- In Warhammer 40,000: The Eldar specialize in reading the various futures that arise from each course of action, they know exactly how to maneuver their enemies into doing what they want. These tend to be quite dramatic when they work, but shows up most often when the audience learns what the seemingly nonsensical plan that was just thwarted was supposed to achieve.
- The "Social Combat" rules in the New World of Darkness allow someone to do this. Between Sway (persuading or manipulating others), Anticipation (predicting people or events) and Setup (organising people in order to set events in motion), it is possible to make such plans (or retroactively work them in after the fact).
- A good Tabletop RPG Game Master will do this to some extent to prevent things from going Off the Rails without the players feeling Railroaded. Have the players decided to take the left hand path or a right hand path? Doesn't matter. The Bandits just happened to set up the ambush on whichever route the players choose.
- Sometimes, this is referred to as the "Schrodinger's Character" tactic when applied to characters (playing at the idea that the players don't know till they check the proverbial box). The GM sets up a group of potential targets (such as who among a group of NPCs committed a murder) but whichever one the characters choose ends up being the guilty party.
- The tactic is also handy for situations where the characters have done something to critically undermine the plot (murdered a critical NPC, misinterpreted the villain and sided with him, etc). The GM goes along and keeps working on the fly to make their accidents seem like the plan all along.
- In the card game Werewolf, Mafia, Doppelganger, or whatever you want to call it (pretty much all the same), there is one option that can put all of the suspicion off of an attacking player - choosing to attack themselves. If this player can manipulate the nurse/haywitch/whatever to protect them for that round, then they'll be safe, and probably in a good position to win. However, this is very risky, and if it doesn't succeed, then they immediately lose.
- In basically any strategy game reliant on trading and resource management, such as Settlers of Catan, players who know each other well depend on these. Players depend on their friends acting in the way they usually do, and so offer trades in such a way that it seems nearly pointless, but in fact is a necessary step toward victory.
- The epic Dungeons & Dragons module Die Vecna Die! starts with the evil demigod Iuz the Old finding ancient tablets that reveal to him, piece by painstakingly gathered piece, a way to achieve true godhood. The tablets claim that he first requires a portion of flesh from the original body of any other demigod (called "the relic"); if such a portion is obtained, the candidate must cast the powerful dweomer recorded on the tablet within a few feet of the demigod the relic came from (called "the sacrifice"). If it works, the sacrifice is consumed by the candidate, who is elevated to true godhood. Iuz plans to invade Vecna's fortress in the Demiplane of Dread, steal the Eye of Vecna that is stored there, and then confront Vecna, believing nobody would care if Vecna is slain. (Which is true.) Problem is, Vecna himself planted the tablets, intending to lead Iuz into a trap so that he can achieve true godhood. In truth, the dweomer actually requires the sacrificial demigod to willingly instigate the spell, using the relic as a focus. Then, when said dweomer concludes, the real candidate demigod speaks the capstone phrase in the Language Primeval, which initiates the transfer through the relic. Only Vecna knows the phrase. In short, if successful, Iuz is consumed by Vecna, granting Vecna the boon Iuz wants and letting him escape from the demiplane. Vecna's only flaw is that a group of heroes do not want Iuz's plan to succeed, and follow him, leading them into conflict with the true orchestrator of the scheme - Vecna.
- In Paranoia, the designer of the experimental Traitor Killer was aiming for this trope. They assumed that (a) there would be at least one traitor on the team, and (b) they'd volunteer to field-test the Traitor Killer so that another teammate wouldn't use it against them. (And to be fair, they're probably right on both counts.) So when it's activated, it explodes and kills the user.
Batman Gambit / Tabletop Games