There is a hidden game within the new season of Survivor that players don't even know about.
SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

If I have said it once, I have said it a million times when it comes to Survivor challenges: It's all about the puzzle. While the physical portion of any challenge is tons of fun to watch, it is ultimately mere window dressing, as whomever is fastest on the puzzle will ultimately win the challenge.

While Survivor may be all about the puzzle for the players, it is about to become that way for the viewers at home as well on Survivor 41, which premieres Sept. 22 on CBS. For the first time, fans will be able to play a completely different game via completely different puzzles while watching the episodes from their living room couch. Allow host Jeff Probst to explain: "We have something brand new that is specifically designed for younger, future Survivor players. It's called The Game Within the Game. Each week there will be a rebus puzzle hidden somewhere within the episode. It might be hidden within a challenge, or at Tribal Council, or even underwater!" 

As someone that has been pitching underwater puzzles to Probst for years, I'm intrigued. Tell me more, Jeffrey! "Kids have to spot the puzzle, solve it and then input their answer online," says the host. "It plays for the entire season and pays off at the end." 

While I certainly am less than thrilled to hear I may have aged out of this particular contest, I do find this next nugget of info to be pretty rad. "What makes it even more fun is the actual players on the island have no idea this is even happening," explains Probst. "If our young fans enjoy this new game, we have some ideas for how to make this even more fun and interactive in future seasons!"

'Survivor 41' host Jeff Probst
| Credit: Robert Voets

A game within the game happening right under the contestants' noses that they have no idea is happening? Okay, I'm in. (As long as it not sponsored by Applebee's or something and the puzzle is to descramble the phrase "Eatin' Good in the Neighborhood." Karishma Patel is the odds-on favorite to solve that one.)

But Probst reveals that is not the only way in which viewers will have more information than the players during Survivor 41. "In addition, we are going to try something new where we bring the audience inside the game at various points throughout the season," says the host. "So, at times, the fans will know something before the players know, so that they can play along. We're only doing it a few times, but if it is well received, we have ideas on how to expand this idea in coming seasons."

These norm-breaking bells and whistles are just a few of the ways in which producers decided to completely rethink the game after the chapter-closing blowout that was season 40, Winners at War. Whether they reinvigorate the brand yet again, cause old-school purists to light their hair on fire, or both remains to be seen, but we'll get our first look at the new Survivor on Sept. 22.

To keep track of our daily pregame Survivor 41 coverage, check out EW's Survivor hub and follow Dalton Ross on Twitter.

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SURVIVOR: Island of the Idols

Strangers starve themselves on an island for our amusement in the hopes of winning a million dollars, as host Jeff Probst implores them to "DIG DEEP!"

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