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KimberStormer

The Fox & the Goat: Survivor Gameplay Archetypes

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This is a thread for discussing different types of Survivor players and how they fit or fail to fit into classification schemata such as sunsaweed's original Fox-Bear-Goat-Bunny plan from way back in 2001.  We all know the Goat: the person you take to the end because you can easily beat them.  The Fox is your classic mastermind/schemer; the Bear is her loyal #2 who lets the Fox do the dirty work so he can beat her in the end; the Bunny is the nice/fun member of the alliance who doesn't make moves and threaten the Fox/Bear but everybody loves.  Some proposed additions are the Lion, who is a Fox who everyone likes and respects and is unbeatable in the end, and the Ox, who is a Goat who cannot win but runs the show like Russell Hantz or Dawn Meehan. 

 

Whether you think of it as a blueprint for the win, a natural order which emerges spontaneously from correct gameplay, a method by which characters are cleanly defined by the editing, or whatever, some really good discussion has come out of thinking about this over the years so I thought it would be nice to continue the conversation here.  May our petting zoo be always supplied with feed pellets.

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This season is easy.  Tony is an Ox.  Trish is his Bear.  Woo is the Bunny, and Kass is the Goat.  Spencer is Toast, unless he wins immunity, over and over.  

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Tony is an Ox.  Trish is his Bear.  Woo is the Bunny, and Kass is the Goat

Agree with all of this, especially about Trish as Bear,  except that I think Woo is more disliked than he appears.  Several boot interviews have said that he was getting called WeaselWoo.

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Now that Trish is out: who's the bear? Does there need to be one in every F4?

 

Tony: Ox (thinks he's a Fox; he's Spencer's Bear)

Spencer: Fox

Kass: Goat (and knows it)

Woo: Bunny (out at F4, and appears to not be that well-liked)

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I don't really think any of these apply very well to the current F4.  Spencer has never been part of the alliance, and Kass is at least trying for Ox with this latest move of hers.  I suppose Tony sees himself as Fox and Woo as his Bear.  I don't know if we ever came up with a term for someone like Spencer (or Terry Dietz, for example) who is on the outs and immunity-winning himself to the end.

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I don't know if we ever came up with a term for someone like Spencer (or Terry Dietz, for example) who is on the outs and immunity-winning himself to the end.

 

 

Slippery as an eel?  Having nine lives, like a cat? ... Hard to kill, like a cockroach?   Yeah, I like the last one.

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I suppose Tony sees himself as Fox and Woo as his Bear.

No, Woo's Bunny all the way.  Just a very athletic one, which is why he stayed in place of the Bear.

 

Normally for an F2 season (which has basically been confirmed this season is), the normal plan is

  1. Dispose of all the opposition
  2. Cull the alliance to the 4: Fox, Bear, Goat, Bunny.
  3. At F4, cut the Bunny.
  4. At the FIC, Fox and Bear battle each other, and the winner boots the loser and takes the Goat.  If the Goat wins, then they're basically choosing the winner.
  5. Victory for the Fox or Bear.

 

There are three ways this plan has gone awry  Tony's jumped the gun and finished Step 2 first.  Granted, part of that was because of a bigger "problem"; Spencer.  He (and Tasha, yes, while she was still in the game) spoiled Step 1.  So the alliance kind of had to complete Step 2 first.  And with Spencer winning at F5, the alliance partially panicked.  If they'd stuck with the plan, Bunny Woo should have been cut here.  But Woo has the better chance of besting Spencer, thus allowing them to finally complete Step 1.

 

The other main problem is that they don't know it's F2 this time.  They seem to be operating with an F3 plan:

  1. Dispose of all the opposition
  2. Cull the alliance to the 4: Fox, Bear, Goat, Bunny (or second Goat)
  3. At FIC, Fox and Bear battle each other, and the winner boots the loser and takes the Goat(s) and Bunny
  4. Victory for the Fox or Bear.  (or Bunny if the Fox/Bear is really an Ox).

