'Survivor: Winners At War' host Jeff Probst explains how Fire Tokens work, reveals twist may stick in future seasons
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/12/2020
Survivorhost Jeff Probst has explained how Fire Tokens will work on Survivor: Winners At War and that producers hope the show's new twist will be a regular part of the game going forward.
As previously revealed, Survivor: Winners At War will feature the return of the Edge of Extinction -- where voted-out castaways can wait for an opportunity to compete for a spot back in the original game -- as well as a new form of currency called Fire Tokens.
"One of the things we wanted to accomplish with 40 was to try to find some ground that might give us room to play going forward," Jeff toldEntertainment Weekly in a video interview.
"So we went back to the basic idea: Survivor is about a society that forms, and they form their own rules. And they decide who stays and who goes home. And over time, every society ends up having a currency. So we're looking to add another layer to the society with a Survivorcurrency in the form of Fire Tokens."
Fire Tokens essentially take the form of money in the game and can be used to purchase luxuries, such as comfort or food, as well as advantages.
Players in the game will be able to send Fire Tokens to castaways on the Edge of Extinction in exchange for an advantage on Season 40.
"The way it works is, everyone starts with one [Token]. And when you are voted out, you have to will it or bequeath it to somebody still in the game as you head to the Edge of Extinction," Jeff revealed.
"So now players in the game have Tokens [and] people on the Edge have nothing. But what the Edge does have are advantages."
Active players in the game therefore don't have all the power, according to Jeff, since they can barter with the castaways on the Edge of Extinction.
"[Advantages] are of no value on the Edge of Extinction but are very valuable in the game. So it becomes supply and demand: I have what you want in terms of an advantage. I'm going to sell it to somebody in the game for your Fire Token," Jeff explained.
"Your Fire Token gives me what I need because it allows me to buy an advantage in that return challenge to get back into the game. So now we have a true economy in which you have what I need, and I have what you want. And here's the price and I'm offering to sell it to you."
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Jeff said the "Fire Tokens" will then add an additional layer to the game in terms of strategy.
"As the game progresses, and you're on Extinction, you don't really know who has tokens left. You don't know what's been happening over there. So I'm offering to sell to somebody, hoping that they either have enough money -- and, if not, they can borrow it -- or go into cahoots with somebody to get enough, because they have only until sundown to pay for it," Jeff told EW.
"And otherwise, it's over. I don't get anything for the advantage. They don't get the advantage. I don't get my Tokens."
Jeff said a deal is made totally in secret.
"I would send you the advantage, and it says, 'This advantage has this power and it costs this many tokens. You have until sundown to pay for it. If you don't, it goes away and no deal is done.' So as the game gets deeper, these advantages become more valuable," Jeff shared.
"Because there's only a few people left, and they all want them. Which means I can charge more for them. And the more I charge, the more Tokens I get. That helps me, because I'm trying to get back in to catch you. You need me. I need you. I got what you need, you got what I want. Supply and demand. It will ebb and flow."
Jeff said if the idea sticks and resonates with viewers,Survivor will continue to implement the twist in future seasons and maybe even expand it.
"The idea is, if it works, in future seasons, who knows? Maybe you're not looking for idols, you're looking for Tokens. And with Tokens, you buy whatever you need. That's the big idea," Jeff said.
In addition, tribemates can also reportedly pool their Fire Tokens to purchase items or team up in receiving a leg up at any of the challenges.
The items that will first be made available to the castaways on Survivor: Winners At War will be coffee and pastries for three Tokens, a small bag of beans for four Tokens, a regular bag of rice for five Tokens, two pillows and blankets for four Tokens, a tarp for five Tokens, or an advantage in the challenge for four Tokens, according to EW.
Survivor's 40th season was reportedly filmed in Fiji in May and June 2019, shortly after the show'sSurvivor: Island of the Idols season was also filmed in Fiji.
Survivor: Winners At War will feature 20 former winners competing for a huge $2 million grand prize and is set to premiere with a special two-hour episode on Wednesday, February 12 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.