[FF]: Season Long Format Change Discussion

No change yet, but as a result of some in-season discussions, I’d like to bring this up now.

In essence, SLFF is getting TOO long. 2-3 drafts/day is getting pretty draining, on players and on draft runners–and more events are expected in future years. So, there’s some discussion on what to do. I figure, why not have a poll, too? Note that this will only apply to regional/district competitions; FRC Championships (and presumably district championships?) would be unaffected.

The options:

  1. Keep as is. Current format, 1 draft with X tiers for every event. (Estimated # of drafts: 100+)
  2. Fantasy Sports. One big draft, choose teams to play in any given competition week. (Estimated # of drafts: 1)
  3. Weekly drafts. One draft per week variant of Fantasy Sports; each week of FRC competition gets its own draft. (Estimated # of drafts: 6-7)
  4. “Block District” drafts. In this, the current format would see each area of district events replaced with 1-3 drafts based on number of district events in the area; district championships would be drafted as normal. (Estimated # of drafts: 40-50)
  5. AutoDraft. We get a website to do all the draft running for us. (Estimated # of drafts: 100+)
  6. Other. If you have another idea, we’d LOVE to hear it (even if you aren’t currently on a SLFF team).

The poll is multiple-choice, BTW, so pick any option you’d be interested in.

I’d be fine with 2, 3, or 4. Personally I think 2 is the best option, mostly because it would make Fantasy FIRST easier to explain, would conform to known systems. 3 would be my 2nd favourite for next season, but over the long haul 4 would be better (once there’s just 10 district systems and like 2 regionals). 1 and 5 are absolutely not feasible, for different reasons (1: time, 5: doesn’t seem like anyone will get serious about it).

Here is my take on all of the options. Some thoughts are a little* scrambled and out of order. I am sorry.

  1. There is getting to be too many events (especially with more districts popping up). This system is not going to be sustainable with more teams.
  2. Ed hated the IRI draft because it was so hard and long to run. Having a list of 3000+ teams next season will take a long time to give everyone a reasonable amount of teams. This won’t be fun with only one draft that you only get [insert number here] teams. Also, who has the motivation to make a list with every single team?
  3. This option is not bad. However you run into balance issues with some weeks (such as 1 and 7) not having as many events and the other weeks having a ton. I think that a way to fix this would be count the number events each week and use that to decide how many rounds each draft takes (ie: 5 events=5 rounds) You may also run into the same things I didn’t like about the 2nd option, but on a smaller scale.
  4. This is also good. You have several decent sized drafts that are manageable. As the number of district systems grow, the number of drafts will gradually decrease (get rid of regional drafts). Although instead of number of drafts, I’d think it be better to change the number of rounds (ie: 100-149 teams in district, 3 rounds; 150-199, 4 rounds; 200-249, 5 rounds; 250-299, 6 rounds; 300+, 7 rounds). We may run into problems with scoring both districts and regionals because the way they are run is so different. Also, with inter-district play hopefully coming soon it will be hard to keep track of all of this.
  5. Hasn’t this been tried before with limited success?

With all of these options, can we reduce the amount of time to make a selection. If we do add rounds like I am suggesting, these drafts will get fairly long. Making a time limit of 2 minutes for each team will help cut down this time. I think depending on which option we chose to go forward with, we can hopefully encourage more teams to use lists to help the draft runners. I also feel that with a few less drafts we may see more FF teams popping up.

All in all, I think the 3rd option (combined with AutoDraft?) is going to be the most feasible to do and will be the best in the long run.

*Ok. They were really scrambled.

Yes and no. The Draft Runner Assistant was VERY good at running drafts–but only at keeping picks and lists straight! It had to have someone run it, but it could cut the amount of time to run a bunch of picks pretty significantly–say, two rounds in a matter of seconds (including posting time, about a minute). I’m working on a new version, but I’m running into some trouble with Excel (and free time since 1/4/14). Nobody’s ever been able to get auto-running in place. This would be in conjunction with a website (again, something nobody’s gotten working yet).

The other trick on extended drafts is multi-day drafts. Instead of all rounds on one night, spread over 2 nights, with slightly longer times per pick. It’s been done before.

My thought with 5 would be to break it up by weeks, or event groups within the district, but it’s still in concept–rounds would be a decent start.

Here’s my thoughts:

  1. not sustainable any longer. My team was completely bored of drafts after a while and the number will continue to grow.
  2. I don’t like this because it’s more about the best teams. The cool thing about drafting for districts and regionals is that you find out about teams you’ve never heard of that are good teams. I feel like this draft would be more about the IRI level teams and no one else.
    3)this would work decently. The only possible problem I see is having to choose who to play during the week before a competition when most of us will be working instead of in the offseason
  3. this is the best option in my opinion. Continues what Fantasy FIRST has always been while cutting down on the number of drafts. It is also sustainable because the number of drafts will decrease as we go to more districts. While it will create less required picks (problem with #2) it isn’t really that bad within districts because you’ll still have to research for your second and third pick in a district.
  4. I don’t like this for the same reason as #1, too many drafts.