 

Again, with Step 2 completed and Spencer spoiling Step 1, Tony moved correctly on to Step 3 and eliminated the Bear.  Which makes sense.  Other than the opposing Fox Spencer, Bear Trish was the only person liable to garner more votes than Fox Tony.  It helped that Bunny Woo is more likely than Trish to defeat Spencer in an IC.

 

I don't know if we ever came up with a term for someone like Spencer (or Terry Dietz, for example) who is on the outs and immunity-winning himself to the end.

 

Slippery as an eel?  Having nine lives, like a cat? ... Hard to kill, like a cockroach?   Yeah, I like the last one.

 

I'd use the Cat personally.  Less negative connotations that way.  Plus there's the "landing on his/her feet" adage bonus if they make it to FTC and/or win.

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When I read this I can't help seeing everyone in terms of Disney animals.  I guess Morgan could be Bambi.

 

If this was Looney Tunes, then Spencer could be Bugs Bunny and Tony Elmer Fudd.

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If this was Looney Tunes, then Spencer could be Bugs Bunny and Tony Elmer Fudd.

Actually, if this was Looney Tunes, Tony would be Daffy Duck to Spencer's Bugs.  Kass is Elmer.

 

And to complete the analogy, Woo is Porky, the character delegated as Daffy's sidekick.

Edited by SVNBob
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Now that Trish is out: who's the bear? Does there need to be one in every F4?

 

Tony: Ox (thinks he's a Fox; he's Spencer's Bear)

Spencer: Fox

Kass: Goat (and knows it)

Woo: Bunny (out at F4, and appears to not be that well-liked)

Seems in the end Woo was the goat (I like that better than the even more insulting "dog").

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Seems in the end Woo was the goat (I like that better than the even more insulting "dog").

I don't know. I'd hesitate to call Woo a goat in this scenario.  Even though he went to F2 with Tony and ended up losing, I think he's too well liked to be a Goat.  I think he's still a Bunny.

 

I love the idea of calling the scrappy player who claws their way into the final a Cat.

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Seems in the end Woo was the goat (I like that better than the even more insulting "dog").

 

I dunno. There doesn't have to be a goat at the end, right? I mean, Woo's a bunny who made the wrong choice. You wouldn't call Colby (or Tina) a goat, right?

 

If I tried to force everyone into a role, I'd say:

 

Trish: Bear (she smoothed things over for Tony; Spencer's F5 win forced her out early)

Tony: Fox

Woo: Bunny

Kass: Goat

Spencer: Cat (his nine lives were up at F4)

 

It didn't work out such that the F4 was FBGB, so the analogy breaks up a bit, sure.

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The implication of goat has, from what I've always heard, been someone who takes the blame/heat while someone else pulls the strings.  So in a sense maybe it does fit Kass, I suppose, but it also would have fit Tony if he'd lost.

Edited by Kromm

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I always thought the goat was someone so personally unlikeable that they can't win, and so are dragged to the FTC as someone who won't drain votes from the person dragging them to the end. I don't see the goat as taking the blame for the actions of others, but rather, are so poor with their social skills that it doesn't matter how well they play the rest of the game. YMMV, obviously, but that's my 2 cents.

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I always thought the goat was someone so personally unlikeable that they can't win, and so are dragged to the FTC as someone who won't drain votes from the person dragging them to the end.

Yes.   The template for this being Thailand, where the much-disliked Brian won because he dragged along the even-more-hated Clay.

 

The implication of goat has, from what I've always heard, been someone who takes the blame/heat while someone else pulls the strings.  So in a sense maybe it does fit Kass, I suppose, but it also would have fit Tony if he'd lost.

If Tony had lost that would have made him the Ox (like Russell and Dawn).  No, I think this group kind of did fall into the classical Fox(Tony), Bear (Trish), Bunny (Woo) and Goat (Kass).  I like the addition of Cat which is how I would describe Denise Stapley from Philippines as well as Spencer.

