Survivor Oz Top 10 – Top 10 Lessons Learned From Survivor Borneo


Survivor is a game about strategy, but also social graces, and right from the beginning we quickly saw what to do, but just as importantly what NOT to do. This week Rossi is back in the fold with a summary of some of the biggest lessons we learned from the season that started it all. All of  them, lessons that provided the template for future contestants to play a solid game of Survivor. 

10. Don’t Be Annoying


One of the worst mistakes that someone can make playing Survivor is something can just as easily happen in real life; being annoying. By being annoying a contestant can isolate themselves from both the group discussions and smaller alliances. While this isn’t an easy habit to correct, remaining conscious of how the others can perceive actions and words is a good strategy to make it farther.

9. Don’t Isolate Yourself


Whilst this idea is that plagues certain contestants even to this modern era of the show, it was not a major issue in the first season. This most notable instance of this was Greg and Colleen spending a great deal of time away from the camp. Their isolation never amounted to much of anything, but it set a precedent that ideally should be followed. Just because a contestant isolates himself or herself it does not mean they will be automatically voted out, but it does not bode well for their game. Future contestants made a conscious effort to integrate themselves into tribe activities even if they don’t want to just to bond with them.

8. Don’t Be Aggressive About Your Beliefs


The game of Survivor can be broken into three components: the social, strategic, and physical. The combination of these three is pivotal in making it far. An element of the social game is by making bonds and that can be about life inside or outside the game. Personal ideology and beliefs works their way into the game and being so passionate about these principles can land a player in trouble. An early example of such passion is with Dirk and his strong religious beliefs that did not sit well with the rest of the tribe. As a result of this his nature, he was against the “gameplay” and eventually voted out. This is no way making an attack against religion, but it shows how damaging such strong values can cost someone the game. Frank in Africa later followed this, when he was very vocal about his own political ideology, which distanced himself from the tribe. In later editions of the show, personal opinions that can be debated are often left out of the game for sake of not upsetting or offending the others to save face and remain in the game longer.

7. Do Work Around Camp


Survivor is centered on living in an isolated area and using wits to survive (along with the food and items provided). Apart of forming a new society, the members need to collect firewood, watch the fire, boil water, collect food, gather tapioca, and other daily activities. It is highly advised that all tribe members do their part and contribute. By not contributing or barely putting forth the effort it can raise a few eyebrows and can impact the game of the player. Sean was often found not working by creating a bowling alley or his ever-famous Superpole 2000. It is the simple things like collecting firewood and contributing to camp life can really benefit someone’s game.

6. Don’t Flow Between Groups


As bonds begin to grow and form, people form these groups and then alliances and their game is morphed around them. One issue that can arise is when one players tries to flow between alliances, which raises a few eyebrows. Kelly is a clear example as she had second thoughts on her being apart of the alliance and started to build these strong bonds with the Pagong tribe. As a result, Kelly lost some credibility from her Tagi tribe members and that cost her the win.

5. Don’t Cause Conflicts


Like many of these lessons on this list, it may seem a no-brainer. Causing conflict in the camp or in the challenges can definitely result in a direct vote out, because people just don’t like you. Looking to Borneo, BB ruffled/rustled feathers when he was very demanding about the quality of the shelter. As the seasons went on these kinds of conflicts progressively decreased, yet conflict still remained. The kind of conflict is the unnecessary conflict over minor details like the positioning of the shelter, cleanliness around the camp, and this can also branch into negative personal attacks as well. Strategic related arguments do not bear the same weight, because people often remain in the game for it can be more advantageous.

4. Get to Know the Other Contestants


A key component of the social game involves the other players and forming bonds not only to get further in the competition, but also to pass the time. Connecting with the others was especially in the earlier seasons, because of the Fallen Comrades challenge. These bonds also play into the Final Tribal Council as well as Kelly received the votes of the Pagong members for the bonds she made. Even though the Fallen Comrade challenge has faded out of the show, the importance of these bonds remains just as impactful.

3. Do Well in the Challenges


A large part of Survivor is competing in both reward and immunity challenges, which are key to the tribe’s success in the game. By not performing well or causing the tribe to lose warrants concern, because it could easily result in being voted out. I realize that this point may seem fairly obvious, but Borneo did have a fair share of challenge flops that did result in at least one direct vote out. Contestants in this modern era prepare before going out there by going to gym or practicing puzzles.

2. Be Socially Aware


This may seem like a no-brainer, but after looking the entirety of the first season it was not always apparent. A layer of the game of Survivor is the social interactions with the other players, because in the end these interactions dictate the fate of your game. Joel and Gervase made some comments about the women and resulted in Joel’s ousting. After this situation and other similar ones contestants were more increasingly aware of what they say and how it can be perceived. Not all contestants follow this as evidence with certain contestants’ behavior.

1. Form an Alliance


The most fundamental strategic decision that a contestant can make is to either form or become a part of an alliance. Early on in Borneo the first alliance was formed and has greatly impacted how this game is played. Many of the actions of the game are driven by combatting the other alliance or alliances. In Borneo the first ever alliance was able to make it to the final four and control the game. Alliances have become a staple to the gameplay and most if not all players’ work with an alliance at one point or another. If it were not for this development, Survivor would not be played the way it is today.

What do you think of the top 10? Do you agree? Disagree? Is it in the wrong order or are there ones 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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5 Comments on Survivor Oz Top 10 – Top 10 Lessons Learned From Survivor Borneo

  1. Survivor Unwritten rules

    Season 1 Get into the dominate alliance in your tribe and pick off the other tribe before picking off the rest and battling it out with your final 4.

    Seasons 2-3 Get into the dominate alliance in your tribe and then make sure your tribe has less people with past votes pick off the other tribe before picking off the rest and battling it out with your final 4.

    Seasons 4-5 Get into the dominate alliance in your tribe and then make sure you have the numbers at merge pick off the other tribe before picking off the rest and battling it out with your final 4.

    Seasons 6-7 Flip flop and never let the minority out of your site

    Seasons 8-11 Manipulate your competition.

    Seasons 12-13 Find that idol aka the free pass to final 3

    Seasons 14-18 Blindside, Blindside, Blindside

    Seasons 19-30 Lie Cheat and Steal Anything goes

    Seasons 31-present Voting blocks are the new alliances.

    • very good!

    • The thing is, these weren’t the rules. The reason these strategies were so effective was because this wasn’t the conventional wisdom.

      Here’s my view of the rules and how they were wisely broken
      S1: survive
      Broken by making an alliance

      S2-5: Make an alliance
      Broken by subtle flips and one alliance outsmarting the other

      S6-18: Have a smart alliance
      Broken by players who were willing to adapt to the thrown in circumstances

      S19-22: Make a flexible alliance
      Broken by Russell Hantz

      S23-30: Russell Hantz style
      They didn’t really change it up (i.e. Tony doing it 5 years later and winning)

      S31: Anything goes
      Broken by players making rudimentary alliances (like in the first few seasons) but pretending they’re playing a new school game.

      The players who are most likely to win are the ones that break with convention.

  2. I think being socially aware should be the #1 takeaway, but good list

  3. Flowing between groups can be good, if you do it well.

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