Survivor Analyst Russian Roulette: Andrea Boehlke

Welcome to Survivor Analyst Russian Roulette, where the authors of this site are randomly assigned contestants from the upcoming season of Survivor: Game Changers and must give an honest assessment of what to expect from them. Next up: Andrea Boehlke.

Editor’s note: The idea for this series was suggested to us by commenter/sometimes contributor Sharculese. So we thought it only fair to invite him to join in on the fun. (We also hoped he would draw somebody terrible. But he didn’t. Lucky bastard.)

When the guys asked me to join them for my idea, my first reaction was “please let me get Troyzan, please let me get Troyzan.” (Editor’s note: This is the exact opposite of my reaction.) What I had planned for Troyzan was literally epic. And I don’t mean figuratively literally; I mean literally literally. But hey, instead I got Andrea, and I can’t complain because I’m just so stoked to see Andrea back on Survivor because Andrea is an absolute delight.

Can you guys tell how much I love Andrea, yet? I adore Andrea. She is the little sister who has never tried to stab me and has never gotten banned from a pool hall for grifting I’ve always wanted. (Note: I love both of my actual sisters). She is the friend you call to tell you things will get better when it’s been a shitty week at work. When she smiles, a rainbow seethes with envy.

This cast needs Andrea. Looking at the list, I see a lot of people who are probably coming in feeling like they have something to prove. You know who I doubt feels like she has something to prove? The woman last seen beaming with glee that her allies so expertly blindsided her. In a season I’m expecting to be brutal slugfest from day 1, I’m counting on Andrea to just have fun being out there and to let us have fun with her.

But I’m probably also supposed to talk about Andrea as a Survivor player, so let’s get to that. She’s not a great. She’s not even in the Parvati/Cochran mold where the germ of greatness is there waiting to bloom. I think the Andrea we saw in Caramoan is approximately the cap on her ability, but that still puts her in the pretty to very good range.

Andrea came into Survivor under basically the hardest conditions possible to make a name for yourself as a player. That said, of the people who were at all suspicious of just following Boston Rob, she was the only one who made anything of it. She didn’t make the mistake of openly defying him like Kristina and Francesca, and, when Rob sent Matt to redemption island, she smartly fell in line. Then Matt came back, and she had a chance to do something. She played the merge about as well as she could, it just so happened that Matt was too dumb to do what she needed of him. And when things didn’t work, she fell in line again. It didn’t help, and once there were no more Zapateras to get rid of she was Rob’s first target, but that’s kind of a compliment.

Two years later she’s back for Caramoan. We don’t need to talk about the Caramoan pre-merge right? There was never a point where Andrea had to do much of anything there (there’s the Francesca vote, but I think she would have had to try real hard to turn herself into a target at that point). In the post-merge, she stayed savvy, kept avenues open, and did fun stuff like the whole routine with following Malcolm so he couldn’t find the idol. Then, when the majority was running out of targets and clipping her seemed like the best move, she didn’t see it coming and paid the price. A lot of good Survivor players have gone out that way. Hopefully she’s learned from it.

So how do I think Andrea does now? Pretty good. I’d place her chances of making the merge at 80%. I don’t see a scenario where it makes sense to target Andrea for being Andrea. She’s a hard worker around camp, she’s competent in challenges, and she’s just basically pleasant. Plus, I’m predicting a dynamic this season where the degree to which you buy into the “game changers” theme is directly proportional to the probability that you make a hilarious pratfall. And, to Andrea’s advantage, I don’t see her buying into that narrative at all.

Post-merge… it’s the same problem as Caramoan. Around 7 or so it starts making more and more sense to target Andrea for being Andrea. She’s likeable, can articulate her strategy, and is probably gonna have less blood on her hands than others do.  At some point she’s probably going to have to prick up her ears to a threat and be ready and able to move against it. Maybe more than once. It’s gonna be a rocky late game for her, but if she can make her way through it she has a great story to tell at FTC.

Best case scenario

Andrea gets in good with the majority, is in a safe position for most of the game, then catches on when she’s about to get the ax. She manages to bob and weave to the end, has an impressive story, and wows the jury. Not a unanimous vote, but somewhere in the range of 6-8.

Worst case scenario

Like I said, I’d say it’s overwhelmingly likely Andrea makes the merge. But it’s not certain, so here are the 3 situations I see her going out pre-merge: 1.) for some reason, the leader of Andrea’s alliance can’t be targeted, so she gets clipped in a proxy battle; 2.) there’s a vote split to flush an idol, the other person plays it, and Andrea catches the blowback; 3.) rocks.

