Here we go, Survivors. Weren’t all the eliminations starting with the last one supposed to be more difficult and interesting? Well, we’ll get there.

Vote One: A Shrubbery (his own).

Vote Two: Crusty Knuckles. “Not a fan of your subterfuge weakening our team’s numbers when we’re in a tight battle like this.”

Vote Three: A Shrubbery. “I’ll vote for the non shrub”


Vote Four: A Shrubbery.

Vote Five: A Shrubbery.

Vote Six: A Shrubbery. “One to many nonshrubs, easy vote.”

Vote Seven: A Shrubbery. “I vote for the non-shrub”

Vote Eight: A Shrubbery. “'Twas a night for submitting — we'd make PLENTY of subbery!

Most creatures were stirring, except maybe Shrubbery.

It was fine, though! Our moves had been planned with such care,

And we had real high hopes that a our team plant might be there.

Yes, the night before, we tossed and turned in our beds,

With anxiety dreams of Zombies dancing in our heads.

But today, Shrubbery appeared, said he'd even set an alarm!

Surely we weren't at risk of some tom foolery-based harm.

But despite his checking in with us an hour beforehand,

Something terrible happened in Diplochat land.

Twig-wounds on our hands; our faces covered in mud,

We've now mowed down (I mean voted out!) our goddamned non-shrub.”

Ninth Elimination from Spookymilk Survivor XVI: Dana “A Shrubbery” Hazen

Well, who else can say their elimination warranted a three-stanza poem? So there’s that going for you.

I’m not sure what happened here. Things seemed fine a week or so ago, but the zombie thing changed that, and this one was even stranger, as indeed Shrubbery showed up less than hour before needing to submit, and then still didn’t. Dana’s never gotten into the elite group before, but I don’t think she’s ever nonsubbed either? But at least we’ve got “nonshrub” for the rest of the season, so thanks for coming up with that, dude who came up with that.

Alright, we hereby merrily roll along with five-eighths of you left, as you all wonder how quickly the ol’ merge is coming. It’s on the horizon, surely!

This one is called Cliques. Who wants to relive high school?!?!?! Me neither, but I still like the game. It’s needlessly complex, just like high school cliques! I was going to call this “The Cool Table” but it’s possible the table won’t end up being all that cool, so I went the safe route.

Your team has seven players (Thumbtack, Jr. will sit this out. I know that’s annoying because you never got to move last time, but you didn’t officially sit out so I kept you in the mix. Don’t worry – there’s plenty of room for you to help with strategy). Seven kids each from the student councils of East Violin High and Maniac Valley are meeting for a district caucus, and in an astonishing coincidence, each council has:

1 Homecoming Royal

1 Bully

1 Thottie (I have learned from working with young folks that this is what we call sluts now)

2 Nerds

2 Cool Kids

It’s lunchtime, and that means it’s time to navigate the difficult waters of clique rules. However, there’s only one table.

On each turn (Eight hours plus reprieve time, just like in the last challenge) your team will send someone to sit at the table. When both teams have sent someone, I’ll update the board with their placements (just send the coordinate). If they tried to sit in the same seat, they’ll be told; both must still be the next to move, but neither can sit in that seat. In the last round, the rules change there; priority will go to the person who’s higher up on the list: Royalty, Cool, Bully, Thottie, Nerd. If it’s the same, priority will be given to the one that sits first.

So what you’re trying to do is have the fewest shunned players at the table. Here’s how each kid’s “powers” work.

Homecoming Royal.. The Homecoming Royal will automatically protect the all people who sit next to or across from him or her, as long as they sit down at the same time or later. They are immune from all shunning, except from a bully. A Royal is only susceptible to a Bully, even though the Bully in question would still gain the Royal’s protection.

Bully. The bully will automatically beat up (thus shunning) someone next to him. He can either choose an empty or occupied seat next to him. He is susceptible to Thotties and the Principal.

Thottie. The Thottie will entice the person next to him or her, which will get them an STD (and therefore shunned). The Thottie can choose an empty or occupied seat next to him or her. If the Thottie tries to entice a Homecoming Royal, s/he is publicly shamed and shunned, losing the protection she would otherwise have. She is also susceptible to the Principal.

Cool Kid. Cool Kids automatically shun any Nerd next to or across from them, regardless of when they’re placed. They are susceptible to Thotties and Bullies.

Nerd. Nerds, naturally, are likely to be shunned in the end unless they suck from the Royal’s aura. However, they’re good with information. When he sits, a Nerd is allowed to choose a seat next to or across from him and learn the role of that person, whether they’re seated yet or not. If this seat ends up being occupied by his own school, well, that sucks.

Note that school affiliation does not matter. You can still be shunned by your own mates.

See the fancy asshole to the left of the table, smiling smugly? That’s the Principal. He will automatically publicly shame and shun the Bully or Thottie who sits closest to that side of the table. If two are the same distance away (as in, across from one another) they’re both shunned. This happens after the initial shunning. The Principal is just as susceptible to the Royal’s charms as anyone, and will not shun a Bully or Thottie protected by a Royal. It’s possible, as a result, that the Principal will shun nobody. If the closest Bully or Thottie has already been shunned, then the Principal will not affect things.

If the teams have equal numbers at the end, it will broken by:

1. number of Royals left

2.-4. number of Cool Kids, Bullies, Thotties left

If it’s still a tie we’ll both eliminate someone.

I hope this makes sense. If it doesn’t, that’s fine too, because at least I know how it works. Note that shunning all happens at once (besides the Principal) and you can be shunned even while shunning.

PLEASE ask questions if you have them, so I can answer them for everyone. Challenges like this have a way of surprising me with their intricacies.

I’ll be emailing you your roles within the next hour, unless work gets in the way.

Cheers, Survivors.