Nate: Mmm, yeah, that's a stretch.
A plan that revolves entirely around people doing exactly what you'd expect them to do. This trope relies heavily on Flaw Exploitation manipulating, although it can work with virtues instead of "flaws" just as easily. Sometimes the flaw is that the villains are so predictable that they'll take the first chance they have to do something mean and underhanded. Other times, the flaw is that the heroes are so heroic that they'll act for the greater good without even thinking about it. A particularly Genre Savvy person will recognize the fact that heroes always win—and design a plan based on the assumption that they will succeed.
Provided that a character is smart enough and manipulative enough, they can get the people around them to do just about anything. Sometimes this can be accomplished by the power of charisma, but other times it needs to be perpetrated through an elaborate scheme. This scheme takes into account everything that The Chessmaster (as well as the viewer) knows about the characters being manipulated, and uses it against them. The patsies in this scheme only act and respond as their own predictability dictates and all the pieces fall into place.
The key difference between the Xanatos Gambit and the Batman Gambit is that while the former is structured so that any reasonable outcome will work to the advantage of the gambit instigator (and is thus "foolproof"), the Batman Gambit does have a failure condition. Indeed, this failure condition will often be quite obvious and foreseeable to the audience, who have the benefit of perspective and objectivity: The failure condition in a Batman Gambit relies on someone acting out of character—or at least how the planner perceives their character. Consequently, Batman Gambits are only as successful as their planner is knowledgeable and insightful about those involved.
In short, if there is any reasonable action the pawns could take that would ruin the entire scheme, then it's a Batman Gambit. Because of this, a truly cunning planner will bluff their pawns into believing they have no options in the first place, and the pawns' best hope may be to realize that they have an opportunity to Take a Third Option.
Named after Batman, a character known as the World's Greatest Detective, who through careful analysis can often predict his foes' actions to psychic-like accuracy.
See also Manipulative Bastard, for the character most likely to attempt/pull these off; Unwitting Pawn, for the people who unwittingly help the Gambit along, and Spanner in the Works/Unwitting Instigator of Doom, for the people who unintentionally send it spinning into disaster. Also see Evil Cannot Comprehend Good for a common reason why villainous attempts fail.
Contrast with the MacGuffin Delivery Service. A failed attempt sometimes results in Springtime for Hitler. Also see Indy Ploy for the lack of a plan. A gambit that relies on the victim knowing he's being "played" but not knowing how is a Kansas City Shuffle. If things do go wrong, but the person keeps adjusting things so that Plan A works anyway, he's playing Xanatos Speed Chess. The Tape Knew You Would Say That is a subtrope.
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