Most likely scenario

Not that different from Caramoan. I’d bet she’ll have a little better awareness of the possibility that she’s a target. I can see that plus some smart maneuvering buying her a round or two. But the argument for getting rid of her only gets stronger the more she keeps that up. She’ll be Mike Holloway without the stupid good challenge powers. I think she goes far, but I’m gonna say she’s done somewhere between 6 and 4. So that’s Andrea. A pretty good player with some common blindspots. Let’s be brutally honest here: she keeps getting asked back in part because even returnee seasons need their pretty blonde girl quota. But you can do a hell of a lot worse than satisfying that quota with Andrea Boehlke, and I’m happy to see her on TV again.

Sharculese

Sharculese

Sharculese first saw Survivor when his roommate wanted to watch Cagayan. He has now seen every season because he has a skewed sense of priorities.
Sharculese
  • Mike Hirsch

    This is a fair assessment. I agree and think she’ll most likely wind up out around 6th place as a major jury threat. She feels like the safest bet of everyone to make the merge here, as she’s strong in the team challenges, but not so strong you’d need to axe her prior to merge for being an individual threat. She should cruise through the pre-merge.

  • SpicyMayoJaySimpson

    I feel like Andrea’s always the bridesmaid, never the bride. I agree that she’ll make the merge just by keeping her wits about her, but probably end up the 4th/5th juror. Though I see a scenario where she’s the Amanda to FFSTD’s Parvati

    • DO NOT WANT

      • SpicyMayoJaySimpson

        I believe 2017 is the year of getting things we don’t want.

        • I thought that was 2016

          • SpicyMayoJaySimpson

            It can be two years.

  • Black Dynamite

    I’m very high on Andrea. I think she can be the total package as a player, who has improved the longer she’s played Survivor. Good competitor, wonderful social game and a strategic mind. All of this though makes her a gigantic threat post merge. But I have a feeling…

    I was hoping Andrea would come later so I have some suspense build in my prediction.

    My Prediction: Winner

    Previous Prediction
    Varner- Post Merge Boot

    • Purplerockmatt

      Andrea is also my super, way too early winner pick.

      • Mike Hirsch

        At this point in the season, I’d be amenable to an Andrea win.

      • She’s up there for me, but I would be worried about a Monica Padilla like exit for her.

        • Black Dynamite

          I would be surprised if she was out super early. I would be shocked if she is as invisible as Monica was in Cambodia.

          • purplerockandy

            Andrea has already proven to be someone they can go to for content. If she is invisible, it is because she’s an early boot.

          • I think many people would be scared of her reputation and get rid of her quickly.

          • purplerockandy

            I think that would have been more true a couple of years ago. I think she might have sat out long enough for her rep to die down a bit. Same with Malcolm.

          • Black Dynamite

            I’m not sure about that. This is a season with three former winners (Sandra, JT, Tony), the best player ever to not win (Cirie), perhaps the biggest challenge threat ever (Ozzy) and another really good player in a season more recent than Caramoan (Aubry). This is a season where someone like Andrea will not be singled out because of reputation.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Exactly. There are much higher priorities than Andrea. I don’t necessarily think anybody will be throwing challenges, but I do think both tribes will be very eager to get rid of the big threats. The six you mention plus Malcolm and Michaela (remember, they don’t know where she placed) could very well be the pre-merge boots. I don’t buy into the FFSDT theory specifically, but I wouldn’t be surprised if those of similar pre-season threat level are the finalists.

          • I deleted a key component to this sentence: I think people are going to scope out the next Amber/Parvati/Sandra/Wentworth and take her out early.

          • Black Dynamite

            Well, Andrea should be safe there because that type is obviously Fan Favorite Sierra Dawn Thomas.

          • Yeah, that’s probably right.

          • purplerockandy

            Or Hali.

          • Diego Armando

            I think that player is a certain Worlds Apart player.

          • Yeah, I know. I already hate Game Changers.

          • Diego Armando

            My claim is actually serious.

          • No, I don’t doubt that. I just don’t see the great or even very good player potential in her.

          • Purplerockmatt

            no one remembers Andrea with this cast, there are a ton of people more threatening and the less threatening people think they are more threatening than Andrea

          • Man, this season is really screwing me up already. This is not a good sign for Fantasy League.

          • Who is the Ouija board telling you to pick?

          • It is honestly all over the place. I have to follow the Barbara (or BJ) Anderson Rules and go meh and follow my heart (and pray that people I don’t like that much are left in the second round).

          • sharculese

            Yeah, this was what I was going for with my post. In this season, if you’re looking at the list of Things People Did and Why It’s a Reason to Target Them, Andrea is so far down as to be a nonentity, and that works to her benefit.

