Sunday, 29 April 2012

A - Z Challenge: X is for Xanatos Gambit



        WHAT IS IT?

The Xanatos Gambit is a complex and convoluted plan where every outcome benefits the planner. The plan works with bluff, contingencies and manipulation of the opponents to the point where they are unaware that they are now, for all intents and purposes, working directly for you. [1]

The only way to escape a Xanatos Gambit once you're caught up in one is by somehow foiling all presented options and leaving the organizer thoroughly beaten.


No world traveling for us today.  This is more of an intellectual exercise you can come up with one anywhere you happen to find yourself. That being said, castles, mountain caves and stormy beaches would offer the most dramatic effect. [2]


Since it's a plan to get other people to do your bidding then you'll be able to use it anywhere. Of course since I don't know [3] the detailed specifics of what you've been scheming I'll have to keep this vague and suggest that the halls of politics is where the Xanatos Gambit would be most useful. Although since you'll be dealing with politicians who themselves would be, at the very least, aware of the Gambit and, more worryingly, masters of it themselves it would be difficult to know who was on top [4]

         USING IT IN WRITING [5]

Leaving aside specifics which, really is going to be up to your villain could pull off one of these which leads the hero into not only facing the dangers of the quest to retrieve the big ball of shiny and on their return they actually deliver it to you before realizing that you've been the baddie all along.

The hero might rumble the plans of your villain, forcing them to improvise wildly. Of course since the gambit depends on them knowing all the outcomes then this will have been long planned for.

Despite everything being planned for someone, either hero or henchman, manages to break through the gambit and select an option that your planner didn't bank on

It might be that someone knows something about the plan that they shouldn't know. Now your villain has got to take them out of the picture or all their scheming could come to naught.


  1. Pro tip: Whatever you do don't tell them about their part in your plans. Yes, even if they are securely shackled and descending slowly into the bathtub filled with angry ducks.
  2. You might also work on an evil laugh. If you're good then you might do the laugh for irony but chances are if you're working on one of these plans then you're one of the villains.
  3. or don't I? The password was easy to bluff and your pet artificial intelligence was so very accommodating. (or maybe this is all a trick to get you worried. But in doing so wouldn't you be falling into my own cleverly set trap?) I think we'll take the evil laughter as read for now.
  4. Some might insist it's the one who sits in the big boys chair and leads the country.
  5. An actual footnote to mention that one of the Batman stories showed that one of his plans was to set all the criminals in Gotham working against each other. This was going to have profound effects throughout the city as organized crime was rampant.
  6. If your brains haven't melted through the stress of trying to keep the whole thing straight that is.

The Excellent Double-extra XX
imbibing King Xerxes, who lived a
long while ago.