Last spring, after a friend suggested that I apply to the Durham Warriors Survival Challenge, I found myself scouring this web site to get a sense for what the DWSC was all about. As a Survivor blogger and SuperFan, someone who has longed to play the real game for years, I asked myself a question that I imagine most applicants do: How real could this event possibly be? Sure, the challenges looked cool, and I was intrigued that former Survivor players actually participated in the game, but c’mon, I thought, it’s only four days, it’s on a farm, and it’s for charity. It’ll be a camping trip, only with Tribal Councils.
How wrong I was.
What transpired in Maine last summer WAS Survivor. Blindsides and betrayals, hidden immunity idols stolen and shared, relationships forged and alliances shattered: the DWSC had all of it. I’ve been writing about Survivor for years, I’ve talked to a ton of players about their experiences in the game, and I can say with all sincerity that what Bob Crowley has created on his farm in Durham is as close as one can get to being on an island with Jeff Probst.
An example: After my strongest ally played an idol to keep me in the game, I had a few moments back at camp to talk strategy with her. Knowing that time was short — there were only seven of us left in the game at that point — we walked off into the woods to examine our endgame options. As we conspired in hushed whispers, I looked up and noticed that a camera was recording our conversation from only five feet away. In that moment, it hit me: I was playing Survivor. Not a facsimile — the real thing.
You will be hungry. You will be tired. You will be paranoid.
And you will love every minute of it. Because it’ s real.