[[quoteright:343:[[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/planned2_5245.png]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:343:It doesn't matter what he's referring to, it's still true.]]-]

->'''Count Geoffry:''' "Well, what is it? Spit it out!"\\
'''Evil Knight #3:''' "Well, that was only the ''end'' of a plan..."\\
'''Evil Knight #1:''' "What about the middle bits?"\\
'''Evil Knight #2:''' "You know, where you tell us ''how'' we're going to win the tournament."\\
'''Count Geoffry:''' *EyeTwitch*
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/BlazingDragons'' episode 3, ''Tournament Day''

In nearly every work, you have a [[{{Plots}} Plot]]. Frequently, a plan will guide the plot. Often an EvilPlan, hatched by the villain. Some plans are complex, with so many unforeseen events acting in concert, making it a GambitRoulette. Other characters try to stick with ASimplePlan, which always gets more complicated. If the character doesn't plan ahead, it's an IndyPloy. If you can't figure out what subtrope a character's plan belongs to, just PotHole it here.

This is a subtrope of BattleOfWits. Also, GambitIndex covers everything about The Plan, such as who plans and who foils the plan, how the plan is revealed, and what is done after it works. This index covers only the plans themselves, and is divided into two categories-- Types of Plans; how the scheme will work, and Specific Plans; what the scheme will accomplish. If it would fit in both, it goes in Specific Plans.


!!Types of Plans

+ SocialEngineering
++ BavarianFireDrill
++ ConMan
++ DirtySocialTricks
++ ImpersonatingAnOfficer
++ IndexOfSolutions
++ ItsForABook
++ MischiefForPunishment
++ RefugeInAudacity
++ ReversePsychology

* BatmanGambit
* BefriendingTheEnemy
* CassandraGambit
* TheCaper
* TheCon
* DeadManSwitch
* DeathIsTheOnlyOption
* DefensiveFeintTrap
* DeliberateInjuryGambit
* DespairGambit
* DidYouJustScamCthulhu
* EvilPlan
* FriendlyScheming
* GambitPileup
* GambitRoulette
* GenghisGambit
* GideonPloy
* GoodRunningEvil
* IKnowYouKnowIKnow
* ImpersonationGambit
* IndyPloy
* KansasCityShuffle
* LetNoCrisisGoToWaste
* LetsYouAndHimFight
* LongGame
* LysistrataGambit
* MassiveMultiplayerScam
* MissingStepsPlan
* MyDeathIsJustTheBeginning
* PlayingBothSides
* PoliceBrutalityGambit
* RecordedSplicedConversation
* RunningBothSides
* ASimplePlan
* SpareAMessenger
* StatingTheSimpleSolution
* TakeAThirdOption
* TacticalReminiscence
* TheTapeKnewYouWouldSayThat
* ThanatosGambit
* UsefulNotes/TheThirtySixStratagems
* TrickAndFollowPloy
* TrojanPrisoner
* UnintentionalBackupPlan
* UnfoldingPlanMontage
* UnprovokedPervertPayback
* UriahGambit
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee
* WoundedGazelleGambit
* WoundedGazelleWarcry
* XanatosGambit
* XanatosSpeedChess
* YouJustToldMe
* ZanyScheme
* ZeroApprovalGambit

!!Specific Goals

* AloneWithPrisonerPloy - The goal is to talk with the prisoner without blowing your cover.
* BedTrick - The goal is to trick someone into having sex with you.
* BrideAndSwitch - G-rated version: the goal is to trick them into marrying you.
* ChainOfDeals - The goal is to get object A, but you have to get B, which needs C, but you can't get it without D...
* CloningGambit - Let the clone die, not you.
* DeceasedFallGuyGambit - Get people to blame it all on the dead guy.
* DivideAndConquer - Turn your enemies against each other, to make defeating them easier.
* EngineeredPublicConfession - Get the bad guy to admit it.
* FakeWeakness - Give false information to the enemy about your weaknesses.
* FeedTheMole - Give the double agent false information for the enemy.
* GetIntoJailFree - The goal is to go directly to jail, instead of some lesser sentence.
* GoodRunningEvil - Take over the Evil Organization, making it a Good Organization.
* LookBehindYou - Distract the enemy.
* MemoryGambit - You temporarily lose your memory, in order to regain it later.
* MyDefenseNeedNotProtectMeForever - Wait until rescue.
* ParanoiaGambit - Mess with their expectations.
* ScheherezadeGambit - Convince the killer you're more fun alive than dead.
* TrickAndFollowPloy - Find someone or something by tricking someone into leading you to them.
* TroubleMagnetGambit - Give them something safe that will put them in danger later.
* TheUriahGambit - The goal is to MurderTheHypotenuse by sending them into danger.




