Created By: KnownUnknown on February 23, 2011 Last Edited By: Wackd on February 29, 2012
Troped

Let The Wookiee Win

Losing on purpose to avoid DisproportionateRetribution

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Chewbacca: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrgh!
C-3PO: He made a fair move. Screaming about it can't help you.
Han Solo: Let him have it. It's not wise to upset a Wookiee.
C-3PO: But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid.
Han Solo: That's 'cause droids don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that.
C-3PO: I see your point, sir. I suggest a new strategy, R2: let the Wookiee win.

Two (or more) characters are playing a game. Character A is clearly smarter, more skilled, and just plain better at the game than the other. Character B still wins. Why? Because Person B is appears to not take losing well and it likely would be... detrimental to character A's continued good health to win against character B.

Often the case when a Bad Boss plays a game with his mooks - who are too terrified not to let him win, not after what happened to the last guy... other times it happens between a smart but not too strong player and a not-as-smart but definitely stronger opponent.

Sister Trope to the Chewbacca Defense, which is about confusing the opponent and not necessarily terrifying them. But they work well together. Related to Appeal to Force.

This is NOT the Disproportionate Retribution itself, which does not occur in the Trope Namer, or the act of Rage Quiting. Throwing the Fight is about loosing because of an actual threat, this is about losing because of an implied or assumed threat.
Examples:

Skipping 2011-02-23 14:15:07 by foxley (that would be a game-related version of Flipping the Table), 2011-02-23 19:14:14 by randomsurfer ("because it is easier" is not "out of fear." It WOULD need a different title for that example to work.), 2011-09-30 07:25:46 by Steven T (same as foxley), 2011-12-23 01:57:19 by Arivne (Throwing the Fight would be a better place for that), 2011-12-23 19:53:48 by TB Tabby (They must loose on purpose, not because they are forced to loose), 2012-02-17 16:30:13 by Tom Walpertac 2 (describing the boss is not describing the minions letting him win)

  • Trope Namer is Star Wars, when R2-D2 is playing and beating Chewbacca at what looks like Space Chess.
  • Played with in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: his underlings blatantly let Wu Zu Mu, a powerful but blind Chinese gangster, win whenever they play anything, including moving the cup when he plays office golf or lying about their cards in Blackjack, which leads to funny moments when Carl, not caring, beats him regularly. Judging by his personality, "Woozie" a nice enough guy, especially to his men, that he probably wouldn't care if his minions beat him or not, but to his experienced mooks them it's better being safe than sorry.
  • Double Subverted in Jet Li's War, which has an Asian mob boss practice sword sparring with one of his men. When he allows himself to be distracted, the other guy accidentally strikes him, and immediately begs forgiveness. The gangster calmly tells him not to worry, and that is was his own fault for allowing himself to be distracted... and then kills him anyway.
  • On The Adventures of Pete & Pete, a school bully with a paper motif nicknamed "Papercut" was so intimidating to the other kids that they would always pick rock whenever he challenged anybody to a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.
  • Bug! has this problem with Grizzlies.
  • Averted in Star Trek: The Next Generation poker game. This trope would have been Worf's edge if he were a real Klingon.
  • Friday: During a game of craps.
    Smokey: I won, gimme my money.
    Deebo: You what?
    Smokey: I lost.
  • Yeralash has an episode where two boys are playing chess, and the stronger one constantly makes hidden threats. Ends up with the weaker one bringing an even stronger guy to sit in his place.
  • The entire events of the Black Moon Chronicles are set in motion because of Lucifer playing chess (and always winning) against his minion Pazuzu (who knows exactly how much Lucifer's promise not to kill the one who bests him is worth), who keeps losing so as not to incur his master's wrath. So they decide to play the game with mortals instead.
  • Foundation has a king offering his noblemen a bet about his hunting. No one dares to take the risk of winning.
  • The Simpsons: During the annual Nuclear Power Plant company picnic everyone has to let Mr. Burns win the sack race.
Community Feedback Replies: 68
  • February 23, 2011
    BuckRivera
    It's 'Wookiee' with two 'e's. Stickler out.

