Created By: publicschool on September 10, 2012 Last Edited By: Q on September 14, 2012

Let's Ploy Chicken

A character provokes one enemy to chase him and then heads straight at another enemy, swerving at the last moment so that the two enemies collide.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope

The heroes are outnumbered and outgunned, and for whatever reason, they have no choice but to fight. But they're not strong enough to beat the enemy. Only the enemy is strong enough to beat the enemy. Idea Bulb.

In one version they provoke one of the mooks to chase them and then head straight at another mook and swerve, causing a head-on collision.

In a second version, the heroes trail a missile from the enemy and drag it in their wake and head straight for the enemy and swerve at the last sec and the enemy is Hoist by His Own Petard. Kaboom!.

In a third version, the heroes go to a threat outside the enemy faction and act as bait to draw it out, and then fly at the Big Bad and pull a sort of Bait and Switch Enemies to give each threat more than they bargained for. It's even better if they come around a corner or fly through a cloud. Often this threat is Chekov's bigger fish, because there's Always a Bigger Fish. If all goes well, it’s a case of killing two birds with no stone…


Examples:

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[[folder: Film ]]

  • In Galaxy Quest they flew the ship near the mine field and got them all on their tail and then headed straight towards Sarris' ship.
  • In Serenity the crew shoots a canon at the reavers to get them in a swarm behind them as they head for the alliance, resulting in an all out battle between the alliance and the reavers as the crew slips through the defenses.
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Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • September 10, 2012
    aurora369
    Anakin Skywalker is fond of playing chicken with torpedoes. He uses this trick most effectively against the Separatist Admiral Trench in The Clone Wars.
  • September 11, 2012
    KarjamP
    Current name isn't indicative of what the trope means.

    Besides, there's a typo in it. :P
  • September 11, 2012
    Q
    So that wasn't intentional? I read the title thinking that "ploy" was some *very* obscure verb. You could always fix it yourse —, actually, I might as well correct the typo, and fix the folder syntax while I'm there. I'll also remove the potholes to tropes that don't actually exist (edit: Some of those actually do exist, they're just misspelled. Also fixed typos; the ones I could find, at least). Love how the change history credits any changes to the sponsor, and makes it confusing.

    As an alternate title, how about "Playing Chicken With Death" or something similar. Would just shorten it to Playing Chicken, but that sounds dialogue-y, and people might misinterpret it for actual instances of someone playing chicken. Also going to check if we have this one, somewhere.
  • September 11, 2012
    spacemarine50
  • September 11, 2012
    KarjamP
    ^^Actually, "ploy", i think, is an noun, not a verb.

    According to google, it means "A cunning plan or action designed to turn a situation to one's own advantage."

    perhaps we can rephrase the name to actually make more sence, like "Playing Chicken With Death Ploy" or something like that.
  • September 11, 2012
    Q
    KarjamP, I'm well aware of the definition and part-of-speech of the noun "ploy". It is etymologically derived from employ, which in turn is derived from French employ'e, from where we also get "employee". That's the joke. I think it was just a misspelling of play, but I had to read the description twice in order to come to that conclusion. My extreme familiarity with the English language — no doubt along with The Dunning-Kruger Effect — caused me to mistakenly think that it's far more likely for there to be a word usage that I haven't encountered than the likelihood of someone just making a typo. And with that, the joke is fully dissected.

    So yeah, there's no need to include the word "ploy" in the title.
  • September 11, 2012
    KarjamP
    I still think the word "ploy" can be used in the title in some way.

    I think it matches the description perfectivly.

    Then again, one might not know what it means until they research, as I think it's uncommon in the English language.
  • September 11, 2012
    Freezer
  • September 11, 2012
    Q
    ^^ Nah, the word "ploy" is common enough that I can recall the etymology of the word from memory. Still, using it isn't strictly necessary, as it was likely just a typo.

    Hm. Actually, I wonder if the sponsor might have misspelled it deliberately. Somewhat unlikely, but still possible. Won't know until they comment. In that case, I jokingly suggest "Ploying Chicken" for a punny name. We really shouldn't use that one, though. That one made me groan, even.

    And I'm sure we have this one someplace.

    Edit: Yeah, there's not much difference between this and Wronski Feint, except that the latter has already been written. All the other examples seem to be covered by sibling tropes of that one. With a name like that, no wonder I couldn't find it. I've not read/watched Harry Potter.
  • September 11, 2012
    KarjamP
    I like puns, so I personally don't mind "Ploying Chicken".

    ^^ Wronski Feint sounds like a subtrope of this one (the description of that suggests that the user "feints" using a vehicle, missile or "other mobile targets", while this one is more neutral), or at least a The Same But More Specific version of this one.
  • September 11, 2012
    Q
    I like making puns, but my jokingly suggested title makes it sound like the chicken is doing the plotting.

    At first glance, I don't think the differences are enough to warrant a separate entry. Then again, I'm also a lumper. If there are differences, then they need to be better reflected in the description.

