Thursday, October 10, 2013

Survivor: Blood vs. Wager Episode 4 Power Rankings and thoughts

I've been thinking about why there seems to be more blind sides in seasons where at least half the cast are returning players, and I think I've come up with the reason.

First, let's address the returning players. They have played before and know what to expect. They are confident in their strategy, and are willing to add in more risk taking, having already played the game and gotten the "getting voted out" jitters out of the way. They know they would have to make bold moves, and likely have a reinforced feeling that they need to strike before somebody striked at them. That makes them more likely to make a bold move and blindside somebody. As well, given that they know most of these people, a blind side makes things easier in the short term, which is really the only time frame that most players consider when making decisions. So the more returning players we see in a game, the more likely we are to see blind sides from them. But what about new players?

The seasons where you have a mix of half returning players and half new players are unique. Two of the seasons have been Fans vs. Favourites, and the third is this season, a Loved Ones season. The common theme among those new players is that they have a unique desire to play the game. They weren't recruits; they were either fans, or people who were already tangentially related to the game of Survivor. They are playing Survivor because they are interested in playing the game, not because they were recruited and thought it was a good chance to get on TV. This means that they are interested in the experience of playing the game, and one of the big things on Survivor is executing the blindside. So when somebody gets a blindside on their mind, it starts an avalanche effect, with the idea gaining momentum until it becomes reality. Then the cycle repeats as the players enjoy the rush of having blindsided somebody.

It also goes back to why the new players are at such a disadvantage in a season like this; the returnees act with a purpose, while the new players act to have the experience. In a season with only two or three returning players, the new players can overcome this through sheer numbers. But in a season where the returnees are equal in number, they can leverage their experience to take control of the game easily.

So next week, when Tadhana loses immunity again and blindsides yet another player, it will not be a surprise. Instead, it will just be the Survivor circle of life continuing on.

This week in WTF Tribals...

I have to admit, I wasn't expecting this week's tribal council to play out as it did. It certainly had an effect on my power rankings this week, for multiple reasons.

First, I have to give Caleb full credit for his play. He knew that based on what Brad had said in the past, Caleb was going to be targetted at some point. Even if Brad was telling the truth for this vote, what about the next one? So it was better for Caleb to strike now, when he could at least put together a 3-3 tie and threaten the rocks. The other thing that made this a brilliant play was that his side of three was going to be much more united in their front. He, Katie and Ciera all knew they were the next on the block; they just weren't sure which order it would be. By forcing a 3-3 tie, they were taking back control. If they end up with a tie, then the rocks are pulled out and there's a 50% chance that they end up with the same result. But there's also a 50% chance that they are vaulted into power with either Hayden or Vytas getting voted out.

This leads to the player I was most disappointed in. Hayden tried very hard to convince himself to vote for Brad. In the end, he let his loyalty get the best of him and voted for Ciera. This was the wrong choice by a long shot. The only reason to vote Ciera is if you think the other side is going to break. In this case, he needed to read the other side and realize that they weren't going to break. And if they weren't going to break, then the best thing that can happen if you stay with the same vote is that the rocks get pulled out, which would then give you a 25% chance of getting the boot. Since having a 0% chance of getting the boot is better than having a 25% chance of getting the boot, you have to switch your vote and try to mend the fences with the other side. Better somebody else get voted out than you, especially when it seems as though you have a good relationship with the other side.

Vytas understood this, and that's why he did switch his vote. He knew where this was headed, and he made a move to make sure he wasn't going to be impacted by other people's desire to make a point.

(I want to write about Brad, but I think I'm going to hold off until he is officially gone from the game. Burying him right now is just begging for Brad too make a great comeback from Redemption Island.)

Overall Rankings

20. Rupert
19. Colton
18. Rachel
17. Marissa

16. Brad
15. Candice
14. John
13. Laura B.
12.  Monica
11. Laura M.
10. Kat
9.  Katie
8.  Hayden
7.  Gervasce
6.  Ciera
5.  Tyson
4.  Caleb
3.  Vytas
2.  Tina
1.  Aras

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