As you know, Jo and I are planning to host a Survivor event for our friends during our beach vacation this summer, and we’re getting so excited! I’ve already shown you the Survivor buffs and tribe flags we made, and now I’d like to focus on the rules, voting, and idols that will make up our game.
Because there are two of us, Jo and I will both be hosts of the game. We’ll each take leadership of one of the tribes, and we’ll also take bragging rights if our tribe wins! It kind of stinks that we won’t be able to play, but it wouldn’t be fair since we know all the rules. Besides, somebody needs to be there taking pictures for you guys to see, right?
To properly outfit ourselves for the event, we bought some shirts similar to what Jeff Probst wears and picked up a couple of baseball caps in our tribe colors, which we embellished with our Survivor logo, with the help of some dark shirt iron-on transfer paper.
The players will be divided into two tribes, with an equal number of adults and children on each team. The Chicaroo tribe will be led by me, and the tribe color is blue (my favorite). Jo will be leading the Jokomo tribe, whose tribe color is red (her favorite).
At the start of the game, we’ll give each tribe member the following:
- a torch with their name on it (tutorial coming soon!)
- a simple rope necklace
- a buff in their tribe color (make your own Survivor buffs)
- a T-shirt in their tribe color (download our logo for an iron-on)
We’re planning to have five challenges for this event, and because we’ll be hanging out at the beach all week, we’re going to have one each day. Coming up with challenges is a lot of fun, and with the more than 20 seasons of Survivor that have aired so far, there’s plenty of material for inspiration. When planning your challenges, keep in mind the age and skill level of your players, and be sure to create tasks that everyone can participate in and have fun. We’ll have lots more to say about our specific challenges after we have the event, when we’ll be able to share photos.
The tribe that wins each challenge will get to keep the immunity idol until the next challenge. The idol we got is fantastic — it’s about 2 feet tall and the eyes glow! We found it at a local store called BigLots, in the garden/luau department. Shop around your local garden or home improvement stores for inspiration, or choose from the many tiki items available online, like this tiki pillar candle holder.
Voting at Tribal Council is the trickiest aspect of an at-home version of Survivor, because we don’t actually want to vote anybody off. We think that the game will be much more fun if everyone gets to continue to play for the duration of the game. So, instead of having just the losing team go to Tribal Council (as is done on the show), we’re having both teams go. And because we want to keep the game positive instead of negative, we’re having people vote for winners instead of losers.
Every member of the winning tribe will receive a special bead (in their tribe color) to indicate that they won the challenge that day. The bead will be added to the rope necklaces everyone was given at the start of the game. The tribe with the most red- or blue-colored beads at the end of the game will be the winning tribe, and will get a very special prize.
Because we want to have a traditional “Sole Survivor” as well, there will also be individual votes at Tribal Council. All members of each tribe will cast votes for the adult player and child player on their own tribe that they think contributed the most in that day’s challenge. The adult and child with the most votes will get a special yellow “individual” bead to add to their necklaces. The adult player and child player with the most beads at the end of the game will be declared the Sole Survivors and will also win a special prize.
To make the beads, we just grabbed some unfinished wood beads and painted them red and blue using our ColorArtz airbrush paint. For an extra touch, we decorated the yellow ones with tribal markings using a black Sharpie.
There will also be opportunities for players to win additional yellow beads, via Hidden Individual Idols that can be presented at Tribal Council (more on that below!)
You can’t vote at Tribal Council without some rustic and distressed paper, right? To make these, I started with some ivory parchment paper and tore the edges, then tore it into smaller pieces that were a good size for voting slips. I also made some larger sheets that we’ll use for Tree-Mail (more on that later!)
Then I grabbed my favorite ink of all time, Distress Ink in “Vintage Photo”, and swiped it on all the edges of the paper, giving it a good distressed look.
For the container to hold the votes, we got lucky and found a large tiki container on our BigLots shopping trip, and it was perfect! You could use also use a trunk, vase, or any vessel you can find that looks sort of distressed and authentic. And of course you need a nice rock paperweight and a crazy-looking marker, just like on the show.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you hanging on that marker. To jazz up an ordinary black Sharpie, I grabbed some packing foam, masking tape, newspaper, and papier-mache mix (flour and water). I started by covering the marker with the foam until it was nice and chunky, and used the masking tape to hold it in place.
When the marker was covered, I slipped the foam pieces back off, so they were easier to work with.
Holding each piece with my finger, I wrapped it with strips of newspaper dipped in the papier-mache mix until they were covered.
After letting them dry until hard (it took a day or two), I painted them with messy strokes of brown paint to resemble bark.
Then I smeared some hot glue on one end of the marker and shoved it down into the case.
I did the same with the other end, and there was my crazy-looking stick marker!
We think Tree-Mail is one of the more fun aspects of Survivor, so we wanted to have it in our game. We got lucky once again at BigLots and found a narrow tiki idol that works great for holding a single piece of paper.
What will go in our Tree-Mail? Well, we are going to have a clue every morning that gives the tribes a hint about the challenge to come that day. We’re also going to use Tree-Mail to give hints to the players about Hidden Individual Idols! Resembling the Hidden Immunity Idols from the TV show, our idols will be hidden and the person who finds it can present it at Tribal Council for an extra yellow bead for their necklace. This can really help towards the Sole Survivor win.
For the idols themselves, we found some pre-painted wooden pieces at our local Michael’s craft store that were suitable to the beach/island theme of the game. We wrapped them with scraps of burlap and tied them up with twine, making authentic-looking bundles that are ready to hide.
All that’s left for planning the event is the requisite torches for the players, as well as a fire for Tribal Council. Jo is working on some kid-safe versions of those things and will be telling you about them soon.
We think we’ve got everything else lined up, though, and are exited about our vacation, which is just in a couple weeks. We can’t wait to share the results of our challenges with you!