What Amazonian Survivors Should Have Learnedby David Bloomberg -- 02/11/2003
This is the fifth 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 how they shouldn't - 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: The Amazon should have learned by the time they got there. They had the opportunity to see previous series and to know that there would definitely be twists and turns. They probably did not predict that they would end up split along gender lines, so that may have thrown a monkey wrench into some plans. But being flexible is part of the game.
While the first run of the show had different people with vastly different ideas about what would be going on - some thinking it would be all fun and games while others actually played to win - the type of people from that first group should definitely know better by now. Sure, some will still say they are playing "for the experience," and therefore not do what they are supposed to in order to win, but, hey, that's their problem. This article is about what contestants should do.
For example, players should not act like Colby did and decide that his friendship with Tina was worth more than a million dollars - in fact, that decision earned him a Reality TV Hall of Shame Moment. People should be playing to win. 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.
Survivor: Marquesas showed us how to lose. You lose by showing your hand and practically daring anybody to go against you. You lose by being obnoxiously lazy. Much of the reasoning behind Vecepia's win 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, it goes back to the Rotu 4.
Survivor: Thailand showed us that even people who read these rules and try to follow them, like Shii Ann did (and she even quoted them in her final words!), have to also remember to expect the unexpected. Shii Ann did exactly what she should have if the situation had been as everybody thought it was. But the producers pulled a fast one on them. Shii Ann was toast. It also shows that a master of strategy like Brian can still win - though it sometimes takes a creative way of looking at the way to do so. By making several individual alliances, Brian set himself up to either succeed wonderfully or fail horribly (if the others talked to each other and realized what he was doing). His skill allowed him to do the former. The next Brian will need to come up with a slightly different version of the strategy he used.
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. If it wasn't or primary importance then, it won't be now - especially with the gender lines drawn. It will depend a lot more on how each person gets along with their fellows than whether or not they can make fire by rubbing two sticks together.
So what should the Survivor: The Amazon contestants have learned? Let's take a look at these updated 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
Yes, this is still the primary rule. 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. You can always change later, but you need to make sure you are not tossed before you can create some good alliances. 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, Brian says he went into the game with a plan of his own as well.
In general, people who would do well in "real" survival situations have absolutely no advantage over those who would die of starvation or exposure to the elements. Let's face it, Jan from Survivor: Thailand probably would not have lasted too long in a "real" survival situation. But she managed to make it past the point where her weakness was, well, a weakness. She did it through making an alliance - and she was also somewhat lucky there were other scapegoats around. Similarly, laziness would not be rewarded in a real island survival situation, but Rob, Sean, Sarah, and Vee had that in common on Survivor: Marquesas, and used that bond to form an alliance that ousted the hard workers. The alliance supersedes work ethic or pretty much any other factor when it comes to surviving this game.
The most important attribute of an alliance is that the people in it won't vote for you to leave. The second most important attribute is that they will vote the same way as you will for somebody else to take the long hike. As the original Tagi alliance showed, if you get a group together, you have a much better chance of surviving against the rest of the unorganized clods wandering around, shooting their votes this way and that. Since then, the alliance based on original tribe has held sway in almost every single series - with Marquesas being the lone exception, and that mostly because of the stupidity of the Rotu 4 (who, like Colby, also earned a Hall of Shame Moment). Mind you, it wasn't always the best idea to stay in a tribal alliance. Survivor 2's Amber, for instance, should not have continued voting with her tribe after Jerri was booted. She should have approached the remaining Kuchans and formed an alliance that would at least carry her a bit further. She probably would still not have made it to the finals, but she could at least have had a better chance.
So players need to appear to be part of the overall tribal alliance, but they should also keep their options open. Players need to be opportunistic - convince the others in their original tribe that everybody should be loyal, but then take whatever opportunities they have to form other alliances to keep them safe. They need to be flexible enough to jump alliances if the need arises. Besides Paschal and Neleh in Marquesas, Kelly saw this in Survivor: Africa. Unfortunately, Brandon saw the same opportunity too, and took it without realizing what a completely idiotic move it was. Vecepia saw it several times over in the fourth series, as did Kathy. Shii Ann thought she saw a golden opportunity in Thailand, but we've already discussed that.
One other item of note happened in Thailand - Brian's variation on this theme. Brian created a tribal alliance, but also a number of sub-alliances that the others weren't aware of. He had a pact with Clay, one with Ted, and one with Helen. (Jan was kind along for the ride in each of them). Everybody was happy and secure - until the axe fell. This gave Brian the ability to figure out which opponent he would rather face in the final two - eventually leading to his picking, and beating, Clay. But if the others had taken a great dislike to Helen, for example, he could have simply changed his plan.
