Choosing a Strategy For an Alliance

There are so many different ways to play Aerial Assist. When the qualification schedule is released you have to figure out how you’re going to play each match. The strategy will vary from match to match depending on who your with and against. With 3 teams on an alliance there is going to be different opinions about how to play. My question is how does one get everybody on the same page. It’s a challenge every year in FRC but this year especially due to the nature of the game. Problems may stem from just talking it over 5 minutes before the match. Alliance partners may exaggerate their abilities a little bit, for example: “Yeah we’re 100% in Autonomous we can shoot”. . . When your scouting says they haven’t made it in the goal yet.

Ultimately our solution to this annual problem is creating something of a showcase video. Instead of showing off cool features of the robot, gear the video towards robot strategy and abilities. In some cases the video could be of a continuous video of a robot shooting in the goal to show accuracy. Other videos may be exactly how your robot picks up off the ground and how you deposit it back on the ground (or onto another robot). The possibilities are endless. I want to know what everybody thinks of strategic videos, and I’d like to know other solutions to communication between alliance partners. (Sorry the post is so long:D )

Happens every year

This is very very true that teams over exaggerate their abilities. I honestly like this idea a lot as I am a scout myself. However, I have no idea how this could catch on and how teams would follow through with all of this.

Most likely a majority of teams won’t have time to make a strategic video as a lot of teams work up until the last moments. I also believe, however, that teams that have a strategic video will have more influence over the alliance strategy than teams that don’t. The video offers a reinforcement to alliance members that you know what your doing and have done your homework. It is also a great way of getting the marketing team and strategy team to work together.

I like the idea of a strategic idea, but being accurate in a controlled environment and being accurate while driving on the field under pressure are two very different things. Also, how short would you keep the video? Even if you only kept it down to 30 seconds, that’s still almost a half hour of videos (Assuming each team at a competition “submitted” one) you would have to find time to watch, and find a method to keep up with who is show casing well and who isn’t.

The video could be something you make and just store it on a laptop in your pit. Before the match you could invite the drive teams of your alliance partners to check the video out. After viewing the strategic videos you could continue standard pre-match discussions.

In 2012 I believe we did this to help convince teams to let us do the co-op balance. We just put it on an iPad and showed it to our alliance partners before each match. Then, once we got their approval to do the balance, we figured out which opponent we were going to balance with and showed it to them (we had a special procedure that they had to follow since we used our stingers for double balances, and the video helped us explain).

Even if all 3 alliance partners had a 1 minute video (which is fairly unlikely), the drive teams would still probably have enough time to watch them.

I misunderstood the video concept. I thought it each team gives out or posts somewhere a showcase video, and teams would watch this like Friday evening after the day’s qualification rounds and pick from there.

If teams are taking the time to produce videos of their robots, then they are likely to be able to articulate their robot’s capabilities conversationally, which would be preferable to a video in this context.

The point of the video is to strengthen the points made during conversation. It also helps alliance members visualize exactly where they need to be in order to catch the ball for example. I agree teams should be able to articulate what there robot can do, the video is just a tool to make it easier.

But what if we really CAN hit 100% in Autonomous, even though you’ve never seen the robot. If you’re asking me to sit out auto because you’ve never seen it, eh, good luck with that. What if we can do 1 ball at 100% and a second at 75%, whereas your robot has only ever done 1 ball at 50%?

The video idea seems seems interesting at first glance. But anyone can hit 100% of their shots and catch 100% of the tosses if it’s staged. Nothing ever replaces on-field performance, which means we have to trust everyone in the first match and adapt from there.

If a team really did just get their autonomous working 5 minutes ago and wants to try it out on the field, who am I to say no? It’s their hard work that needs to turn into their inspiration at that point.

I think the real thing that needs to happen in pre-match talks is about what to do when things go wrong, such as a bad pass or bad autonomous. Even teams who are at 100% can have a bad match.

It’s harder earlier in the day, but towards the end its pretty easy to show numerical data and say “No, you cannot do what you are saying you can” and present your numbers. There have been situations where people are adamant that they can still perform the task and it loses you the match.

I Try to find compromise and say: “Our numbers say you cant do that at all, but that you’re really good at this. Execute this well and you will definitely get picked for an alliance come elimination.”

Remember, numbers never lie :wink:

Numbers don’t lie, but can be misleading if you don’t properly anaylze them. Typically though, you want to use the day’s performance for your alliance strategy. At the beginning of qualifications, I might take all teams’ word on their robot performance, but my team is definitely watching and tracking every single robot that goes on the field. If things are down to the wire, I’ll trust my team’s data over anything else, unless the situation calls for a risky play.

If you want to make a video of your bot, or qualitatively describe its performance, go ahead, but teams will be keeping track of your performance. Inconsistency is not a good thing…