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".
One castaway gets fired up when learning a lesson on the Island of the Idols, where Boston Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz serve as mentors.
One castaway puts their mind to work when given a new opportunity on the Island of the Idols. The tribes must climb their way to the top during a tough Immunity Challenge.
New tribal dynamics may put the rest of the castaways on edge leading into the next tribal council. One castaway is presented with an opportunity on the Island of the Idols.
A “showmance” could create distractions and paint a target on two castaways’ backs. Also, after a visit with Boston Rob and Sandra on Island of the Idols, one castaway has a chance to seize an opportunity to prove their power of persuasion.
Castaways are forced to switch up their game after a surprising tribe swap.
Rival alliances go head to head over a powerful player, and one castaway must decide if they are daring enough to take on a risky task after visiting the Island of the Idols.
An empire falls and a rebellion rises, but the game is far from over. Another castaway visits the Island of the Idols for a chance to earn an advantage.
Castaways enjoy a merge feast before individual immunity is on the line.