Thursday, October 31, 2013

Survivor: Blood vs. Water Episode 7 thoughts

The KISS Strategy, spelled out.

"So at Tribal, I got eliminated. Apparently we had an issue with trust. Monica was feeling a little bit on the outs, and so was Laura B and that was the perfect place for Vytas to swoop in for the kill."
- Kat

Missing from that statement from Kat is an acknowledgment that Kat was the reason why Monica was feeling on the outs, and Kat was the reason why Vytas was able to swoop in. (Though it wasn't too much of a swooping. It was more of a draft behind the other birds.)

In essence, Kat was the latest to avoid the strategy that everybody who plays Survivor needs to use. I've referred to it a few times in the last season, but I think I need to spell it out a bit more.

The Keep It Simple, Stupid strategy for Survivor is as follows. Before a vote, you should only campaign against another player who is not the target of the vote in these scenarios:

  1. You are the target for this vote.
  2. An important ally for furthering your position in the game is the target of this vote.
  3. If voting out the person you are going to campaign against would further your standing in the game considerably AND you feel as though your campaigning has a strong chance of succeeding.

(There is one other possible reason to campaign against somebody else, but that's for the advanced version of the KISS strategy.)

This should be pretty obvious, but time after time, people fall prey to the overthinking of Survivor. In Kat's case, her attempt to float Monica's name was ill advised for a few reasons, but the big one is that it failed the KISS Strategy:

  1. Kat wasn't the target of the vote when she campaigned against Monica.
  2. Nor was one of Kat's important allies a target - Vytas was the target.
  3. From Kat's POV, voting out Monica might or might not have had a good chance of succeeding.

That's irrelevant to the fact that voting out Monica would not have improved Kat's standing the game signficantly. If anything, it would weaken it, showing herself to be untrustworthy and to weaken her alliance. In essence, the opposite of what she wants to happen.

The most important thing about the KISS Strategy is that it fits in with any other strategy that you want to play. Want to be a floater? Just follow those rules. Want to lead a tribe? Follow those rules. Want to be the second in command? Follow those rules. Want to be the athletic challenge beast? Follow those rules.

There is a downside to this strategy, in that it is vulnerable to being blindsided. But that's where your own social skills come in, and you have to rely on your instincts. KISS isn't a fail safe way to win the game, but it is the basis of any good strategy to do well in the game. In short, follow the KISS Strategy and your game will improve immensly.
The KISS Strategy, when you aren't preparing for tribal council
This is even simpler strategy to follow. When you aren't going to tribal council, follow these guidelines:
  1. Assume that your actions are always being noticed
  2. Assume that anything you tell a non-alliance member in confidence isn't truly in confidence
  3. Assume that anything you tell an alliance member is in confidence, unless it is negative towards another alliance member. In that case, follow 2.
  4. Never assume that you are speaking for your tribe/alliance/alliance mate unless you have been explicitly told that you can speak for them.
It's truly that simple.

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