This was a risky maneuver because if, for example, Ted and Helen had talked about Brian on their little getaway, he might have been found out. Future contestants will really have to be something special to get people to believe in them the way these folks believed in Brian.
Note that I have been talking about making alliances, not making friends. See Rule 4, below, for advice about friendships.
2) But Don't Scheme and Plot Too Much/Keep Your Scheming Secret/Don't Backstab Until You Absolutely Need To
There's a fine line that needs to be drawn. If you spend all your time scheming and plotting, and you try to scheme and plot with everybody, everybody will know what you're up to - especially since Brian perfected that method. In the end, nobody will trust you and they'll turn on you. This is precisely what happened to Kelly in the first season. She tried to be all things to all people. Instead, it cost her everything when Susan turned from a trusted friend to a hated enemy. It happened again, of course. Clarence tried to plot with everybody and nobody trusted him. Kelly in the third series did not necessarily try to plot with everybody, but because she was friendly and spent time with some of the others, she was seen as a potential traitor. While she did not actually jump ship until it was obvious her shipmates were going to make her walk the plank, the seed had already been planted in Lex's mind (or gut) when Brandon helped it to grow. Gabriel in the fourth season did something similar when he was friendly with Rob and Sean and refused to swear a blood oath to stick with John's Rotu 4 alliance. But then John himself fell in part due to the same issue because he had made deals - fake or real - with just about everybody.
You need to pick a core group that you think is trustworthy and mature. The first series' Sean was viewed as immature by the Tagi alliance, in part because he thought it unethical to vote in such a manner. So he wasn't included in their planning, though they did use his stupid alphabetical system to help get rid of Pagong members. When he finally figured out how to play the game, it was too late.
In the second series, Debb tried to scheme too much, too soon, and started spreading stories that Jeff wanted to be voted off. When this got back to Jeff, it cemented the unanimous vote against Debb. In the third series, Brandon violated this rule by jumping from the Samburu + Kelly alliance to Lex's camp. He did indeed help get rid of Kelly, but then Lex's cohorts decided that if a guy couldn't even keep his word to his original team, he was not trustworthy enough to stay with them, either. Off he went.
We've already mentioned Shii Ann, who I think deserves a bit of special dispensation because she was tricked by the producers. It's easy for us to say she plotted and schemed too much (as she said herself), but the fact is that she was on the right track and then the train turned out to be heading in the wrong direction.
An important part of this rule is that players should not be open about their scheming. This part Shii Ann definitely did violate, as she flat-out told Ken that she was going to join with the other tribe. Similarly, the Samburu split was obvious to one and all. On the other side, Lex felt he needed to be honest to Clarence and then again (at least partially) to Kelly before voting them off. Sorry, but that was the wrong move. Lie to their faces, and then vote 'em off. There is no reason to alert them to their impending doom - it only gives them time to plot their own counterattack, which Kelly almost successfully did against Lex.
The downfall of the Rotu 4 in Survivor: Marquesas is almost entirely due to their failure to recognize this part of the rule. They thought they had it made. They were in the final four and there was nothing anybody could do. So when it came time to chop down those coconuts in an immunity challenge, they laid out their plans just as clearly as if they'd written 'em down and handed them out. Paschal and Neleh were shown that they were not part of the core alliance and the best they could hope for would be fifth and sixth place. By making their scheming so apparent, the Rotu 4 were instead chopped down one by one, just like those coconuts. And make no mistake - challenges like this will be present again.
This also leads to a corollary to this rule, which is that if any alliances do get out in the open, do not let it be known that you are the decision-maker. Rich Hatch succeeded in great part because he allowed his cohorts to believe they were making the decisions. On the other hand, Lex made it clear to the Boran Boys Club that he was in charge, and that caused problems. It caused even more problems for John of the Rotu 4.
I'm also going to bring in one more point regarding open scheming - couples. I'm talking about joining up openly with another person for any reason, whether it's love/lust, a father-daughter type thing, or whatnot. While we haven't really seen it so much yet in Survivor, shows like Big Brother have indicated that open partnerships are just begging to be split up. It draws attention to both people and that can lead to votes. Plus, it violates Rule 4, below, about not letting emotions control you. Like I said, it hasn't really happened in Survivor yet, and it probably won't this time simply due to the gender dynamics, but I think it's just a matter of time.
Another point in discussing the open scheming takes us to Peter, from Survivor: Marquesas. What's that you say, you barely even remember Peter? Yes, that's my point. He was the first one booted off in large part because he tried to discuss the vote with everybody in the tribe. He wanted to force them to talk openly about who should get the boot. What was the result? They decided that he should get the boot!
