Ben Martell

Ben Martell - The Golden TicketBy day, Ben Martell is a public commercial lawyer from New Zealand.

By night, he moonlights as a self-described Survivor 'expert'.

By day or night, find him on twitter at: @golden8284

 

Ben's column, "The Golden Ticket" has run here at the True Dork Times since 2017, when he first wrote about season 34, Survivor: Game Changers.

 

Follow him on twitter: @Golden8284


  • S35 logo Survivor 35: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers (click to expand/collapse)
    When editing goes bad

    Episode 9: When editing goes bad

    Published: November 28, 2017

     

    Ben takes issue with Survivor's editing choices, such as completely omitting Mike's fake idol play at Tribal Council, apparently in favor of necessary exposition of new advantages. He then explores Devon's alleged winner's edit, asks if anyone played well, and tries to predict the upcoming double-episode's two boots.


    Episode 8: Threatening women

    Published: November 21, 2017

     

    Ben argues that, rather than seeing Desi's ouster as evidence of Chrissy feeling threatened, it's more accurate that Chrissy rightly identified Desi (and Ali, and Roark) as a long-term threat in the game. Also, a look at Lauren's advantage, and whether Joe was the correct target.


    Episode 7: Edit vs. reality

    Published: November 14, 2017

     

    Following the merge, Ben attempts to separate audience reactions based on editing from the likely reality of the game itself, with particular emphasis on Chrissy's gameplay, Ben's alleged swing-vote status, the decision to target Jessica, and more.


    Episode 6: Compelling characters

    Published: November 7, 2017

     

    Ben re-examines Ryan's move against Ali (and Roark), then delves at length into what makes a compelling Survivor character, and why their relative prevalence this season is helping Ben enjoy Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers.


    Episode 5: The long game

    Published: October 31, 2017

     

    Ben examines whether Roark was swap-screwed, whether Ryan's move was a good one for his long game, whether Ali has allies, whether Chrissy's social game is consistent, and more.


    Episode 4: How to recognize advantages

    Published: October 24, 2017

     

    Ben praises a successful swap, and boldly predicts which tribe might be the big loser from it (hint: anti-Matsing), the fate of an idol mind, and the future success of a dork alliance, a disadvantaged voter, and someone fishing for allies.


    Episode 3: Good moves, variable timing

    Published: October 18, 2017

     

    Ben examines how timing affects the success of Survivor moves, with some good (Ali), and some bad (Cole), and some more good (the upcoming swap) on display in Episode 3 of Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers.


    Episode 2: Have we found the final two?

    Published: October 10, 2017

     

    Ben takes a quick look at the departed Simone's game, ponders the significance of the Ben-Chrissy pairing, examines Joe's gameplay, and praises Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers' apparent return to editing form.


    Episode 1: Heroes v. Healers v. Losers

    Published: October 1, 2017

     

    Ben takes stock of the state of the strategic metagame entering the season premiere of Survivor: HHH, then looks in-depth at the Heroes, Healers, and Hustlers tribes, and the Super Idol, plus a few odds and ends.


    Pre-season: TDT Survivor: HHH contestant draft

    Published: September 22, 2017

     

    Ben Martell, Dan Otsuki, Pat Ferrucci, and Jeff Pitman come together to rank and draft fantasy teams of the contestants from Survivor: Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers. Who will reign supreme?

  • SNZ1 logo SurvivorNZ 1: Nicaragua (click to expand/collapse)
    Quick hits

    Eps. 17-18: Quick hits

    Published: July 3, 2017

     

    In the brief break between the week 9 episodes and the final two airings, Ben re-examines Avi's Survivor integrity, Barb's continuing mystery, the twist at the end of Episode 18, and explores some final three jury jeopardy scenarios.


    Eps. 13-16: The integrity edition

    Published: June 30, 2017

     

    With just one week of shows left, Ben explores the role 'Survivor integrity' plays in Survivor NZ contestants' games, whether its possible to win with such, and who that winner might be. Also loincloths.


    Eps. 11-12: The hero's journey

    Published: June 15, 2017

     

    As Survivor NZ sees a massive power shift, Ben re-evaluates where that leaves the respective games of Barb, Shannon, Jak, and Avi, and the now less brightly lit path the season appears to be following.


    Eps. 9-10: Relax, everything will be fine

    Published: June 10, 2017

     

    Ben ponders the suggestion that it's a New Zealand tendency to be relaxed and understated in the face of adversity (and success), weathers the surprising highs and too-obvious lows of the edit, and finds the best and worst players out there.


    Eps. 7-8: Sallah edition

    Published: May 30, 2017

     

    Ben dives into the intrinsically New Zealand-isms of Survivor NZ, revokes his Hero Challenge endorsement when it applies to reward challenges, talks about the Redemption Island quasi-cliffhanger, and with the merge approaching, maps out how he sees the remainder of the game playing out.


