Strategy Schmategy YKTTW Discussion
Strategic unpredictability as a result of stupidity or randomness
Bob is unpredictable. No matter what he does, his enemies never see it coming. Now, sometimes a character might appear unpredictable, either because he's making it up as he goes along, or because he's TRYING to be unpredictable. Bob has other reasons. Strategy Shmategy describes situations where a character's behavior is unpredictable because he himself simply has no idea what he's doing. He's impossible to anticipate, because not even he knows what he's going to do next. Likely to result in a Spanner in the Works if somebody is running any kind of gambit, because chaos has that kind of effect on carefully-laid plans...but it might have the opposite effect. Compare Leeroy Jenkins, which is what happens when this kind of mindset bites you in the butt, and Achievements in Ignorance, which is what happens when believing in this actually has an effect. Contrast Confusion Fu (unpredictability as a strategy in itself, instead of a function of having no strategy), Indy Ploy (where a character doesn't have a plan originally, but comes up with new ones on the fly), Xanatos Speed Chess (adjusting a preexisting plan to accommodate a changing situation), and Xanatos Roulette (plans which incorporate a degree of randomness).
- This trope is sort of lampshaded in the second Honor Harrington novel where the protagonist explains to her subordinate that the best swordsman in the world doesn't fear the second-best one, but the worst swordsman in the world, because he can't predict what the dumb son of a bitch will do.
- A similar thing happens in the Age of Unreason series, where a guy is killed by someone who cannot fence at all; he automatically assumed his attack was a mere feint, because no fencer would make such a clumsy attack. Too bad his opponent is not a fencer...
- The line about the world's best swordsman is actually a quote from Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
- In The Wheel of Time, the White Tower's weapons master tells Galad, Gawyn, and Mat a story about history's greatest swordsman, who was only defeated once in his entire life - by a random farmer with a stick.
- The Trope Namer is a certain Magic: The Gathering card with a completely random (but powerful) effect.
- This type of behavior is sure to completely derail an entire game of Diplomacy.
- Professional Poker players can sometimes be thwarted by novices and amateurs, who make plays that no professional would be stupid enough to attempt and end up short-circuiting the professionals' expectations.
- The above comment about Poker is also is true for billiards players.
- This doesn't work in chess, where it's almost impossible to beat a player who's above your level. This is because if the neophyte makes a bizarre move during the opening it is most likely a bad move, and that alone tells the good player that he's not against a strong opponent. Also, it's said that playing against someone who's way worst than you will dull your skills, and it's highly advised to avoid doing so.
- "Alright, chums, let's do this! LEEEEEEEROOOOOOOOY! JEEEEEENKIIIIINS!
- Of course, the plan was idiotic and wouldn't have worked anyway.
- In League of Legends, this sort of behavior is likely to make your team hate you.
- In Order Of The Stick, Elan's tendency to act like this sometimes helps, and sometimes causes even more problems.
- Fighter of 8-Bit Theater is the living embodiment of this trope, as he's too stupid to know whether he's supposed to fall for a crazy plan or not. He bends the Theory of Narrative Causality by his very existence, making him a meta-example of this trope.
- Apparently there is some truth in all the comments about fencing from the Literature section. An inexperienced swordsman is more likely to do something that gets both combatants killed than an experienced one trying to avoid dying.
- The Tea Party uses this as far as many politicians are concerned. Researching American politics will show you why.