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Domino Effect (also known as Backed Up, High Step and Stack, and High Step Back) is a recurring challenge from Survivor. It debuted in Survivor: Gabon and has since re-appeared in Redemption Island, Blood vs. Water, Kaôh Rōng, Game Changers, and Winners at War.


Castaways must stack all of their blocks like a line of domino tiles on an angular beam while avoiding tripwires that would topple the blocks that were already stacked. Once all of the blocks have been properly stacked in such a way that they were evenly spaced to topple like dominoes that would reach the end of the beam, the castaway would start a chain reaction which would trigger a mechanism that will release a ball rolling to a bowl, releasing a flag/breaking a tile. The first castaway to raise their flag/break their tile would win.

In Kaôh Rōng, Game Changers, and Winners at War, the challenge was slightly modified so that the beam was now straight, and with the obstacle below the beam being a wooden frame that, when touched, would cause the blocks to fall. Contestants were only allowed to carry one block at a time, unlike in previous iterations where they could carry as many as desired. The first castaway to topple their blocks like dominoes to the end and ring a gong would win.


This challenge debuted in Gabon as an Immunity Challenge with an additional first round where castaways would race across a series of balance beams carrying three bags of blocks. The first two castaways to bring all three of their bags would go to the final round, along with Corinne Kaplan, who had bought a Challenge Advantage from the Survivor Auction that allowed her to bypass the first round. In the final round, a race between Corinne, Ken Hoang, and Matty Whitmore to topple all their blocks resulted in Corinne and Matty's blocks failing to reach the end, while Ken's managed to do so, giving him immunity.

In Redemption Island, the challenge was used as the second Redemption Island duel. From this point onwards, the first round in Gabon is no longer used, with the challenge immediately starting with the block portion. In the end, Matt Elrod beat Russell Hantz in, permanently eliminating Russell from the game.

In Blood vs. Water, the challenge returned as the second Redemption Island duel between Candice Cody, Marissa Peterson, and Rachel Foulger. Instead of tripwires, trip bars were now installed at the foot of each beam. Candice easily won the duel, keeping herself alive. After over 45 minutes in the intense heat, Marissa finally beat Rachel, eliminating Rachel from the game.

In Kaôh Rōng, the challenge appeared as an Immunity Challenge in a slightly altered form. Several castaways had difficulty stacking their blocks as they tripped on the wooden frame obstacle, allowing Julia Sokolowski to topple all of her blocks first, winning immunity.

In Game Changers, the challenge was again used as an Immunity Challenge and used the same iteration as in Kaôh Rōng. In the end, the challenge came down to a race between Andrea Boehlke, Michaela Bradshaw, Sarah Lacina, and Sierra Dawn Thomas. After quickly re-stacking her blocks, Andrea managed to topple all of her blocks first, winning immunity.

In Winners at War, the challenge was once again an Immunity Challenge using the same iteration as in Kaôh Rōng. Prior to the challenge, Nick Wilson anonymously played a Challenge Disadvantage against Ben Driebergen, requiring him to stack 30% more blocks on a 30% longer beam. Despite this, Ben, Michele Fitzgerald, Sarah Lacina, and Tony Vlachos were all neck and neck, with Michele ultimately pulling out a clutch immunity win.


Episode Challenge Type Winner
"Nothing Tastes Better than Five Hundred Dollars"
Individual Immunity S17 ken t.png
Ken Hoang
Redemption Island
"Don't You Work for Me?"
Duel S22 matt t.png
Matt Elrod
Blood vs. Water
"Opening Pandora's Box"
Duel S27 candice t.png
Candice Cody
S27 marissa t.png
Marissa Peterson
Kaôh Rōng
"It's Psychological Warfare"
Individual Immunity S32 julia t.png
Julia Sokolowski
Game Changers
"Reinventing How This Game Is Played"
Individual Immunity S34 andrea t.png
Andrea Boehlke
Winners at War
"The Penultimate Step of the War"
Individual Immunity S40 michele t.png
Michele Fitzgerald



  • Every first-time player to win this challenge was the youngest person of their gender on their season.
  • Aubry Bracco, Michele Fitzgerald, Sarah Lacina, and Tai Trang are the only contestants to have competed in this challenge twice. Michele won once, while Aubry, Sarah, and Tai lost both times.