Edited by ratgirlagogo
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So one of the reasons I felt like I had to take a Survivor break (which I am cheating on right now) is that when TWOP was going down I tried a couple of different Survivor communities out for size and in one of them there was a Parvati-hating dude who had some sort of alert or just radar so whenever her name was mentioned at all positively he would pop up with a long, detailed explanation of why she sucks (the same points covered every time, but always rewritten on the spot, apparently.)  Combined with the anti-Kim chorus that always emerges everywhere I got really sick of the whole thing.  (I have a thin skin, and am easily discouraged by people dismissing every female who succeeds.)  I made the mistake of arguing with him about HvV where he said she was a goat, and I said no, she would have won easily if Russell hadn't irrationally torpedoed his own only chance of getting any votes by taking out Danielle.  He replied that if she could only beat two people she's a goat.  Unclear whether he thinks this goes for Boston Rob, Heidik, etc; probably not because they're dudes.

 

The other day I was unrelatedly looking at some HvV clips and I was thinking of this jackass and @Oholibamah's genius post about Parvati's Micronesia game at TWOP where she pointed out that Parv played all four roles: she played Bunny for Ozzy and James in the opening game, Bear to Cirie in the middle, Goat to the Black Widows in the endgame so they'd bring her to the end, and Fox at the FTC (and secretly all the way through).  And it struck me that she didn't play that way at all in HvV; she couldn't, because she was a huge presence in everyone's mind, everyone's first priority to get out, a looming figure of doom to the entire cast.  And I thought, what she did instead is play the Ox; one of the greatest Ox games of all time.  A winning Ox game, if not for Russell's dumbness.  She's got that personal magnetism and charisma so a lot of people did like her, but it was almost irrelevant to her game, which didin't depend on sweet-talking or persuading anybody, really, especially once Jerri was on board.  With her double-idol play (which everyone lately keeps trying and completely failing to copy) it became a situation where she had the numbers and it was in nobody's interest to flip on her as she steamrollled them all to the end.  And if she'd got there with Danielle, she would surely have gotten Courtney and Sandra's votes as well as Coach and Jerri's, and I think mostly likely at least Rupert's too; game over.

 

Now this kind of game is perhaps a bit inelegant or whatever (although it's hard to argue against the 2-idol move as one of the most elegant ever) but to me the reason it's impressive is because it's a complete change from her previous style.  It shows a flexibility in how she approached the game that I love.  (This is why I like her and JT's HvV games the best, they both were willing to ditch the approach that gave them amazing success in previous games.  Unlike Rupert or James or Russell who stubbornly continued playing the way that had never given them success!)

Edited by KimberStormer
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At this point in the game, there seems to be only one "locked-in" alliance of 4.  And they kinda fit the standard 4 roles...well, maybe.

 

Jon and Jaclyn are playing as a Fox/Bear combo, but I'm not 100% sure which one is which.  Jon's getting more THs, which tend to go to the Foxes, but he doesn't really seem all that bright.  So she's the Fox and he's the Bear?  More likely.  Either way, they probably see Missy and Baylor as Bunny and Goat respectively.

 

I think Missy also sees herself as the Fox, with a Baylor Bear.  Which would logically seem to make Jaclyn the Goat and Jon the Bunny from that perspective.  I think.

 

Baylor also has to be thinking herself as the Fox, but not with Missy as her Mama Bear.  Maybe Mama Ox instead.  Baylor would probably use Jon as her Bear shield and keep Jaclyn as the Bunny, unless better options come along.

 

Other than that pair of pairs, there's no real beasts coming to the forefront.  Ok, Josh was showing Fox-like tendencies before the swap, and Jeremy was trying to set himself up as a Fox.  But I don't know if they still are at this point.

 

And I thought, what [Parvati] did instead is play the Ox; one of the greatest Ox games of all time.  A winning Ox game, if not for Russell's dumbness. 

While she did play a great game in HvV, it wasn't an Ox game.  It was mostly Fox with a little bit of Bear.  She had to out-think and out-play all 20 players, including her past self.  And she did the smartest thing she could do; she allied with the unknown quantity (to them) of Russell and the weakest player on her initial tribe, Danielle.  And after she figured out he was best used as an Ox, she let him take the lead like he wanted to and took the role of his Bear, bringing Danielle in as the "Bunny".  But Parv really saw Danielle as the Bear to her Fox, with Russell as the Goat/Ox.