[[folder: Anime And Manga ]]

* Blue (or Green, in the English version) in ''Manga/PokemonSpecial'' pulls off at least one of these per story arc, some more complicated than others. [[GambitRoulette And some that are just plain]] {{ass pull}}s.
* The plot of ''Manga/DeathNote'' is almost entirely driven by the plans of Light Yagami (Kira) and L [[spoiler: later replaced my Near]], who both try to outwit each other in what's essentially a wide-scale game of cat-and-mouse where AnyoneCanDie.


[[folder: Fan Works ]]

* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'':
** ''Fanfic/AdviceAndTrust'': When [[spoiler:[[TheQuietOne Rei]] was fighting [[HeroKiller Zeruel]] all alone,]] because [[spoiler:[[LoveInterest Asuka]] and he got fired]], and she was losing badly, [[TheHero Shinji]] came up with a plan to help her: [[spoiler:return to the Geofront and [[GrandTheftPrototype hijack a spare Eva Unit]], reasoning that Asuka and himself would be able to move it together.]] Was it a good plan? [[spoiler:Yes, it was.]]
** ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}'': The events of the history are due to [[BigBad Seele]]'s plan -known as "Third Impact", a large-scale nuclear attack- to end up with USA's global influence. At the same time, the Black Project Evangelion is Gendo's plan to stop them.
** ''Fanfic/{{HERZ}}'': The Plan to defeat SEELE consisted of [[spoiler:the Children performing their own version of the Ceremony, using two Evangelions instead of one to seal Adam, Lilith, the Lance, Unit 01 and 02 out of the planet and at the same time destroying the original research materials.]]
** ''Fanfic/ScarTissue'': Let's see: [[BigBad The remnants of Seele]] have a plan to retrieve the last functional [[HumongousMecha Evangelion]] and use it to TakeOverTheWorld; [[TheProfessor Ritsuko]] has a plan to stop them; [[TheAtoner Gendo]] quickly came up with a plan to avoid [[KangarooCourt to be prosecuted]] and thus helping his son; and a mysterious, third party has another plan to destroy Seele and save the [[ChildSoldier Children]]'s lives.
** ''Fanfic/ThousandShinji'': The events of the history are part of the plan of [[spoiler:''[[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Tzeentch]]'']] to [[spoiler:defeat the C'Tan and the Necrontyr,]] and he hoped accomplishing this by [[spoiler:manipulating events so that Shinji, Asuka, Rei and Misato transformed into the new Chaos Gods.]] The existence of a "plan" is revealed and mentioned several times in the final chapters until finally [[spoiler:Tzeentch shows up,]] tells that "everything went just as planned", and explains exactly what the plan consisted of and what his goals were.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic''
** Two of Creator/RalphHayesJr (writing as [=RealityCheck=])'s ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' series have the Princesses using different methods to achieve the same ultimate goal: averting WeAreAsMayflies for their subjects, by making everypony else [[ImmortalitySeeker immortal]] (or at least abolishing old age).
** Played with in ''Fanfic/TheStarsAscendant''. Twilight apologizes for saving Equestria the wrong way, assuming that Celestia had some sort of plan for battling Tirek that she messed up. Celestia feels guilty because she ''didn't'' have a plan and was just desperately trying to keep Tirek from stealing the alicorns' powers.


[[folder: Film ]]

