Are the Semis & Finals worth playing?

Posted by Joe Johnson at 2/4/2001 7:59 PM EST

Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.

I am torn in my mind about the way the Semi-Finals and
Finals are going to go.

CONSTANT SCORES => REDUNDANT SEMIS & FINALS
Part of my brain can see alliance scores being more or
less constant from round to round. That is, an
alliance that scores 520 in the first match of the
Quarter-Finals will score 520 in every round they play
from then on.

When I think this way, I think to myself that by the
time that teams get to the elimination rounds at the
Nationals, only the best of the best will be there. AND
all the confusion about how to maximize scoring will be
resolved to a few key moves that almost everyone will
understand clear.

VOLITILE SCORES => SEMIS AND FINALS MUST BE PLAYED TO
KNOW WHO’LL WINS

The other part of my brain sees the scores in the
elimination rounds as anything but constant.

When I think this way, I think that all 4 teams will
each have to perform everything perfect to get the
alliance’s highest possible score. Beyond this there
is the risk factor. Because time figures into the
score, teams will rush themselves and take chances in
order to shave precious seconds off their time. Teams
may take the ramp at higher speeds or try to balance
the goals in a hurried fashion. All this leading to
uncertain scores as the risks sometimes payoff and
sometimes panout.

One final wild card that makes the Semis and Finals
more than a repeat performance is the limited
availability of stretcher tickets. Think about it.
Suppose an alliance gets their highest scores in the
Quarter Finals by using a stretcher ticket for a
particular team. The question is then when to use the
second ticket? If they use it in the Semis, they may
not have it when they need it in the Finals. If they
don’t use it, they may not make it to the Finals.

BOTTOM LINE:

I can see this breaking both ways, with the volatile
score version being a bit more likely (I’d place the
odds at 60-40)

Which way do you think it will break?

Do tell.

Joe J.

Posted by Rich at 2/4/2001 8:35 PM EST

Engineer on team #334, BTHS Knights, from Brooklyn Tech. HS and Con Ed, SIAC Keyspan.

In Reply to: Are the Semis & Finals worth playing?
Posted by Joe Johnson on 2/4/2001 7:59 PM EST:

My biggest concern on scoring is “what Teams will be in my Alliance?” If all four Teams agreed to a single strategy then the game plan will run successfully and scoring will be high. But try to get four students to agreed on lunch, it takes over 15 minutes.

LUCK also plays and important role in the success of the Alliance. If all four Teams of an Alliance can do the same function and nothing else, than the scoring will be limited. If all four Team has strong robots then the Alliance will score well “IF they all agreed.”
Some Teams may want to play with the small balls and some don’t want to play with any balls.

I see a lot of conflicting plans that needs to be resolved before the day of the competition. That’s why all participants at the same regional should communicate, communicate, and communicate.
It’s Teamwork or Die.

Some school are being secretive, I don’t see what they will gain from that strategy this year.
My motto this year is: “Time is your enemy, not the other Teams.”

Any opinions?
Team #334
Tech Knights

Posted by Anton Abaya at 2/4/2001 9:08 PM EST

Coach on team #419, Rambots, from UMass Boston / BC High and NONE AT THE MOMENT! :(.

In Reply to: Re: Are the Semis & Finals worth playing?
Posted by Rich on 2/4/2001 8:35 PM EST:

some really smart guy keeps saying this…

who was it again?

“Time will tell. It always does.”

-anton :slight_smile:

ps. yes, i see the repeating occurrence in the finals. perhaps consistency is more important this year than any other.

Posted by Warren Boudreaux at 2/4/2001 9:25 PM EST

Engineer on team #180, S.P.A.M., from South Fork & Martin County High School and Pratt&Whitney.

In Reply to: Are the Semis & Finals worth playing?
Posted by Joe Johnson on 2/4/2001 7:59 PM EST:

: I am torn in my mind about the way the Semi-Finals and
: Finals are going to go.

: CONSTANT SCORES => REDUNDANT SEMIS & FINALS
: Part of my brain can see alliance scores being more or
: less constant from round to round. That is, an
: alliance that scores 520 in the first match of the
: Quarter-Finals will score 520 in every round they play
: from then on.

: When I think this way, I think to myself that by the
: time that teams get to the elimination rounds at the
: Nationals, only the best of the best will be there. AND
: all the confusion about how to maximize scoring will be
: resolved to a few key moves that almost everyone will
: understand clear.

:
: VOLITILE SCORES => SEMIS AND FINALS MUST BE PLAYED TO
: KNOW WHO’LL WINS

: The other part of my brain sees the scores in the
: elimination rounds as anything but constant.

: When I think this way, I think that all 4 teams will
: each have to perform everything perfect to get the
: alliance’s highest possible score. Beyond this there
: is the risk factor. Because time figures into the
: score, teams will rush themselves and take chances in
: order to shave precious seconds off their time. Teams
: may take the ramp at higher speeds or try to balance
: the goals in a hurried fashion. All this leading to
: uncertain scores as the risks sometimes payoff and
: sometimes panout.

