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What Cook Island Survivors Should Have LearnedPage 6
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On the flip side, Brian in Guatemala was a non-religious guy stuck in a tribe with a bunch of rather Christian people. But did he object to their prayers before meals? Did he say, “Hey, leave me out of this!”? Absolutely not – he knew to keep his mouth shut and go along with whatever they were doing.
Also remember that in the Machiavellian world of Survivor, it's not good enough to look good yourself – you must make your competition look bad. Politics and controversial beliefs can come into play when doing this. Guatemala’s Brian again did this well – goading Blake into saying all sorts of things he shouldn’t and thus getting Blake voted out before he would have been otherwise.
6) Don’t Be Too Much of a Threat
Time and time again we’ve seen people do what they should have been doing, only to be voted off anyway. One recent example was Stephenie in Palau (though not Guatemala). She was the only member of Ulong to survive to the merge. This singled her out as being a surefire threat, and even those who had previously promised to ally with her ended up taking part in the vote against her.
An earlier example was Hunter in Marquesas. He was a hard-working and likeable guy in a tribe full of lazies. That meant he had to go. In The Amazon, Rob C. targeted Dave because he too, was a threat. He said of Dave in his RNO interview, “He's smart, funny, and a very charismatic leader. It's a weird game where people's good qualities can actually hurt their chances. If he was a weirdo who was annoying I would have wanted to keep him around until the end.” Indeed it is a weird game, but it’s something you have to consider.
Ironically, Rob C. found himself on the bad end of this very stick on All-Stars, where it seemed the world turned upside-down and contestants who had played well previously were targeted early because they were known threats. A similar thing happened on Vanuatu, when the elder men joined against the younger, stronger guys to create an alliance based on strategy rather than strength. It happened again on that series when Chris knew that he was in a better position taking two older ladies, Twila and Scout, to the final challenge than in taking two young, strong women in Julie and Eliza.
There are many ways to be a threat. The most obvious threats are those who win challenge after challenge. Such a person is great to have around early in the game, when you are playing as a team. Once it gets to individual challenges, though, you don’t want somebody else winning rewards and immunity. Eventually, even the best challenge-winner is likely to miss a step and fail to get immunity, and that is when people might step in and vote that person out. As Rupert found out in Pearl Islands, sometimes you just have to rein yourself in or you’ll be voted out. Austin understood this in Exile Island and held himself back to allow Nick to appear stronger, so he would be voted off first. It didn’t end up winning Austin the game or anything, but even staying around just one more Tribal Council can make a huge difference sometimes.
Tom in Palau was the exception to this rule. He was a huge threat, both when leading his own tribe to victory and then in individual competitions. But he also had a tight enough alliance and made the right strategic moves to overcome this pitfall.
On the flipside, an early injury can make a player a threat to the success of the tribe. Jim hurt himself during the first Guatemala challenge and his tribemates had little choice but to send him packing. Amy, on the other hand, injured her ankle several times over on the same edition, but managed to cover it up well enough and keep pushing through the challenges such that her tribe kept her around longer than some healthy members.
Another way to be a threat is somewhat opposite of the earlier paragraphs – if you are so untrustworthy that people don’t know which way you will vote, you may be perceived as a threat to them sticking around. Christy in The Amazon was a threat to both Rob and the Jenna/Heidi team because she wouldn’t say which way she was voting; Dolly made the same mistake in Vanuatu. Shawn was a threat in Pearl Islands not only because he was in good physical shape, but also because he had once been allied with Burton, who his tribe thought might be coming back into the game (and they were right). And Bobby was seen on Exile Island as a threat to flip at the merge, so he was taken out before he had the chance – and, indeed, he told me in in his post-game interview that he would have flipped “instantly.”