 

But yeah, her Fox game was ruined by Russell's Ox game and Sandra's game.  Which I'd actually re-classify as Hare now.  Sandra won not because she outFoxed the others, but by being the more likeable and palatable option.  Classically that's the Bunny, but since she wasn't really part of the primary alliance, she's the Hare.

 

And I don't think by definition there can be a winning Ox game.  The Ox is a player that other players let lead the alliance, as either a Fox or Bear, only to beat them at FTC like a Goat.  If an Ox wins, they were actually the Fox or Bear they thought they were.  Or at least Bunny-like enough to win.  But no longer an Ox.

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Well my idea in saying that is that she could bully/force her way through the game, like an Ox (Russell or Dawn).  That's not how your usual Fox or Bear plays.  You're right of course that the Ox is supposed to lose (and she did, so....) but I think it's interesting to think of these as ways to play instead of just post-hoc classification.

 

Having watched it fairly recently, Russell was not really an Ox in that game, he was pure Goat from pretty early on.  An unpredictable Goat, not an easily-led Phillip, which killed both his own and Parv's games when he voted out Danielle, but he was not in charge of much, it was clearly Parvati's show.  He got Candice to flip, for example, but the only reason that even mattered is that his own obnoxious Goatiness was going to possibly make Sandra throw away her own game just to stick it to him, until she realized it would be futile.  (Which is why although I love Sandra to death and her FTC performance was flawless, I can't really respect her game in HvV.)

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I'm of the theory that the zoo represents editing archetypes, as I believe that most players coming in with a coherent strategy think of themselves as foxes.  Someone like Sandra isn't thinking, I'll lay low and vote with the majority ("anyone but me,") and at the end I'll be the most palatable choice left.  She's thinking, "by selling my vote I can keep these losers (Fairplay! Lillian! Russhole!,) in the game, and I can't lose against them."  She thinks she's playing a fox game. 

 

I think all the competent players view themselves as playing, or trying to play, a fox game.  Some of the more "honor-" bound players probably self delude themselves into thinking they're playing a bear.  (As for incompetent players ... I'd bet that 'Fabio' would admit that he had no clue, and lucked into a bunny win.)

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I agree about the editing archetypes, as you can see in the archived thread there (which I never thought I'd see again, amazing, Way Wes Jr!) and I'm just going to stop explaining what I meant because I think if you get it you get it and I should just let it go.

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And when I speak of the beasts, I am usually talking about what we have been shown.  Which means to some extent, I am speaking of the editing as much as the actual playstyle of each person. So I'm not really disagreeing with anyone on that level.  I just like the shorthand of using the single word to describe a player or playstyle.

 

After thinking about it, I'm not 100% sure we can actually use the archetypes in a BvW season.  At least not in the same way.  It comes to mind that some of the pairs are falling under single animal archetypes.  To go back to what I said about this season, the Jon and Jaclyn unit is the Fox of that alliance, not one over the other.  He's been shown as the de facto leader since everyone on the tribe (except Keith) was coming to him with/for plans and information, and that's usually a Fox characteristic.  But he won't make a move without discussing it in private with Jaclyn, who seems to be the smarter, and thus Foxier of the two.  But we don't see her discussing or planning anything with other tribe members without him present.  So as a unit, they make one Fox.

 

And they may be thinking of the other pairs in the same way.  Which would explain why they alligned with Missy and Baylor over Kelley and Dale.  Missy and Baylor look like a Goat unit, either because of attitude or prior gameplay.  Kelley and Dale were much more distinct; he was more on the Goat side, but she was basically anything else, with probable Fox leanings.  And with the mindset of pairs over singles (which we know Jon has), a pair that presents the same would be more attractive than one that doesn't.

 

So it may be the case that this alliance is just two animals: Fox (Jon and Jaclyn) and Goat (Missy and Baylor).

