindy’s hands and try to shift the vote again her. However, if you see a better opportunity, take it.
Stephenie: I think you gave up your best chance to win the game by eliminating Judd. He was clearly on your side and the best person to take to the finals, but you’ve probably lost him as a jury vote. I wouldn’t have advised voting him out, but you did, so I’m going to make the assumption you felt he was a needed sacrifice to get into the finals. The path is clear - it’s back to the original Yaxha (you, Rafe, and Lydia) against the original Nakúm (Cindy and Danni). If you can pull it off, you have a fairly good chance of making it to the finals by winning final immunity (you are a better athlete than either of them, though I wouldn’t discount Rafe - he’s doing a remarkable job in challenges right now).
Lydia: You’re now back in with the alliance, and with the final challenges coming up, stand a good chance to make it to the final three because you aren’t a challenge threat. There may be a lot of deals coming up, and I’d advise you to work to eliminate a power player like Stephenie. While you can make it to the end, you’ll need some reasons why you should win the game, and a move like that can help.
Cindy: You were left out of the decision to eliminate Judd, but you can still salvage the situation. Take a page out of Judd’s book and remember how he reacted when nobody told him about Jamie. He recovered; you might be able to as well. Your biggest problem is if the original Yaxhá tribe has made a pact for the final three. See if you can figure out where things lie, and if there is a chance to strike or make a deal to take out one of them (particularly Stephenie), seize it. If not, be prepared to sell out Danni and look towards a deal to remove Stephenie after that. One final note - you’ve done very well as getting good rewards without paying the political price for it. By funding Judd in the auction, you bought yourself a lot of goodwill, and with his choice to bring Stephenie’s boyfriend along as well as your sister, she probably will discount how you effectively worked against her.
Rafe: You’re playing a good game and have done a remarkable job of winning challenges without being an obvious physical threat. You have a great position as you don’t seem to be a target, and have gotten all the benefits of the votes without being the known leader of the alliance (Stephenie is the decision maker, and it can be used against her). You may have multiple offers on who to take out, so consider the one that gives you the best shot at the final three, with the two weakest players for an endurance challenge to maximize your shot at being in the finals.
Judd: What went wrong? Well, Danni seized her chance and made the most of it. Despite all the goodwill you had built up with Stephenie (the dinner reward, selecting her boyfriend, and sharing the real clue about the immunity idol), she turned on you. I don’t think she made the right move, but she made it, and you lost the game.
Jeffrey Clinard has been writing about Survivor since the second series, and has published over 100 articles about the show and given advice to over 130 different Survivors on Reality News Online. He can be reached at Realityfeedback@bookslv.com.
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