A third type of threat is strategic. For example, if you have been studying reality TV strategy and have watched every edition of this show to see who did what right and wrong, the last thing you want to do is let people know that. They will see you as a gamer and a threat. If you have studied the game, never let on to how much you know. Using Bobby from Exile Island as another example, viewers never once saw Bobby as this type of player, and there is no indication the other players did either. Yet when he talked to me after being voted off, he talked about his respect for the game and said, “I consider myself a serious Survivor strategist.” He hid that in order to avoid being more of a threat.
This rule is, of course, especially important as you near the final four. If you are so well-liked or respected for game play that nobody would want to face you in the final two, you probably won’t make it that far (barring a series of immunity challenge wins). All we have to do is look at Terry and Cirie from Exile Island to see how true that is. There was no way either Danielle or Aras could face either Terry or Cirie in the finals, so the only thing that could have saved them was an immunity challenge win.
7) Providing Food Wins Allies / Don't Be Lazy
Rich was the main food provider of the first series with his spear fishing. While this was not the main reason he won, it's one of them. Rupert, of course, provided so much food for his Pearl Islands tribe that they were actually full – something rather rare on Survivor. Tom and Ian caught fish, snakes, and Tom even snatched a shark on Palau. If any of these men were, for example, as lazy as Gervase when it came to providing for others, his alliance might have turned on him.
It's not just fish, either. Several contestants in other series were ragged on for not going to look for any food, like the tapioca roots of Season 1. They also tried fishing with a pole in the middle of the day, which was a complete waste of time. People will like you if you provide them with food; they won't if you simply eat the fruits of others' labor.
Admittedly, this rule took a bit of a hit early on in Survivor: Marquesas, when the lazy folks started voting out those who were feeding them. This just goes to prove the point that alliances are more important than anything else, including food. Eventually, Rob and Sean were given the boot – in part because of their laziness, but more because they were just in the wrong group. Vecepia, who was in the lazy alliance originally, ended up winning!
In theory, food providers and other hard workers should be held in higher esteem. But overall, it still ranks at the bottom of the list as compared to the more "political" issues discussed earlier.
However, providing food can help people ignore some of your other flaws. Whenever anybody considered voting off Rupert in either series he was on, they always considered it in light of how they would eat. Boston Rob felt providing food was so important that on All-Stars he had to show people he could catch fish just like Rupert could.
Occasionally, this rule can even help overcome some of the others. On Guatemala, Lydia was going to be the first person voted out of her tribe, but her abilities to catch minnows and work hard around camp helped persuade the already-formed (though rather loose) alliance to get rid of Morgan and then Brianna instead.
Thailand even showed that while the issue may not get you immediately voted out, it can make or break you at the end. Clay lost in part because of his laziness. Indeed, he also showed that you can’t just ask if work needs to be done – do it! A smart player may tell you that it's not necessary, don't worry about it. But it may come back to haunt you later. For example, Brian told Clay he didn't need help on various things, so Clay continued to just lie around. Meanwhile, Brian was volunteering to help others, like Helen, even when she said it wasn't necessary. He used work to help form a bond that took him to the winner's circle, while Clay was stuck in second.
A quick note: On the flipside of providing food being a plus, stealing food is a definite minus. Just ask Clarence. 'Nuff said on that one.
8) Vote Off: Weak, Strong, Weak, Strong
In the beginning, vote off the weak. In the middle, after the tribes have merged, vote off the strong. Then vote off the weak again. Finally, get rid of the remaining strong contenders. In each case, "weak" and "strong" need some definitions, and actually mean different things at different stages.
Early on, the weak are those who will hurt your tribe's chances in the immunity challenges or who will cause divisions in the tribe that will overall weaken the group dynamic – which will in the end hurt just as much as losing challenges. Even though there will certainly be some more mixing of alliances and tribes, the best bet for staying around is still to have a larger cohesive tribe going into the merge – just ask the Koror tribe from Palau. By winning the immunity challenges, your tribe stays strong and you stay away from Tribal Council. Even the reward challenges can keep you on your feet, as we saw with Kucha's string of victories – giving them plenty of food while Ogakor practically starved. So, early on, it's time for the survival of the fittest.<--Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next-->
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