2) But Don’t Scheme and Plot Too Much/Keep Your Scheming Secret/Don’t Backstab Until You Absolutely Need To
There’s a fine line that needs to be drawn. If you spend all your time scheming and plotting, and you try to scheme and plot with everybody, they will all eventually know what you’re up to. In the end, nobody will trust you and they’ll turn on you. Scheming that much can occasionally work, as it has for some of the greats, but that is mostly because they always managed to direct the target elsewhere. There is a fine line between what is or is not “too much” scheming.
One type of scheming too much is jumping back and forth between alliances in very highly-divided houses like I mentioned in the first rule. Eventually both sides may determine you’re a floater and decide to take you out. After all, at least they know where the people on the other side stand, and sometimes it’s better to have a known enemy than somebody who may pretend to be a friend when it’s convenient for them.
One good way to avoid being seen as overdoing the plotting is to keep your conversations short and less committal. Many people in the house often feel compelled to get into long conversations with everybody, which can be their downfall. This is especially true early in the game. By all means make alliances! But making drawn-out plans with too many people is just setting yourself up for trouble.
An important part of this rule is that players should not be open about their scheming. Keep ‘em guessing, and always make them think you’re on their side. Just remember that even if you keep your scheming secret inside the house, jurors may compare notes. Just ask Paul about that. If everybody who thought they had an alliance with you talks to each other and they realize they all had alliances with you, things might not turn out well even if you make it to the final two. So you need some way to balance that out, which we’ll talk about more in the Jury Phase appendix.
This leads to a corollary for this rule, which is that if any alliances do get out in the open, do not let it be known that you are the decision-maker – even to those within your own alliance, if possible! The best schemers succeed by allowing their cohorts to believe decisions are made by the group. The worst let it be known to one and all that they are in control. Look at Derrick, for example – he planted ideas, then the people would suggest those ideas as if they were their own. They didn’t even know they were doing his bidding!
I’m going to bring in one more point regarding open scheming – couples. I’m talking about joining up openly with another person for any reason, whether it’s love/lust, a father-daughter type thing (or in some cases, actual father-daughter!), or whatnot – though on Big Brother it’s mostly been love/lust coupling. Open partnerships like these are just begging to be split up, especially in a game where two people are nominated each week. What’s the best way to split a couple? Nominate ‘em both! So that means players need to avoid the appearance of being part of a tight pair. That said, sometimes couples make it far. Usually this is due to a failure on the part of other houseguests, for one reason or another. But players shouldn’t rely on others making bad moves – you need to make the smart moves yourself. If you fall in love and you value that more than half a million dollars, good for you. But these rules about how to win Big Brother, not how to win a soulmate.
The main point in dealing with the backstabbing portion of this rule is that it goes along with scheming and plotting, and backstabbing too early is scheming and plotting too much. Basically, you should not stab somebody in the back until you need to – and you’re sure they’re not going to be able to get back at you. This is a difficult task in Big Brother. If you’re the HOH and you nominate two people who trusted you, one of them is definitely staying, and depending on how the Veto is used, both could end up sticking around! Stay low on the radar until you really need to come out. And when you do stick the knife in somebody’s back, make sure it’s going to be the fatal blow, game-wise.
One other thing about this rule: Avoid HOHitis like the plague that it is! Too many times somebody who is out of power becomes HOH and decides to try to impose their will on the whole house. The power goes right to their heads and it’s just not pretty. Oftentimes, as soon as that person is no longer HOH, they’re headed right out the door. So many games have been ruined this way.
Don’t be afraid to make the necessary moves. You’re going to need to knock out the competition. But it’s a long game, so don’t make an enemy when you don’t need to. If you want somebody out of the game, make sure they go out!