So, I will go ahead and make my speech.
This is the best that I am capable of playing Survivor. I had my best season, and my best finish. Even if that ends up being second, it is hell of a lot better than fifth, which was my best before this.
I play Survivor with two contrasting basic rules.
1) Don't try to win for you. Choose a group of friends early, and be willing to risk losing to help them win. As long as one of us wins, it's fine.
Basically this is how I play every Survivor. Don't turn on your closest allies, and it is okay to mislead people to protect those allies. I typically won't vote against someone who I have allied with unless it is down to them and someone else I have been allied with longer, or if that person has already betrayed my alliance.
2) The second basic concept comes from the greatest of all real life Survivor players Sandra Diaz-Twine: "As long as it isn't me."
In the end, I want to stay in a position that I have the numbers, even if all of my key players aren't in those numbers, so I have a position to push toward keeping my people.
So, what were my alliances in this game in order of increasing importance.
PRIMARY ALLIANCE: tsut30
I made a Seahawks based alliance with Tony before the game even started. My goal, as stated above, was for one of us to win. I would not have ever voted to eliminate tsut. There is no way I would ever waver from this position unless he had stabbed me in the back at some point, which he didn't.
SECONDARY ALLIANCE #1: polabonez, stalagna and ahrens
Now if I made a mistake, this was it. Not because I can't trust these guys, but because I suggested a five person alliance with them not knowing that in the last Survivor stalagna and polabonez had built up some animosity, especially on stalagna's side.
I also set up a tacit arrangement with psap around this point. Remember, this was all before the tribes were announced.
HEROES TRIBE: When the tribes were announced, I found myself in Heroes with stalagna and tsut, which gave us three out of the nine. We only needed to get two more to fulfill Rule #2, as long as it isn't me.
I approached redraider68 at this point, as well as shlog. Dan and I instantly bonded, but shlog was stand offish. It didn't take long to figure out that the five that weren't me, tsut, redraider and stalagna were in the minority, especially since I learned that shlog chose the other side through polabonez.
This is the turning point in the game for me. caesari approached me, and I offered to make an alliance with him, stronger than what he had been offered to that point. The only problem, his biggest target was tsut. He also wanted to protect katz. So, I made a deal that as long as I could protect redraider (not wanting him to know that I was more aligned with tsut and stalagna than redraider), the we could work it that the final 4 Heroes left would be me, redraider, katz and caesari.
The deal was that we would vote onside, shlog and mb out and then tsut and stalagna. Of course, since redraider was 100 percent with me on this move, we would have never had to vote against stalagna and tsut. This is the point where redraider became one of my primary five at the expense of ahrens probably if I had ever been in a tribe with ahrens, because this is the type of trust that you build in game.
Secondary alliance #2: polabonez, redraider68, stalagna (the primary with tsut never changes)
Tertiary alliance: ahrens; caesari
Now, the game changed suddenly in between the shlog vote and what would have been the mb vote. Basically, caesari disappeared for 3-4 days, opened no sitemails and didn't send in his part of the challenge, which is one of the reasons we lost it. We weren't sure if he was ever coming back so redraider, tsut, stalagna and I decided to vote for him.
At this point, I sitemailed mb625 to let him know that the vote would have been for him, but that it was now going to caesari. He asked why it was going to be him, and I told him that caesari and katz had been working with the rest of us, so he was the only odd-man out left. This actually led to a really long, interesting conversation where I realized just how loyal mb is. I made a commitment to him and to myself to try and keep him in the game as long as possible. That turned out to be the last vote in the original tribes and we were separated into Autobots and Decepticons
Exit of stage one
Secondary: polabonez, redraider, stalagna
Tertiary: mb625; ahrens
So, the Autobots was tsut, me and mb from heroes
polabonez, arfy, horvie and phily from the villains
chuckc and hookem from the newbies
I was approached immediately by horvie to set up a five person alliance between me, him, arfy, tsut and polabonez
Five out of nine fulfills rule #2, so obviously I agreed.
That said, there were a couple of things at play here. horvie is one of if not the best Survivor players there is (being the only one to win both Big Brother and Survivor).
He also betrayed my trust the last time I aligned with him when I had a main alliance with him, ghutton and polabonez. In addition, I wanted to protect mb.
It was also at this point that stalagna told psap about our alliance of five, which was only semi in play at that point anyway. I found out instantly because mb told me. This thrust him up immensely in my eyes. I felt I could trust him, so I wanted to protect as part of my core alliance.
So, I made the plan to vote off two people (phily and one of the newbies which turned out to be chuck) and then use me, pola, mb and tsut as four out of seven votes to get rid of horvie. Everyone agreed with this until it came time to vote. At which point, Tyson decided to not vote for horvie and to vote for hookem instead. This forced a 3-3 tie because hookem voted for pola. On the revote, horvie and hookem didn't vote, so tsut, mb and I had the votes to eliminate horvie.
At was at this point I changed my position on polabonez being my main secondary (the one to go into the final 3 with me and tsut), largely because I believed that his side deal that he clearly had with arfy and horvie was strong enough to get him to do what he could to protect arfy over tsut and mb. We won out from there and exited the tribal stage with 6 autobots to 4 decepticons
At this point
Primary alliance: tsut30
Secondary alliance: mb625, polabonez, redraider68
Tertiary alliance: arfy, hookemhorns7
There were only 10 people left at this point and my goal was to get me, tsut, mb, pola and raiders into the Final Five. The trick to this was that pola had two idols and I believed he intended to use them to protect Arfy.
The first thing to deal with was that katz was putting together an alliance to try and get power from the autobots. I knew this because mb told me immediately and raiders confirmed it when I asked (which by the way only solidified the faith I had in mb). I wanted to make sure I got invited to that alliance so that katz didn't approach someone else to get to six. I did, and I told him about Tyson's idol, but I did not tell him the true power of the idol. Tyson altered the e-mail before I sent it to him.
Because I didn't know if katz had that basketball idol, I didn't even tell redraider about the vote. The autobots all voted for katz, and the decepticons all voted for arfy.
Now we were at 9, and I knew that Tyson would play an idol on Arfy eventually to eliminate mb or tsut. Therefore, I played the same move as in heroes. I let Tyson finish of stalagna with the next vote and then made sure the vote was for da_goat so that raiders would be safe (nice play on fake idol to scare the crap out of us).
At seven, raiders, tsut, mb and I voted out arfy because I was sure that arfy was in the plan for tyson and I wanted my main alliance in the Final five. Unfortunately, Tyson reacted by turning to hookem and using his idols.
Thus, he eliminated tsut and mb forgot to vote a second time, so suddenly my dream five was crashed and we were left with a Final Four without tsut and mb.
That gets us to here. I chose redraider over tyson because redraider chose me over the best path to his victory which I still believe would have been to play hookem in the final. I have been aligned with redraider since day 1 of heroes.
That was probably too long, but I broke everything down. Will answer any questions I can.