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Unread 04-25-2012, 09:06 AM
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The Triple Balance: A risky 40 points?

With a topic title such as this, you would think this would be a "beginning of the season" topic, but it is really worth mentioning going into championships.

We all know the teams like HOT(67) and Miss Daisy(341) that have made triple balancing an art, and can do it within a timely manner. 67 has been seen to do it within 15 seconds. Then there are those that spend the last 40-50 seconds of a match trying to triple, and fail. Regardless of the time taken, there is a strategy to prevent the balance.

Most of us have seen the MAR championships, and in Finals match 1, the Red Alliance was prevented a triple balance, but not without the Blue Alliance racking up foul points. This discourages bridge defense. You don't want to have the match won by foul points. But there are ways to do defense with minimal foul points.

Let us take a hypothetical situation (granted, this entire strategy is hypothetical). We have a Red alliance consisted of Red1, Red2, and Red3. Red Alliance can triple within 15 seconds, and probably less. To counter this, the Blue Alliance will have to have two great offensive machines, and a machine with the best DPR possible. Blue1 and Blue2 should be able to score well, effectively, and double very quickly (Teams like 1114 and 2415 have been seen to double in 2-3 seconds).

Red1, Red2, and Red3 are lining up with the bridge. Red1 tips it down, and is about to go up, and the bots are lined up in this order:

R3 R2 R1 -bridge-

B3 is the highly defensive robot. R2 must not have made contact with the bridge yet. Since pinning is not called until 5 seconds, B3 can align in this orientation for 5 seconds:

R3 R2 R1 -bridge-
___B3

B3 will need to have a very high torque gearbox or be going with a high velocity when running into R2 (I don't think it would be pretty though if you ran into a bot at 15+ fps). B3 effectively plays defense, and more importantly wastes time for the Red Alliance. R3 will break formation to attempt to move B3 from R2. B3 will have no choice but to move away from R2, due to the pinning rule. R2 and R3 will need to rush in order to execute, and R2, being shaken by the defense, may need to cover some additional ground to align with the bridge again, wasting precious seconds off the clock. This will waste even more time, as long as B3 can hold its ground. At this point, about 7-8 seconds will be left (with the 15 second scenario up there), which is nearly impossible to allow for a triple (though HOT may beg to differ). For teams who take more time, they will need to recover and may have a chance at balancing still, but after 3 seconds, B3 can pin again to stop another robot, as long as B3 is 6 feet away.

While B3 is playing defense, B1 and B2 can continue to play offense, and as long as they can double in a few seconds, they can catch up to a deficit, and with the defense B3 is playing, Red Alliance may only be able to get a single or double balance at most.

There are other strategies like this. With Defense becoming a viable picking criteria in elims now, will we see more defense on triples, or will the triple continue to dominate elims like it has in the regionals?
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Unread 04-25-2012, 09:15 AM
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Re: The Triple Balance: A risky 40 points?

One of the biggest issues with trying to pull this off would be that whoever the driver of the hypothetical B3 would need to be very careful and very good in order to not get called for fouls. It's very easy to have fouls called against you when trying to play defense against a balance. 25 narrowly escaped this at Mt. Olive when they tried this same strategy. Also, B1 and B2 would need to make up a deficit of 20 points, assuming Red eventually triple balances and Blue makes a double balance. At that point, scoring 20 points becomes less of an issue of how well a team can score and more an issue of how many balls are left.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 09:22 AM
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Re: The Triple Balance: A risky 40 points?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert103 View Post
One of the biggest issues with trying to pull this off would be that whoever the driver of the hypothetical B3 would need to be very careful and very good in order to not get called for fouls. It's very easy to have fouls called against you when trying to play defense against a balance. 25 narrowly escaped this at Mt. Olive when they tried this same strategy. Also, B1 and B2 would need to make up a deficit of 20 points, assuming Red eventually triple balances and Blue makes a double balance. At that point, scoring 20 points becomes less of an issue of how well a team can score and more an issue of how many balls are left.
That is very true, the entire strategy takes a lot of skill and luck, but if the triple is prevented (even if there is a double) it gives enough time for blue, which will probably not be as effective on offense as red, to make up a deficit and perhaps take a lead.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 09:32 AM
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Re: The Triple Balance: A risky 40 points?

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Originally Posted by Wing View Post
That is very true, the entire strategy takes a lot of skill and luck, but if the triple is prevented (even if there is a double) it gives enough time for blue, which will probably not be as effective on offense as red, to make up a deficit and perhaps take a lead.
You're definitely right if the points before the balances are close enough. I think one of the easiest ways to play defense against a balance is to just get in the way early. Start playing defense and just getting in the way before they even start heading for the bridge. Keep yourself and the other team as far away from the bridge as possible for as long as you can.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 09:44 AM
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Re: The Triple Balance: A risky 40 points?