The main point in dealing with the backstabbing portion of this rule is that it goes along with scheming and plotting, and backstabbing too early is scheming and plotting too much. In the second series, the Colby/Tina/Keith alliance didn't get rid of Jerri until they had whittled down the numbers of Kuchans to the point that they felt safe. Frankly, they weren't really safe since Amber could have joined the remaining Kuchans to overthrow the alliance, but things ended up working out. The same was true when the Borans decided to get rid of Kelly. In that case, they actually mistakenly thought Kelly had betrayed them, but even if she had, so what? They were lucky to have the numbers to get rid of her, but sometimes you have to keep the person you don't like for a little while longer if it means keeping the alliance (and therefore yourself) secure.
Of course Brian showed precisely how to hold your knife until the last minute. Ted knew he was probably going before Tribal Council, but by that point there was nothing he could do about it. And Helen was utterly clueless until the knife had been plunged in deep.
3) Pretend To Be Nice/Keep Your Politics and Controversial Beliefs To Yourself
As you're making alliances, you have to pretend to be nice. It's like diplomacy. Keep your real feelings inside. In general, people aren't going to ally themselves with you if they think you're a jerk or you're untrustworthy. Look at Jerri (who received a full induction into the Hall of Shame) as the prime example. Even if you do make it past that point and you somehow get down to the final two, if the jury thinks you're too much of an ass, you still don't get the big money (such as would have happened with Keith, had Colby used his brain - and as did happen with Clay against Brian).
This applies to politics and other controversial beliefs as well. As Kel noted in an interview with me, most Survivor players are not on the far right wing politically. So it's not terribly smart to start a discussion blasting gun control and the liberal media, as Frank did in Survivor: Africa, even if you believe you are 100% correct. Frank was probably going anyway at that vote, but it's still just not a good idea to give people any reason to vote against you. Another good example - dealing more with beliefs than politics - was Peter of Survivor: Marquesas. His "holey" yoga speeches made others in his tribe think he was a fruit loop. He had already attracted their attention with his attempts to get everybody to vote a certain way, and his bizarre spoutings only made it easier for people to target him. Maybe later on in the game, after people already know you, things like this can be discussed - but definitely not early on when people are just looking for a reason to boot anybody.
Of course, Ghandia (another Hall of Shame inductee) really blew this one out of the water with her accusations against Ted after she had already discussed them with him and she had accepted his apology.
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.
4) Don't Let Your Emotions Control You
This section addresses both "positive" emotions, like friendship, and also "negative" ones, such as anger. Let's address the positive first and then move on to the negative.
These people are strangers. You are stuck with them for a bit over a month. But then you never have to see them again (well, other than at media events). You don't need to be friends with them. You just have to get along well enough to make a solid alliance and live with them. You can pretend to be nice all you want; you can even become actual friends if it suits you. But don't let it get past that point - don't let that friendship control the game for you. As Greg said in the very first series, you might just have to break that kitten's neck. Or she might be trying to break yours.
In the first series, Susan thought she had a real friendship with Kelly, but she eventually saw through that. Those emotional bonds caused Susan to lose, and to be viewed as an incredibly evil woman by many due to her final speech before the jury vote. The first series' Sean, the last non-alliance member to be voted off, noted before his departure that these were the "most conniving bunch of people I've ever met." He added, "there's not an honest one in the bunch." Finally, he said that they are "callous, cold, and duplicitous people." He was right. And the most duplicitous of them won. Colby made a friend in Tina. While she did end up giving him some money to pay off his debts, he could have had all of the money anyway if he had simply played the game. Gabriel, in the fourth series, came to start a commune and be friends with everybody - he was the first one booted off of his tribe.
Friends are great, but this is a game show. Now I already hear some people protesting, "But Ethan made friends, and he was a nice guy - and he won!" True, but he didn't allow his friendships to interfere with his play. He was friendly with a number of the contestants, but he voted 'em off, one by one. He made alliances and he stuck to 'em. He did not allow his emotions to control his game play.
Then we have the flip side of emotion - anger. Susan, in the incident discussed a couple paragraphs ago, let her anger get the better of her and it interfered with the proper way to play. Lex did the same thing, and it got in the way even more. Brandon so disliked Frank that he refused to be in an alliance with him, and it cost him a good chance at progression into the final four. Ghandia has already been discussed, but it was her anger that caused her to act the way she did - thus, she was voted off.
