Strategy Schmategy YKTTW Discussion

Strategy Schmategy
Strategic unpredictability as a result of stupidity or randomness
(permanent link) added: 2011-07-28 21:07:14 sponsor: vindemiatrix (last reply: 2011-08-29 22:06:08)

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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.

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