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So it may be the case that this alliance is just two animals: Fox (Jon and Jaclyn) and Goat (Missy and Baylor).

 

Or that Jon and Jaclyn are a Fox/Bear combo, and Baylor and Missy are the Goat/Bunny pair.  I think it could be argued that Baylor and Missy would be interchangeable depending upon one's perspective.  Jaclyn hasn't gotten the screen time to be a fox, but a loyal bear ... you bet.

 

Oh, and I'm pretty sure that if the dynamic splits the other way we'd have: Jeremy - Fox, Natalie - Bear, Baylor - Goat, and Missy - Bunny.

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So now that San Juan del Sur is behind us, who ultimately had which role?  Natalie was very clearly the Fox, but it's so hard to tell into which roles the others fell.

Edited by Donny Ketchum
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As usual, it depends on how you look at things.  I'd say, as shown, Nat ended up out-Foxing everyone.  And while she used Baylor as her primary Bear (which is amusingly appropriate) for a while, she sacrificed her at F5, banking on taking Goat Missy and Bunny Jaclyn, and that they'd both take her instead of Keith, Nat's secondary Bear.

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Personally I think Missy had Fox written all over her. She controlled the votes for a large portion of the game and was closely aligned with Jon (bear). Jaclyn and Baylor were, by design, Goats because they were always intended to be cannon fodder for Missy/Jon. The original definition of a Goat is somebody easily defeated but promised to make it far in exchange for their vote.

What makes things fuzzy is the Blood v Water element and an almost unprecedented "agreement" that Jaclyn/Baylor would sacrifice themselves (which is essentially what a Goat agrees to by proxy when they align with a Fox) leaving all "pairs" represented in the finals. This allowed the "Bunny" Natalie a slot in the finals (likeable, good at challenges, but at the time the agreement was made not strategically dominant) despite Bunnies being historically more threatening than Goats.

Natalie turned "Rat" (Bunnies who make endgame powerplays, i.e. Kelly W/Danni) and commanded jury respect by getting herself to the finals and not being taken there. She played "foxlike", but I wouldn't say she played a classic Fox game since she was playing Bear until Jeremy's blindside and was the Bunny in the new alliance. Her endgame power moves make her the classic Rat.

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Natalie turned "Rat" (Bunnies who make endgame powerplays, i.e. Kelly W/Danni) and commanded jury respect by getting herself to the finals and not being taken there. She played "foxlike", but I wouldn't say she played a classic Fox game since she was playing Bear until Jeremy's blindside and was the Bunny in the new alliance. Her endgame power moves make her the classic Rat.

This goes back to my first statement, in that either case can be "true... from a certain point of view."  

 

One way to reconcile the differing POVs is to add the Chameleon designation.  So here, Nat is the Chameleon.  She early on takes on the role of Jeremy's Bear, then becomes a Bunny to the Pairs Alliance but with the intent of removing Jon.  She then transforms into the Fox starting with said removal of Jon and completes the transformation with the Baylor blindside via HII.  About the only role she didn't play at some point was Goat, but Nadiya had that covered immediately.

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I think we can take it as a given that Shirin as a superfan is very familiar with this school of Survivor analysis.

 

Okay, so given that,  what does everybody think about Shirin's new additions to the Survivor animal archetypes?  I kind of like "Dead Fish" as a substitute for Goat, frankly - goats are  adaptable and intelligent animals IRL.  Whereas dragging a stinky poisonous dead fish - seems about right.  But Goat already has such a general sports useage that I think that's the one least likely to be replaced.

 

KimberStormer:I don't know if we ever came up with a term for someone like Spencer (or Terry Dietz, for example) who is on the outs and immunity-winning himself to the end.

 

Way Wes Jr: Slippery as an eel?  Having nine lives, like a cat? ... Hard to kill, like a cockroach?   Yeah, I like the last one.

 

SVNBob: I'd use the Cat personally.  Less negative connotations that way.  Plus there's the "landing on his/her feet" adage bonus if they make it to FTC and/or win.

