Created By: PonyBerserker2 on June 6, 2013

Useless Gambit

The character conceives an elaborate plan to do something, but everything goes as he wanted without him doing anything

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The character conceives an elaborate plan to do something, but everything goes as he wanted without him doing anything. e.g. someone wants to kill somebody, but someone else does it before him.
Community Feedback Replies: 13
  • June 6, 2013
    I don't really think we have a trope here but,

    • Foundation: In Foundation and Empire, Devers constructs an elaborate plan to defeat Bel Riose and The Empire, only for it to do nothing and political infighting on Trantor win the war for them. This is taken as a sign of the inevitability of the Seldon Plan's success.
  • June 6, 2013
    I think Redundant Gambit would be a better name. Useless Gambit makes it sound like the gambit failed.
  • June 6, 2013
    Lack of a clear description, and no examples in the first draft. I don't think this will work out, but I want this trope. The name is a snowclone, but effective. I suggest using The Plan to find examples that may overlap or be misused.

    ^Edit: technically speaking, the plan did fail. Redundant sounds like Backup: indicating contingency plans.
  • June 6, 2013
    I think that the word we want is "moot".

    As in, "If there isn't enough for a trope here, my contribution is moot."
  • June 6, 2013
    There is also the issue of the term "gambit" being misused for any kind of scheme on this wiki. It does not mean what many think it means. "Gambit" refers solely to a tactical sacrifice that brings about a strategic advantage.
  • June 8, 2013
  • June 8, 2013
    Order Of The Stick has one where Nale (Evil Twin of the Order's bard Elan) has taken his brother's place in the party and starts thinking to himself of the careful planning and manipulation it will take to get all the information he needs on the Gates while remaining in character as Elan. Then Roy asks Lord Shojo for more information on the Gates.
  • June 8, 2013
    ^^^ very much agree.

    An example of this trope appears in the Red Dwarf episode "Rimmerworld", when the characters find themselves locked in a prison cell:

    Lister: There's got to be a way out. There hasn't been a prison built that could hold Derek Custer. Why don't we scrape away this mortar here, slide one of these bricks out, then using a rope weaved from strands of this hessian, rig up a kind of a pulley system so that when a guard comes in, using it as a trip wire, gets laid out, and we put Rimmer in the guard's uniform, he leads us out, we steal some swords, and fight our way back to the 'bug?

    Kryten: [Holding up the hand-held teleportation device] Or we could use the teleporter.

    Lister: Or in a pinch, we could use the teleporter.

  • June 8, 2013
    Waste Of An Intricate Plan, perhaps?

    Some of these would be subversions of Its The Only Way.

    EDIT: Wait, this is very close to Unintentional Backup Plan. Not sure it's distinct enough to warrant a separate page.
  • June 8, 2013
    This also seems related to Stating The Simple Solution.

    • In My Cousin Vinny, Vinny goes on a hunting trip with the District Attorney (the same one who's prosecuting Vinny's client at the big trial) as a plan to trick the DA into letting him see the evidence against his client. The instant Vinny mentions the evidence, the DA calls his office and asks his secretary to photocopy all the evidence and send it to the defense. As Vinny's fiancee points out in the following scene, the prosecution is legally required to share all trial evidence with the defense, so Vinny's attempted subterfuge was completely unnecessary.
  • June 8, 2013
    ^^ I agree. Foundation is the only one of the given ideas that fit, and I know of an Oot S example that can go under Stating The Simple Solution.
  • June 8, 2013
    One example I can think of for this Trope could be the rather legendary Crowning Moment Of Funny of the first movie of The Bourne Series ('Bourne Identity'). You know the one: Bourne provides Marie with a pretty complicated plan to sneakily obtain information from a hotel about what he was doing there (with a fake identity before his memory loss), and Marie managing to get the info by simply asking the concierge for it and saying she was Bourne's secretary.
  • June 9, 2013
    It happens more or less Once An Episode on Scooby-Doo, where Fred's plan to capture the Monster Of The Week backfires because of Scooby and Shaggy's stupidity but somehow, in a way usually unrelated to Fred's plan, the monster is still caught at the end.