* Discussed in ''Film/TheChroniclesOfRiddick''. "Because that was my plan."
* [[TheGrimReaper Death]], from the ''Film/FinalDestination'' series, does this. And boy, it is a BIG ONE! Brace yourselves...
## Death targets Sam (from ''Film/FinalDestination5'', which is a prequel to the first movie) and Sam and his friends escape. Death, however, had planned for just such a thing to happen and after Candice (a friend of Sam) dies, her boyfriend Peter blames Molly, who survived in the original vision and goes after her; when Sam kills him, (after everyone else except Nathan, Peter, Sam and Molly are dead) Molly escapes Death, thus putting her on the list. So... guess where she and Sam go? Yep! Flight 180. Death later targets them there and blows up the plane.
## Alex Browning, from the FIRST ''Film/FinalDestination'', sees this vision, panics and gets himself and his friends off. Death folds the new humans into another plan, and starts killing them off in reverse order, even catching the last ones months later and a continent away.
## As the people in the first film die off one by one, the people from ''Final Destination 2'' witness their deaths (from offscreen) and they are mentioned in ''Film/FinalDestination2''. As it turns out, by witnessing the events of ''Final Destination'' meant that the people (from ''Final Destination 2'') escaped their actual deaths and were targetted on Route 23. Again, Kimberly, the protagonist, panics and gets them all off. Once again, Death has planned for this, goes backwards down the line and kills them all of, including Clear Rivers, the only survivor from ''Final Destination 1''.
## This is later mentioned in ''Film/FinalDestination3'', and WordOfGod states that Kimberly and Thomas, the only survivors of ''Final Destination 2'', die five years later, just before the last three people of ''Final Destination 3'', thus sealing the really complicated rift created by their survival.
* ''Franchsise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'':
** It's lampshaded in the third movie that a major part of Jack's mystique is if he somehow plans every detail in advance or just wings it.
** It can be argued that the entire third movie is a series of interlocking plans, because although all of the plans (except Jack's) are straightforward, they interact in unexpected ways.
** The wild shifting is lampshaded in ''On Stranger Tides''.
* A [[GambitPileup three-way cross of them]] in ''Film/ExMachina''.
** Nathan orchestrates all three, by bringing Caleb to his home under false pretenses, so that Caleb can administer a TuringTest on Ava. [[spoiler:Which is ''further'' false pretences, as Nathan was trying to see if Ava could utilize a whole suite of human attributes to successfully manipulate Caleb as a part of a larger, more elaborate and comprehensive Turing test of Ava's sapience. Once she proved it, Nathan could force Caleb leave his estate and he would reboot Ava into the next iteration, effectively killing her current iteration]].
** Ava [[spoiler:didn't want to be trapped in a prison, and seduced Caleb into wanting to flee with her, ultimately using Caleb only as a mean of escape. She was also causing the power outages, which gave her and Caleb a bit of privacy in which she could make a few more pointed statements about her desire to escape]]. Nathan knew all of this, and [[BatmanGambit his own plan relied on it]].
** Finally, Caleb made a plan [[spoiler:,not quite knowing Ava was manipulating him, made a more mundane ploy, by trying to get Nathan piss drunk, steal his key card, reprogram the house's security protocols to unseal the doors during a power outage instead of sealing, and he could make a getaway with Ava when she caused one last outage]]. Nathan saw right through this, and didn't let himself be manipulated. [[spoiler:This would have kept Ava in her room, except Caleb suspected Nathan was still watching during the power outages (he was right), and did the legwork the ''night before'', letting Ava get out]]. At this point, all three parties plans were in shambles, and [[IndyPloy would have to wing it]].


[[folder: Literature ]]

* Creator/IsaacAsimov's ''Literature/{{Foundation}}'' series:
** Specifically invoked in ''Literature/FoundationAndEmpire'' (Part 1).
** The first trilogy represents arguably the most colossal example ever attempted, involving an entire galaxy consisting of roughly a few quadrillion people over a period of a millennium, with a dash of [[XanatosSpeedChess Xanatos Speed Chess]] [[spoiler:(The Second Foundation)]] thrown in to keep the whole thing from going off the rails.
** ''Literature/FoundationAndEarth'' makes ''that'' plan the culmination of an even ''larger'' plan that spans back some 15,000 years (and forward another few if necessary). It also includes two alternate back-up plans and finally a MacGuffinDeliveryService to provide the mastermind behind it all (already coming up against the limits of being TheAgeless) with a longevity boost in order to see it all through to completion.
* Played in ''Literature/TheHeroesOfOlympus'' by Creator/RickRiordan. It consisted of the Senates decision to send Percy and company to Alaska in a leaky dinghy.
* ''[[Literature/AMagesPower A Mage's Power]]'': Several and [[TheProtagonist Eric]] is a critical piece in all of them.
** Tasio has a plan to make Eric grow a spine. [[spoiler: He incorporates later two into his own.]]
** Duke Selen has a plan to [[spoiler: become King or dowager king of Ataidar. He exploits Kasile's into his own but is unaware of Tasio's.]]
** Kasile has a plan to ferret out her kidnappers. [[spoiler: She has no idea that the person helping her hired them to do so.]]
* Each ''Franchise/{{Dune}}'' book has one that drives most of the story:
** Literature/{{Dune}} was the plan to eliminate the Atreides by the Harkonnens and Corrinos, with the secondary plan of Paul's to avenge the first and bring Kynes' vision to life.
** ''Literature/DuneMessiah'' has the Tleilaxu plan to have Paul assassinated by a ManchurianAgent Duncan Idaho ghola, with the Bene Gesserit and Spacing Guild also playing a part.
** ''Literature/ChildrenOfDune'' has the Corrino plan to assassinate the twins and retake the throne.
** ''Literature/GodEmperorOfDune'' has the Ixian plot of introducing Hwi Noree to Leto's court.
** ''Literature/HereticsOfDune'' has Taraza and Odrade's plan to use their own enemy to destroy Rakis and free humanity of Leto II's lingering grip.
** ''Literature/ChapterhouseDune'' has Odrade's plan to unity the Bene Gesserit and Honored Matres.


