About Survivor and Online Survivor

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SUR400: Advanced Strategies

Below are several strategies that are used when playing the game of Survivor. Some people adhere to one strategy the entire game; some people switch between strategies when most advantageous, and some people don't really have a strategy. Each game is unique, so no singular strategy will work every time. Find what works best for you in the right situation. I have only listed a scant few major strategies. If you have another, please feel free to send it to me and I'll post it here.

No Strategy
You'll always want to start by using this strategy. You never know what to expect when a game begins, so always start by sitting back and observing, then determine which strategy to use. Believe it or not, not doing anything can be a fairly good strategy. Sometimes things get so hectic among the major players that not doing anything can allow you to get fairly far. This is especially true in the tribal stage and the beginning of the individual stage, when you never want to start making huge moves, or your game will shortly end. In short, at the beginning of the game shut up and work hard to help your tribe. As the merge approaches, start shifting to one of the strategies below. The only other time you should use this strategy is when you aren't the target, but have no good options.

Standard Strategy
After you've assessed the situation, this is usually the strategy you will start with. This is the basic strategy that every Survivor fan knows. When playing the game, you must assume that everyone else is using this strategy, since 90% of people do. It states that in the tribal stage you must eliminate the weak, and in the individual stage you must eliminate the strong. The first part of this strategy is a rule you should always follow. If the game is not standard format, you never know when the merge will occur. Thus, you must continually focus on making your tribe strong physically and mentally. Taking out a strong player in the tribal stage may remove a threat, but it won't mean a thing if your tribe continues to lose and lose. Eventually, everyone on your tribe, including you, will be eliminated and it won't matter which moves you made before the merge. Always, always eliminate the weakest member in the tribal stage. As you approach the individual stage, the only thing that the standard strategy teaches is to be sure not to get people upset with you as you eliminate them from the game, or you'll lose their jury vote. But which person to eliminate? Standard strategy states the strongest person, but doing so is a matter of debate...

The Strong vs. Weak Strategy
This applies to the individual stage. Eliminate the threat. You hear everyone say it. Good idea, right? Not necessarily. It depends on where you stand in the game. First of all, the argument is always that "If we don't get rid of him now, we'll never have a chance to". Never buy into this hype. It is very rarely true, and although some have come close, no one has ever won EVERY immunity challenge. But the question is, do you ever want to eliminate him anyway? You must always keep in mind whether you are in the top half (strong) or bottom half (weak) challenge-wise. If you are in the weak category, remember that almost all people will adhere to the "Standard Strategy" listed above, so feel free to exploit people's fears, since it won't affect you. However, if you are in the strong half, NEVER work on eliminating threats. Think about it. If you start eliminating threats, you will eventually become the top threat, and since most people follow a Standard Strategy, that means you'll be eliminated before you know it. If you are strong, always align with other strong members, and ensure they stay in the game. Keep a padding above you. Only eliminate threats at the last possible moment. On the other hand, if you're weak, align with whomever you want and ignore this strategy.

The Loyal Alliance Strategy
This is the staple of Survivor. At the beginning of the game choose a group of people that you like, and agree to stick together in voting no matter what. The only problem with this strategy is if people start getting greedy and decide to leave your alliance for what they consider better opportunities. The main way to remedy this is to ensure your alliance never exceeds four people. Ordinarily, everyone's initial goal is to make the final four. Thus, a five-person alliance or larger fractures for the simple reason that one or two people don't think they'll be taken to the final four. Four is the absolute maximum size your alliance should be, but ordinarily the smaller the alliance, the more loyal the members and the longer it lasts. Just ensure that small alliances are kept secret, or they'll be eliminated quickly due to the lack of defense.

The John Nash Strategy
As mentioned by Jeff Probst at the end of Survivor 5: Thailand, John Nash was a student of non-cooperative games, and thus some of his theories apply to Survivor. The main strategy states that there are three types of players: Dominant, Dominated, and Fluctuating. The dominant players are the majority alliance, the dominated players are the minority alliance, and the fluctuating players have not yet joined either alliance. This strategy centers around Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, which states that "Knowing the state of a situation changes it". In short, as long as there are fluctuaters around, everyone will wonder where they lie, be distracted, and the majority alliance will continue to thrive. Once no fluctuaters remain, the majority and minority alliances become clearly defined, and people within the majority alliance suddenly realize where they stand in the game. This moment is referred to as "equilibrium". When this occurs, all but one or two people suddenly realize they have no chance of winning, given the current game's status, and an alliance shuffle occurs, resulting in new dominant, dominated, and fluctuating. How is this information helpful? Quite simple, really. If you are in the majority alliance, ensure the fluctuaters stay in the game and remain fluctuaters. Don't give them a reason to join the minority alliance, and don't let them join your alliance. The distraction will assure your alliance stays intact and remains in power. If you are in the minority alliance, force equilibrium. Get the fluctuaters to join either side, even if it's not yours. Once equilibrium occurs the state of the game will be known, and it will be easier for you to talk people into using you for their advancement in the game. Just make sure when the alliance shuffle occurs you come out on top this time, then use the dominant player strategy.