So - clearly this is the kind of player Mike was - powered his way to the end with immunity challenge wins, but not an obvious shoo-in from the beginning like, say, Tom Westman.  I think I do prefer Cat to Howler Monkey, funny as the Howler Monkey description was. Howler Monkey seems like a better description of somebody like Tony Vlachos.

 

Stingray, I also like.  I don't know of an existing Survivor animal archetype for the riding-their-alliance kind of player that Carolyn was, the kind that often goes very far into the game but has little to show the home audience.

Edited by ratgirlagogo
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In retrospect, the seemingly haphazard editing of this season now makes sense.  This is what happens when The Cat wins the season.

 

The Cat - Mike wasn't part of the alliance that made it to the endgame, he made it there by winning Immunity Challenges and playing his Hidden Immunity Idol.

 

The Fox - Carolyn manipulated things from under the radar, and had no qualms about eliminating the other contender for this role, Tyler.

 

The Ox - Rodney was viewed by both Carolyn and Mike as a sacrifice, but they were aware that he could be dangerous at Final Tribal, and eliminated him before their true goat.

 

The Bunny - Sierra, of course.  Though, to Mike and Carolyn, she had enough Bear qualities to make getting rid of her a priority.  (Can't risk a Fabio-Bunny type win here if you are Carolyn.)

 

The Goat(s) - Dan and Will.  Though, if one wants to call Will a Dead Fish, I won't complain.

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I think we can take it as a given that Shirin as a superfan is very familiar with this school of Survivor analysis.

 

Okay, so given that,  what does everybody think about Shirin's new additions to the Survivor animal archetypes?  I kind of like "Dead Fish" as a substitute for Goat, frankly - goats are  adaptable and intelligent animals IRL.  Whereas dragging a stinky poisonous dead fish - seems about right.  But Goat already has such a general sports useage that I think that's the one least likely to be replaced.

I think there is plenty of room to add the Dead Fish archetype into the menagerie, but not necessarily as a substitute for the Goat.  My understanding is that a Goat is someone who is so obnoxious and disliked that they have zero chance of winning due almost entirely to flaws in their social game.  A Dead Fish is a dead fish, someone who has zero chance of winning due to fundamental flaws in almost all aspects of the game and on top of that doesn't even seem to be playing most of the time.  Throughout the season Will has been referred to as a Goat because that was the closest archetype available, but, now that the Dead Fish archetype has been suggested, in my eyes he is definitely a Dead Fish.  And some players from past seasons probably were too.

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Russell didn't get carried to the end.  He carried his alliance(s) to the end.  Others were targeting him most of his first two seasons.  They all failed. 

 

So while he may play a game that is unwinnable, I think he in no way is a goat. 

 

That's why we came up with the Ox!

 

I don't really want to have this discussion for the thousandth time but saying Russell carried Parvati in HvV is insane.  Insane.  Russell himself says he doesn't have the power and he's trying to get it from her.  One tribal council he saved her bacon, that doesn't mean he "carried" her.  Let's clasp hands and say it was at the very least an alliance of equals, shall we, rather than rehash this boring issue?  I just can't let "Russell carried his alliance" pass without a comment.

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Spencer's claim to fame, IMO, is that when he is part of a tribe he seems to be consistently on the verge of being voted out, yet manages to be the one not chosen to be ousted Every Single Time.  So what do we call that - good at sucking up at the last minute?  Slightly less dangerous than the complete wackos?  Makes one wonder how he would have fared if up against Abi :)  I think his point tonight at Tribal was that this was the first time in his Survivor career (as he put it :) that he felt a bond with some of the tribe going in, rather than knowing he was the bottom rung from the get-go.  Even though he still knew he was on one of the bottom rungs!  But still felt better as a tribe member than he had since about week 2 of his original stint.

 

I think that it is a variant of the cat.  Though, now that I'm thinking about it, I'm wondering if there are two types of cat, and we need to differentiate.  There's the immunity run cat, (Mike, Kelly Wiggles,) and there's the social cat (Spencer, both seasons so far.)  