Recurring Challenges
A Bit Dinghy · A Bit Tipsy · A Crate Idea · A Leg Up · A Numbers Game · Air Raid · Angry Chair · Around the Bend · Back in Slack · Balancing Point · Ballin' A Jack · Barrel Bridge · Barrel of Monkeys · Basket Brawl · Better Homes and Island Living · Beyond the Wheel · Blind Leading the Blind · Blue Lagoon Bustle · Blue Plate Special · Boats, Brains & Brawn · Bone to Pick · Boulder Smash · Bow Diddley · Box Your Mind · Braille Maze · Broken China · Buggin' Out · Build It Up, Break It Down · Butch Cassidy · By Any Means Necessary · By the Numbers · Can't Buoy Me Love · Cannonball Run · Caught in the Web · Cell Block Sea · Challenge Pitch · Chief's Choice · Chimney Sweep · Chinese Zodiac Symbols · Choose Your Weapon · Coconut Juice · Crate Escape · Crocodile Rock · Crosswalk · Cube Crisis · Dear Liza · Dive Masters · Dizzy Miss Lizzy · Domino Effect · Draggin' the Dragon · Dragging the River · Drop A Log · Dulcimer Stomp · End of the Line · Fallen Comrades · Fast Fire · Faulty Towers · Fauxconut Bowling · Fire and Water · Fire Fighter · Float Your Boat · Floating Puzzle · Game of Bridge · Gatecrasher · Get a Grip · Get Barreled · Get Hooked · Get Your Goat · Gimme Three Steps · Great Escape Run · Hands on a Hard Idol · Hear About It Ladder · Hot Pursuit · House of Cards · House of the Holey · Idol Hands · Jail Break · Jump Shot · Jungle Love · Jungle Relay · Kamikaze · Keel Hauling · Keep It Up · Keep on Your Toes · Kenny Log-Ins · Kicking and Screaming · Kitty Litter · Know Your Loved One · Ladder Tree Golf · Last Gasp · Letter Hunt · Lock, Load and Light · Lock Step · Log Jam · Losing Face · Mask Match · Matchmaker · Matt Finish · Memory · Mud Pack · Mud Slide · Muddy Waters · New School · New Tribe Member · Nut Bucket · O-Black Water · Odd Shaped Bottoms · Operation Balance Build · Out on a Limb · Over-Extended · Paddle Battle · Paddle Out · Perch · Pilfering Pirates · Piranha Feast · Pole Dancing · Pot Head · Push Me, Pull You · Puzzle Dig · Pyramid Scheme · Q and A · Quest for Fire · Race to Shore · Ram-Ball On · Rescue Mission · Rice Race · Rise and Shrine · Rock Bottom · Rock n' Roll · Rod Screw-It · Roll With It · Roller Ball · Running Down a Dream · · Sacrificial Lamb · Schmergen Brawl · Sea Crates · Sea Legs · Sea Salvage · Shipwrecked · Shoot 'n' Shuffle · Shooting Gallery · Shoulder the Load · Simmotion · Slip, Slide & Score · Slither Me Timbers · Smash and Grab · Snag, Drag and Bag · Snake in the Grass · Snake Island Relay · SOS Signal · Spear-it Hunt · Spit It Out · Splash Back · Sprung A Leak · Squared Off · Squatty Probst · Stacked Up · Stairway to Heaven · Stairway to the Stars · Star Man · Station By Station · Step on Up · Stomp-ede · Strung Out · Sumo at Sea · Survivor Auction · Survivor History · Survivor Pentathlon · Survivor Quiz Show · Swahili Scramble · Swing Break · Temple Transfer · The Ball Drop · The Cruel Sea · The Game is Afoot · The Gauntlet · The Home Stretch · The Maze · The Obstacle Course · This Much · Thrash, Splash & Bash · TLP O-Course · Tomb Raider · Troubled Water · Uncomfortably Numb · United We Stand · Vampire Bats · Vertically Challenged · Vertigo · Wall to Wall · Well Stacked · What-er Drag · When It Rains, It Pours · Wicker Flicker · Will It Go Round · Witch Hunt · Wrist Assured · Yank Your Hank · You Shook Me