    Eps. 5-6: The good, the interesting, and the ugly

    Published: May 24, 2017

     

    Survivor NZ loses two players in week three, via Redemption (the good) and medevac (the ugly), but several contestants gain new life via the tribe swap, while one notably does not. Ben looks ahead at how this sets up the looming merge.


    Eps. 3-4: Hero immunity

    Published: May 16, 2017

     

    Ben ponders the significance of Nate's emergence from an otherwise one-dimensional Hermosa, and Shay as a strategic player, then praises the hero immunity challenge concept and the surprizing vote outcome.


    Eps. 1-2: Wanda vs. Megatron

    Published: May 8, 2017

     

    Covering the first two episodes of SurvivorNZ: Nicaragua, Ben explains his connection to Avi, asks if Dee's exit was one of the cruelest in Survivor history, then explores the Mogotón, er, 'Megatron' tribe in-depth.


    Pre-Ep.1: We are the wilderpeople

    Published: May 3, 2017

     

    By way of introduction, Ben lists some common themes and social differences that might be expected to arise in a season of Survivor played by New Zealanders. And roots for Avi, of course.

  • S34 logo Survivor 34: Game Changers (click to expand/collapse)
    Jury jeopardy S34

    Pre-Ep.14: Jury jeopardy S34

    Published: May 23, 2017

     

    The True Dork Times writers (Ben, Dan, Pat, Jeff) combine their prognosticatory powers to predict the outcome of the Game Changers jury vote. And beat RHAP, Inside Survivor, and Reality Blurred, of course.


    Ep.13: Three stories broken

    Published: May 19, 2017

     

    Heading into the finale, Ben reflects on the two bootees, evaluates Cirie's attempted move (and the heavy hand of the rules), and revisits the three key stories, at least two of which now seem broken.


    Ep.12: Three stories

    Published: May 14, 2017

     

    Marking his path to the end, Ben looks back briefly at Sierra, the Legacy advantage, and the five stories he sees as secondary, then dives deep into the three stories of potential winners.


    Ep.11: A strategic caterpillar

    Published: May 7, 2017

     

    Ben reflects on the two-season evolution of Zeke's game, whether his boot was made by 'idiots,' the passive minority alliance voting, and the Game Changers season as a whole (thus far).


    Eps. 8-10: A question of timing

    Published: May 2, 2017

     

    Ben catches up on the past three episodes, acknowledges the departed, then evaluates the remaining ten contestants' positions in depth, heading into the final four episodes of Game Changers.


    Ep.7: Putting compassion first

    Published: April 13, 2017

     

    Ben responds with a message of compassion for the participants of the Tribal Council in Episode 7 of Survivor: Game Changers, "What Happens On Exile, Stays on Exile."


    Ep.6: Effective grooming

    Published: April 11, 2017

     

    Ben explores Sandra's alliance-grooming (and fall), Tai's underratedness, Brad's rising edit, Cochran's cameo, and the emerging post-merge battle lines, as seen in Episode 6, "Vote Early, Vote Often," of Game Changers.


    Ep.5: Famous firsts

    Published: April 3, 2017

     

    Ben explores JT's regression, Sandra's mastery, Debbie's meltdown, and Sarah's edit, as seen in Episode 5, "Dirty Deed," of Survivor: Game Changers. Plus a look at the state of the game, heading into another swap.


    Ep.4: Firing blanks

    Published: March 25, 2017

     

    Ben takes a deep dive into the intents, events, and discontents of the chaotic combined Mana-Nuku Tribal Council in Episode 4, "The Tables Have Turned," of Survivor: Game Changers.


    Ep.3: Goat hunting

    Published: March 18, 2017

     

    Ben examines the changed games evident in mellow Troyzan, social Brad, and various people searching for goats, in Episode 3 of Survivor: Game Changers.


    Eps.1-2: Survivor Game No-Changers

    Published: March 11, 2017

     

    Ben sorts through the changes in the contestants' games (and lack thereof) in the two-hour premiere of Survivor: Game Changers. Plus a brief re-evaluation of everyone's current game position.


    Cast: Baseless speculation

    Published: February 8, 2017

     

    Ben takes a deep dive into the respective prospective chances of the new Game Changers cast members' changing the game enough to win in Season 34. With bonus commentary from his mother!


    Pre-S34: The secret formula

    Published: January 23, 2017

     

    Introducing The Golden Ticket, Ben Martell's new column at the True Dork Times. This week: An introduction of sorts, all leading to a secret formula for success in the current Survivor metagame.

ADVERTISEMENT