So we have two sides of the same coin here. Colby allowed his friendship with Tina to cost him $900,000. Lex allowed his anger to get the better of him and tossed off somebody who could have remained a solid ally for a while - as only one example. Contestants need to achieve the proper balance and remain objective. This is a game. You wouldn't allow emotion to rule in a game of Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune, so don't do it when a million dollars are on the line.
As a side note necessitated by Survivor 2, I guess I should add that you shouldn't form emotional bonds with any animals, either - especially if they will be food. This was one of the reasons Kimmi ended up losing, though certainly not the only one.
5) 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. If he were, for example, as lazy as Gervase when it came to providing for others, his alliance might have turned on him. Mike took on a key food provider role for Kucha and would have lasted for a while in part because of that had he not fallen into the fire. Nick was viewed as lazy after the merge because he didn't do much to even try to catch fish - he might have been able to stick around a little longer if he had done something.
It's not just fish, either. Earlier, several contestants in the first series were ragged on for not going to look for any food, like the tapioca roots. 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 on 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, Thailand 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 provided a good example of a new addition to this rule: Don'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.
6) 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 almost certainly be some more mixing of alliances this time, the best bet for staying around is still to have a larger cohesive tribe going into the time when the two are combined. By winning the immunity challenges, your tribe stays strong. By working as a single group, your tribe stays strong. 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.
We saw this several times in the first three editions of Survivor. And we saw how Ogakor's vote to eliminate a fairly strong Kel contributed to them losing future challenges. They went against this advice and suffered for it. But Boran got rid of their weak - Diane and Jessie - immediately and were able to gain relative strength from it. Meanwhile, in Thailand the first to go was John, who seemed strong, but was causing divisions in the group. Tanya, who was ill, was next. Then Ghandia, who, as already discussed, caused huge problems in the tribe. After those first three cuts, Chuay Gahn stuck together while Sook Jai, which had its own internal problems, fell apart.
But what about Survivor: Marquesas? Maraamu definitely went against this advice with the vote against Hunter. Why? Because Rob figured it was better to have people who would listen to him (and "fear" him) rather than strong people in the tribe. Frankly, there is something to be said for not worrying about voting off the weak early on if tribe-swapping continues. If you don't know whose tribe somebody will be on, why care if you keep the strong? He may be on your tribe or he may become your opponent. Instead, keep an alliance partner. Such was the case with Hunter. At the time, it sure seemed stupid because Maraamu was on such a losing streak - and sometimes it may still be; they could have voted off Gina instead and kept the stronger guy for physical challenges. Also, you don't want to do it as the first or second vote, because odds are against a swap happening so quickly. But as you get near the time when a swap may happen, it becomes less important. Once again, alliances have to hold supreme.
Later, though, when the tribes merge and it's every man, woman, and voting bloc for him/her/itself, it's definitely time to vote off the strong who are not part of your alliance. If they are allowed to stick around, they will hurt your chances at the big money.
Here, "strong" has varied meanings. It can mean those who are literally strong and thus able to win the physical reward and immunity challenges. If you boot them when they are vulnerable, you won't have to worry about them later. We saw this with Clarence - he was kept around until the tribes merged and he went from being helpful to being dangerous. "Strong" also means those who can organize others. The Pagong people almost managed to boot Richard, the glue of Tagi's alliance. They missed by a vote, because they didn't catch on until it was too late. If they had moved a little sooner, things would have been much different. I doubt Rudy would have allied with Susan and Kelly had it not been for Richard. The Tagi alliance, however, knew they needed to do this and took out Gretchen, a leader, as soon as the tribes merged. Greg, one of the most well-liked amongst his Pagong cohorts, immediately followed.
In a post-show interview, Sue explained that they were going to vote off Greg first, but he won immunity, so they went with Gretchen first instead. She noted, "They were all different kinds of leaders--either emotional or physical."
Both Kucha and Ogakor realized the need to vote off the strong. Unfortunately, that was not necessarily the right strategy for their particular situation. Obviously, you need to be flexible. Kucha voted as a bloc to try to get rid of Colby, Ogakor's strongest member. But because they went into the merge with equal numbers, they should have instead been looking for the weak link. They knew there would be a tie vote, which would lead to a look at previous votes cast against the two who are tied (though it may not this time as the rules may once again refer people to the purple rock of death - the cause of Paschal's loss - if there is another tie). But they didn't pick up on Jerri's problems with several other tribe members - problems which they might have (correctly) figured had gotten her some early votes.
So, the rule about voting off the strong when the tribes merge must have an exception: If you're going in with a suspected tie between alliances, aim for the one you think will lose the tiebreaker, whatever that tiebreaker might be. Then, once your alliance has superior numbers, start picking off the strong.
