Each distinct season title indicates the general gameplay format used.
Original Real World/Road Rules ChallengeEdit
Game play: Real World vs. Road Rules groupings, six players per team, no eliminations, missions in various locations reached by traveling in two coach buses.
Battle of the SeasonsEdit
Seasons: Battle of the Seasons (2002)
Game play: Male-female pairings of contestants who have been on their Original Season together, two teams are formed with this pairings, Real World vs. Road Rules. The top three pairings of every mission of each team get to eliminate a pairing of their own team, eliminations are done evenly to keep the teams equal in numbers.
Battle of the SexesEdit
Game play: As the title implies, teams of males and females against each other. Eliminations by vote, done evenly to keep the teams equal in numbers as in the prior season.
Game play: Two teams of "Rookies" and "Veterans" based on number of previous challenges (although the original Gauntlet was Real World vs. Road Rules). Teams vote their own players into elimination rounds, although the exact procedure has changed. Some challenges have used "life savers" that individual players can win to avoid going into a "Gauntlet" elimination round.
Game play: Two teams of "Bad Asses" and "Good Guys" (although the original Inferno was Real World vs. Road Rules). Teams nominate two of their own players for each elimination round and vote one of the opponents' two nominations into the "Inferno" round. The players going into the "Inferno" then have the opportunity to save themselves from going in by winning a "life saver" in the challenge before the "Inferno".
Game play: These seasons introduce new people to Challenges without appearing on Real World or Road Rules. These new players are "drafted" by "alumni" (those who come from RW, RR, or previous 'FM', some of whom have not been on a Challenge before) to create pairings which are the teams for these Challenges. (To keep teams fair, male alumni draft female Fresh Meat and vice versa.) Each elimination round, called an "Exile", pits one team against another team.
Game play: Promoted as "every man for himself" as there are no permanent teams (although some individual challenges require teams to be formed). All players compete individually, leading to just one female and male champion.
Seasons: The Island (2008)
Game play: Unique among Challenge versions in that players are not housed in a luxurious dwelling, but have to work for basic necessities as on the Survivor TV series. No team challenges, but players are eliminated by three-way "faceoffs" in which the winner is safe and one of the two losers is voted off.
Seasons: The Ruins (2009)
Game play: Two teams of "Challengers" and "Champions" based on whether players have won a previous season's final challenge. Prior to each challenge, each team nominates a group of three males and three females within the team for elimination; after that challenge, the winning team's nominated group picks the matchups for the "Ruins", which consist of a male Challenger against a male Champion, and a female Challenger against a female Champion.
Seasons: Cutthroat '(2010)
Game play: Teams are not initially set. There is a race in the beginning, and while the top three players are announced, the bottom three are named as captains of the three teams; the three teams are then drafted by the captains (while maintaining equal numbers of females and males). Each challenge involves all three teams; the winning team is safe from the elimination round (called "Gulag") while the losing teams go against each other in the Gulag. Voting is done within one's own team by secret ballot to choose a male and female player to go into the Gulag.
Game play: Two-player teams of the same gender consist of players who are paired against their "worst enemies," whom they have engaged in bitter feuds, fights and rivalries with in previous Real World and/or Challenge seasons. The challenge winner is safe from elimination – "The Jungle," while the last-place finisher and a non-winning team of the same gender battle it out in "The Jungle."
Battle of the ExesEdit
Seasons: Battle of the Exes (2012)
Game play: Thirteen teams of ex couples compete in a challenge where the winner is safe from elimination and will be known as "The Power Couple", and they are responsible for choosing one team to go into the elimination round called "The Dome", along with the team that came in last-place in the challenge.
Battle of the SeasonsEdit
Seasons: Battle of the Seasons 2 (2012)
Game play: Each team consists of two men and two women from select seasons. After each challenge, there is a winning team and a losing team. The losing team is automatically sent to the Arena, and faces possible elimination. The winning team become the Power Team, and selects one team to battle against the last-place team in the Arena. The teams entering the Arena must select one player of each gender from their own team to compete in the elimination. If the teams entering the Arena cannot decide which players will compete in the elimination, the Power Team chooses for them. The winning pair in the elimination rounds return to their season and stay in the game, while the losing pair is eliminated, reducing their season to two players.