Anyone else just feel behind this year?

I don’t know if it is just our team or if the game is harder than normal but I know our team at least just feels so behind like this year was one of our better-managed years and yet the day of competition our extension doesn’t work and now we have to score low. Under normal circumstances, I would just keep this to myself but I noticed a lot of other teams, even the teams who normally go to worlds every year in our district are also struggling and seem super behind so it makes me wonder how many other teams out there also have this insurmountable feeling of just being super behind?


Speaking from our team’s position, we are even more behind than you guys, our first competition is next week and we just have a driveable chassis and some parts. And I felt like this year was much better managed than our last year, which was kind of our “rookie” (in terms of member experience) year after covid.

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So many things that should have been easy this year have been hard, and we’re not yet at a spot where I feel our robot actually works well enough despite having been “mechanically completed” almost a month ago. Our first event is next week, and our cone-handling is still half a disaster, we have a conveyor that randomly stalls and we simply cannot chase down why (despite hours and hours and days of trying), and every time we think we’ve got an issue resolved it seems to come back and bite us again.

And of course we have no spare NEOs or 5:1 stages because you can’t get them for anything right now.


Hmmm, interesting to hear this. Coming from a team that historically has trouble getting going we’re doing quite well this year by our standards.

I think for teams that don’t do as much off-season work, the issue comes down to a pick and place game after 3 years of no pick and place games. Current students, besides 2019 freshmen, have never had experience with it at all.


I think if it were just cubes or just cones, most teams would be in a significantly better place.


Yeah, I think on our team at least is that we have one senior on our team from 2019 and that’s being a freshman, so I think experience is a massive factor into this because in 2022 taking 2020 designs and making it bigger was a workable strategy.

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I kind of did leading into our first event. We didn’t have the intake plates cut and assembled until about a week before our week 1 event. But we must have been pretty on time since we had multiple autos on hand and mostly working and did really well at the event.

But I agree that lots of teams seem behind on functionality compared to last year, between teleop and auto scoring and connection issues.

PS and we didn’t even settle on swerve until about two weeks after kickoff which felt kind of late to me.

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I have a theory the lack of a need for a dedicated end game mechanism left many teams feeling like they had a lot of extra resources (time, expertise, money, shop/machine access), as such they built more complex mechanisms across the rest of the robot. In many cases, this extra complexity may have over taxed the resources that were freed up by not having to build a dedicated end game mechanism, leaving these teams behind or under prepared.

Sometimes being handed too much rope is trap that causes you to get tangled up and trip.


Agreed. There are very simple ways to play this game at a high level. There are also very complex ways to play this at a high level. With a game at this level of strategic depth it is very easy to just go for a very complex option since all you need is a scoring mechanism.


A simple explanation is that 2020 season freshman are now seniors, so the most experienced students on the team really only have 1.5, maybe 2 seasons of experience total. Juniors and sophomores only have one real season of experience at max.


I wish that were the case for us. We KISS principled this and took great care not to bite off more than we could chew, only to find everything much chewier than we expected.


I might as well have been chewing on a lacrosse ball the way this season seems to be going…

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All of the little pieces of the game are simple. Pick up a game piece, place it in a scoring area, drive onto a platform and stay there. The problem is, there’s a deceptively large amount of room for optimization.

Do you pick up from the floor? Which substation are you using? Are you handling both cones and cubes? What about tipped over cones? Forward, backward, sideways, or all of the above? Also, your robot has to be small so you can fit all 3 teams on the Charging Station. Maybe you can have a buddy support you so you can squeeze in one extra cycle.

Uh oh, the Everybot came out. It can do cones and cubes on all 3 levels. Suddenly the floor just got a whoooole lot lower. The best teams can no longer be the best by scoring higher than everybody else. You’ll probably want a 2 game piece auto. Can you push it to 3 and still have time to balance? Maybe if you drop the first one low…or launch it?


In addition I think a lot of teams really underestimated how difficult pick and place games with an odd shaped piece and precision scoring can be.

Last game like this was probably 2011 and I can remember as a rookie team we really struggled with that game. I was only a freshman then and don’t recall how other teams managed it.


we’re a 28 year old team and we are 3-5 weeks behind schedule atm, with our first event in week 3. we did have our old lead mentor retire so that may be playing a part in what is happening


I think it probably has to do with upperclassmen. While these are typically the backbone of your team, COVID decimated recruiting, education, and experience for these kids.

I imagine next year is equally as rough for teams in regions that didn’t reopen as fast.


Also the only game these kids have known is “shoot balls then climb”. This is the first completely different game for them (and even for mentors, every game since Recycle Rush save Power-Up has had some aspect of shooting a ball).


Some other factors:

  • supply chain challenges forcing redesigns or late assembly/test
  • even with COTS, swerve adds substantial software complexity, and after seeing Einstein last year, plus the design of this year’s game, mid-tier teams are feeling the need to do swerve to be competitive, so stretching their capacity that way

We dropped swerve a couple of days into the season, but are going into a regional with zero spare motors and zero spare gearboxes because they’re just not in stock. It’s not a good feeling.


3 days ago I welded a whole set of stuff for a team that is competing today. They’re building it at the event as I type this.