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Gambit Index

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"Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, 'This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.' Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms."


  • First, you have The Plan.
  • If all reasonably possible outcomes are desirable, then it's a Xanatos Gambit.
  • If things do go wrong, but the person keeps adjusting the plan so that it works anyway, they're playing Xanatos Speed Chess.
  • If the plan involves predicting someone's actions based on their character and planning accordingly, then it's a Batman Gambit.
  • If that plan works simply by letting someone know about it and try to prevent it, then it's a Paranoia Gambit.
  • If the plan works because everyone knows the plan, but doesn't believe it's the real plan, that's a Cassandra Gambit.
  • If it required knowledge of chance events, then it's a Gambit Roulette.
  • If someone ruins the plan by having a better plan, the first plan is Out-Gambitted.
  • If the plan involves you not knowing the plan, though there is still definitely a plan, then it's a Memory Gambit.
  • If the plan involves the victim knowing you have a plan but thinking it's a different one that they know how to beat, then it's a Kansas City Shuffle.
  • If the plan costs you your reputation, it's a Zero-Approval Gambit.
  • If the plan is created by the "victim"'s friends and loved ones for benign purposes (for example, as a practical joke), it is Friendly Scheming.
  • If the plan involves fooling your enemies into fighting each other, it's Playing Both Sides.
    • If the goal as such is to weaken them so you can eliminate them later, it's Divide and Conquer.
    • If the goal is to make money and/or gain amusement from the conflict, it's War for Fun and Profit.
    • If the goal is to pretend to be an enemy and attacking another enemy so they'll fight each other without them knowing it was you, then it's False Flag Operation.
  • If it besmirches the reputation of someone who is already dead instead of someone living, that's a Deceased Fall-Guy Gambit.
  • If a poison is administered, and the cure leveraged for your advantage, that's a Poison and Cure Gambit.
  • If the plan involves tricking someone into leading you to what or who you want, then it's a Trick-and-Follow Ploy.
  • If the plan fails, but for some reason everything still goes as wanted, it's an Unintentional Backup Plan.
  • If someone actually foresees all the plans, then that person can sometimes Take a Third Option.
    • If there was no way for the planner to have known that option was even possible, then they Didn't See That Coming.
  • If you think you won, but actually did exactly what the other person wanted, you are an Unwitting Pawn — but simply furthering the plot doesn't qualify you as one.
  • If the plan involves someone injuring themselves in order to play on someone's sympathies to gain an advantage, that's a Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
  • If the plan hinges on the planner's apparent defeat or failure, then resulting in a positive outcome, then it's a Failure Gambit.
    • If someone plans to fail, and accidentally succeeds — in other words, they fail to fail, then it's Springtime for Hitler.
  • If the plan involves intentionally getting hurt in battle to gain an advantage, that's Deliberate Injury Gambit.
  • If the person's own death was factored into a favorable outcome, then it's a Thanatos Gambit.
    • If your death is mitigated by having a clone take over, that's a Cloning Gambit.
  • If a subordinate's death is considered a favourable outcome, then it's the Uriah Gambit.
  • If you get someone placed in dangerous situations from something seemingly innocuous, that's a Trouble Magnet Gambit.
  • If you're at the mercy of a stronger foe, but stay alive by keeping them amused, that's a Scheherezade Gambit.
  • If you're a woman withholding sex to manipulate your significant other, that's a Lysistrata Gambit.
  • If you purposely yield to a powerful enemy because it benefits you more to do so, it's a Kingmaker Scenario.
  • If you take down someone too strong to beat directly by destroying everything else that matters to them, that's a Despair Gambit.
  • If you get enemies to join forces to fight an enemy they would not have otherwise fought, that's a Genghis Gambit.
  • If you get your enemies to mistake innocents for your minions, that's a Disguised Hostage Gambit.
  • If you pretend to be someone else, that's Impersonation Gambit.
    • If you pretend to be your own twin as a disguise, even though you don't actually have a twin, that's a Fake Twin Gambit.
  • If you profit from the passage of time skipped over, that's the Compound-Interest Time Travel Gambit.
  • If you foil one event by scheduling another event at the exact same time, even if the reverse eventually happens, that's a Party Scheduling Gambit.
  • To share a plan you've used before, try some Tactical Reminiscence.
  • For the speech that comes when the plan is completed and your enemies are defeated, but they don't know it yet, that's Check and Mate.
  • If the plan involves getting yourself taken captive, you're a Trojan Prisoner.
  • If the plan involves deliberately poisoning yourself or at least pretending to be poisoned in order to poison someone else, then it's a Self-Poisoning Gambit.
  • If some or all of the above gambits are used by different characters trying to manipulate each other at the same time, then it's a Gambit Pileup.
  • However if there is no plan and you are really just making it up as you go along, that's the Indy Ploy.
  • Thanks to the Unspoken Plan Guarantee, it's likely your plan will succeed or fail (or just not go as planned) depending on whether you keep it quiet or explain it all.
  • If you get a site declared a landmark to save it, that's a Landmark Declaration Gambit.
  • For the game show involving blackjack, see here. For the comic book character, see here.

However, if you want to see how other brilliant minds have gone about this sort of thing, direct your attention below:



Gambits, plots, and other forms of scheming


Alternative Title(s): Xanatos Planned This Index