This begs a new question: how do you decide which approach is best for you? The answer: awareness of your own skill set. If you’re a trained undercover cop, wrote a thesis on game theory, are a wildly successful poker player, or something similar, you’re likely capable of doing whatever you want. This point doesn’t apply to you. However, if you’re with me in the other 99% of the population, your choice of approach is limited by who you are and what your skills are.
Take some time for some deep and honest thought about what your strengths and weakness in the game will be. Try taking a look at your life right now. Are you a clear and logical thinker? Are you a persuasive speaker? Your answer to these questions in real life will likely have the same answers in the house.
For example, I was an engineering student, and I was comfortable with logic and probability. Therefore, I hoped I would be able to make sound strategic decisions and perform in mental comps. Conversely, I’m bad at holding small talk, and I’m not very charismatic in a dialogue. I knew I was not going to able to manipulate and persuade people to make decisions against their own best interest. Think about what you do in your life and what skills it would translate to in the game.
When you’re deciding on an approach, you should have a clear understanding of 1) why it will keep you safe, and 2) why it works with your skill set. (The following examples are here for the sole purpose of elaborating on this idea). For example, I told my preseason interviewers that I wanted to be “the cute, sweet, innocent little kid” who will be the “super loyal player” at “the bottom of the alliance” and “isn’t emotionally ready for the game.” 1) An approach like this could help a player avoid becoming a target, since many would see him or her as a waste of a HoH reign. 2) This worked with my skill set because it’s not too far from who I really am.
While it would be very challenging to completely lie about who you are, it’s much more realistic to plan on exaggerating or minimizing certain characteristics that could help you form an approach. In my case, there would have been some truth to my interview quotes no matter what I did. I knew I could never position myself at the top of an alliance because of how commanding I am (not) in real life. Therefore, I looked for a way to turn this weakness into an advantage. For my approach, all I had to do was exaggerate my interview quotes, since they were always going to be somewhat true, and put them on display for the other houseguests to see. This could fall into my lap and keep me safe. You should pick an approach that does the same.
It’s just as important to also think about your skill set when you planning your in-game strategy. Knowing the best move for your situation won’t help if you aren’t able to implement it. You should always be biased toward decisions that play on your strengths.
For example, I had the opportunity to flip a vote between Meg and Julia. I thought that my best move, theoretically, was to create an alliance with Meg and vote out Julia. However, I knew I didn’t have the charisma to convince Meg to turn on her current allies and work with me. Therefore, because of my limitation, I concluded the best move for me personally was to vote out Meg. Based on your skill set, the best move in theory may not always be the best move in reality. You should keep this potential paradox in mind as you play.