The Fittest: Survivor, But With More Math!

This challenge is particularly difficult. It requires some creativity, strength, and a whole lot of speed. Hmmm…who could possibly help you out? The dancer, with her cat-like speed and reflexes? Or perhaps the ranger, a man that aided you in the last obstacle without question? Just don’t forget about the bouncer. That guy is straight up scary. All you know is that nobody is coming out this experience as best friends.

In the tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki roo-AH IT'S STUCK IN MY HEAD!
The six contestants.

In The Fittest, you and your fellow players are all participants of a reality show that is totally not Survivor. Now that CBS’s lawyers have been thrown off the scent, I can tell you that the goal of the game is to gain the most prizes by helping a leader overcome different challenges or trials. You’ll need to work together, but eventually you will all turn on each other chasing after that minivan or whatever you imagine the prize for winning will be.

Anything but that!
Oh no! Not the purple diamond and red baseball bat challenge!

Each round, a new player becomes the leader and gains the totem card signifying his power, grace, and fishing ability. He then flips a card from the top of the deck to find out what challenge he is tasked to overcome, signified by skills and numbers. Most of the time, he will not be able to do it alone. He’ll need some help from the other contestants, as well as a little luck. Each challenge comes with a number of prizes as a reward for conquering the task at hand. Help can be leveraged in exchange for prizes or for goodwill to be spent in the future.

During all of this negotiating, all contestants can play cards from their hands for various effects, like changing the current leader or making another player weaker. After the leader has decided who to ally with, team members can pump up skills by playing matching cards from their hands, making the group stronger. If the ragtag group still can’t quite get the numbers they need, they get a final random boost from the deck to hopefully push past the challenge. Prizes are only awarded if the challenge is met, so it’s in the leader’s best interest to make friends, if only just for the round.

On paper, I love this idea. I love negotiation, alliances, backstabbing and betrayal. I love the theme and the art brings it out in only 54 cards. I love that the Kickstarter version of The Fittest comes with an ACTUAL TIKI NECKLACE that the leader wears during the round. These are all great things.

Or don't. It's a free country.

The biggest problem is the math. All of the skills, boosts, prizes, challenges, and trials are represented with numbers that are constantly shifting and changing. When you are the leader, you will be bomtheed with numbers, shouted at you from several people at the table. It can be overwhelming when you throw in special cards and other players’ abilities. There is a lot to take in.

Why does this one have a rock on it?!?
But what does it mean?!?

But why can’t I stop thinking about The Fittest? The fact is, I love this game. The Fittest creates memorable experiences, despite the math. The people you play this with will determine how much fun you will have. The more you get into the spirit of a reality show, the more you will understand this game. You aren’t playing The Fittest to make friends, you are playing to be number one! If you are looking for a quick, stabby, take-that game that gets you yelling at your best friends, then The Fittest is a great place to start. Maybe just brush up on your addition skills before you play.

Rob Cramer
Board games, board games, board games, board games. Board games? Board games. And Star Wars.

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