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Survivor: China – Advice for the Remaining 15by Jeffrey Clinard -- 09/26/2007
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It’s often telling in the first episode who has done their homework and who is just winging it as the first few days on Survivor unfold. While it’s not always possible to see how well each player has prepared, it’s sometimes obvious who has a clue and who doesn’t, even in the first episode. With others it’s less obvious, but that usually means they are somewhere in the middle when it comes to strategic thinking.
One obvious area in the first episode was the matter of leadership. Chicken tried, then after getting shot down, tried to be an Indian instead of a chief, but he simply felt too far the other way, not even offering an opinion when asked for one. Aaron started off right by giving subtle leadership on how to correctly row his tribe’s boat, but made a mistake taking it one when Todd suggested it. In addition, during Tribal Council, both Dave and Peih-Gee volunteered to be leaders. One was accepted; the other was not. Leadership has to be worn very carefully in Survivor; unofficial leaders often do well, but official ones often get burned either after the merge or toward the end.
Still, it wouldn’t be Survivor if it didn’t involve people not taking the game seriously, as shown by the lack of shelter building on Zhan Hu (and the little dance three of the women enjoyed in lieu of something resembling work). That being the case, I wasn’t surprised to see the Fei Long tribe, who has more of their act together, win the first challenge (as well as build the first shelter). If there is a single advantage to waiting until building a shelter, it’s to find where rainwater naturally gathers so that the shelter can be built in a flood-resistant area.
The challenge was interesting, as it involved both teamwork and individual effort, with Frosti and James electing to take the lead positions. Frosti made a small error that cost his tribe time, but overall Fei Long seemed to work better together as a tribe, moving nicely and finding their pole slots quickly.
It’s still very early, and there don’t seem to be any tight bonds forming yet. So what should each Survivor be doing in order to advance to the next step of the game? It’s advice for the remaining 15.
Fei Long: So far, your tribe seems to have its act together, working for a shelter and even learning how to row the boat under Aaron’s gentle leadership. That’s a good start as I’ll guarantee there is going to be a challenge in the future that involves paddling a boat. You picked a good person to lead the dragon in the challenge, and won immunity and flint. So far, as a tribe, you’re doing almost everything right.
Jean-Robert: You’re adopting a very unusual approach in trying to play people like you’d play poker. The question is, are the other players going to buy into your approach of how you categorize them (particularly if you decide to deliberately bluff another player)? I personally would not play the mind games unless you’re ready to figuratively steal a pot or bluff, or you won’t gain the trust you need to advance in the game.
Leslie: You’re going to have to make moves to fit in, as you already alienated yourself by abandoning the ceremony, then noted that God was providing when he dumped rain on you. You already look like a misfit, so you need to quietly start campaigning and working to ally with people to go after another misfit, particularly Courtney. You’ve made early mistakes, but can recover if you dance the right dance and make a common enemy out of somebody.
Amanda: You identified big, strong guys like Aaron and James as good tribemates, as they are big, strong guys who can help win physical challenges. It’s a good place to start, but the most common mistake a female Survivor can make is trying to make it to the end with two strong leadership males. You need to add at least one, and preferably two people if you want to start with those two men as the start of your alliance, and I’d suggest Denise and Todd. Together you can make the others misfits and eliminate them when needed.
Courtney: The first piece of advice is next time you do something, get a clue about what you are getting into. Except for a few times during rewards, Survivors do not sit around sipping lemonade. While you may not be used to being around lunch ladies and devout Christians, you only have two choices: join them or work to eliminate them. You’re a misfit, but there are enough other misfits on your tribe you can try to get rid of them if you make the suggestion to the right people (like Aaron) first.
Denise: I think you’re in a moderate position. You did fall during the challenge, but that didn’t affect the outcome. Unless it becomes a pattern, this incident probably won’t hurt you. Right now you should be up for grabs by any developing alliance; there are enough misfits on the tribe people may want to get rid of that you can sell your vote for now to the smallest majority faction. Once you do that, you become much harder to eliminate. I’d start talking to Aaron about who you think the tribe can do without; he should be open to picking up a vote at this time.
James: You proved your value in the challenge, and you’re a big, strong guy, so you’re in no danger of going home just yet. However, you are losing the social end of the game, and you’re going to be dead meat just before or after the merge unless you start socializing and becoming part of a voting structure in the game. While there is plenty of work to do, you need to start making time to associate with the other players, starting with the appointed leader, Aaron.
Todd: You’ve made some good moves, such as getting somebody else to be the leader, and listening but not talking too much to Jean-Robert. Figuring out his game can only help yours, and you can use his statements to help sell him out down the line. Meanwhile, unless Aaron gets a vote of no confidence, you’re in a secure position to start voting out the others while improving your own position.
Aaron: You started out well, giving simple instructions that helped get your boat moving in the right position, and contributing well at camp life. However, you should have refused the offer to be the official leader, instead just saying that you thought everybody could work together without anybody telling them what to do. Still, now that you’ve taken the role, you might as well use it. Pick four other tribe members and start your alliance. I suggest James, Todd, Denise, and Amanda as the others can be easily cut while retaining both strength and weakness (for post-merge challenges). Make the most of your position for now to stay until the mid-game.1 2 Next-->
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