Survivor Seasons: How season 3 Africa changed the game of Survivor

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Survivor: Africa is not commonly viewed as one of the better seasons, but it’s surprising to think about the tremendous impact this season had on the rest of the show.

After watching such a fast-paced, strategically focused season like David vs. Goliath, it’s hard to remember how slow and honorable of a game Survivor was back in the early 2000s. Survivor: Africa is a perfect example of a winner getting the majority of the votes simply because he was a good person who was nice to everyone. However, when you peel back the layers, Africa changed the game and gave birth to some of the most common twists and strategies we see today.

The first ever tribe swap. Prior to Africa, there were only ever two tribes that met at the merge. After four people were voted off, tree mail requested three members from each tribe to meet Jeff at a certain location. It turned out that the three from each tribe would be swapping places! This was a twist that totally shocked the castaways and they were pretty pissed that they had to switch.

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Needless to say, Silas was sent home during the first Tribal Council of the swap. This twist showed the importance of striving to form good relationships with everyone because you never know who you’re going to be stuck with once a twist comes.

A castaway flipping on their own tribe. After the merge, the Samburu tribe, headed by Lex, had a five to four advantage over Boran. For the first time in Survivor history, a player decided to join with the minority to flip the vote. This happened when Kelly Goldsmith felt annoyed by Lex, as he accused her of voting for him in the previous Tribal Council. With some persuasion by T-Bird, Kelly decided to vote with Boran to blindside Lex, but there’s a reason why this move isn’t remembered.

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Before Tribal Council, Lex approached Brandon Quinton who was on the minority tribe. Lex promised to Brandon that if he voted against Kelly, he would take her place in the majority alliance. Brandon succumbed to Lex’s plea, ruining the masterful blindside that Kelly had brewing, only to be sent home during the very next Tribal! Although this plan failed, it showed that Kelly understood the game and had the willingness to make a big move. It also paved the way for the first successful power shift, which happened in the following season.

The idea of fighting from the bottom by targeting the biggest threats. Teresa (T-Bird) Cooper was stuck on the wrong side of the numbers, but instead of just accepting her fate as most castaways did up until that point, T-Bird kept on fighting. She was successfully able to convince Kelly to vote with her to get out one of the biggest targets in the game in Lex, but Brandon ruined her opportunity.

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Although that proved to be true, Kim Johnson rejected two perfect opportunities to vote with Teresa. Once again, there was potential for great gameplay that just failed because of stubborn castaways. That being said, T-Bird pioneered the idea of getting someone to flip on their alliance by targeting a common threat.