Sixteen or more castaways are split between two or more "Tribes", are taken to a remote isolated location and are forced to live off the land with meager supplies for roughly 39 days. Frequent physical challenges are used to pit the tribes against each other for Rewards, such as food or luxuries, or for "Immunity", forcing the other tribe to attend "Tribal Council", where they must vote off one of their players. Once about half the players are remaining, the tribes are merged into a single tribe, and competitions are on an individual basis; winning Immunity prevents that player from being voted out, while several that are voted out at this stage form the game's "Jury". Once down to two or three people, a Final Tribal Council is held where the remaining players plead their case to the jury members. The jury then votes for which player should be considered the "Sole Survivor" and win the $1 million prize. Survivor has introduced numerous modifications, or "twists", on the core rules in order to keep the players on their toes and to prevent players from relying on strategies that succeeded in prior seasons. These changes have included tribal switches, seasons starting with more than two tribes, the ability to exile a player from a tribe for a short time, Hidden Immunity Idols that players can use to save themselves at Tribal Council and a chance to return to regular gameplay after elimination through "Redemption Island".
In one of the most physical Reward Challenges ever played, injuries threaten to send two castaways home before the first challenge is completed.
Backstabbing and dissention run rampant in one tribe as a castaway reveals that old grudges die hard and makes a move to put a former ally on the chopping block. Meanwhile, one Villain pushes so hard to provide for the tribe that he passes out cold.
One of the most powerful women in the game targets a worthy adversary and gets aggressive in her efforts to oust an immediate threat.
The two tribes each search for a Hidden Immunity Idol within their respective camps. Meanwhile, Coach believes everyone is against him, and the Villains get frustrated with Russell.
An important hierarchy is established between a pair of conniving allies and a plan is hatched to oust one of the strongest and most prominent players in the game.
When the castaways discover that two people will be sent packing in a rare double elimination, everyone scrambles to save their own skin, and one castaway surprises everyone and risks it all at Tribal Council.
Hurt and betrayed by a close ally, one castaway learns the hard way that loyalty isn't always easy, and one powerhouse learns from experience that old grudges die hard.
Struggling to keep their tribe intact, the "Heroes" vow to work together as long as it takes to ensure that they outlast the "Villains". Meanwhile, the "Villains" begin to turn on one another after one tribe member makes a costly mistake at the Reward Challenge.
Convinced that a women's alliance is running the Villains tribe, The Heroes develop a risky strategy in an effort to align themselves with one of the game's most notorious players.
Reunited on the merged tribe, two old friends rekindle an alliance but trust doesn't come easily, and one castaway makes an unprecedented play, setting the stage for one of the most surprising Tribal Councils in Survivor history.
With two swing votes hanging in the balance, no one can be sure of their safety heading into Tribal Council, and even the most formidable villain in the game makes a potential miscalculation.
Sensing that he is in danger, a hero makes a bold move to save himself by fooling the entire tribe. Meanwhile, a vicious power struggle emerges in one alliance and two of the strongest villains find themselves pitted against one another.
The Final Six get the chance to earn time with their loved ones in a fiercely fought Reward Challenge. Desperate for options, the remaining heroes make an unexpected ally, hoping to turn the game around.
As the Final Tribal Council draws near, Survivors struggle to stay on top of their game as alliances crumble and everyone starts to play for themselves.
The winner is revealed as the twenty castaways reunite to discuss their experiences.