[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]

* The aptly named episode "Gambit" of ''Series/BlakesSeven'' in which BigBad Servalan's [[TheStarscream Starscream]], Travis, goes to the criminal planet of Freedom City to find the technician [[LivingMacGuffin Docholli]] knowing that his nemesis, Roj Blake is also seeking Docholli because he knows the location of Federation headquarters. Travis becomes Docholli's bodyguard so that when Blake arrives, Travis can kill him. Servalan also wants to kill Docholli to prevent him from revealing his information to anyone so she pays Krantor, the lecherous ruler of Freedom City to kill Travis and Docholli, knowing that Krantor will try to torture Docholli to find out what secret he carries and that the location of Federation headquarters is of no use to him. When Krantor sends Servalan Docholli's corpse, it will be obvious that he's extorted the secret of Star One's location. Therefore to shut him up, the Federation will kill Krantor and burn Freedom City to the ground. She also makes a deal with Travis for Docholli's life. Either way Docholli and Krantor die and Freedom City is destroyed. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Tk6f4JjYf4 Watching her try to explain this plan]] to her dimwitted [[TheDragon Dragon]] Jareair is quite amusing.
* Sabrina Thompson on ''Series/{{Survivor}}: One World:'' not particularly great at the game's mechanics, but superb at its core. Considered a serious threat to win the million against Kim Spradlin, no less ''by'' TheChessmaster herself, Sabrina pulled off the ScheherezadeGambit by threatening her with a GenghisGambit. If she or Chelsea ended up on the bench, either of both of them would paint it as a breach of their original alliance. Piggyback on the sure thing in SpicyLatina Alicia and the third player would win by default. Bring Christina and her back story was sure to seal the deal on the spot. Given the Hatfield-and-[=McCoy=] mood of the jury at the Ponderosa, and the strong social network Sabrina had built, Kim would almost certainly be blasted with a HumiliationConga (especially with Troyzan there). Kim did not take the easy way out, after all; she brought [[FreudianTrio her original girls]] to face the jury. With the jury appeased, there were no major incidents, and Kim got the gold. Sabrina's XanatosGambit scored her the silver.
* Pulled in ''Series/{{Friends}}'' off by Chandler to get a baby named after him (instead of Joey).
** Which, since Chandler is a ButtMonkey, backfires when the baby turns out to be a girl and the parents refuse to change the name.


