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House of Cards is a recurring skill challenge in Survivor. It debuted in Survivor: Gabon as the Final Immunity Challenge, and was reused in Heroes vs. Villains, Redemption Island, and Blood vs. Water. A variation of the challenge known as Teeter Tower was introduced in South Pacific, later re-appearing in Caramoan, Game Changers, and Survivor 43.


Each castaway begins the challenge with 150 to 200 wooden tiles. Using the tiles, they must build a house of cards up to a certain height. The first person to reach this target height would win. However, if there is a specified time limit, the person with the tallest house of cards when time expires would win.

The Teeter Tower variant complicates the challenge by requiring castaways to build the house of cards with one hand, while using the other hand to control a handle that steadied a balancing board on which the tower is built.


United States[]

This challenge was first used in Survivor: Gabon as the Final Immunity Challenge. In this case, each person had 200 tiles and had 30 minutes to reach ten feet. The person who reached ten-foot mark first or whoever had the tallest house of cards after the time was up would win immunity and a spot in the Final Tribal Council. Bob Crowley struggled in the challenge, unable to build a stable house of cards. Sugar Kiper built a tall house of cards, but its instability caused it to fall at the last minute. Matty Whitmore built a stable house of cards seven feet tall, but in the end, Susie Smith built the tallest house of cards, at eight feet tall, within 30 minutes and won immunity.

This challenge later reused in Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains as an Immunity Challenge. In this case, there was no time limit, and contestants had 150 tiles. Russell Hantz and Jerri Manthey got an early lead and it ultimately came to down them. In the end, Jerri edged out Russell when he ran out of cards in his hand and she won immunity.

This challenge was also used in Survivor: Redemption Island as a Redemption Island duel between Matt ElrodMike Chiesl, and David Murphy. The rules for that duel was that contestants had 150 tiles to build an eight-foot tall house of cards. Mike had a steady house of cards, with Matt right behind him. Mike's house of cards however, threatened to collapse at the eight-foot mark, allowing Matt and David to catch up. Still, Mike was able to finish his house of cards, along with Matt, eliminating David from the competition.

A scaled-down variation of this challenge debuted in Survivor: South Pacific. Known as Teeter Tower, the final five would use one hand to hold a handle that steadied a balancing board. With their other hand, the castaways would build a house of cards. Ozzy Lusth and Sophie Clarke had to rebuild their houses twice due to their usage of all tiles. Frustrated, Sophie attempted to convince Albert Destrade into dropping his stack to pick up her pieces, which he refused to do and host Jeff Probst told her that castaways were not allowed to physically help each other. Eventually, Ozzy caught up to her and completed his tower, winning immunity.

The Teeter Tower variant reappeared in Survivor: Caramoan. This was originally planned to be an Immunity Challenge, but was changed to a Reward Challenge due to Erik Reichenbach's evacuation the previous night. After many attempts and the towers falling down repeatedly, John Cochran was able to reach the target and win an advantage for the Final Immunity Challenge.

In Survivor: Blood vs. Water, the challenge was again used as a duel. The castaways had to stack a tower eight feet high in thirty minutes. If after 30 minutes, no castaway stacked a tower 8 feet high, the winner would be whoever had the highest tower. Laura Morett completed her house of cards after 27 minutes to come in first. Caleb Bankston was leading against Tina Wesson by almost 2 feet as time was expiring, but with seconds left to go, his tower collapsed and Tina stopped building to avoid having her tower also collapse. Tina counted the time until the challenge ended, and when the time ran out, Caleb was eliminated.

The Teeter Tower variant of the challenge was used in Survivor: Game Changers. Aubry Bracco initially had the lead, but had to re-stack her cards after she was unable to reach the mark, allowing several others to catch up. However, Aubry managed to quickly re-stack and reach the mark, winning herself immunity.

The Teeter Tower variant of the challenge was used once again in Survivor 43. 28 minutes into the challenge, only Cassidy Clark, Karla Cruz Godoy, and Sami Layadi had viable towers. Karla's tower soon collapsed, opening the door for Cassidy and Sami, who both began to horizontally stack their remaining cards. With a slight lead, Cassidy placed a final card vertically, allowing her to reach the targeted height and win herself immunity.


The Teeter Tower version of the challenge appeared as a Reward Challenge in Brains v Brawn (2021), where the Fire tribe competed for a brand new Isuzu D-Max. Against windy conditions, each of the final eight dropped their tower at least once. In the end, Dani Beale got to the finish mark first, winning herself a new car.

New Zealand[]


The challenge appeared as the second Redemption Island duel of Survivor Québec (2023). Prior to the challenge, Joël Dandurand found a Challenge Advantage and received 5 additional tiles to use during the challenge. However, his advantage proved ineffective as he was eliminated from the game after Nicolas Brunette and Sylvain Béland each won their second duel in a row.

South Africa[]

The original version of the challenge was used as a Salvation Duel in Champions. Corné Krige and Mark Fish both struggled in building their towers. After his tower collapsed, Corné acted quicker in rebuilding his tower, winning the Salvation Cup for the first time.

The Teeter Tower variant appeared as an Immunity Challenge at the final seven of Island of Secrets. As the Manumalo tribe grew frustrated with their constantly collapsing towers, Mike Venter took the lead and bested Rob Bentele's attempt to chase him down to win his first individual Immunity Challenge.




  • Redemption Island and Blood vs. Water are the only times this challenge has been won by more than one person as, in both instances, it was used as a three-way Redemption Island duel.
  • This challenge is the first (and only) individual Immunity Challenge that three-time returning player Jerri Manthey has won.
  • The challenge appeared in all seasons to feature the Redemption Island twist.
    • This challenge, along with Snag, Drag and Bag and Jail Break, are the only challenges to appear in every season featuring Redemption Island.
      • It is the only one of the three to not appear as a duel in all of these seasons.
  • Lee Carseldine is the only person to compete in this challenge twice.


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 · Cage Against the Machine · 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 Gillespie · Dizzy Miss Lizzy · Domino Effect · Draggin' the Dragon · Dragging the River · Drop A Log · Drum Roll · Dulcimer Stomp · End of the Line · EOC · Eve 6 · Fallen Comrades · Fast Fire · Faulty Towers · Fauxconut Bowling · Fire and Water · Fire Fighter · Fire Starter · Flips, Flops, & Flags · 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 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 · Mayan Pizza · 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 · Q and A · Quest for Fire · Race to Shore · Ram-Ball On · Rescue Mission · Rice Race · Rise and Shrine · Rock Bottom · Rock n' Roll · Rock the Boat · Rod Screw-It · Roll With It · Roller Ball · Rung O Star · 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 · Super Ramp · Survivor Auction · Survivor History · Survivor Pentathlon · Survivor Quiz Show · Swahili Scramble · Swing Break · Tangled Up · 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 · Total Recall · 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