      • Diego Armando

        Andrea is not my Winner pick, but I would probably put her in the 2 or 3 slot of most likely to win.

    • purplerockandy

      I agree that Andrea’s best case scenario is winning. She has that potential.

      • Black Dynamite

        I’m curious to how many people on this season do you think has winning potential? I’ve already written off a few names as drawing dead but Survivor can surprise sometimes.

        • purplerockandy

          I’d answer, but I’m still debating back and forth about whether or not we make them ALL our winner picks in the season preview.

          • All except one.

          • Hornacek

            Do Ozzy and Troyzan add up to just one?

          • Ozzy may be a douche, but I can understand why they’d bring him back.

          • Hornacek

            But are you ready to say on the podcast that he could win this season?

          • purplerockandy

            Ozzy came really close to winning 2/3rds of the seasons he’s been in. In the other, he was taken out BECAUSE he was the presumptive favourite.

          • Ozzy? He stood a legit chance of winning in at least two of his previous seasons, so yes. The fact that I dislike him doesn’t make him ineligible to win, despite my relentless lobbying of Congress to make that the case.

          • Hornacek

            Based on his horrible social game in South Pacific I always forget that he made it to the finals in Cook Island and came within 1 vote of winning.

            Then again he was the last member of his tribe voted out in SP, so if he had made it to the end, most of his tribe probably would have voted for him. Because if there are players that respect great gameplay, it’s people like Keith, Whitney and Jim Rice.

          • Per Cochran just a few days ago, Ozzy would’ve won that season if he’d won that final immunity. So praise be to Sophie for preventing that.

          • Diego Armando

            I 100% believe that. Praise the Soph!

          • purplerockandy

            The nice thing about SP Ozzy is it both proves him to be bad at many aspects of Survivor AND that he could still win Survivor. Because, yes, he came very close to winning that season. But also, dude was voted out three times.

        • Diego Armando

          My categories for potential winners (I will fill in names as they come up)

          Favorites: ?, ?, Andrea

          Dark Horses: ?, ?, ?

          Can Win But Will Have a Very Hard Time Getting There: ?, ?, Varner, ?, ?

          Need Specific Situations or To Demonstrate Improved Skills To Win (Unlikely, but certainly not impossible): ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?

          Has Only 1 or 2 Paths to Victory Possible for Their Likely Game Type and Will Almost Certainly Fail: ?, ?

          0%: ?

          • Black Dynamite

            I like this setup. Though I’ve picked Andrea, there are three other names that I would put in the top tier as favorites to win.

          • Diego Armando

            Feel free to steal. I stole from yours so it is only fair.

  • I think Andrea could do well, especially with her tribe draw. They will need her.

  • Roswulf

    So, question of interest only to me raised by Andrea- one of the few players going into this season who I have not watched alongside Malcolm, Troyzan, and Brad Culpepper.

    If I’m going to do a first watch of one Season between HvV and Cagayan as prep for the season premier…which season should it be? I was thinking Philippines because it is the consensus best season in that span (and I should know who this Malcolm fellow is), but this piece kind of makes me think I should go Caramoan, so Andrea isn’t a blank slate (while also having Malcolm). Bear in mind that while I’m thoroughly spoiled on everything, my companion who would be watching with me is not.

    Or maybe am I thinking about this all wrong, and should we just bask in the glory of One World, One Troyzan?

    Thoughts from the experts?

    • sharculese

      Philippines is unquestionably the better season, but Caramoan will give you pretty much what to expect from Malcolm (and, actually, my guess is that his game this time ends up being closer to that than his Phillipines game), while also giving you a sense of who Andrea is.

      And Caramoan isn’t a bad season, it’s just only okay compared to the seasons around it.

      • Even though I thoroughly disagree about Caramoan not being a bad season, I think that it may be the most necessary for the purposes of preparing for Game Changers (especially with Malcolm’s Three Amigos play). But, if you have time please check out Philippines. It is so good!

        • Roswulf

          I’ll absolutely watch both eventually, but I have an agreement with the Lady Roswulf that we watch Survivor together. And there’s limits to how many seasons she can tolerate in an off-season (and the winner of the Philippines/Caramoan tilt would our third watch of the off-season, after Micronesia and HvV). I know, her priorities are badly flawed, but what can you do?

          I think I’m still leaning Philippines. It will make Game Changers slightly less coherent, but this is the last chance for her to see Philippines blind.

          • purplerockandy

            Choosing the better season will never be a bad idea. Plus, Caramoan spoils Philippines pretty hard. It’d be better to watch such a good season unspoiled.

          • That is also a great point, but did she watch Cambodia?

