Survivor is piling on the twists for its rapidly approaching all-winners season, and perhaps the most intriguing amongst those is the currency twist. This season will see the introduction of “fire tokens,” a form of in-game currency that players can spend on rewards and advantages. But how exactly does it all work?
Thankfully, with the season 40 cast officially announced, and the pre-season press underway, we’ve learned further details into the inner-workings of the new twist and what kind of role it will play in the season. Host and executive producer Jeff Probst spoke to Entertainment Weekly to shed some light on the fire tokens.
Below is a helpful, catch-all guide that will hopefully give us all a clearer idea of what we’re in store for this season.
What was the idea behind fire tokens?
In a pre-game interview with Entertainment Weekly‘s Dalton Ross, host and showrunner Jeff Probst explained the concept of fire tokens was to give the castaways more room to play. “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,” said Probst.
Survivor has always been deemed a microcosm of society, and the introduction of currency is the next evolution of that island society. “Over time, every society ends up having a currency, ” Probst added. “So we’re looking to add another layer to the society with a Survivor currency in the form of fire tokens.”
How do the fire tokens work?
The fire tokens work like regular currency, in the sense that they can be used to purchase various items. According to Probst, “everyone starts with one [token],” and when a player is voted out, they “have to will it or bequeath it to somebody still in the game.”
These tokens can then be traded throughout the game for advantages, food, and luxury items. According to EW, “the items initially available are coffee and pastries (3 tokens), a small bag of beans (4 tokens), a regular bag of rice (5 tokens), two pillows and blankets (4 tokens), a tarp (5 tokens), or an advantage in the challenge (4 tokens).
Players are also allowed to pool their tokens.
How do the fire tokens work on the Edge of Extinction?
A big part of this twist is how it applies to those voted out players living on the Edge of Extinction. While each eliminated player must will their tokens to somebody else still in the game, there are ways for the Edge inhabitants to regain tokens.
Much like in season 38, those on the Edge will be able to find advantages that they can send to somebody still in the game. However, this time, to gain the advantage, the chosen recipient must pay for it with fire tokens.
“So it becomes supply and demand,” explained Probst. “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. 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.”
While Probst only referenced Edge inhabitants using the currency to purchase an advantage in their return challenge, Inside Survivor sources tell us that those on the Edge can also use tokens to buy food and other luxury items.
The host also revealed that those on the Edge won’t be aware of how many tokens everyone in the game has, which adds another layer to the potential bartering and trading. “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.”
If the recipient is unable to pay for the advantage, then the deal is void — they don’t get the advantage and the sender doesn’t get any tokens.
How are the deals made?
The token trades made between Edge inhabitants and players in the game are done entirely in secret. Probst implies that the recipient would find an advantage in their bag, accompanied with a note. “I would send you the advantage,” explained Probst, “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.’
However, in-game deals are made in public by presenting the tokens to Probst at any challenge. So, for example, if a tribe wanted to buy a tarp for 5 tokens, they would hand over their tokens to the host before or after a challenge.
How are fire tokens earned?
While each player will start the game with one fire token, there are ways to increase your token count. As already stated, the castaways on the Edge can earn tokens by sending advantages to those still in the game.
But what about the in-game players?
According to Inside Survivor sources, the active players will be able to gain more tokens in a variety of methods, including in challenges. For example, if a tribe wins a challenge, each tribe member would earn a set amount of tokens.
And while not confirmed, it is implied by Probst that tokens could also be hidden around camp, although that may be a plan for future seasons. “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.”
What do the fire tokens look like?
The Winners At War preview trailer gave us our first glimpse of the fire tokens, which kind of look like ancient wooden coins with holes in the middle. You can see two of the tokens used as the eyes in this season’s skull and cross-bones Immunity Idol.
Survivor: Winners At War premieres at 8 pm on Wednesday February 12 on CBS.