Here’s how I’m doing Fantasy FIRST next year:
The drafts will happen during competition season on a weekly basis Tuesday night or a Wednesday night. All the teams participating that week will be available to be picked (they can only be picked once that week but if they are participating in others weeks they can be picked for that week. Results for that week are what is being scored. Not other weeks) You get to pick one team a week and live with the point total for that one team (it’s kind of like a FIRST survival league) for that week. The draft order will be random for the first week and then the pick order is based on the standings.
There will be no more teams.
There will be no more booting delinquent members from the league (if you don’t pick you’ll just get locked out and end up with a big fat zero points for the week and tumble down the standings. I no longer care what happens to people who don’t show up)
There will be no more list (I do not have the time to pour over a gigantic lists with hundreds of teams on them).
The schedule will have two minute turnarounds. If you make your pick before your schedule (unless the person before you has already picked) your pick will not count.
The top 24 members get to participate in the championship draft which will be a tradition Fantasy FIRST draft.

I like this idea of FIRST survival league, but I feel that having a regular draft (like what we’ve been doing all season) instead would be better. Following the theme of “you-do-it-yourself,” the FF drafters can draft whatever team they want in whatever regional. I.e., I pick 3467 in SVR. I actually meant 3476, but because I didn’t specify the right team, I get no points for that selection.

By the way, would this be in addition to the other FF leagues that are been discussed in this thread (having a FF league dedicated solely to FiM, MAR, PNW FIRST, NE FIRST, etc.)?

I’m just the creator of Fantasy FIRST. Not the owner. If anybody wants to try out a different format I would highly endorse it. This is the format that suits what I intend to do next year with the least amount of stress on me (as far as I can tell).

Let’s see how many formats I can come up with off the top of my head:
–Auction. Lousy for more than one event, or even for one event.
–Survival. See Ed’s previous post.
–Free-for-All. Pick 3 teams, any 3 teams, but not the same 3 teams as anybody else. This is probably the least stress on the draft runner: slap it up a week ahead of time, police alliance choices, lock, score.
–Draft format (AKA current).

I think we can have two or three Season Long leagues going and make it work, possibly even making them not run at the same time so it’s easier for players to play in as many as they like. Just need to keep the leagues named differently (and tag the drafts differently) so they’re separate.

Edit: Current poll results show that weekly drafts and blocking out districts into 1-2 drafts are the most popular options. Automated draft running is also up there–if anybody can implement it…

So, I’m going to bring this thread back for a bit. Small ideas, but hopefully something that could improve the community a bit.

Could it be possible that we could do drafts within Google Docs? This can allow for some banter between the members of the of the FF teams, perhaps giving a better sense of community here. On top of that, it eliminates a lot of the problems on Chief Delphi for the last rounds, where there are minute updates. After each draft, the drafts can be listed in the Chief Delphi thread. I can come up with a small template in Google Docs, and keep all drafts in one location as necessary. Is it possible that we could implement this into the league-wide FF drafts for next season (MAR, FiM, etc.)?

In addition, I really like the idea of keeping the scored drafts in Google Docs. Granted, the current format is not really in the best shape right now, but that’s no big deal as we had to rush the formatting a bit. I can take the summer to figure out something, and see if the scorers could just enter awards and record of each team. I can also come up with a live ranking list like something similar to Brennan’s to prepare for the next season.

Unfortunately, I don’t know enough to actually be able to pull data out from the Blue Alliance online for records and whatnot, so the scorers will still have to search each team and put down the record for the event. If someone could point me in the right direction, that would greatly be appreciated.

If anything for the future, as it seems like we have the general format of the FF set in stone, something to improve the waiver system would be… well… awesome. It’s a massive headache, especially when a team drops like earlier in the season. There may be something that could be done in Excel, but this seems like a HUGE task for me to do, anyway.

I would gladly help you with making a Google Doc/Excel automatic system after the Season is over. I was already planning on working on it myself.

I know a couple of teams do live picks, but would it really be the end of the world to have every make lists in google docs (or excel) and send them in? Most teams already do this. I’m pretty sure I can come up with a way to compile all of the lists in one Google Doc/Excel and run drafts automatically, building upon what EricH has already built. That way, when it comes to scoring, the team lists can be automatically pulled in and scored, since taking the team lists from CD and putting them into Google Docs is the worst part of scoring(and the most time comsuming). I’m also 99% sure there’s some way to automatically score the events, using twitter data perhaps? I’m going to get into contact with whoever runs TBA and see how they pull the data into their site, I’m sure there’s a way to incorporate that into FF and automatically score events.

With everyone using google docs for their picklists, we wouldn’t have to set “draft dates” anymore. Instead we could have “due dates” when your pick list is due by. This way, we wouldn’t have to worry about scoring 2-3(possibly even 4 with the way FRC is growing) events everyday, and instead draft runners could come in on a day they have off, run a couple macros really quick, and have 10 drafts done, and post the results on CD.