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I see what you mean, Way Wes, but I never thought I'd see Spencer described as a "social cat" and that it would make sense :-) 

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This close to the end, and the archetypes really haven't emerged.  Maybe it's because they're a function of the alliance, and this season has been about the voting bloc.

 

However, perhaps these archetypes do fit in to the bloc system, to a degree.  The blocs could be formed around the starter 4 archetypes; Fox, Bear, Goat, and Bunny.  And the key to surviving the vote was to make sure your zoo was the larger and denied the other side as many archetypes as possible.

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This close to the end, and the archetypes really haven't emerged.  Maybe it's because they're a function of the alliance, and this season has been about the voting bloc.

 

Somebody please explain to me the difference between a "voting bloc" and an alliance which doesn't last past a single TC - because if there is a difference, it's sure as hell eluding me.

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Somebody please explain to me the difference between a "voting bloc" and an alliance which doesn't last past a single TC - because if there is a difference, it's sure as hell eluding me.

Expectations.  Alliances are expected to survive past one TC; voting blocs aren't.  It's like the difference between a model car made from a dedicated kit, versus one made of Lego.  The Lego is the voting bloc form; take it apart and build something new, using some different pieces from another set if you want.  Whereas you can't do that easily with a dedicated kit.  Or to extend the metaphor, an alliance is what happens if you glue the Lego together.

Edited by SVNBob
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Guest

Joe in exit interviews said there were blocs of two that would pair up with other blocs on different weeks.  He said he and Keith were considered one bloc throughout his stay.  

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Somebody please explain to me the difference between a "voting bloc" and an alliance which doesn't last past a single TC - because if there is a difference, it's sure as hell eluding me.
There's no formal difference. In the past, we would have called an alliance that didn't last past a single TC a short-term or temporary alliance. This season Stephen coined the term voting bloc. When he first claimed the concept, it seemed to be a transparent lie to pretend the Brolliance didn't exist and that suballiances didn't exist. 

 

But once Savage was booted, voting blocs really did become a thing. It's not exactly new--we've seen temporary alliances formed for short terms before--but this season pretty much every vote since Savage has been suballiances coming together to form a large voting bloc with no apparent expectation of working together past the single vote. I'll give Stephen credit for coming up with a nice, concise term for the behavior.

 

Joe in exit interviews said there were blocs of two that would pair up with other blocs on different weeks.  He said he and Keith were considered one bloc throughout his stay.
But that's just a confusing usage. I think what Joe is talking about is what we'd call suballiances because they're persistent (and generally expected to be) but too small to make up a significant alliance. I don't think he and Keith were actually in a suballiance, though. I think they had a mutual level of respect, but Joe seemed to think he had stronger ties with players than he really did.

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Joe's point is also an important distinction, though, because pairs or trios of players have consistently voted together in varying combinations. The Witches, Keith/Joe, Tasha/Kimmi and Jeremy/Stephen tend to swing in groups, with Spencer floating as a single. They are "blocs" rather than sub alliances because they combine differently for each vote.

I do, however, find this style of play similar to SJDS due to the BvW twist (inherent pairs) combined with no returning players (no preexisting relationships). Jaclyn/Jon, Missy/Baylor, Alec/Reed/Wes/Keith and later Natalie/Keith flipped around in varying combinations, albeit not as often as Cambodia.

It certainly makes for a much more interesting season, but sadly, I don't think this "evolution" is anything more than a temporary mutation.

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So, how do we classify the endgame for S31?  I'd consider Jeremy's game a Papa Bear showing all the way.  Spencer played true to his Fox nature, even if he grew emotionally.  Kelley was a Hare at the end.  And once Abi was voted out, there didn't seem to be any Goats at all.

 

Tasha...I can't quite declare as one thing over another.  Her edit was a bit too background.

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So who do we think was the ultimate Season 31 Goat?

