About Survivor and Online Survivor
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SUR102: Survivor Basics
Survivor has added so many twists and alterations over the years that, at times, the original format of the game can be lost, especially to those who did not experience it. The following is the standard format of the game, before it was altered in subsequent seasons. Although many of these things may not be true for the current game, this is the format that was used in the very first season, and the core structure that future twists would be based off of. This is Survivor.
A game of Survivor consists of 16 people. The sixteen people are divided into two teams, called tribes, to begin the game. Each person is given a colored "buff" (an elastic cloth) which they must wear at all times to distinguish which of these tribes they belong to. Each tribe is then sent to a separate location to build their own society and officially begin the game. One game of Survivor lasts for 39 days. This is an important number in that it is one less day than the maximum length of time a human could possibly survive without food. Over the first half of these days, the two tribes battle against each other for resources and the right to remain in the game. At the halfway point, Day 20, the two tribes merge into one team, and it becomes every man for himself. Each individual then battles for resources and the right to remain in the game. The game of Survivor is a very symmetrical game. The first of these symmetries is expressed in the layout of the days in the two halves of the game:
Tribal: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Transition: 20 (Tribal) MERGE 20 (Individual) Individual: 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39
The 3-Day Cycle
Now that you know the setup of the game, it's time to delve deeper into the game's format. The 39 days of the game are evenly divided into 13 three-day sections, called "cycles". Except for some rare circumstances, during each cycle, the following three events occur...
-Event #1: Reward Challenge (Day 1 of the cycle)At the beginning of the 3-day cycle, a Reward Challenge will be played. All types of challenges involve physical or mental tests. The winner(s) of Reward Challenges will receive various rewards, such as food or supplies for camp. Although the rewards may make the winners feel better or provide them extra energy, these challenges usually have no direct effect on the game itself.
-Event #2: Immunity Challenge (Day 2 or 3 of the cycle)In the middle of the 3-day cycle, an Immunity Challenge will be played. The winner(s) will receive protection, and cannot be eliminated during the current cycle. Winning Immunity guarantees a free pass to the next 3-day cycle.
-Event #3: Tribal Council (Day 3 of the cycle)At the very end of a cycle, a Tribal Council will be held. At this meeting, all players must cast one vote for whom they would like eliminated. Depending upon who won the immunity challenge, certain people may not be voted for. Regardless, the person who receives the most votes at Tribal Council is eliminated from the game, and the next 3-day cycle begins.
The 3 Stages
Although touched upon in the setup, the stage you are in completely changes the way the game is played, and must be emphasized even more. Survivor is played in 3 stages, each drastically affecting the way the 3-day cycle is applied to the game. The three stages are described below...
-Stage I: Tribal (Cycles 1-6)At the beginning of the game, players are divided into two teams of 8 players each, called tribes. These two tribes live in separate areas and are responsible for building their own society. All challenges during this section are strictly tribe vs. tribe. If a tribe wins the Reward Challenge, the entire tribe will partake. If a tribe wins the Immunity Challenge, the entire tribe will be permitted to skip Tribal Council, while the opposite tribe must vote one of their own out of the game. Since after 6 cycles it is possible that a tribe could be reduced to only 2 members, making it impossible to vote, the game changes starting in the seventh cycle...
-Stage II: Individual (Cycles 7-12)On day 20, the exact halfway point of the game, the two tribes "merge" and become one tribe of 10 people. From this point forward, all challenges become individual. If someone wins a reward challenge, they will partake in it by themselves. If someone wins an immunity challenge, they will be given individual immunity, meaning they may attend Tribal Council and vote, but may not be voted for. Like the tribal stage, this stage lasts for 6 cycles. The game then changes one last time...
-Stage III: Finale (Cycle 13)At the start of the final stage, only four people remain. In this final stage, the three day cycle no longer applies, and a speed round begins, forcing the finalists to plan quickly and work even harder to survive. On day 37, the finalists compete in the penultimate immunity challenge and immediately eliminate someone to form the final 3. On day 38, the finalists compete in the final immunity challenge. Since the two players who do not win immunity have no choice but to vote for each other, the winner of this final challenge has the sole decision of who joins them in the final 2, giving the winner complete control over the end of the game. On Day 39, the final two meet for the Final Tribal Council. Half of the eliminated contestants (7 of the 14) return and, after hearing arguments, vote for the winner of the game. Putting everything together, let's take a look at the game's symmetry one more time, as knowing exactly where you are in the game at all times is crucial to victory:
TRIBAL Cycle: 01 02 03 04 05 06 Days: 01-03 04-06 07-09 10-12 13-15 15-18 Players: 16 15 14 13 12 11
INDIVIDUAL Cycle: 07 08 09 10 11 12 Days: 19-21 22-24 25-27 28-30 31-33 33-36 Players: 10 09 08 07 06 05
FINALE Cycle: 13 Day: 37 38 39 Players: 04 03 02
And lastly, keep in mind which finishing positions will be part of the jury and which will not, as it will become very important as we discuss strategies later on:
Finalists: 1st / 2nd Jurors: 03rd 04th 05th 06th 07th 08th 09th Non-Jurors: 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th
Notice the symmetry in even the most basic aspects of the game? They permeate every facet of this perfectly structured game. Keep them in mind, and you'll always remember where you are within this complicated game. Now, let's move on to some more complicated rules that govern this basic format.
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