You need to go back to voting off the weak again after the unallied strong are gone. In this case, "weak" means the stragglers. These are the members of the herd who are left over, with nobody to protect them. Gervase and Colleen were absolutely right to call themselves a target and a sitting duck, respectively. They had no protection, and they knew it. They were weak, and they were removed by the alliance. In Survivor: Africa, Teresa knew she was in trouble and did everything she could to try to convince others - especially Kim J. - to ally with her. It didn't work, as we know, but it illustrates how the others were correctly following this at the time. After John, the head of the Rotu 4 alliance, was cut off, the remaining three were picked off one by one, and they knew it was coming, even though they begged for their game lives.
If possible, the next step should be to remove the "weak" members of your own alliance - those who can be plucked out without completely fracturing it apart. In a way, it's like pulling cards out of a card house. Some can be removed without causing much of a problem. Others cause the whole thing to collapse like, well, a house of cards. This is not always an option.
After the stragglers are gone, you need to refocus on the strong. In this case, the strong are those who are members of your own alliance but threaten your chance in the end, either because they can win the immunity challenges or because they are popular with the future jury. Unfortunately, this is not an easy task because the fact that they will be popular with the jury may mean they are popular with the rest of your alliance. You need to be careful or else a suggestion like this could rebound and you could be the one voted out. Still, it is in everybody else's best interest to get rid of such people.
The main thing here is that you don't want a "nice" person left with you as the final two. If the jury compares you and somebody they like more, you're going to lose. You want to look like an angel by comparison. It was in everybody else's best interest to keep Richard around for the final two, because he had been such an arrogant jerk. This is why Kelly correctly voted Rudy off when only the three of them were left. But it still wasn't enough. Richard's Machiavellian planning won out in large part because enough voters concentrated on game play as opposed to personality. It was in Tina and Colby's interest to keep Keith around, for the same reason. In this case, there is no way Keith would have won. The only problem was that Colby let emotions get in the way of his judgment. The case of Kim J. vs. Ethan was a bit more complicated because the others supposedly liked Lex enough that he would have won against Kim (even though viewers might not have guessed that). And Neleh was definitely correct to bring Vee, rather than Kathy, into the finals with her. Had the Rotu 4 not been so vindictive and immature, Neleh would have won.
The Jury Phase
Events in Survivor: Thailand have caused me to add a new section to this article, one that deals with the jury phase, specifically being in the final two. Players who don't follow the earlier advice will likely never make it this far, but those who do have to be ready - and it seems that many have not been.
Clay showed us a great maneuver for the jury when he made it seem like he was on Penny's side, even to the point of voting against Jake instead of her when he knew she was going. He made the others in his alliance, mainly Brian, think he was doing this all to confuse Jake. But he had told Penny he was on her side. So what happened? She was voted out and placed in the jury, ready to vote for Clay should he be in the final two.
But even without going to extremes like that, you have to realize how important jury arguments are. In fact, they are $900,000 important! So be prepared. Be ready to tell the jury why they should vote for you and not for the other person. Four out of five of the winners have been decided by a single vote, which could have been changed during that final Tribal Council.
Sometimes, it's obvious what you need to say. Sometimes, it's not. Neleh went to the final Tribal Council without a clue that the Rotu 4 were so vindictive and basically wanted her to apologize for beating them. Clay had no answers for those who accused him of being lazy. But Brian eventually caught on that Helen wanted an apology from him, and he gave it, thus securing her vote and the win.
Apologies, in general, are good. Say you're sorry to those you ran over to get there. While you're at it, flatter those you ran over to get there - it never hurts. Point out that it was nothing personal, but you only acted that way for the game. Etc.
In short, whether it's through seeding the jury with people who will vote for you (a difficult task) or simply knowing what they want to hear, you need to think about the jury before you actually have to face them.
These are the most important lessons that should have been learned ahead of time by the Survivor: The Amazon players. Richard played by these rules and came home with the big prize. He was the best player and the jury recognized it. Tina did a good job as well, though her win had a bit more luck (and dumb playing by Colby) involved. Ethan did a good job of following these rules while others around him stumbled more than they should have. Vee, well - let's just say that sometimes every rule in the book gets broken. But then we went back to Brian, a player I consider to be the second-best in Survivor history to date, and he used all of these plus added his own twist.
This sixth time has the added difficulty of being divided along gender lines - something for which the contestants were certainly not prepared. So the next Machiavellian schemer will have to be even better. He or she will need to plan at least as well as Richard and Brian did, but put his or her own twists into it. The Amazonian Survivor contestants will need to use every ability to Outwit, Outplay, and Outlast.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at email@example.com.
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