A Fun Playoff Idea

On April 8th, the Southern Professional Hockey League will have its first ever Challenge Round Selection Event.

Here, the #1 overall team will pick which of the 5-8 seeds they want to face for the Challenge Round, then #2 will have the next available pick, and #3 will have the last pick. The #4 team will then be assigned the remaining lower seeded team. After the “challenge round,” the bracket is re-seeded and the top remaining team automatically matches up against the lowest team, with the other two teams taking up the other semifinal.

Do you think this would be a good thing in FRC? Why or why not?

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I don’t think FIRST would ever do this, but I think it’s an awesome idea! I’ve seen some crazy bad 5th alliances and some scary 8th alliances… I think a “Challenge Round” would make for some really interesting strategic decisions.

I bet you would see a lot less 1 seed upsets with a Challenge Round Format. It would be really cool to see some offseason events try this out this year.

I don’t think we’ll ever see this at an official event, but I love when off-seasons experiment with alternative tournament formats.

If we’re talking alternative playoff formats, I think double elimination with one match per set would likely be more fun than single elimination with best of 3.

if WVROX can pull off 26 straight hours of FRC then some event somewhere can handle double elimination best of 3

This might be a bit mean for FRC. If you’re picked in the draft, you’re supposed to be the best available robot. If you get picked in the challenge round, you’re the worst alliance available. I feel like being the first alliance selected would not feel great for the members of that alliance.

welcome to the real world

you could take it as an insult, or you could take it as a challenge.

Best for the alliance, I’d say.

I think how well this plays comes down to how deep the event is, how well the teams know each other, and how badly someone wants to cut a promo on a friend/frenemy/rival. 9 times out of 10, this would be a terrible idea. But that 1 out of 10 could be glorious.

That’s awesome. I had no idea this playoff format was used in the past. Does anyone who’s been around longer than me want to give a history of all of the playoff formats that have been used in FRC?

I don’t have the full picture, but I’ve done enough deep dives into old Chief Delphi threads do know that what was posted is colloquially called the “bracket of doom” and was exceedingly rough on the second/third seeds in particular, if I remember correctly.

Consider your request seconded though, very interested particularly in the formats of those early/mid 90’s games, though as I understand at that point they were still individual team games.

That would be loosely correct.

TheBracket of DOOM! was a thing until 1999, when competition switched to alliances–that’s when the whole “pick your partner” started and got wrung out, and the tournament became the double-elimination we know and (mostly) love. Alliances expanded a couple years later to 3 bots; then to 3 plus a backup at champs quite recently (and now it’s 3 with a backup if one is called).

If you REALLY want to have fun… Kokomo TechnoKats. Knock yourselves out with the old manuals. (Bear in mind that updates were FAXED on the early units.)

I just wanted to think this thru and look at the trade offs.

single elimination, best of 3 (SEBO3) = 14 to 21 matches in eliminations not including ties.
double elimination, single match (DESM) = 14 or 15 matches in eliminations not including ties.
DESM has more built in field time outs at the end.

The best alliance has a slightly better chance of winning in SEBO3. (*see below)
DESM has a better chance of getting the second best alliance to finals.
DESM results in a clear third and fourth place alliance - if there was a desire to extend wildcards beyond the finalist alliance that may be relevant.

*What I did here was make a quick calculator assuming an alliance always has the same odds of winning in any given match. I came up with this table:
Odds of winning a match - SEBO3 odds of winning tournament - DESM odds of winning tournament
50%-------------------------12.5%-----------------------------------12.5% (passes sanity check)