About Survivor and Online Survivor
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Throughout the years, Online Survivor has added many variations to the game, some temporary and some permanent, at least for now. It has almost never directly copied a twist from Survivor, but rather makes a similar twist that takes a completely different and unexpected direction. Below is a list of all game variations by their chronological debut. If I have used a twist identical to Survivor's, I have not included it below. Again, I am doing this from pure memory, so if I left out your favorite twist, please let me know and I'll be sure to add it.
SP Partners (Season 5)
The contestants are paired off by a random draw, then told they will continue to win extra SP each week provided their partner remains in the game. If at anytime their partner is eliminated, they lose the weekly SP bonus. It is up to each contestant whether the extra rewards are worth keeping their partner in the game.
The Delayed Merge (Season 5)
The merge is delayed until a later time, usually two cycles. Along with the delay is usually some sort of misdirection to make the contestants think they have merged, when they really have not. Unlike the real Survivor's Delayed Merge, this twist comes with a... well... twist. Instead of the tribes just living together, they also attend Tribal Council and vote together, as if it were the individual stage of the game. However, one entire tribe holds immunity AND can vote. Thus, the opposite tribe has a partial say in who will be leaving from the losing tribe.
The Fake Switch (Season 6)
The contestants are given a subtle speech on loyalty, then asked if anyone "would like" to switch tribes. Anyone taking the bait gives SP to the opposite tribe, and is forced to remain on their tribe, where they are usually voted out for betrayal.
The Outcast Twist (Season 7)
Unlike Survivor's heinous twist, this variation ensured that no one was eliminated from the game for more than a minute. At the start of the fifth cycle, both tribes are told they will have a surprise Tribal Council, where they must vote two people out of their tribe. These four people then form a third "outcast" tribe, and the game continues with three tribes. Online Survivor beat the real show to the 3-tribe format :)
The Split (Season 8)
Opposite of a merge. Midway through the individual stage, the contestants are split back into tribes. However, all contestants still vote, with an entire tribe holding immunity at that vote similar to the Delayed Merge. The contestants then re-merge at a later date.
The Spiritual Stone (Season 9)
The tribe winning the opening challenge is given a spiritual stone and told it holds great value. Each Reward Challenge, the winning tribe has the opportunity to forego their reward and steal the Spiritual Stone. At two points during the tribal stage, a surprise Tribal Council is held, and the tribe with the Spiritual Stone is given immunity, forcing the tribe without the stone to suddenly vote out an extra member.
The Delayed Start (Season 10)
At the start of the game, the contestants are not divided into tribes, and must compete as individuals. Individual challenges divide the contestants into an "immune" and "vulnerable" group. The vulnerable group must then travel to Tribal Council and vote someone out. This may be done multiple times in the first couple days. Eventually, the tribes are selected and the game begins as normal.
Isolation Isle Type 1 (Season 10)
At the normal merging point, the Delayed Merge twist is used. Then, each Reward Challenge the winners send one or two people to Isolation Isle, where they will be separated from the game. They are no longer considered part of either tribe, and since all challenges are still tribal, they cannot win any rewards or immunities. They are, in effect, forced to play the individual stage before it begins. They must still attend Tribal Council with the others, where they can be eliminated. More and more people are sent to Isolation Isle each week until all players have been sent there, at which point the merge occurs.
Isolation Isle Type 2 (Season 12)
This is almost identical to the Exile Island twist, but the name "Isolation Isle" has been kept due to the similarity of the season 10 twist. Each Reward Challenge, the winning tribe sends people to Isolation Isle. This could be any number of people from either tribe, but the losing tribe will always have more isolated members. When sent to Isolation Isle, that person does not return until AFTER the Immunity Challenge, meaning their tribe will play handicapped. In the individual stage of the game, being sent to Isolation means you will not win immunity. Like Survivor, the only silver lining is a hidden immunity idol hidden in isolation.
Hidden Immunity Idol Type 1 (Season 12)
To circumvent Survivor's failure to adhere to "majority/plurality rules" with their idol, Online Survivor used a different rule. If a person used the idol after receiving the most votes, everyone that voted for that person would have their votes removed and be forced to cast a vote for someone else. Although this never happened, it was determined this could lead to too many confusing and somewhat unfair situations, and was later changed.
Hidden Immunity Idol Type 2 (Season 13)
To clear up the confusion centering around the season 12 hidden immunity idol, a new, more dastardly rule was added. If a person played the idol and received the most votes, they, along with everyone who didn't vote for them, would be safe and return back to camp. The entire alliance of voters that tried to eliminate the idol holder would then be forced to stay behind for a new Tribal Council and vote someone out.
The Final Three Format (Season 13)
As I said in Survivor's twist section, I detest final three format, and thus devised an alternate form of it that still allows for a final two. The game is formatted as if there will be a final three. Then, after the Final Tribal Council deliberations, a surprise Immunity Challenge is played. The winner has the extreme advantage of voting out the final person, choosing who sits next to them in the final two, AND knowing what the jury is thinking when they do so.
Kidnapping (Season 15)
Similar to Survivor, one person is kidnapped instead of being sent to Isolation Isle. However, at the start of the next Immunity Challenge, the kidnapping tribe can choose to sit the person out and return them to their tribe after the challenge, or allow them to play the challenge on their tribe. If the second option is chosen and the kidnapped member manages to help defeat their own tribe, they are returned, and given individual immunity for the trip to Tribal Council.
The 8-Person Jury (Season 17)
Before the Final Tribal Council, the finalists are surprised with a visit from the "shadow jury" (those people voted out before the jury). These people put the finalists through a mock Final Tribal Council, then vote for the winner. The shadow jury collectively counts as one jury vote. Combined with the eight legitimate jurors, this is really a 9-person jury.
When contestants are voted out, they are not eliminated. Rather, they return to camp with their tribe as a "ghost". Ghosts are full members, and compete in all challenges as well as vote at all Tribal Councils, as if they were a full member. The next time someone is voted out of their tribe, the two ghosts "duel" for the right to remain in the game as their tribe's ghost. Unlike the real Survivor, there is no re-entry, and duels continue all the way up to the final tribal council, giving EVERYONE two, and only two, chances at facing the jury.
Just about every aspect of Survivor and Online Survivor has been covered. For our last section, I will now go over some basic strategies that are used in both Survivor and Online Survivor.
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