-Hosting style. Any significant issues anybody had? Namely, I want to make sure that everybody felt that the game was run smoothly and objectively. Any feedback, positive or negative, is appreciated.
Everything was run perfectly smoothly. I liked that you took a lot of time to explicitly state all of the rules, answer all questions quickly, resolve issues as necessary, and were willing to make changes on the fly depending on how things were going. I also appreciated the change in candor between your public hosting duties and your responses to my ongoing commentary via PM.
-Challenge mix. Overall, do you think there was an appropriate balance of creative vs. trivia vs. puzzles? Non-live vs. live?
I think you struck a good balance, but if I were in charge I might have had a little more creative/trivia than puzzle/luck-based games.
-Private forums for each tribe. Good idea? Bad idea? Did it enhance the game for you? Personally I like the format a lot because it gives us some more freedom in running challenges, but I know that some felt it may have made things less exciting.
This absolutely enhanced the game for me. It was a great addition for the game. Six years ago, the Couch Potatoes set up a Yahoo board which was very clumsy (as it was Yahoo-based). I really preferred that there was some place on-forum to do this instead. I have no idea if other Survivor seasons have had anything comparable or if they did everything by PM. (Anyone know?) It seems pretty clear these forums are an absolute necessity for all future seasons.
-Overall take on the season, taking everything into account (challenges, cast, boot order, etc.). One of the best? Worst of all time? I personally would say top 3 but I'm sure some will disagree.
I have not followed any seasons other than the two I was a part of, but I really thought it was a fun season. I hate to seem smug, but one thing I didn't like about the season was there was no surprising moment in the entire season from my point of view, namely because I orchestrated most of what happened. But there were three or four rounds where I somewhat suspected when the outcome was revealed I would be blindsided and that I would be suddenly outmaneuvered. I wish that something like that had happened, but nothing the host can do about that...
MIXING OLD AND NEW PLAYERS
Pretty obvious this has to happen for every season moving forward. I wonder how successful a newbies vs all-stars season would be, but I am pretty certain I know what would happen and it would not really be all that eventful until the merge.
RANDOMLY SELECTED TRIBES
I don't think you should be deterred by what happened this time. We all have to trust you that the randomness was real, but if so that was pretty freaking ridiculous. It's pretty unlikely that it would happen again though, and I think it's the only fair way to choose the teams since the other alternative is you picking the teams which would always be held up to more scrutiny than pure chance. In fact, you could argue that the very strange random event that happened this time was the defining characteristic of this season and therefore we should allow fate to similarly decide future seasons.
Nothing that interesting happened with this, and I get the sense that there are all sorts of weird twists that have happened on the real Survivor or other reality competition shows, so I'd say next time let's try something different.
MULTIPLE PEOPLE WINNING IMMUNITY
Absolutely changed who was voted out that particular round, so maybe it was just bad timing as it was the first after the merge. Might have been interesting later on in the game.
IMMUNITY CAN BE TRADED FOR CHALLENGE ADVANTAGE
I like that there are options for what to do with immunity, but really there is never a better option than just using it in the present Tribal Council. What good is challenge advantage really, if all you get by winning is to get immunity? In other words, why would you trade in immunity now for the possibility of getting immunity next time? Note: these questions were rhetorical; I do know the reasons why someone might actually do this.
The idea you laid out is definitely the best solution for the next season.
If I had any say in this, I would suggest that anth can/should host another season when the time comes for one. It's clear he has a good sense of the way to do this and is less likely to falter than someone who doesn't have his experience. If someone else is interested, by all means don't let me stop you, but maybe you could develop another game and let anth "claim" this one. If ever there was someone on this forum destined to play the part of