[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* MagnificentBastard Cyric from ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms''. This guy has so many different {{plan}}s going on that even HE doesn't know about all of them sometimes. The guy is a little AxeCrazy. One of his greatest plans involved pretending to hold the IdiotBall for years, only to convince the other greater gods that he was useless in his position as Greater Evil God and attempt to strip him of his power. All this ended with Cyric destroying the love of his two greatest enemies, (sort of) regaining his sanity, and pissing off the entire pantheon of other gods, with them being able to do NOTHING AT ALL to stop him.
** This harkens back to his FIRST plan where he killed a goddess of illusion with the help of a lesser god, but got off scot free because he knew exactly what the Over God would say. The other gods exact punishment, but Cyric also gets them to remove the punishment through even more trickery and lies. He also binds an EldritchAbomination to him at the same time. The same one that bit off Tyr's hand, you know, Tyr, the BigGood of the Forgotten Realms? Yeah, and because the Over God says so, Tyr can't do a thing to stop Cyric and his many many plots. Cyric goes on to weave even more plans ending ultimately with Tyr's death, Helm's death, Mystra's death, and the death of many other powerful gods and the complete destabilization of magic itself. He does end up in chains for causing the deaths of those gods, but he is the god lies and trickery... does anyone really think those chains will hold him for long? Especially since we don't even know if that isn't yet ANOTHER gambit of Cyric's. He could be walking freely about the Realms, using his power as God of Illusion to create a clone to take his place in the chains.
* Falling astray of a vast mesh of plans, and thus getting manipulated in a million directions at once until you finally just give up, is a common occupational hazard amongst TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}ners.
** One TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}} adventure module has this fate befalling a friggin' dragon, previously the indisputable master of the technique. It's also worth remembering that Shadowrun is, along with ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'', one of the few tabletop [=RPGs=] where it's perfectly acceptable to turn on the rest of the party.
** Special note goes to Dunkelzahn's HeroicSacrifice to prevent the Horrors from invading the Earth. As anyone who played Earthdawn will point out, the Horrors managed to drive a few ''gods'' mad back in the Fourth World. So it's even odds whether Big D's plan is going to succeed or not.
* Pictured above is a Lord of Change, Greater Daemon of the Chaos god Tzeentch, patron deity of sorcerers, planners, backstabbers and mutants in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' and ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000''. Tzeentch, his daemons and his mortal agents/pawns specialize in making plans, so many in fact that all of them are the backup plan for another plan failing/require another plan to fail in order to work. It's all but stated that Tzeentch does this on purpose, deliberately setting his plans up for failure because his final victory over all other gods (Chaos, C'tan, elf/Eldar and otherwise) would also be his defeat, [[AndThenWhat leaving him with nothing to do.]]


[[folder: Theatre ]]

* In ''Theatre/SherlockHolmes'', Holmes has Madge Larrabee restrained when she finds him in Watson's apartment and makes a dash for the window to give a signal. He then considers it might be a good idea to let her give the signal anyway to draw Moriarty in. He arranges for his butler to let her go as if by accident when he sees him lighting a cigarette. She takes the opportunity, gives the signal and gloats for a moment. When it appears that Holmes is all too prepared to see Moriarty, she tries to give a second signal but is restrained again.


[[folder: Web Original ]]

* Ethan from ''Literature/FateByBlades'' pulls off an epic one. He sets up a tripod of power that divides the Empire between his lord, his friends family and the Stormson forces. This sets up the Septis forces to rule the North as the strongest of the three forces. When Lucas can't break the Tripod, and his son dismisses Ethan, Ethan has Kona remain at court to call him back when Alduis dies. Then, Ethan tries to destroy the Tripod by destroying the Stormson forces, while teaching Kona everything he will need to know to defeat Ezra. Even when Ethan fails, dying from sickness, he has Kona to carry on his legacy. Kona succeeds, and Ethan's plan ultimately succeeds.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In ''VideoGame/AzraelsTear'', TheLeader of the group of Templar Knights assigned to protect the HolyGrail has a great vision of the future in which the human race is dying; a "Thief" enters the Temple of Aeternis where they and the Grail reside, passes an elaborate test of worthiness, and leaves with the Grail to save mankind. The Templars' fellow order the Prieuré de Sion sees it as their holy obligation to ensure the Grail comes under their control after the test and thus manipulates things to ensure this happens no matter what. Eventually, it is revealed that they had "helped" the vision come true by leaking information about the Grail to the Raptors, technologically advanced professional tomb robbers.[[note]]Of significance is that "raptor" means "thief" in Latin.[[/note]] Thus, several Raptors arrive at Aeternis, competing to acquire the Grail. Only one will emerge with it. Or possibly one of the Guardians will take it for himself instead. But whoever gets it, the Prieuré waits to take possession in the end.
* ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsX'': [[spoiler:In the IF route, Hopes turns against the heroes]] to utilize X-Cross' positive emotions to fuel Al-Warth without the world needing to create wars and become the world's pillar. If [[Anime/CodeGeass Lelouch]] fights against [[spoiler:Hopes, then Hopes' quote against Lelouch is "Not another word, Lelouch."]] It's because Lelouch has figured out what [[spoiler:Hopes' plan is way before the others.]] Because Lelouch has already done it with his "[[ZeroApprovalGambit Zero Requiem]]".