Survivor Strategy Part 1


The one thing that I love to do is talk Survivor strategy, and this week’s episode provided good material. Two members of each tribe were faced with a difficult decision; they could go with “honest” or “deceive”. If they choose “honest” they get a large bag of beans, but if they go with “deceive” they get a small bag of beans and a clue to the hidden immunity idol.


As many Survivor experts have pointed out this week, the best thing to do is try not to get yourself in this situation. This was brought up by two-time player Rob Cesternino on his award-winning podcast “Rob Has A Podcast“. You do not want to be the one in the position of making decisions like this one. How do you do that? Simple.  Do not EVER volunteer to do anything in a lead role! If I play Survivor, I don’t even plan on winning any individual rewards because then I will have to decide who goes on reward with me. Be smart and stay out of that kind of decision making. Stick with the ones that involve things like who goes home and other important subjects.

But if you do end up in this unique situation there are many options you can go with. Even the most sound decision can turn out to be the wrong one. You might want to rely on your gut to help decide. I loved how the no collar tribe talked about potential scenarios that they could be facing before going out. This gave Will and Jenn a chance to build a little trust before going out to see what production really had in store for them. But sometimes you may not get that opportunity, so let’s look at a few examples of good and poor options.


The worst thing to do is go with “deceive” and then tell a very poor lie, like the one Joaquin and So came up with. But even if you go with “honest” you can still find trouble, just as both Dan and Mike did. You have to be very careful with every word you choose in your story. How you tell the story can mean everything!


The best decision is to go with is “honest”, but in the example of Mike and Dan I would have been more cautious when explaining their choice. You have to assume that even if you are telling the truth not everyone is going to believe you. In this case production carefully made the bags of beans somewhat close in size. The wise decision is to just say we had a choice, take the beans or a clue to an idol and we choose to go with beans. I feel this would have the best results.

Dan and Mike

I have thought hard about what I would have done if I really wanted to go with “deceive”. You could try using the story I mentioned for “honest” and hope everyone believes that the small bag of beans is really what production offered. But this sounds like a poor idea.

They Screwed Us

Another option is just take the clue and then share it with the entire tribe. Sure this option does give everyone a chance at finding the idol, but you do have a 1 out of 6 chance that you or someone you trust finds it. The worst-case scenario here is having someone you don’t trust find it. However, with only 6 people in your tribe, I feel you have a good chance of this working more in your favor.

Unlike in previous seasons, the players chosen had to make this decision with another player. What if you want to go with “honest” and the other person does not? Then let that person take the lead on telling their story and then throw him or her under the bus. I would secretly tell everyone in the tribe exactly what happened. Actually, this option does sound like fun!

Just remember, don’t volunteer to take the lead in the game, but if you do, choose your WORDS carefully! I look forward to analyzing the next strategic move this season.

  • Jody Treloar

    I think I would just tell the group I had to choose between two options and not even mention the option to be honest or to deceive. It does you no good to tell your tribe that to deceive them was an option.

  • jeremiahp

    That sounds like a very sound answer to me Jody. I really like this because it follows my code of being extremely careful how much you share. You are the first person to post a comment on my new site and I am glad it is from someone I like. 🙂 Thanks for the feedback!

  • Nicola

    When I watched I was puzzled as to why they all used the words Honest and Decive? I would not even have mentioned it Jofy is spot on just lay it out like its a choice. And I can’t help feeling if Russel H was involved he would have taken the clue and thrown the beans out to boot! I’m just happy Survivor is back!

  • Ronda Mansfield

    Well Done, Jeremiah!
    As all of us Students of the Game know, the best lies are both simple and rooted in truth. Of course, the *only* smart option is to take the larger bag, but I agree that there’s no reason to include the additional information about the smaller bag or even using the honest/deceive words.
    I love that the producers, by making the “larger” bag quite small, made this decision even more difficult for the players. Hopefully this will continue throughout the season.

  • jeremiahp

    Thanks Ronda! I am glad we think alike!

  • jeremiahp

    I could totally see Russell do that.