Created By: vindemiatrix on July 28, 2011 Last Edited By: vindemiatrix on August 29, 2011
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Strategy Schmategy

Strategic unpredictability as a result of stupidity or randomness

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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).


Examples:

Literature
  • 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.

Tabletop Games

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Real Life

Rolling Updates in effect.
Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • July 29, 2011
    PaulA
    This is sounding a lot like Confusion Fu.
  • July 29, 2011
    SalFishFin
    C Onfusion Fu is for Fighting Style. This is for strategies. Related, but not the same.
  • July 29, 2011
    TBTabby
    During Luffy's fight with Eneru in One Piece, Luffy gets around Eneru's mind-reading mantra by bouncing his rubber fists and feet off of walls. Since Luffy doesn't control which way they'll go when they ricochet, Eneru can't predict when they'll come at him and can't use his mantra to avoid them.
  • July 30, 2011
    vindemiatrix
    Well, I think the major difference between this and Confusion Fu is that Confusion Fu is intentionally trying to confuse your opponent as a strategy, while Strategy Schmategy involves being unpredictable because you're too incompetent or lazy to come up with a reasonable strategy in the first place. Very different reasons for sometimes similar results. Should the description be more clear about that?
  • July 30, 2011
    SalFishFin
    No. Confusion Fu is about fighting style, full stop. Throwing punches and kicks and whatnot in such a manner that the opponent has no idea what you are about to do. Confusion Fu is a strategy in and of itself.

    This is about not having a strategy at all.
  • July 30, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Assuming it launches with this title, link to it on Word Schmord.
  • July 30, 2011
    vindemiatrix
    What Sal Fish Fin said describes this perfectly.
  • July 30, 2011
    deuxhero
    The note about random tactics having no true counter should likely be moved from Confusion Fu to here if launched.
  • August 1, 2011
    SalFishFin
    It fits both tropes, because they both count for acting random. The only thing is that with Confusion Fu, it's on purpose.
  • August 29, 2011
    Statalyzer
    This is nothing but a character who utilitizes Indy Ploy as his or her S.O.P.
  • August 29, 2011
    Statalyzer
    This is nothing but a character who utilitizes Indy Ploy as his or her S.O.P.
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