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House of Cards (also known as Teeter Tower) is a recurring skill and balance 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 was introduced in South Pacific, Caramoan, and Game Changers.

Rules

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 steady a wobbly platform on which the tower is built.

History

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. 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. As soon as Mike was finished, his house fell down almost immediately.

A small variation of this challenge was also used in Survivor: South Pacific. Known as Teeter Tower, the final five would place their hand on a very uneasy balance beam that would flatten a table. While holding the balance beam down, 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 receive help from other castaways. Eventually, Ozzy caught up to her and made it into the final four.

The Teeter Tower variant reappeared in Survivor: Caramoan. This was originally 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, the castaways couldn't stack 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, in fear of her tower also collapsing. Tina counted the time until the challenge ended, and when the time ran out, Caleb ended up being 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.

Winners

Episode Challenge Type Winner
Gabon
"Say Goodbye to Gabon"
Individual Immunity
(Final Immunity)
S17 susie t.png
Susie Smith
Heroes vs. Villains
"Jumping Ship"
Individual Immunity S20 jerri t.png
Jerri Manthey
Redemption Island
"Rice Wars"
Duel S22 mike t.png
Mike Chiesl
S22 matt t.png
Matt Elrod
South Pacific
"Loyalties Will Be Broken"
Individual Immunity S23 ozzy t.png
Ozzy Lusth
Caramoan
"Last Push"
Individual Reward S26 cochran t.png
John Cochran
Blood vs. Water
"Rustle Feathers"
Duel S27 lauram t.png
Laura Morett
S27 tina t.png
Tina Wesson
Game Changers
"Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow"
Individual Immunity S34 aubry t.png
Aubry Bracco

Gallery

Trivia

  • Gabon is the only season in which this challenge was used, but not have a returning player in its cast.
  • 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.
  • When this challenge is used as Teeter Tower, only returning players have won.

References

Recurring Challenges
A Bit Tipsy · A Crate Idea · A Leg Up · A Numbers Game · Air Raid · Angry Chair · Around the Bend · 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 · 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 · 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 · 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
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