Throughout the history of the Big Brother Seasons the house guests have used a variety of strategies to further themselves in the game bringing them closer to winning the grand prize. While some house guests openly try and play an honest and fair game, there are also those house guests that will stop at nothing to win including: lying, manipulation, joining secret alliances, intentionally losing competitions, and back door others.
One of the most commonly used strategies within Big Brother is the ability to lie to other house guests. Some house guests have lied about their life outside of the big brother house in order to disguise their true identity so that the others will under estimate their ability. It is also common for the house guests to lie about where their true loyalties lie. It is very difficult to make it very far in the game without telling some type of lie. Some house guests have managed to make it through numerous weeks without having to lie, however, at some point they are often faced with the decision of whether it better to lie in order to avoid losing their chance that the half a million dollar grand prize. The risks inherent in lying are fairly obvious. When a house guest lies about where their loyalties lie, it is often inevitable before the truth will be exposed by either their actions or by others picking up on it. When a house guest lies about their personal background outside of the house it is often easier to keep that lie, however it becomes difficult as the house guests are together 24 hours a day seven days a week. When a house guest lies about personal information they risk exposing themselves through their actions or personal stories. It is often detrimental if the other house guests suspect that another house guests stories don’t add up. When other house guest’s start suspecting another of lying it is often impossible for other the house guests to fully trust them.
The strategy of manipulation is often one of the most difficult to master and not everyone has the ability to be manipulative. Some people are born being master manipulators and have been manipulating others their entire lives. These people know how to talk to others in a way that is persuasive without the other person picking up on being manipulated. A manipulative house guests is one that can make another house guest or a group think that a certain plan is beneficial to them, when in fact they are being manipulated into doing the dirty work for the manipulator. For instance, Will Kirby from Big Brother 2 & Big Brother 7 All-Stars was a master manipulator. In both seasons, Will managed to avoid eviction almost entirely without winning competitions along with the other house guests not fully trusting him. Will was able to manipulate the other house guests using his charm and charisma to convince the house guests it was in their best interest to keep him, all while manipulating other against each other. Throughout the seasons, there has been many other case of subtle and more obvious cases of manipulation that house guests have used in order to avoid eviction.
Secret Alliances Strategy:
The use of a secret alliance is often used to strategically further two or more house guests in the game without the other house guest’s knowledge of their bond. The secret alliances are often formed early in the season and usually do not last too long. The members of the secret alliance often try and distance themselves from each other when in plain view in order to avoid detection and convene in private to discuss their strategies and game play. Eventually one of more of the other house guests see subtle hints of an alliance and begin to suspect the existence of the secret alliance. The secret alliance members often meet in the exercise room, storage room, bathroom, and any other non-occupied room to whisper brief conversations. The major downfall of the secret alliance is often paranoia which often results in the alliance falling apart or it being exposed.
The strategy of “floating” is when a house guests consciously makes a decision to not chose a side or be a part of more than one alliance without the other alliance member’s knowledge. There are basically two types of floaters: aggressive floaters, and passive floaters.
- An aggressive floater is a house guest that consciously makes a decision to join more than one alliance without the alliance member’s knowledge. The floater often releases information about the other alliance when it is beneficial to them to do so.
- A passive floater is a house guest that does not commit to where their loyalties lie whether to a side or alliance within the house. The passive floater often avoids winning competitions by purposefully losing in order to fly under the radar. The strategy often works well in the beginning as it allows the other house guests to do the dirty work and keeps the target off the floaters back. The other house guests often view the passive floater as a wild card as they are non-committal in picking sides or making decisions. A strategic floater often is able to convince the other house guests that they are with them when in reality they may not be, therefore establishing a sense of worth in the eyes of the other house guests. Using the strategy of a being a floater is often a dangerous position it does not secure a position in the house and therefore they are expendable.
The Hook-Up Strategy:
The hook-up strategy is another form of manipulation where a house guests flirts and uses their charm to persuade another house guest to make choices based on emotion. The use of Hook-Up alliances have also been called “Showmances” as labeled by the Chilltown Alliance (Will Kirby & Mike “Boogie” Malin) from Big Brother 2 & Big Brother 7 All-Stars. Mike and Will both openly joked about using their showmances to further themselves in the game.
Winning Competitions Strategy:
A more obvious big brother strategy is to win competitions in order to further a house guest chances in the game. This strategy is a very difficult strategy to pull off and in order to be successful requires a house guest to poses skills at both physical and memory challenges. Strategically winning competitions can allow a house guest to survive the weekly evictions; however the downside to this strategy is that the others perceive a house guest that continually wins competition to be a threat. Being perceived as a threat puts a target on the house guests back which requires them to continually win competitions in order to not be evicted.
Losing Competitions Strategy:
The strategy of losing competitions is often part of a floaters strategy to avoid being noticed as a threat. Many house guests throughout the seasons have used this strategy at one point or another to avoid doing the dirty work and fly under the radar. Some house guests go out of their way to throw a competition to no be put in a position of power. Winning the Head of Household (HOH) carries with it an enormous amount of responsibility of nominating two house guests for eviction and winners of multiple HOH competitions can be seen as a threat. A house guest that has created a position within multiple alliances often does not want to win HOH competitions because they do not want to be put in the position of choosing a side whereby revealing their alliances. Winning power of veto competitions also holds the responsibility of making a choice that exposes ones position within the house.
Back Dooring Strategy:
The strategic move “Back Dooring” was first devised and used in Big Brother 5, and has since become a pivotal game changing move. The major part of this strategy is understanding the rules of the big brother game and using them to your advantage. Back dooring is when the HOH nominates two house guests as pawns with the intention of replacing one of them with another unsuspecting house guest seen as a threat. The premise is that the HOH and the two nominated house guests work together; they individually chose veto players that will use the veto if they were to win it. In doing this, the unsuspecting house guest seen as a threat is not given the opportunity to participate in the power of veto competition. The house guests then compete for the veto and use it to replace one of the nominated house guests with the common threat, therefore, not allowing the threat a chance to save themselves. The house guests then all vote to evict the common threat from the big brother house. The use of the back dooring tactic has greatly changed the way in which the game is played. The risks involved in trying to back door a house guest are tremendous because if the plan is not successful one of the pawns is evicted. There is also the chance that the house guest that wins the power of veto will not follow through with the plan to use the veto. As a result of an inability to trust one another and the considerable amount of double crossing that takes place within the house, back dooring another house guest is often a post-veto decision rather than a pre-veto strategy.