As fans of Survivor, watching the show over 30 seasons has shown us many lessons in the playing the game and just as importantly gameplay fatal flaws that should be avoided at all costs. While it’s undoubtedly a different story for contestants who are under immense pressure when playing the game, whether intentionally or by accident, we’ve seen contestants commit strategic and social suicide with these mistakes, breaking some of the cardinal rules.
This week Ozlet Julian Groneberg, picks his top 10 mistakes to avoid when playing the game of Survivor. Which other mistakes could make this list and what would you choose for the top spot? Let us know in the comments!
10. Mention You Miss Home
At no time in the game of Survivor, especially in the pre merge phase of the game should you talk about how you are looking forward to going home. Even if it’s just mentioned in a light-hearted way like Stephanie in Cook Islands who said she was craving real food, it made people question her ability to be in a solid alliance and her commitment to the game. While Bubba wasn’t voted out because of it, him withdrawing and missing his family did have the same affect of people questioning his ability to see the game through.
Mentioning you miss home is just giving others an easy reason to vote you out as they simply justify it as granting your wish. You can think it, but don’t say it out loud, even to people you think will understand. If people start questioning your commitment to stay in the game, you suddenly become an alliance member that is difficult to rely on.
9. Assuming You Won’t Need Someone’s Vote Later
Once people have formed alliances that they believe are solid, too often they shun other alliances and people, assume their alliance is unbreakable and they won’t need the other votes. Oh how that comes back to bite you in the game of Survivor. In Survivor it’s important to maintain civil relationship with everyone at all times. You never know when you may have to work with them and if too many bridges have been burnt, you’ve just kissed your game goodbye. This happened to John in Marquesas and it’s a scenario that’s been played out in many season since.
8. Being Too Determined to Get Your Way
Sometimes in Survivor, it’s important to remember that as long as it isn’t you that is enough. Todd had to let it go in China when he realised Amanda and the rest of the alliance weren’t ready to make a big move and vote out James.
Drew is a classic example of how gunning for someone (Kelley) and not being flexible can come back and bite. He wasn’t necessarily on the chopping block when he didn’t need to. Francesca made the same mistake about her determination to get Philip out in Caramoan, and so did Corrinne later that season when she could have worked with Philip. Her determination to have him blindsided eventually got back to him, and she became the target. Again sometimes knowing it’s not you should be enough. Campaigning for someone else when it doesn’t match the mood of other’s makes you look like an inflexible alliance member who is not willing to make concessions for others.
7. Hoarding Food or Eating More Than Your Share
When it comes to food on a deserted island, people get sensitive. Don’t eat more than your fair share. Never. If you must inhale some extra sustenance do it stealthily like Tyson and Gervase.
Way back in Africa when Clarence took an extra cherry, people were pissed off and this would be a precedent of what NOT to do when it comes to food in future seasons. Of course this is easier said than done when you’re literally starving. In a game where every grain of rice is counted and every portion measured, hoarding food is a social suicide. Just ask Julie McGee in the trail mix scandal of the century. The right way to eat bananas went over James’s head like many things, but it’s a major faux pas when food is as scarce as it is on the island. Oh and when you come back from a reward, don’t wax lyrical about all the amazing food you ate to your hungry tribe mates or bring them mangy half eaten chicken bones, a la Survivor Vanuatu.
6. Make A Big Deal About Work Ethic Around Camp
When playing a well rounded social game of Survivor, it’s essential to gauge the work ethic of others on your tribe before acting the martyr and criticising others for not doing any work. If the rest of the tribe is happy to chill out and be lazy that’s their right and the majority rules. Moaning about it won’t do yourself any favours, but if you are the silent workhorse, sooner or later people will recognise and potentially appreciate that value. Being a hard worker can make a big difference in a final tribal council speech against the person sitting next to you that did no work around camp.
Barking orders about work or making a big deal about how hard you work – a la Twila and Mike, just pisses people off. It’s not necessarily fatal in the game, but it’s a definitely strategic no no in the game of Survivor.
5. Being Noncommittal
Agree to every offer. Always. Even if you have reservations about being in an alliance, in Survivor you’re allowed to change your mind later – in fact it’s even usually necessary to win the game. Survivor is all about working with people and having options, agreeing to a offer is always a good idea.
Despite being a solid player Penner is guilty of one of the biggest non committal moves by declining and offer with Lisa and Skupin for final three. Because they felt they could no longer work with him, they then went on to make other arrangements, leaving him massively on the outs.
Survivor is often about telling people what they want to hear. Being tentative and noncommittal backfires badly, leading other to deduce that if you’re not with them, you’re against them.
4. Not Reassuring Members in Your Alliance
Even if you plan to soon give them the flick, being cagey and distant with people who are meant to be in your alliance is a classic Survivor error. Alliance members aren’t stupid. If you’re avoiding them or not talking strategy to them, it leads them to deduce that you’re talking strategy to someone else.
To play Survivor well you need to be able to lie at times and be able to convince people you remain tight at all times, and they’re not in any danger – even if they are.
Some players have a hard time having to reconcile this deceptive gameplay but it’s major part of being successful and making it to the end. The fact remains that in the game of Survivor you’ll have to turn against everyone eventually. Giving them a clue that you’ll be targeting them soon by not providing convincing reassurance only gives them a chance to vote you out first.
3. Isolate Yourself By Going Off on Your Own
As much as you might think it’s a great idea to get some space to yourself in Survivor isolation means on the outs. For players that need their own time to think – that’s what the night time when everyone is asleep is for. Going off by yourself only alienates yourself from the rest of the tribe and gives others the opportunity to strategize against you. Of course this is easier said than done when you spend every waking moment with the same people, but hey, no one ever said the social game of Survivor was going to be easy…
Ask Max Dawson. Max got nude, thus separating himself and giving Carolyn, Joaquin and Tyler the chance to strategize against him. Then him and Shrin isolated themselves from the rest of the Nagarote tribe by strategising. In and of itself getting nude isn’t completely off limits especially since it’s so hot out there and air circulation around the nether regions has it’s merits. Going sans swim shorts on a regular basis however means people will keep you at arms length and you’ll be out of the loop faster than you can say “BAMBOOZLED”
2. Giving Up the Immunity Necklace
Jenna got away with it in the early years of Survivor before moves like this were quickly seen as an opportunity to remove a potential threat. Nowadays it’s rare to see it happen, but as recently as South Pacific we saw Brandon do it for Albert and was promptly voted out. And who could forget Erik in Micronesia?
Immunity is the only thing that you can count on to stay safe in the game of Survivor. By choosing to voluntarily giving it up to try to garner goodwill down the track, in a game where it’s everyone for themselves, is utter madness.
1.Tell People You’re Voting Them Out
No, just, no. It’s even worse when this is mentioned hours or even day before tribal council. All this achieves is giving the soon-to-be-voted out player more time to scramble and make other arrangements. This was Garrett in Survivor Cagayan claiming J Tia was gone, and Laura Boneham made the same error in Blood vs Water. Even way back in Amazon, Alex told Rob he was taking the girls to the final three which gave Rob enough time to make alternative arrangements. Just no.
While everyone says they want to know if it’s them, they want to know because it gives them time to reposition for their place in the game. Unless the writing is well and truly on the wall with an unbreakable alliance, it shouldn’t need to be said who is next, the players should already know. If they don’t, then they don’t need to be told, and a sweet, sweet blindside is on the cards. It’s part of how Survivor has to be played if people want to go far and remove their closest competition and apart from DON’T BE AN ASS, it’s the single biggest mistake to avoid when playing the game.
What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there mistakes that didn’t make the top 10 that you feel should’ve? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts!
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