2024 IRI Alliance Selection

In the spirit of trying to improve the FRC Alliance Selection process, we are trying some new things at the 2024 IRI.

CD gave some great feedback last year when we implemented a time limit for the 2023 IRI Alliance Selection. That was the first time our community had a long, deep discussion about improving Alliance Selection. Since then, we’ve seen some difficult situations happen during Selections at a few events, and many other FRC off-season events are trying new methods for improving Alliance Selection. There’s even an Alliance Selection task force working on this issue. Full disclosure: I’m on that committee, and some of the things being tried out at IRI is for this committee.

The time limit we implemented at 2023 IRI went ok, but the practice time limitation was very difficult to manage. This year, we are not limiting time for the selection process, but we are implementing these changes to see if they improve the process:

  • Three representatives per team (max one adult)
  • Two microphones being used (one on field, one where teams are queued)
  • Selections auto-accept in the case of 3rd or 4th alliance members (teams will have to decline in advance if they are broken, etc.)
  • Video break (1-2 minutes) added to make a pause before the last round is picked
  • An added emphasis is made by the MC, reminding us that the Alliance Captain has final decision within their alliance.

Our intent here is to try some ideas in order to make this process better and more enjoyable. I am positive that all of these tweaks will not be 100% embraced by all, but we are trying them out.

Here is a complete document of the script and notes.

Andy B.

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Even though I’m not at IRI I love all these changes. Although I have some questions/concerns

When you say “adult” do you mean one mentor

This is probably a little concern but say theoretically all teams at the event have 3 reps wouldn’t that crowd the queuing area very quickly and make it difficult to find the invited team

Does this mean that students will no longer say “we greatly accept”. Because if they are I really don’t see how this saves time and it still gives the opportunity to decline essentially

I think a good video idea would be some kind of recap of IRI last year to hype up the playoffs

Is the intent here to have those in queue not walk onto the field to accept/decline, thus removing that additional time?

Edit: I read the attached document where it does confirm this.

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A note or two on the script:

  • The Top of the script defining the process has item d denoting the start is 10 minutes after, and f(ii) uses the language “approximately 10 minutes”
  • To help readability on the field for MCs don’t use a numbered (or lettered) list for their text if you can avoid it. Also consider an all-caps font choice and extra paragraph spacing.
  • Selection c(3) is phrased oddly… If Alliance 1 picks the 2-8 seed this works… If the pick falls out of the top 8 the chosen team may not have the option of forming an alliance. It’s likely rare, but possible.
  • Final comments section item c appears to be cut off.

Overall I like the idea and am keen to see how it plays out at IRI. Thanks for all the hard work!

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Two microphones to cut time for the first round is a great idea, I’ll probably use this at Roboteer Rumble. Glad to see other events doing the 2nd/3rd round auto-accept as well, as well as (it appears) going straight into alliance selection instead of calling all the captains to the field first.

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Small process clarification - is 3.d meant to be shortcutting that we need to invite out the next captain (effectively going back to 3.a), or am I missing where we invite out all 8 captains (which would present it’s own logistics problems with the plan for accept/reject being off-field)?

Excited to see how this plays out, time limits concern me for a variety of reasons (that are out of scope of this thread, happy to discuss over DM if people want my opinion on it) and I’m hopeful that these changes solve some of the problems we’ve seen both this year and just in general.

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Why not 2nd as well. There is no longer a chance of being a captain at the 2nd pick.

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I’m assuming he meant robot. AKA, 2nd or 3rd pick.

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Thanks, all, for this quick feedback. I’ve made some edits to my post above and also the script document.

ALSO, if anyone (ahem, @Ben_Martin) would like to try some other ideas that have been considered as improvements at their off-season event, please send me an email or PM.

Andy B.

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I think the intention is 1 non student.

First off I am glad to know someone on one of these committees. I liked that with the elims committee everyone was public and wished the same was true for all the committees this year. Seeing Andy on this committee does help put my mind at ease.

I like these changes and while I understand these are ideas that are being tested and are not decided but I do have a logistic concern if they are extended to official events.

When I look at an event like Orlando they can pretty easily fit the 64 team 192 people for alliance selection behind the curtain. In comparison Tallahassee would struggle to find an area to fit the 36 team 108 people safely. I hope that the area needed for this alliance selection is now part of venue selection/team limit. I know FIRST kind of tells events (at least regionals) how to layout their pits to keep them consistent between events so possibly them telling venues what area to use for alliance selection might be for the best.

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It should just be after all captain positions are set, rather than rounds, for if someone burns the field.

I am curious about the two mics as well. They mention the second mic being in the queue rather than two field mics. I could see them alternating the GA/MC on the field for selection to speed up the process. But off the field with auto selections, does this just mean they will have the 1st picks come to the queue mic to accept and then head to the field to talk 2nd picks while the MC moves on?

Another idea would be to have a step forward zone for selected 2nd/3rd picks by the queue. Instead of mic time to accept, maybe give a 15-30 second shoutout time for those teams to thank sponsors and alliance captains. Gives a short time for the MC to transition to next field team and for them to ready their pick.

That’s how I read the documents.

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will there be a pick timer like at BattleCry?

cries in FiM 40-Team events in a high school gym

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I’m curious on the thinking here. I can understand possibly allowing a second person who could be working with a laptop computer to update the pick priorities based on which teams have been eliminated from the pool and possibly adjustments to strategy given the alliances that were formed, But why 3 people? Is it just so that you can take a vote in the case of a disagreement (majority wins)? Or was there some other nuance to the “role” of the 3rd person?

Second question: is it required to have 3 representatives, or is that an allowance of up to 3 representatives (minimum 1)? I could see the teams that are likely to be captains or 1st picks wanting to have some support when making their selections and/or deciding to accept an invitation. But for the teams that are likely to be auto-accepted 2nd picks or 3rd picks, there is not much reason to need more than 1 person. For smaller teams, you may want more people working in the pits on fixing the robot rather than dedicating 3 people to alliance selection.

I thought about asking that… But if they want to allow an adult mentor, having 2 others present avoids any YPP issues.

“Why 3 people?”

Essentially, we are trying to see if this amount of people will logistically fit on and around the field during alliance selection, while still providing support to the lead student representative.

“Is it required to have 3 representatives?”

From the script previously posted:
All teams competing in the finals can send up to 3 team members to represent their team during alliance selection. One member must be a student who is speaking for the team. Of the other representatives, only one may be an adult.

I agree that the 4th team added to the alliance has minimal reason to have more than 1 person. So, if the first 3 teams have 3 people and the 4th has 1, that total is 10. We’re looking at 80 people on or around the field. We may need to move some of the team members into the driver stations. It will be fun to figure out!

Andy B.

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As others have said, im really not a fan of this specifically (these are teams getting their moment in the spotlight too, is their experience really worth less?) But i dont have any strong opinions on the rest. Interested to see if it improves anything.

The teams certainly would have their time in the sun. The MC would announce the team as they are selected. They come out to the field to join their alliance mates. The only thing that is missing is, “Do you accept?” and “We gratefully (graciously) accept.” Which when you get to the 3rd and 4th team on an alliance that is merely formality. This saves that time.

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