    Wait a minute. You spelled it two ways.
  • February 23, 2011
    foxley
    In Knights Of The Dinner Table, Brian has a habit of flipping the table whenever he loses.
  • February 23, 2011
    SeanMurrayI
    On The Adventures Of Pete And Pete, a school bully with a paper motif nicknamed "Papercut" was so intimidating to the other kids that they would always pick rock whenever he challenged anybody to a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors.
  • February 23, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory from what I've been led to understand (haven't watched it much), not so much in a violent way as an...annoyance way I guess. Whenever the guys have a 3-to-1 decision on what to do/where to go/etc. and Sheldon is the 1, they end up doing what Sheldon wants because it's just easier.
  • March 1, 2011
    LogicallyDashing
    Sister Trope to the Chewbacca Defense, which is about confusing the opponent and not necessarily terrifying them. But they work well together.
  • March 15, 2011
    BuckRivera
    Couldn't this be expanded to include other reasons for letting "the Wookiee" win, like avoiding (non-violent but annoying) sore loser fallout? That would accomodate the The Big Bang Theory example, too.
  • May 31, 2011
    BuckRivera
    Bump.
  • June 28, 2011
    TBeholder
  • June 28, 2011
    peccantis
    ^^^ support
  • September 29, 2011
    KnownUnknown
    ^^^^ Go right ahead. We could call it Knocking The Board Over or something.
  • September 29, 2011
    KingZeal
    Related to Rage Quit and Appeal To Force.
  • September 30, 2011
    Trotzky
    TV Averted in Star Trek Next Generation poker game, this trope would have been Worf's edge if he were a real Klingon.`
  • September 30, 2011
    NetMonster
    Description correction: "win and suffer the anger of the *loser*"
  • September 30, 2011
    Korodzik
    There's an example where the intimidating character won't harm you if he loses, but simply force you to play over and over until you let him win. Does it count as this trope?
  • September 30, 2011
    StevenT
    Subverted on The Marvelous Misadventures Of Flapjack. K'Nuckles bets Flapjack in a poker game and one big menacing looking guy accepts. When K'Nuckles wins the hand, his opponent flips the table over in anger, but then runs off crying.
  • September 30, 2011
    surgoshan
    • Friday: During a game of craps.
      Smokey: I won, gimme my money.
      Deebo: You what?
      Smokey: I lost.
  • December 22, 2011
    KnownUnknown
    Forgot about this one, launching in the next few days unless there are any criticisms
  • December 22, 2011
    captainpat
    Character Named Trope, change the name.
  • December 22, 2011
    moocow1452
    More of a species thing, and it's Star Wars, so I like the name. Intimidating Your Way To Victory will have to do, unless that's Snow Cloning.
  • December 22, 2011
    Sligh
    Keep the name! It's way more interesting and everybody will understand! I'm really starting to get angry about all these people calling Bad Trope Namer on everything!
  • December 22, 2011
    Shnakepup
    Yeah, the name's fine!

    Also, @captainpat, this isn't a character named trope; what character is it named after?
  • December 22, 2011
    Sligh
    Yeah, there's no character name but supposed there was. Supposed it were "Let Chewbacca Win". Would it really criples comprehension? Is it a good think for this guideline to be inforced so stricktly?

    Well, I think it wouldn't. Chewbacca is very well-known and even if it were not the case, if there were no way to create a wittier, more approprieate title, then I say keep it anyway.
  • December 22, 2011
    SeanMurrayI
    Supporting the current name. It could use a few redirects, at least to placate anybody who doesn't want the current name, but I like the current name as the main.
  • December 22, 2011
    Omeganian
    Yeralash has an episode where two boys are playing chess, and the stronger one constantly makes hidden threats. Ends up with the weaker one bringing an even stronger guy to sit in his place.

    Foundation has a king offering his noblemen a bet about his hunting. No one dares to take the risk of winning.
  • December 23, 2011
    Arivne
    Film
    • Guys And Dolls. During the craps game in the sewer Big Jule insists on playing the game's sponsor, Nathan Detroit. However, he cheats by using dice with no spots on them (he claims that he remembers where the spots were). Nathan tries to protest but Big Jule has a gun and makes it clear he's willing to use it if necessary. Nathan has to play along and ends up broke.
  • December 23, 2011
    randomsurfer
    The Simpsons: During the annual Nuclear Power Plant company picnic everyone has to let Mr. Burns win the sack race. Bart almost beats him, but Homer tackles Bart so Burns can win.
  • December 23, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    I know A New Hope is likely to be seen by a lot of people, but it still lacks the context of why 3PO said that.