: One final wild card that makes the Semis and Finals
: more than a repeat performance is the limited
: availability of stretcher tickets. Think about it.
: Suppose an alliance gets their highest scores in the
: Quarter Finals by using a stretcher ticket for a
: particular team. The question is then when to use the
: second ticket? If they use it in the Semis, they may
: not have it when they need it in the Finals. If they
: don’t use it, they may not make it to the Finals.

: BOTTOM LINE:

: I can see this breaking both ways, with the volatile
: score version being a bit more likely (I’d place the
: odds at 60-40)

: Which way do you think it will break?

: Do tell.

: Joe J.
You are missing out on one of the basic premises of these competitions. You don’t know who you are matched up with in the qualifying rounds, therefore, you really won’t know who the best teams are. You might have a good idea from looking at the rankings, but I guarantee that there will be a few teams that are much better than their qual scores indicate.

As for the elimination rounds, you are expecting all four teams to operate flawlessly, in perfect synchronization, to reach a maximum achievable score WITH NO PRACTICE. I expect each round by an alliance to achieve higher and higher scores.

The secondary and tertiary considerations, such as when to use your stretcher ticket or having a bot go bonkers in mid-round or having an operator sneeze at the wrong time and not perform a critcal task, are going to be what determines the winners.

In short, I would say that while there will be one or two dominant alliances in the elimination rounds, you are likely to find a darkhorse alliance that, for whatever reason, is able to win.

It looks like Dean and Woody have, once again, come up with a game that challenges the triad. Man, Mind and Machine.

Posted by Scott Strickland at 2/4/2001 11:00 PM EST

Engineer on team #21, ComBBAT, from Astronaut & Titusville High School and Boeing/NASA.

In Reply to: Are the Semis & Finals worth playing?
Posted by Joe Johnson on 2/4/2001 7:59 PM EST:

In the semi’s and finals everyone will know who does what best. The only multiplier (other than time) is balancing the bridge with the goals. That, to me, is a one robot task.

The other robots will be sitting in the endzone, their disable buttons pushed. One ‘selected’ robot will be trying to balance the bridge. The pressure will be intense. Their alliance partners and the crowd will be screaming for them to hurry up and stop the clock. How high the score will depend on how well they can handle the pressure.

This is why I want that stupid gyro to balance the goal and not depend on driver skill.

Posted by Anton Abaya at 2/4/2001 11:15 PM EST

Coach on team #419, Rambots, from UMass Boston / BC High and NONE AT THE MOMENT! :(.

In Reply to: The pressure will all be on one 'bot
Posted by Scott Strickland on 2/4/2001 11:00 PM EST:

: This is why I want that stupid gyro to balance the goal and not depend on driver skill.

“that stupid gyro”… anyone else feel that way besides me and him?

-anton
“The stupid gyro…” S. Strickland

Posted by Chris Orimoto at 2/4/2001 11:54 PM EST

Student on team #368, Kika Mana, from McKinley High School and Nasa Ames/Hawaiian Electric/Weinberg Foundation.

In Reply to: Are the Semis & Finals worth playing?
Posted by Joe Johnson on 2/4/2001 7:59 PM EST:

Well, I think all these factors are important in the elimination rounds. I believe there is one more though…we are using 5 team alliances. Therefore there is an added variation to the scoring.

Maybe something goes wrong with one robot in one particular round (quarter/semi finals) and the alliance has to make a substitution. Just as in sports, this change will mean a change in the scoring (worse, or possibly even better than before).

Also, since each team is limited to the amount of stretcher tickets it has in the elimination rounds, certain teams may need to substitute in order to use the stretcher (or maybe for other reasons).

I do not forsee this as a “widely” used strategy since most of the time, there is will probably be a primary strategy that the alliance will agree upon and follow for all the elimination rounds. However, there is a slight degree of variation that is to be expected in these rounds. Just my personal thoughts…

Chris, #368

Posted by Matt Berube at 2/5/2001 9:05 AM EST

Engineer on team #49, Delphi Knights, from Buena Vista High School and Delphi Automotive.

In Reply to: Are the Semis & Finals worth playing?
Posted by Joe Johnson on 2/4/2001 7:59 PM EST:

My opinion:

Even the best alliances will not get the same score every time.

Why?

60 sec. Some games the alliance will finish their tasks in 62 sec. other games in 58 sec.

This will very likely be the difference between moving on in the finals or being eliminated.

Matt B.
T49
The Knights

Posted by Chris Hibner at 2/5/2001 1:45 PM EST

Coach on team #308, Walled Lake Monster, from Walled Lake Schools and TRW Automotive Electronics.

In Reply to: Are the Semis & Finals worth playing?
Posted by Joe Johnson on 2/4/2001 7:59 PM EST:

If we were to be in the finals, I would choose teams that do particular tasks very well. Then our strategy would be the exact same one every match. Afterall, why would it change if you have a strategy that maximizes your potential?

I think the only reason for playing the finals is to see how consistent an alliance is. If teams are very consistent, FIRST could save a lot of time by having each alliance play two matches (keeping the higher score or the average - whatever) and the alliance with the highest score wins 1st place, 2nd highest wins 2nd place, etc.

I think that by the time the nationals comes around, the scores in the finals will be very consistent.

This is another reason why I would like the head-to-head aspect to come back: you have to react to the other team when it’s head-to-head. In this game, it’s just, “do whatever you do best and do it over and over again.”