2014 Lessons Learned: The positive

What did FIRST do particularly well this year?

They had a game design that when played well felt like you were watching a sporting event.

The Championship Finals were extremely exciting and really came down to team strategies rather then one particular robot dominating the field.

4 team alliances. Loved it.
More awards during division eliminations.
Inspectors emphasizing “Customer Service”.

Was this something new done with Championship inspections? Care to be a little more detailed?

Single game pieces are the way forward. It was so much more rewarding seeing three robots playing a team sport rather than three robots performing a task in parallel.

Transparency and community reaction time.

It was great to see Frank/HQ react to controversial events in the community quickly and professionally.

In the regional season it wasn’t all that great, but at the championship level it was great to see what the world’s best could do and the dynamic of the alliances

I will agree though that having one game piece made the game much easier follow and definitely led to some amazing performances and strategies at these upper echelons of play. Perhaps going to 2-3 game pieces per alliance could be a good balance between a low number of pieces and not having to overly rely on alliance partners?

The game itself–as a game–was a good game. Lots of action, lots of excitement, lots of score swings.
The reaction to “Not enough refs to handle the game” in Week 1 was pretty good, just wish it had been sooner, like before Week 1.
Frank (and HQ) being open and responsive when stuff came up, 'nuff said.

During our initial meeting with Al, and later reiterated by the division LRI, we were encouraged to keep the inspection experience for the team a positive one. This happened at CMP, can’t speak for the regionals and districts.

Also loved the Einstein webcast. Like, it was almost TV quality stuff. Really made the game accessible and understandable. Just need a few people to work on their speeches :rolleyes:

This game was designed for Eliminations/Championships. My family was glued to the screen throughout the day.

I have 4 young children (ages 7 and less) and we watched the action throughout the day today. Our dinner was interrupted by the second finals match (and it was Sloppy-Joe night!) - my 2 year old daughter left her plate and then went back about 45 minutes later to finish…

I loved Ultimate Ascent - but as a person that has coached a number of sports, Aerial Assist was a great game. I know that there were issues (BELIEVE ME - I KNOW!) but the game when it was played with great alliances was awesome. Anytime you can get 2, 6, and 7 year olds screaming along with a couple of 30-somethings, it was a great game.

Without a doubt - the sportscaster presence explaining the game was great. FRC did an incredible job. I will add that the camera work was great as well.

I agree the sportscaster like analysis of the match and the interviews from the sidelines were great. It made it much more like a sporting broadcast and also gave a chance for more of the great MCs to be a part of the Einstein matches.

The fact that this game couldn’t be “broken”. Meaning, there wasn’t one robot design nor strategy that would guarantee a win.

You could play the perfect strategy one match but then have it defended against the next. (Einstein F1-2, for example).

I loved how scouting was incredibly important this year. It was absolutely necessary to scout in detail. This year was about thinking, not just building and driving. It reminded me of '05.

This about sums it up for me. Last year was a lot less interesting in terms of strategy- you picked up frisbees and shot them. Then you climbed. This year, there are many different ways to play, allowing younger teams to do really well.

I agree, but this year’s rookies/young teams needed to be solid - meaning that they had to be able to contribute to the play. I love how FRC incorporates young teams and allows them to qualify for the Championships - but in order to prove their meddle, they needed to be at the top of their game.

I think that we saw this play out in the alliances that made it to Einstein - with no team less than a few years old contributing to the field play.

I think the Einstein Field flowed a lot better this year. Last year, there was too much time between the matches due to awards being given out and guest speakers. It was much better when the matches occurred closer to each other, keeping the excitement going.

I still stand by my hatred of the game during quals for both champs and at the regional level, and to a lesser degree at some regional elim matches.

But those were the greatest elim champs matches I have ever seen. Ultimate Ascent was thrilling, Rebound Rumble had a nail-biting finish, but I’ve never been as captivated with elimination matches period as I have been with Aerial Assist. Now if only the process to getting there was a bit different…

Seeing those quick strategic autonomous changes in the Einstein finals was one of the coolest things I had seen in a long time.

The Einstein closing ceremonies (though only seen through a webcast this year) seemed a lot faster than in the past. Now, I was in the comfort of my own home so I can’t speak on how the length was at the venue, but I think that FIRST really hit their goal of having a better length for the closing ceremony that kept everyone engaged throughout.

This is virtually always true. The fact that 5136 was even selected by our Newton alliance is impressive. 4334 (2012) is the only rookie in recent history to actually play on the Big Stage. This year may have been a unique challenge for rookies, but looking at Einstein can’t illuminate much in that regard.

From the floor, it was much, much better. We knew when we would be playing and how long we had to prepare. The volunteer-to-coach communication was infinitely better than last year (and they really were putting an effort in last year). We all really enjoyed watching, and the pace felt a lot better overall. Of course, not having a last-second scoring error --> bumper switch may be biasing my opinion, but kudos to FIRST. Many thanks!

Fixed your post there for you well, for me, Sam.