          • Roswulf

            Good point, and yes. But it’s not like Cambodia spoils anything about what Abi Maria DOES on her earlier season. Only that she sticks around long enough to be asked back, that she doesn’t win, and that she’s a nightmare to play with.

          • Good point.

          • Diego Armando

            Philippines.

        • corndogshuffle

          Which half of Caramoan are we talking about? The first half might be the worst Survivor has ever been. The second half is very fun though.

          I’ll have to agree in terms of “necessary viewing” for Season 34, Caramoan isn’t the best season by a long shot but it’s definitely the most relevant season based on what Roswulf is looking for.

    • purplerockandy

      For this express purpose, Caramoan would be the way to go. Otherwise, I’d say Philippines all day any day. But this would get you familiar with two returnees, plus another season with returnees and the dynamics that entails.

  • sharculese

    Seriously, I love how I proposed this terrible death pact and then drew the person I’m most excited about.

    • purplerockandy

      I promise you, this is not what we wanted.

      • sharculese

        Feel free to edit this if I’m parting the curtain too much, but, when John showed me the system you set up, I was kind of hoping for one of the lower ranked players, not necessarily to have contrarian opinions about them, but because a lot of them looked easier to write a lot about. Of the tier 1 people, Andrea was by far the one I was most confident I could do a write-up for.

        • SpicyMayoJaySimpson

          I believe the phrase is “parting the kimono”

        • purplerockandy

          I’m cool in revealing our whole system, since it shows how dedicated we are to providing people the content that they want.

          Originally, we were just gonna do straight up, random draw out of 20. But after thinking about it, we worried about two things:
          1) What if only the scrub players are chosen? While that would be incredibly funny, we didn’t want to be a website whose season previews all focused on the least exciting players. It would look weird from the outside and maybe even like we were one of those thirsty sites who praises the contestants in most need of attention.
          2) Worse would be if NONE of the scrubs were taken. What’s the fun in that? We want the bullet to escape the chamber.

          To remedy this, we split the cast into three groups: elite, middle, yuck. We won’t bother revealing those tiers because it’s not worth haggling over. The divisions were close enough to accomplish what we were going for (for instance, there’s some argument if Andrea is tier one or two, but she’s close enough to fit what we were trying to accomplish).

          We made sure that two players from each tier would get chosen. So first we randomly mixed the contributors names into an order. Then we had a random draft in that order to determine who would draw from which tier. Then we had a random draw within the tier for the contributors in the order of their draft position.

          Now you all know the lengths we will nerd out over this stuff. And also why I simplified it in the intro.

          • Diego Armando

            Is every player getting a write up? Also I would be happy to do one for a player no one else wants if you aren’t.

          • purplerockandy

            We’re gonna monitor the response rate for a bit before we decide how much we want to expand this.

          • The answer to every player getting a write up is probably no. But going beyond the original 6 we planned is possible, and I’ll reach out if we end up doing more (you’d be subject to the same random draw we all were- minus the players that have already been drawn, of course).

          • Diego Armando

            I’m perfectly fine with a random draw. I have came up with these scenarios in my head before I realized you were doing them. Sarah is the only person I would fear having to give a write up to.

          • Email us- Purplerockpodcast on gmail.

  • EmAndScoutInBK

    It is amazing that I can like a player so much and still despise her seasons. I have high hopes for her. I actually feel good about her because this is the kind of season that I think she can do well on – she has so many threats that outrank her. People are far more likely to target a Tony than they are to target her. Of course, if they let seemingly unthreatening players like Sandra anywhere near a jury, everyone deserves to lose to Sandra. Dear gd, I hope everyone loses to Sandra. I’m not ready to see her get voted out. I’ll never be ready.

    • Yeah. Sandra getting voted out is almost definitely *going* to happen this time, and it’ll be so weird when it does. I’m here for all the hot takes about how she’s not a great player even if she wins for a third time, though.

      • EmAndScoutInBK

        I know. I know it’s going to happen. But I just can’t bring myself to accept it.

        Sandra could win 1,000 times, and there would still be people talking about how she’s not a great player.

      • Diego Armando

        She is so doomed. I think her best case scenario is Cambodia Kass (Tribe wins Immunities, fortunate swaps, but cannot dodge the target at merge). She is still my pick for the games best player even if she goes out 20th though. She just doesn’t have anyone to hide behind, with the possible exception of Tony (who is also doomed).

        • EmAndScoutInBK

          I’m with you. They’d have to all be idiots to keep her.

  • Diego Armando

    I think Andrea is one of the 3-4 players I would put in the “Most Likely To Win” Category. She is pleasant has strategic chops, does not have a giant target on her back and is capable of winning out.

  • forever1267

    Great idea, Sharculese! Congratulations!