    Plus does this need to be about letting a person win, or could it cover a violently sore loser? Or would that be two tropes?
  • December 23, 2011
    TBTabby
    The Rocko's Modern Life episode "Teed Off" has Ed Bighead playing golf against his boss, who has a battalion of militarized groundskeepers dedicated to making sure he wins. Subverted in that his subordinates are doing this without his knowledge, and he's actually a good sport.
  • December 23, 2011
    Sligh
    Dragon Quest, it is hard to put contrast and wit in the same title for this one. I see keep the witty name. Also, I think what you proposed is another, related, trope.
  • December 24, 2011
    KJMackley
    I think this is just about a perfect example of a good story-specific trope name. "Let X Win" indicates throwing a game or conflict for some reason so that alone is indicative of the trope, and if you are familiar with Star Wars you will likely know EXACTLY what the trope is about before you read it.
  • February 11, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    Bump, since it has five hats
  • February 11, 2012
    MasterHand
    I think the name is fine. I'd assume that enough people here would know what a wookiee was, and understand why you'd want to let one win.
  • February 11, 2012
    ZombieAladdin
    Another Simpsons example, though played with: In "Lost Our Lisa," Lisa asks people on the street where the museum might be. She asks a Russian man playing chess, who yells at her and scares her off. His opponent checkmates him, and he screams and shouts while throwing the board and its pieces, but he's actually saying, "That was a good game! Let's play again!"

    Would any sort of sore-losing go here? Or does it have to be someone intimidating and imposing?
  • February 12, 2012
    Arivne
    There's another reason to change the current excellent name. There's a policy against trope names that sound like a line of dialog, and if any trope is launched with such a name Fast Eddie will nuke it till it glows.

    I don't know if he'll think Let The Wookiee Win sounds like a line of dialog, but he could, since it is a line of dialog in a movie.
  • February 12, 2012
    nitrokitty
    Launch it under the current title, then if Fast Eddie sends it back, find another one.
  • February 13, 2012
    Chabal2
    The entire events of the Black Moon Chronicles are set in motion because of Lucifer playing chess (and always winning) against his minion Pazuzu (who knows exactly how much Lucifer's promise not to kill the one who bests him is worth), who keeps losing so as not to incur his master's wrath. So they decide to play the game with mortals instead.
  • February 17, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    Bump
  • February 17, 2012
    TomWalpertac2
    I like the Let The Wookiee Win name just fine.

    Also, in the description, maybe include an extremely annoying option for if the sore loser isn't as physically bad a loser as Chewbacca, just annoying.
  • February 18, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
    I vote Let The Wookiee Win as the main name, and Winning By Intimidation as the redirect. That way we have something to fall back on in case Fast Eddie does take exception to it.
  • February 18, 2012
    Dcoetzee
    Agree with Two Gun Angel's suggestion.
  • February 19, 2012
    TomWalpertac2
    Seconded.

    Bump.
  • February 19, 2012
    nitrokitty
    Thirded. Does anyone else feel like making a trope name is less a process of finding a group consensus and more a process of figuring out what will get past Fast Eddie?
  • February 19, 2012
    Belian
    Um... it is not that it will have to "get past Fast Eddie" as "be up to the Trope Repair Shop participants' standards." And this title is not. I know most people will probably get the trope/joke, but there is no way it would be clear to someone who has not seen the movie. And people who have seen it/get the reference will likely misuse it. In fact, I am not sure if this trope is "Disproportionate Retribution for losing a game/match" or "losing on purpose to avoid Disproportionate Retribution from the other person." Both are perfectly legitimate tropes, but also two distinctly different situations. Also, both are about events. Not specific characters.

    That is why Fast Eddie's sig has "Acceptable: Clear" and the pages like Character Named Trope were made.

    Also, there is a thread people should read through because of possible changes to YKTTW. Mentioned in there is how people wish they did not have to make so many re-names.
  • February 19, 2012
    pawsplay
    Golfing with the boss could be this.

    Belian, I am not sure about the objection. Star Wars is pretty much universally known, as are Wookiees. The quotation is famous, and if you read the quote, it's clearly about losing on purpose to avoid Disproportionate Retribution. This is about as self-explanatory as it gets.
  • February 20, 2012
    Belian

    quote the second comment: "In Knights Of The Dinner Table, Brian has a habit of flipping the table whenever he loses." And in 2011-09-30 07:25:46 by Steven T. Both examples are clearly the the other definition I provided.

