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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

I Played a Sequester Mini and I Liked It.

Several weeks ago as I was on the verge of going stir crazy I saw some rumblings about an event coming up a few days later that would pit Big Brother USA alumni vs Big Brother Canada vets.  It was for a game called Sequester created and moderated by Big Brother 17 cast member Audrey Middleton.

Sequester at its most basic is a 'vote off the island' type of game with elements seen in Survivor and Big Brother but also with twists and turns that are totally unique.  I recalled one version of Sequester being promoted several years ago and that version lasted about a week and to play you had to log on for a couple hours every night.  For me it was too time consuming to invest in.  However the version of Sequester that was being played with Big Brother alumni is called a Mini and is completed in one night.  This was much more my speed.

So on a Friday night in April I tuned in to and watched 20 former Big Brother players spend about 6 hours eliminating each other until a winner was crowned.  I won't spoil it for you because you can actually watch the event on the Sequester Replay Page.

My reaction in a tweet from that night sums it all up for me by comparing it to Big Brother, "It had the rush of a live double eviction / endurance competition and aftermath."  While there were down times there was also times where multiple conversations were going on at once and you could not keep track.

I immediately signed up to be a "Patron" for Sequester, which happens to be requirement if you'd like to be able to play in a Mini yourself.  I didn't initially intend to play as I've always kept a low profile when talking about Big Brother but after a couple of days of thinking about it I decided to throw caution to the wind and actually apply to play.  Thus I found myself recording what I hoped wasn't too embarrassing a video for the application and crossing my fingers.

Less than two weeks later I found myself sitting in a virtual "room" with three other people for an hour but we couldn't talk to each other.  This is when everything is being set up for the start of the game.  We all had to shut off our phones on camera and were under strict instructions to NOT use any form of social media for the rest of the night, or at least until / if we were eliminated from the Mini.

After what seemed like an eternity Audrey came on and welcomed all the viewers (I think we had about 2,000 viewers over the course of the night, the Big Brother Mini had over 5,000).  She then played all of the intro videos we had recorded, as we watched we had only seen the three other players from our own rooms (there are five rooms in all to start for a total of 18-20 players).

Once all the videos have been shown the game is on.  While the home viewer can see every room and pick which one to listen in on, the players can only be in one at the time and can't tell who is in any other room.  Its a mad scramble to form alliances and keep yourself safe.  I immediately suggested a final four alliance with my pre-show "roommates" Jacob, Emma and Daniel, and they readily agreed, or at least they seemed to.  We then clicked our mice and headed off to other rooms to socialize and try to see who's name was being thrown about.  As the 'old guy' I was on a few peoples lips as I expected so I did my best to meet as many people as I could to hopefully make a good impression and avoid being the first out.  After about 10 minutes (the length of a round varies), Audrey tells everyone to MUTE and the voting commences.

I'll spare you a replay of the entire night but you can actually see my game on via a direct link HERE.  I will say I did better than I expected, a lot of it stemming from good luck.

Many of the rounds have interesting twists such as the person with the 2nd highest votes is evicted, or you can only vote for someone you haven't voted for before. Most nights also feature a round called 'safety chain' in which one randomly selected person is safe and then gets to choose someone else to be safe  and  so on and so on until the last person is (usually) eliminated.  Audrey mixes the order of the rounds up and doesn't play the same rounds each night so you are never sure what you'll see next.

Audience participation is also encouraged with the YouTube Channel chat participants voicing their wants and needs ("More Drama!!" "No Floating!") and Twitter polls to determine certain twists.

And yes, there is even a way to keep yourself safe if you are lucky.  Every once in a while there is a chance to earn / win a "Locus of Safety" (LOS) which may be  used to save yourself or others if you choose.  The LOS also can keep you from being "dragged" which is an occasional twist where the player that is voted out gets to take another with them.  There is also a "Wheel of Misfortune" - that comes into play when the players fail to evict each other, usually due to being unable to break a tie vote.

In the end you get a final two facing off in front of a jury of the last seven players voted out, they come back to ask questions or just tell the final two off, its their decision.  Then there is a vote and a winner is crowned.  No prizes, not trophy's, but the admiration (jealousy?) of your Mini-Mates is assured.

We finished our Mini after 1am Eastern time (currently they begin at 8pm ET) and I couldn't go to sleep until after 4am I was so wired. Its truly amazing how welcoming the Sequester community has been and I've gained loads of new friends through the experience.  I've watched almost every Mini since I was on and am looking forward to the one this coming Saturday that will involve 20 former Survivor Alumni!  It should be a blast.  There is also a "regular' Mini on Friday.

If you want more information you can check our, or Follow @SequesterAccess on Twitter.  Still better become a Patron and try out Sequester for yourself!

Update: I have since played in a second Mini on 5/30 - you can check that out here.

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