So what the heck is this Survivor Score/Average business?
Answer: You'll be sorry you asked. It's an attempt to apply Sabermetrics to Survivor. (Sorry yet? If not, read on.) Essentially, an attempt to answer: "Who's the best Survivor player?"
So you might notice that we have two ways of measuring total scores. One is the Survival Score (SurvSc). It's simply the sum of three components: Challenge Win% (ChW%), Tribal Council% (TC%), and Jury Vote% (JV%, irrelevant until the finale). So SurvSc = ChW% + TC% + JV%, for a max score of 2 (3 after the finale).
The other score is the Survival Average (SurvAv). It's a simple sum of fractional Challenge Wins (ChW), weighted TC Ratio (wTCR), and a weighted JuryVote% (to be exact, JV% times 6). Or SurvAv = ChW + wTCR + (6 * JV%). This has two advantages over SurvSc: (1) It's always a positive number (or zero), since tribal council votes are treated as a weighted ratio (instead of a potentially negative sum), and (2) it has a larger spread, and in looking at past seasons, we just feel it better represents the games we saw.
Neither ranking is perfect, however, and we're open to suggestions. Feel free to comment below with potential improvements. Check the individual leaderboard and overall season scores to see how they work.
Special scoring cases
- Final Three vote-off: In a final three Tribal Council, where only one vote is cast (by the F3 IC winner), both VFBs are counted, but only the single VAP counts. This is done because otherwise, the person not voted off is effectively penalized for not voting someone out, even though they theoretically did.
Adjustments due to not being voted out
From time to time, a player leaves even when the tribe hasn't actually spoken. Here are the adjustments made in scoring when that happens.
- Quits: Because quitters leave the game without being voted against, this inflates their SurvAv and SurvSc overall scores. To adjust for that, we came up the following fix: A quit should be scored as a unanimous vote-out by the tribe (including the person quitting). So if someone quits from an 8-person tribe, they receive 8 VAP, 8 TotV, and 1 TCA. Nobody receives credit for voting them out, though. To avoid confusion, we do this only to calculate their scores, and do not include them in season totals.
- Medevacs: We originally came up with a different means for making a similar adjustment for medevacs, because it seemed unfair to penalize medevacs in the same way as quitters. But as time has passed (and the line between quit and medevac has blurred from Philippines onward), the unanimous vote-out seems like the best adjustment here, too.
- Drawing rocks: Since this is essentially a tie-breaker, we don't do anything special to adjust for a person being eliminated by drawing rocks. This leaves Paschal English's and Katie Collins' scores artificially high, but so be it.
- Elimination by tie-breaker: In the final Ulong "Tribal Council" in Palau, where Bobby Jon and Stephenie competed in a fire-building competition rather than voting, we scored it as an individual challenge win for Stephenie, and not as either person voting.