The strategy is effectively nullified if the Red team is lined up in their own alley. The fouls accrued would pile up quickly.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 10:08 AM
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Re: The Triple Balance: A risky 40 points?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wing View Post
...Red1, Red2, and Red3 are lining up with the bridge. Red1 tips it down, and is about to go up, and the bots are lined up in this order....
And if they're lined up in the red alley? What does B3 do then?

Someone's going to say that you prevent red from crossing to the other side. Well, only 2 bots need to do that, and R3 (or whomever) that stays is going to be perilously close to the bridge for B3 to run into them without the possibility of a technical, and automatic 40 points for red.

If R1 & R2 are good enough to A) be in eliminations at Worlds, and B) capable of balancing very quickly, they're going to be good enough to get across the barrier. Unless blue dedicates two bots to prevent this (which means they're not scoring) the red bots are going to get across, and they probably will anyway. Watch video of the eliminations in Kansas City, where the Bomb Squad did this repeatedly against attempts to block them. http://www.more.net/content/2012-fir...-final-matches. Sorry I don't have an exact match or time for an example; I have to get on the road to St. Louis.

What am I missing?
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Unread 04-25-2012, 10:34 AM
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Re: The Triple Balance: A risky 40 points?

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Originally Posted by Jaxom View Post
And if they're lined up in the red alley? What does B3 do then?

Someone's going to say that you prevent red from crossing to the other side. Well, only 2 bots need to do that, and R3 (or whomever) that stays is going to be perilously close to the bridge for B3 to run into them without the possibility of a technical, and automatic 40 points for red.
.
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What am I missing?
Right, and these are all different ways of avoiding a potential situation like the one I described up there. (By the way, I watched the GKC regional, and those matches were awesome!) What is the enemy of the teams who attempt to triple? Not Defense, not mistakes. It's time. (mistakes are a small part of it, but time covers that). Often it's a race against the clock, to ensure you have enough time to triple. It's a reason why HOT is so dominant on the bridge, they minimized time needed to balance.

In the case of crossing the barrier, any obstruction will delay the bots from getting to their positions. As long as time is wasted in defensive interactions with a bot, the potential of a triple balance goes down.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 10:44 AM
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Re: The Triple Balance: A risky 40 points?

@Jaxom: while this is true, it appears that the top tier alliances tend to form that triple balance train that Wing is talking about. While true that R3 can just cross over the barrier, not only does this throw things off who is going to balance on the edge/pushing the train up, but it also slows down the entire process.

However, I will give you the scenario where the three robots do not line up for a triple balance train. Instead, R1 and R2 go towards the bridge early (30-20 secs) and then they wait for R3. In this scenario, R1 and R2 can easily tip the bridge either way for R3 if defense is an issue.

I feel like if you wanted to defend the bridge in this manner, you'd only be able to pull it off once before the Red Alliance undoubtedly changes their strategy for a staggered approach.

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Unread 04-25-2012, 10:51 AM
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Re: The Triple Balance: A risky 40 points?

Its fairly easy to slow down a triple, and prevent the 3rd robot from going on if they are going from their offensive side of the field. It is also fairly easy to prevent someone from crossing the bump. IMO we will see defense on triple balancing be quite effective.
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Unread 04-25-2012, 12:13 PM
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Re: The Triple Balance: A risky 40 points?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wing View Post
R3 will break formation to attempt to move B3 from R2. B3 will have no choice but to move away from R2, due to the pinning rule. R2 and R3 will need to rush in order to execute, and R2, being shaken by the defense, may need to cover some additional ground to align with the bridge again, wasting precious seconds off the clock. This will waste even more time, as long as B3 can hold its ground. At this point, about 7-8 seconds will be left (with the 15 second scenario up there), which is nearly impossible to allow for a triple (though HOT may beg to differ). For teams who take more time, they will need to recover and may have a chance at balancing still, but after 3 seconds, B3 can pin again to stop another robot, as long as B3 is 6 feet away.
You can definitely break this defense with an Ally or staggered triple, but I think you're overestimating it's benefit overall. Specifically the bolded region. If I'm lined up against the wall ready to triple, and an unmovable robot (a fact I would well know by that point) pins me or the bot in front of me, I'm not going to break formation. Unless I'm darn sure I'll be able to return the situation to normal in less than 4 seconds (~1 second for B3 to get far enough away to avoid a G29), I'm going to stay put, exactly where I'm supposed to be, and get ready to bust forward when the pin breaks. The alliance would lose a couple seconds, but seeing the defender earlier would have affected our triple start time anyway. 4 seconds is a lot when you don't plan for it. The key doesn't need to be avoiding, though. Simple planning will do in most cases, even if it is 3% of your match time.

I haven't seen many elim drive teams shaken up by pinning defense, certainly not when they have time (which, barring other issues, they would have set aside by forseeing the issue). Getting flustered helps no one, and you always know the pin will break momentarily. (=At least, that's what I'll remind my drivers.

It seems for this to be viable, you need to move them off-track and/or slow them down more than just 4 seconds. Or you need to force them to start tripling later so that 4 seconds really is too long.
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