    Variation 1 is covered by Wronski Feint. Variation 2 is also covered by Wronski Feint, where the follower just happens to be a missile. I'm not even sure I understand variation 3. Summon Bigger Fish?
  • September 11, 2012
    SeanMurrayI
    Rebel Without A Cause and High School High both had variations of Chicken where two cars had to drive at top speeds towards a high cliff. The last person to jump from their car before it goes over the cliff is deemed the winner.
  • September 11, 2012
    Q
    Okay, so no variants on the name "Playing Chicken" allowed at all, then! I think SeanMurrayI just illustrated the reason, albeit unintentionally. Thanks for that, by the way! People will read the title, mistakenly think that it's just a trope about the game* of "Chicken", and will add their example without bothering to read even the laconic version of the description. The game Chicken is way too defined in people's minds to be used in a trope name that has very little to do with the actual game of Chicken.

    Though really, given that we have (most of) this one already — unless the sponsor adds some clarifications, I will be discarding this one. Not immediately though; I'll leave it alone for awhile, in case someone wants to work Wiki Magic on it.
    * Not that I would ever consider "Chicken" to be a game. Just pretend I'm making that bunny ears gesture with my hands whenever I say the word "game". Prevents me from having to use Scare Quotes everywhere.
  • September 12, 2012
    publicschool
    Hey, few things. 1) I'm totally new to the syntax. Not laziness, but ignorance. 2) Ploy was intentional, ploy as in scheme. I was just looking at Indy Ploy which put it in my mind in the first place. 3) I'm totally fine with it being lumped, but it's not exactly the Wronski Feint. That concerns the enemy behind you. I'm talking about a strategy of dealing with an enemy in front of you, perhaps by using a Wronski Feint to sling your pursuer into the enemy in front of you. I've seen it it a lot of situations where a head-on collision is immanent, which is like playing chicken. 4) Totally open to better names, if it does outlast the day.
  • September 12, 2012
    KarjamP
    Word Of God ^ confirms that the title was intended to be a pun on "Ploy" and he thinks this is different than Wronski Feint.

    We either modify Wronski Feint to include that variant, or we make this a subtrope of it.
  • September 13, 2012
    spacemarine50
    Had a thought: to start a YKTTW about playing chicken. Only if the name wasn't taken
  • September 13, 2012
    Q
    Alright. I changed the title back and added a comment line noting that the title was deliberate.

    ...and I wouldn't advise creating a YKTTW on playing chicken. It's a thing people do—not necessarily a trope.
  • September 13, 2012
    publicschool
    As a quick rabbit trail, chicken is a thing people do, but it as also a thing people do in movies. I know I have seen it. A quick search yielded examples in Cry Baby, Rebel Without A Cause, Stand By Me, Footloose, and if you accept the political varieties, Hunt For The Red October, and Thirteen Days which is about the Cuban Missile Crisis. Those are all from http://www.gametheory.net/popular/film.html which looks at the game in terms of the possible outcomes based on the players choices of penalties and payoffs.

    Ok, let me invent examples based on the movie ''Apocalypto' to illustrate the difference... A gang of Mayans chase the innocent indian man Jaguar Paw and he runs through some thick brush and sidesteps a pit and some of them plunge over the edge. There is the Wronski Feint. At another point, he gets an actual Jaguar to chase him and then he runs into the midst of the Mayan gang and it attacks them.

    What is that? The feint is only part of the maneuver.

    The hero is outmatched by Big Bad... First, the hero acts as bait to draw the pursuit of a secondary enemy, usually a Chaotic Neutral (to justify its animosity two both hero and villain). Second, the hero draws it toward the real enemy. Third, he hero pulls a Wronski Feint. Fourth, he crosses his fingers that Big Bad and Chaotic Neutral duke it out while he gets away, or while he watches two problems cancel themselves out.

    Does that make more sense? In one movie its a bear, in another a swarm of bees, in another a crazy neighbor, the police, dinosaurs...

    The idea is to act as bait to draw one enemy (with no alignment or loyalties) into an enemy of the opposite faction.

    What about Ill See Your Big Bad And Raise You Chaotic Neutral? Or Mal's Gambit? He was the first one to bring it to my attention on the finale to Firefly. Or, Dressing As Bait to something something...
  • September 14, 2012
    Q
    ^Assuming this rabbit trail is in response to my response to spacemarine50, let me elaborate. "A thing people do in movies" is no more a trope than merely "a thing people do". People Sit On Chairs in movies. That doesn't make it a trope. There has to be a storytelling or other interesting element present in order to make it tropeworthy. Even then, the YKTTW that he suggests is vague because it already has a popular definition which has a separate meaning from the potential trope.
  • September 14, 2012
    Arivne
    As Q pointed out above, this is currently part of Summon Bigger Fish.

    "Summon Bigger Fish is when you get another monster/god/whatever to fight the current one, and hope once the smoke is cleared the one you just called will leave you alone, or at least be weakened enough by the fight to be taken out with less insane tactics."

    This would be where you summon the bigger fish by provoking it and moving toward/past your other opponent so the bigger fish attacks them.

    Is that distinct enough to make it a Sub Trope, or is it just The Same But More Specific?
  • September 14, 2012
    jatay3
    A common method in the old video game Berserk
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=ophl3j44ttukdu6jc6dq6o7w