 

Abi was the obvious season long Goat, but that somehow got turned on her because... reasons. They got cold feet finally dealing with her. But it really depends on how you define a Goat. Did Tasha, for example, really have ANY chance of winning next to most other players?  That makes her kind of a Goat too. A stealth one, since Tasha's game was too stealth (at least with the edit we saw). Nobody took her serious as a game player, and that's a Goat compared to anyone but a hatable person or a wack-a-doodle.

 

Cases could be made for Spencer or Fishback too. Both so puffed up with their own cleverness but actually seemingly maneuvered by the people like Jeremy, Wentworth, even Wigglesworth too.  That's Goat-dom too. I know the classic categories have them as Foxes, but I think an argument could be made that when nobody takes their scheming seriously (but is instead laughing behind their hands at their paranoia and big flashy moves) that it leans Goatish.

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As per the original categories, Jeremy and Spencer played Bear/Fox (the honorable patriarch v. the slimy wheeler-dealer), with Tasha the Goat (symbiotic relationship with the Bear/Fox: "I will vote with you if you take me far") and Kimmi the Bunny (who turned Rat by making an endgame play for control). Stephen was the OG Fox until Spencer replaced him in the alliance.

 

With our new animals, Kelley was the Cat/Hummingbird/Whatever (9 lives/hovering on the periphery, waiting to make perfectly timed moves) and Abi was, of course, the Ox (driving force in the game by commanding fear/people wanting to keep her around because she's "not a threat") but ran out of steam/options and fell in line with the Witches. Joe was some variation of a super-charged Bunny, akin to an Ozzy/Terry type where the strategy is to just win challenges to the end. Maybe we can call it "the Jackalope".

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I feel like Jeremy played a bit of a wizard role, like Rob in his winning season or Dan from BB with his "misting" of the players. It's like he somehow got them to forget he existed and would beat them all if they kept him.  Or they were even sort of playing for his win.  I guess JT also kind of had this ability.  So likable you just want to go far with them even though doing so ruins your own chances.  

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I feel like Jeremy played a bit of a wizard role, like Rob in his winning season or Dan from BB with his "misting" of the players. It's like he somehow got them to forget he existed and would beat them all if they kept him.  Or they were even sort of playing for his win.  I guess JT also kind of had this ability.  So likable you just want to go far with them even though doing so ruins your own chances.  

 

IIRC, sunsaweed imagined this rare sort of player as the Lion: able to combine the amorality of the Fox yet garner the same love and admiration as the Bear. Kim, for example, betrayed a lot of players (Jay, Michael, Kat, Christina, Alicia, etc) yet was just as "loved" as your typical Bear-type player. She didn't need to bring a "Goat" to the FTC, and instead was able to handily defeat both her Bear (Chelsea) and a rival Fox (Sabrina).

 

Jeremy wasn't quite as villainous as Kim and didn't have to do much betraying. The only players he really backstabbed were Monica (not on the jury) and Kimmi, but in both cases he had proxy justification to strike first. To me he played the prototypical Bear game: keep your alliance loyal and rely on the admiration you've gained to defeat the "gameplay" argument made by the Fox.

 

I get the impression that "Bear" is seen as inherently subpar to "Fox", but it's just a different play-style. It doesn't preclude a winner from having to "play the game", but relies more on alliance-wrangling and commanding loyalty, which fits Jeremy's game to a tee.

 

Rob, OTOH, was not loved or admired in Redemption Island. The jury hated him. The only reason he won is because he masterfully dragged two Goats to the end and they had no alternatives.

Edited by Oholibamah
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Normally, it's way to early in a BvBvB game to look at the archetypes, since the tribes are divided by said archetypes (Fox, Bear, and Bunny).  But there are a couple exceptions in this game. 

 

Alecia is currently a Bunny on a tribe of Bears.  They don't even consider her a Goat.  She's going to have to change type or rely on luck (insert rabbit's foot joke here) to continue in the game.

 

But with Jenny, we have to designate a new animal.  She was in no danger, then non-medically flamed herself out of the game.  There's only one animal I can think of (apocryphal though it may be) to fit this kind of suicidal behavior.  Jenny may just be the first Survivor Lemming.

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