We're in the high-anticipation period of Big Brother season right now. Rumors are flying about returning houseguests, twists, the theme of the house and everything else we won't know until CBS starts cluing us in. They typically don't start doing that until the houseguests are sequestered, which may or may not have happened by now. We're operating under the loose theory that those prospective houseguests have yet to be cut off from the outside world. We're also operating under the theory that not all, if any, houseguests this season are returning players from past seasons. We'll know one way or the other very soon -- Big Brother casting director Robyn Kass Tweeted yesterday that the rumors about casting would be put to rest in a few days. In the meantime, we have some advice for Big Brother newbie-contestants, assuming there are any.

Big Brother isn't just about physical prowess or mental superiority. It's not entirely about popularity or even personality. It's a combination of a lot of things, including strategy and endurance, and the best possible approach to winning will vary from one season to the next, because the cast of houseguests varies each season. I admit, this list is quite a bit of armchair quarterbacking on my part, as I've never actually played this game. But I've been a series-long fan of this show, who appreciates the value of good game-play and strategy, so I'm drawing from past houseguests' successes and mistakes for this list of hopefully-helpful advice.

Play your own game and play it all day, every day.
Every single winner of Big Brother has one thing in common: They all played the best game they could play. For some, that was winning competitions, for others, it was a sharp social game, and for some it was incredible strategy and manipulation. You need to play the game that suits your skill sets and personality. If you want to play the sneaky liar game, that's fine -- if you're good at being sneaky and a liar. And this is a game, so in this case, no judgment on anyone for taking that approach if they can own it.

But not everyone can handle and maintain the sneaky approach 24/7, and that can backfire hard and fast. Just ask Big Brother 11's Ronnie, who tried to be the evil mastermind and only ended up making enemies out of most the house before he was eventually evicted pre-jury. If you're going to lie and sneak your way through each week, you have to actually be able to sell the lies and be on top of your sneakiness at all times. Or you will be found out. You're living with these people 24/7. So pick a strategy that suits your personality. Sure, we'd all like to think we could play like Dr. Will, Dan, Janelle or some of the other greats in this game, but their own (varying levels of) success came from their ability to play the best hands they were dealt, whether that be strategizing, manipulation, competitions or good social skills.

A good player will find the right balance of strategy, social skills and competitions, but not everyone is good at all three things. It's not a bad idea to play to your own strengths and find other players to compensate for your weaknesses. So if you're good at competition but your social game sucks, you need to find people who need a champion at comps and are good at the social side. If you have a great mind for strategy but can't win competitions, find someone who can win for you when you need it and is willing to work with you on the strategy side. What's better than being Head of Household? Being in an alliance with the person who is. That brings us to...

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