The Diversion Strategy
"That guy is so annoying". "I hate that guy". "I can't believe that (insert name) keeps doing (insert heinous activity). You've heard it all the time. What happens? Everyone agrees that they're annoying and votes them out. If it's the tribal stage and it's bringing the tribe morale down, that's one thing, but often people do this in the individual stage of the game. Don't go along with this if you can help it. Why? It's a free pass for you, and you're using it immediately. The longer an annoying person stays in the game, the safer you'll stay. Foil the plan to eliminate an annoying person, and people will be mad at you, yes, but they'll immediately forget about it and try to eliminate the annoying person again. Keep annoying people in the game at all times, because they will ALWAYS stay the target. Eliminate the target and you may very well be the next target.

The Emotional Strategy
It's a proven scientific fact that emotions are the enemy of reasoning. Anyone who becomes emotional will almost always inevitably make a bad decision. This comes in handy if you are on the ropes. If you have tried every possible reasoning to get people to keep you, employ this strategy immediately. This can work one of two ways: pro yourself, or con someone else. In con, you must lie or embellish the truth by evoking emotions such as fear or anger. This usually involves embellishing something that was done in the past, which directs anger against another person. You can also just completely fabricate something if you wish, but this is shady and can easily backfire. If pulled off correctly, you can stir someone's emotions where they completely forget about the fact that you're who they should eliminate, and they'll eliminate someone else out of anger. In pro, you'll evoke emotions such as happiness, pity, guilt, or love from another person by saying they've hurt you and getting them to feel bad, or by telling them intimate things about yourself and getting them to like you. This is a lot harder to pull off and usually must be done over several days. However, getting someone's emotions directed toward you positively can be even more powerful than directing negative emotions against someone else, since you'll have a "brainwashed" ally who will do anything for you. My only advice is to be very careful how you go about getting someone to care about you, or you could drastically hurt someone's emotional state outside of the game (See Mike in Big Brother 7: All-Stars). Playing a game is one thing, but when you see someone genuinely developing a relationship with you that they obviously think will continue outside of the game, it's time to not be selfish, and be careful how you're playing.

The Onion Alliance Strategy
This is the ultimate strategy. Only the best Survivor strategists can pull this off, because it requires a large amount of lying, deceit, and misinformation. The first step is to pick a final two alliance partner. Inform this person of your plan, and never, ever betray them. Once this is set up, begin forming a four-person alliance. Bring another person in, explain your plan (leaving out your final two deal), promise them final three, and plan on keeping the deal. Do the same with a fourth person and leave out your final three deal. Continue this pattern until you reach a point where you believe the person would not accept a deal (e.g. no one wants a final 8 deal). Once you've gone as far as you can, consider this your "core" alliance in your mind. At this point you should have a large majority, so start eliminating everyone not in your core alliance. Once only your core alliance remains, the remainder of the game is set up for you. Use your decreasing alliances to eliminate 6th, 5th, 4th, etc. without ever breaking deals. If at anytime someone becomes disgruntled, you can eliminate them and move everyone else up one spot, or even replace them with someone not in your core alliance. This is a very hard strategy to pull off, as it requires constant management of a large alliance, and improvisation. However, pull it off and you'll be considered the best of all time.

The Systematic Eliminator Strategy (Submitted by Sackeshi)
In this strategy you make a 6 person alliance on day 1 if you have 10 person tribes, 5 for 9 and 8 person tribes and 4 for a 6 person tribe game. After you make your alliance you want to split your targets into 4 groups first the winners, runner ups (top 2-3), girls, and boys of course not including your alliance members. the reason why you go for winners first is because there huge threats and are often over looked. then you go for the runner ups because if they made it to the finals then they can diffidently do it again with there working strategy. Next the girls because in ols they seem to slide under the radar the perfect example frog who made final 4 3-4 times. finally the boys well there is no one left lol. After just your alliance is left if you had a 5-6 person alliance then you need to make a final 4 agreement with 3 others in your alliance then when you are down to 4 make a final 3 alliance and then a final 2. This is the ultimate strategy. Hope you enjoy and good luck

You have now completed your training in Survivor and Online Survivor. Good luck.

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