    Personally, I DO like the name. But apparently others are misinterpreting it. Not to mention that it Needs A Better Description because it currently says it is a character trope, when it is clearly an event trope. In fact, just give me a couple min...
  • February 20, 2012
    Belian
    There we go. The very fact that there were so many bad examples at this stage, shows how badly it needed a better description.
  • February 20, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In an ad for McDonalds a group of coworkers are playing poker. One of them, a supervisor, mentions that he'll be picking a new shipping coordinator. One guy folds with four queens.
  • February 20, 2012
    Calnos
    • In Star Wars The Old Republic, which takes place about 3600 years before the films, as a Mythology Gag in Nem'ro's palace you can see a wookiee and a protocol droid playing a game. Said droid did not let the wookiee win. He is now armless.
  • February 20, 2012
    NESBoy
    • Parodied in Irregular Webcomic -- this early strip follows the original scene line by line, but at the point where Threepio originally said, "Let the Wookiee win," he instead whips out a lightsaber and threatens, "Let us win or I'll laser-sword your head off."
  • February 20, 2012
    pawsplay
    Much better.
  • February 20, 2012
    SquirrelGuy
    This occasionally happens in older Archie Comics, particularly with the all-brawn-no-brains character Moose. For example, one day Moose was playing tennis with Reggie. Moose serves or returns and the ball landed outside the line. Reggie called it out. Moose replied that he knew a guy with black hair who was going to have lumps on his head and not look too pretty. Reggie then conceded that the ball was in.
  • February 21, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt
    What Two Gun Angel said earlier. Let The Wookie Win should be the title, and Winning By Intimidation should be a redirect.
  • February 21, 2012
    pawsplay
    The examles above by Calnos and NES Boy are pre-emptive Trope Decay, as they are literally about Wookiees, rather than the trope itself.
  • February 22, 2012
    pawsplay
    In researching the relevant guidelines, it's suggested that tropes that are stock phrases or lines of dialog are proned to being linked each and every time they mentioned. I don't think that objection really applies here, it's just not a phrase that comes up in conversation very often. :)
  • February 23, 2012
    Wackd
    I disagree. Winning by Intimidation should be the main one. Believe it or not there are people who--GASP!--have never watched Star Wars, and even some who have who aren't going to remember that line of dialogue or what race Chewie is.
  • February 23, 2012
    Treblain
    Winning By Intimidation is a poor name because the trope is about a character deciding to lose, not about the character who is intimidating them. It doesn't work as a main title.

    There is no problem with the trope name being taken from a work. It has "let the x win" in it, which is exactly what the trope is about. It is understandable to people who have never seen Star Wars. This is not a Trope Namer issue.

    The issue that people might pothole the trope name to instances of the phrase itself is a reasonable concern. That would be misuse of the trope, and a name prone to misuse is not a good name. However, Let The Wookiee Win is not so common a phrase that it would cause rampant misuse.

    I think we need a crowner to decide whether it's a good title or needs another one. Please don't launch yet.
  • February 23, 2012
    pawsplay
    Even people who haven't seen Star Wars can get it by 1) reading the title, and 2) reading the amusing lead-in quote. I do actually have one small concern about the title... most people can't spell Wookiee worth a damn. I'm not a big fan of Winning By Intimidation but this cannot launch without a simple, intuitive redirect available as an alternative title, so we need something.
  • February 24, 2012
    Tambov333
    Let The Wookie Win is too narrow. The trope isn't just about Wookies, or even anything that remotely looks like them.
  • February 24, 2012
    pawsplay
    Is Golfing With The Boss universal enough that people would get it?
  • February 24, 2012
    Treblain
    ^^ And Luke I Am Your Father isn't only about people named Luke. Trope names don't have to be interpreted literally. No one would think we were making a trope only about Wookiees.
  • February 24, 2012
    nitrokitty
    ^^^ Nor is Batman Can Breathe In Space only about Batman. Don't be dense.
  • February 28, 2012
    Belian
    Golfing With The Boss is the best trope name I've seen thus far.
  • February 28, 2012
    pawsplay
    So... might there be a consensus on Let The Wookiee Win with Golfing With The Boss as a redirect?
  • February 28, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    I really hate the Wookiee name. As a non-Star Wars fan, I think it's sufficiently suggestive of what the trope is but Wookiee is hard to spell. I thought it was Wookie, but it could easily be Wookee or, knowing the Star Wars universe, some people wouldn't rule out Wookii.

    I don't actually hate character named tropes (I don't have the foggiest who Jonas Quinn is but I picked up on what he did after a while). This one is problematic just because it's written. Nice idea though!
  • February 29, 2012
    Met
    On an episode of Blackadder the Queen is playing frisbee with Lord Percy. He gloats about catching the frisbee until he remembers she can have him beheaded, then he "accidentally" drops it.
  • February 29, 2012
    Eric119
    The title Letting The Wookiee Win would be better, since it doesn't look like dialog.
  • February 29, 2012
    pawsplay
    I don't think it matters much in this case, but it would parallel Golfing With The Boss and make the name of the trope a noun, which is nice.
  • February 29, 2012
    Met
    ^^I second that.

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