"So even in defeat, the detective manages to achieve some small measure of victory..."
— Ra's Al Ghul, Batman: The Animated Series, "Off Balance"
"It's like, even when we win... he wins."
— Strong Bad, Homestar Runner
"Someone who only wins when he's dealt a great hand of cards is a fool, not a gambler."
— Fortunato, Void Dogs
Garak: You, on the other hand, seem to have left your retirement far behind. Unless you're simply on a pleasure cruise with your pointed-eared friends...?
Enabran Tain: (to Garak's associate) Cunning, isn't he? He makes a racial slur within earshot of two Romulans, putting me in the position of either defending them — thus giving away my allegiance to them — or letting the comment pass, in which case he's managed to plant a seed of discord between us.
—Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Improbable Cause"
"Let us assume that Batman wins. Doom's machinations are such that even if Batman manages to be triumphant, his victory will only come about in a way that somehow furthers Doom's overall villainous schemes."
— Black Mage, 8-Bit Theater
Norman Osborn: Something occurs to me — either Spider-Man is destroyed, or you get Oscorp. Whatever happens, you win.
Kingpin: That's why I'm the Kingpin.
— Spider-Man: The Animated Series, "The Spider Slayer"
"That's nothing, because MY plan included everything in your plan, but also some other stuff that gives me the upper hand after all!"
— HEATH LEDGER, The Dark Knight: The Abridged Script
Littlefinger stroked the neat spike of his beard. "Lysa has woes of her own. Clansmen raiding out of the Mountains of the Moon, in greater numbers than ever before... and better armed."
"Distressing," said Tyrion Lannister, who had armed them. "I could help her with that. A word from me..."
"Taker is a master of Mind Games, his entire career shows that. And he's also a man to [not] ignore unpleasant possibilities. He'll plan for any occasion, he'll have back ups and back ups for back ups. I guess he might have a back up for the back up of the back up, but that's merely confusing speculation."
— Matthew Sforcina, Evolution Schematic: The Undertaker, Part 3
"...the skillful fighter puts himself into a position which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating the enemy. Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won."
— Sun Tzu, The Art of War
"There is a small Rahi, called a Water Wraith. So small, so insignificant is it, that larger fish do not even consider it a worthy meal. But every now and then, a bold water wraith will attack a much larger and more powerful than it. It is a one sided battle, of course, that ends with the poor Water Wraith in the mouth of its foe. Of course, what the larger fish quickly discovers is that the outer shell of a water wraith is coated with deadly poison. The larger fish dies instantly and the water wraith escapes to feast for months on its foolish and very dead opponent. Sometimes, my brothers, the best way, the only way to winů is by losing."
— Makuta Teridax, BIONICLE
"The key to strategy... is not to choose a path to victory, but to choose so that all paths lead to a victory."
— Cavilo, The Vor Game
"If I win, I get to be a king. If I lose, I get to be a legend."
— General Tarquin, The Order of the Stick
"You are just one of many roads I might choose to take. Trust me. I made certain of that."
— Master Xehanort, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
Parson: Ansom is bound to capture me for you? That's what I'm guessing, anyway.
Charlie: Good guess. Yes, you and your artifact, of course.
Charlie: When you're working for Charlescomm, you'll learn. We prefer to play games that don't even contain a losing outcome. You see?
Parson: Yeah, yeah... You turned it into a no-lose situation by rejoining him.
Charlie: Oh, no!
Charlie: No, I got paid to turn it into a no lose situation. :)
"Their every move makes my victory more complete."
— General Tarquin, The Order of the Stick
"Every way makes my gain."
— Iago, Othello
Exactly. Which means that when we're finaly ready to draw the Coruscant sector fleet into ambush, Mrisst will be the perfect lure. If they attack, we'll defeat them. If they sense the trap and pull back, we'll have our forward base. Either way, we'll win.
Admiral Thrawn, The Thrawn Trilogy
look what your true goal is, then start looking for the ways to reach it
They have seen all of history, all of its possibilities. They have seen all the endings. But they must know, the goddess Etro is already dead. Her end is final. No man, woman, or god can bring her back now. Ignorant and blind to their true mission, they did exactly what I wanted.
Caius Ballad, Final Fantasy XIII-2
Thirty years hence, I am presented with a dilemma - let's call it a two-sided coin. If the coin falls one way, I sacrifice myself and thus restore the Pillars. But as the last surviving vampire in Nosgoth, this would mean the annihilation of our species. If the coin lands on the reverse, I refuse the sacrifice and thus doom the Pillars to an eternity of collapse. Either way, the game is rigged.
Kain, Legacy of Kain