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Jeff Probst, before any Reward Challenge


Reward Challenges are challenges that are used at both the tribal and individual level. Sometimes paired with Immunity Challenges, winning these challenges can provide tribes, individuals, or groups of individuals with items that make life at camp easier, escapes from the game, or a prize that they can enjoy after the game is completed.

Although not compulsory, Reward Challenges have been a staple in the competitions and have sometimes been combined with Immunity Challenges.

Tribal Rewards

During the tribal phase of the game, earlier Reward Challenges offer items that will improve camp life. But as the game reaches its halfway point, meals, and feasts are offered. These are the most recurring tribal rewards over the years:

  • Fire-making supplies such as flint or matches; commonly offered as the first reward item of the season
  • Fishing gear (bait, fishing spear, fishing boat; commonly offered at the second episode)
  • Tarps, pillows, blankets and hammocks
  • A fully-stocked tool box
  • Replenished food supply ranging from fresh produce such as fruits, vegetables, fish, or meat, to processed items such as canned goods and trail mix
  • Spices
  • Feasts/picnics (usually given mid-late pre-merge onwards)
  • Trips to local recreational and/or historical sites
  • A clue to a Hidden Immunity Idol (in lieu of Exile Island)
  • Letters from home and/or actual loved ones being allowed to visit camp
  • Bath products
  • Live chickens

Hero Challenges

First used in the premiere episode of Survivor: South Pacific, Hero Challenges are Reward Challenges which are used in lieu of group Reward Challenges. Castaways face-off one-on-one, in which the winner of the challenge wins reward for their tribe.

It became a main twist at the pre-merge portion of Survivor: San Juan del Sur, in which the loser would be sent to Exile Island (with someone from the winning tribe being chosen by the winner to go with them).

It was used once again as a common Reward Challenge in Survivor: Cambodia.

Do-It-Yourself Challenges

See also: Do-It-Yourself Challenge

While most Reward Challenges are overlooked by Jeff Probst, two seasons have featured Do-It-Yourself Reward Challenges.

Individual Rewards

For post-merger rewards, the members of the merged tribe compete as individual units. There are some cases though that the merged tribe is separated into groups to compete for the reward. In most cases, if the number of players cannot be divisible into equal-numbered groups, either a single player wins the challenge (with the choice of choosing a tribemate to share his/her reward with), or divide them into groups, with one person singled out. These are the most recurring individual rewards over the seasons:

Survivor Auction

See also: Survivor Auction

The Survivor Auction is a special Reward Challenge where the players will be given money and must outbid each other to obtain certain items, mostly food. From Survivor: Guatemala onwards, items available in the auction may sometimes include game advantages such as an edge in the upcoming Immunity Challenge, a clue to the Hidden Immunity Idol, or the power to vote twice.

Loved Ones Challenges

See also: Loved Ones Challenge

Some Reward Challenges have castaways' loved ones also participate on it. The reward usually in Loved Ones Challenges are spending spending a day with their loved ones or having the privilege to watch or chat with their loved ones through a video tape or the Internet respectively.

Strategy

During the pre-merge stage of the game, tribes that are allowed to sit out members may opt to let a weaker tribe member compete for the Reward Challenge so their stronger tribe members may compete at the Immunity Challenge to potentially better their chances of escaping Tribal Council.

Usually after the merge, winning Reward Challenges that entails leaving camp can be used for strategic gain. The winner(s) may be asked to pick a companion(s) and use the time away from camp to talk about future voting options, whether to strengthen a bond between allies to solidify a voting plan, or take a non-ally to expand the winner's options. In this case, choosing a companion would be a tricky situation, for it could expose certain voting blocs that maybe are unknown to the other contestants. Those who remain at camp during the reward could use this as an opportunity to band against the reward winners. It was notable in Survivor: San Juan del Sur that Post-Merge Reward winners forfeit their prize as either as a kind gesture, or to do them a favor later in the game.

References

Survivor Gameplay
Challenges

Challenge Advantage · Do-It-Yourself Challenge · Duel · Family Visit · Immunity Challenge (Final Immunity Challenge) · Immunity Idol · Immunity Necklace · Medallion of Power · Reward Challenge · Survivor Auction

Elimination

Edge of Extinction · Ejection · Evacuation · Final Tribal Council · Jury · Quit · Redemption Island · Snuffer · Sole Survivor · Tiebreaker · Torch · Tribal Council · Urn

Strategy

Alliance · Pagonging · Split Vote (Strategy)

Social Dynamics

Final Two · Final Three · Merge · Tribe

Twists
Casting

Battle of the Sexes · Blood vs. Water · Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty · Old vs. Young · Returning Players · Schoolyard Pick · Tribes Divided by Ethnicity


Tribal Council-Related

Double Elimination · Double Tribal Council · Extra Vote · Hidden Immunity Idol (History) · Idol Nullifier · Joint Tribal Council · Juror Removal · Vote Blocker · Vote Steal


Miscellaneous

Advantage Menu · Buried Treasure · Day Zero · Exile Island · Fake Merge · Fire Token · First Impressions · Ghost Island · Haves vs. Have Nots · Island of the Idols · Kidnapping · Legacy Advantage · Looting · Mutiny · One World · Reward Steal · The Outcasts · Tribe Leader · Tribe Switch

Post-Game

Fan Favorite Award · Lawsuits and Legal Action · Ponderosa · Reunion Show

Miscellaneous

Buff · Confessional · Luxury Item · Rites of Passage · Survivor Rulebook · Ulonging