REPOD S3E4 – The Nerd Whisperer: Gabby Pascuzzi of Survivor David vs. Goliath

In Season 3, Episode 4 of REPOD, we were joined by Gabby Pascuzzi, a Survivor contestant who competed on season 37, Survivor David vs. Goliath. Gabby is half of one of Survivor’s most iconic Nerd Alliance, alongside Christian Hubiki, a robotics professor.

Woman with survivor buff on head wearing glasses and a beige tank top standing in front of foliage

Gabby has a lifelong passion for puzzles and games, and she joined us to help explain why Survivor is so beloved by many game and puzzle enthusiasts. We break down some interesting game mechanics introduced on Survivor’s more recent seasons and discuss the various challenges and puzzles on Survivor.

On REPOD, we love chatting about Survivor and all the different strategies and gameplay possibilities. If you’re a fan of puzzles and gaming, you’ll probably also be a fan of Survivor. We hope you’re inspired to start watching after listening to this episode (if you aren’t already).

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Topics Discussed in this Episode

  • Peih-Gee notes that since Gabby’s season of Survivor: David vs. Goliath is on Netflix now, Survivor is being exposed to a much wider audience. [00:45]
  • Peih-Gee reminisces about playing on a season of Survivor that aired at a time when Survivor strategy and mechanics were still pretty basic compared to modern Survivor. [1:33]
  • Gabby talks about Freddi Fish, a children’s point-and-click adventure game that started her love for gaming and puzzles from a young age. [2:51]
  • Peih-Gee talks about her favorite point-and-click game Sanitarium, a psychological horror adventure game released in 1998. [4:41]
  • Gabby talks about a recent favorite game Gorogoa, an innovative graphic narrative puzzle game. [5:08]
  • Gabby, David and Peih-Gee talk about some favorite board games including Terraforming Mars, Carcassonne, Kingdomino, Secret Hitler, and Poetry for Neanderthals. [6:59]
  • Peih-Gee talks about doing puzzle hunts with Gabby on her Twitch stream, playing the Cryptex Hunt and Colby’s Curious Cookoff from Boxaroo. [10:26]
  • Gabby talks about her past as a technical writer, writing manuals and instructions. [12:15] 
  • Gabby discusses best practices for writing rules and instructions for board games, including quick reference to the order in which things happen, conceptual information, rules clarification, and objectives. [14:12]
  • Gabby talks about what drew her to watching Survivor as a child, and how it went from being a survival show to a show about strategic gameplay. [19:39]
woman with surivivor buff on head wearing glasses, beige tank top and bikini bottoms hauling wood on a beach.
  • Gabby talks about how the game of Survivor has evolved over the years, from the social strategy to the dynamics surrounding the gender or race or societal roles that people were being thrust into. [21:48]
  • David talks about the different aspects of Survivor, including social strategy, survival elements, challenges and puzzles, and various game mechanics. [22:57]
  • Gabby talks about the use of puzzles in Survivor in challenges and for the hidden immunity idol. [23:43]
  • Peih-Gee recalls an escape room-style puzzle in Survivor and how one of the contestants ensured that her competitors couldn’t solve it. [26:13]
  • David, Gabby, and Peih-Gee talk about the role of puzzles and puzzlers on the first episode of Gabby’s season. [28:25]
  • Gabby tells us about Christian, a robotics engineer who solved a slide puzzle in record time because he had previously written algorithms for solving slide puzzles. [30:10]
  • Gabby talks about a puzzle she hated from Survivor. [34:43]
  • Peih-Gee talks about some of the hidden rules in challenges and puzzles the players must follow that makes them more difficult to solve. [37:04]
  • Gabby and Peih-Gee talk about a choice the players had in the most recent season of Survivor, season 41, to either solve a difficult puzzle or perform a painstaking, labor-intensive task. [38:27]
triangle puzzle printed on canvas lashed to a bamboo frame on a beach2 rusted metal barrels on a beach
Two options, puzzle or physical labor
  • David mentions that this season “added in a mechanic that feels straight out of a party game in the form of immunity, idol activation keywords.” [43:46]
  • Peih-Gee talks about the “knowledge is power” advantage. [45:51]
  • Gabby and Peih-Gee discuss the “fairness” of having hidden mechanics in a game like Survivor. [47:29]
  • Gabby and Peih-Gee talk about how the rules are given to the players in Survivor. [49:53]
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Resources Mentioned in this Episode

About Gabby Pascuzzi

woman of mixed asian descent with short wavy hair in glasses smiling, wearing a grey sleeveless mock turtleneck.

Gabby Pascuzzi is a lover of puzzling, gaming, and exploring. As a former contestant on Survivor: David vs. Goliath, Gabby has always been a fan of immersive and challenging games, whether they take place via an island in Fiji, an escape room, a computer screen, or a tabletop adventure. When she’s not playing games on Twitch, puzzling with a puzzle hunt team, or watching too much reality television, Gabby is busy pursuing her PhD in Social Psychology, researching relationships and the self.

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Escape This Podcast

Escape This Podcast is a show that’s a mix between tabletop roleplaying and escape room puzzles.

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No Proscenium Podcast

Your guide to the ever-evolving world of immersive art & entertainment

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