We already use the honor system to make sure draft runners use their own picklists and don’t steal other teams, so compiling all the lists in one place where only the draft runners have access to the doc would be really simple, all it takes is copying and pasting from one doc to the automatic draft running one.

This would also make scoring much faster, team lists would already be in google docs, and by using whatever system TBA uses, team scores could be pulled in, event scored, and then posted to CD.

The only thing issue it doesn’t solve is the burden on teams. If we stuck with the current system, teams would still have to make a picklist for every event. While this isn’t a problem for me since I like doing it, it is an issue for a couple teams.

EDIT: Waivers could be done with a Google form. Use Excel to check the current team list against the old one, and make a list of all the teams that joined recently, and those that have left. Use Google forms for teams to submit which teams they want to claim, since Google forms dumps results in a predictable manor in a Google Doc, use that to automatically cycle waivers, and post the results on CD, Also automatically updating the priority list.

And yes, I’m volunteering to have this done by next season, I don’t have anything better to do. Thoughts?

EDIT #2: It took me about 5 minutes to create a refreshable web query in Excel pulling ranking/team list data from Here.

Goal listed above seems a lot easier than I first thought.

I got a few things to say here, on various items of discussion.

  1. I am definitely planning on doing some rewriting of the Excel sheet, when I catch some time (let’s call it after Easter, maybe after Championship as a nice place to key off of). Top priority is to do some speed upgrades and code simplification–if you’ve looked at the macros, most of 'em start with “figure out how many X are in this and set up accordingly” in some form or another. List and random picks are next. Follow that up with some automation of error-checking (which I REALLY need some help with…the automation part, at any rate) and should be good to go. Oh, and did I mention that said sheet won’t work with a group larger than about 20 players? That’s also included in that top priority.

Might be a good idea to work as a small group on this and get one version for Excel and one for GDocs, play around with both of 'em and see which one works better. Let’s say a week before IRI as a target for a beta release, so IRI FF can test the system out.

  1. I was thinking seriously about taking over for Ed in the current format–first thing on the list was to switch all district areas to two drafts each, plus DCMPs. Cuts out about 40 drafts right there, maybe more, we’re down to 1-2/day with a shorter season

  2. Second thing on that list was to rework the waiver system entirely and make it almost self-running (for late-add teams at least.) I also happen to have an Excel sheet for that, but it isn’t automated. Wish it was, but I’m not that good of a programmer. I’ve been tossing ideas around on that with at least one other person.

  3. I’m also thinking of a couple tweaks to the point values, trying to balance out how well they’d work with how the points are intended to work. Maybe even reduce some of the scorers’ work.

A couple of other general comments: Not everyone has Google Docs access or accounts, necessarily. Because of that, I don’t think running the drafts there is a good idea–I have access, etc., but don’t like to use them because, IMO, they’re actually LESS capable than the comparable MS Office products. However, a lot of the setup work–picklist collection, pulling team lists from FRC, etc. can probably be done there, no problem. Especially if there was a way to password-protect individual tabs, and have one with a “pull from this point in all other tabs”–but I’m not sure that exists.

A single master list of all the teams held in each event by each player/team is HUGE, particularly if it’s publicly available. I know I used to collect and post that info, but with me having somewhat less time these days, it’s a little harder. All I had to do was to score the teams, put in the scores (manually, in my case) and re-post the sheet.

Tell y’all what. After CMP, we open up a thread(or two) specifically for SLFF programming (and/or other changes)–what’s bein’ worked on, who’s workin’ on it, what the status is, stuff that’s ready for betas with last year’s stuff or the Magnolia Regional, all that good stuff. I know I could use an automated team-puller, but I’m having a hard time integrating that into Excel. But if I can pull a GDoc… might be worth it.

  1. Eric, send me all your stuff, I’d like to take a look at it.
  2. Getting access to google docs is as simple as making a google account, if you don’t already have one of those you’re a bit behind in the times :wink:
  3. Currently, there’s no way to password-protect individual tabs, but that shouldn’t be too difficult if theres a master google doc that only scorers/draft runners have access to.

Point Tweaks: I’m not entirely sure how balancing would work, but changing loses back to 0 points would simplify things greatly. Also, increasing elim ranking points to automatically include win points would ease scoring, since win points could be easily calculated automatically from FIRST’s ranking page. QF’s stays the same, add 4 points to Semifinalist, add 8 points to Finalist, add 12 points to Winners. If a team took it to 3 matches and then lost, they’d lose out on 2 points, but that’s not a huge deal if everyone is scored the same way.

Is there a good reason to not use the new standard district scoring system for District stuff?

Another format to throw into the ring, since we are going to have 4+ district systems next year, I was thinking you could do a draft for each one and get points for how well each team does. Only a few drafts to do, and maybe allow players to swap teams to account for teams not making DCMP. I may run this one myself if no one else uses the idea.

Some folks don’t/won’t make a google account. I have one–but really only use Gmail.

I’ll see what I can dig up with the current Excel shortly–I think more comments may be needed.

Point Tweaks: I’m not entirely sure how balancing would work, but changing loses back to 0 points would simplify things greatly. Also, increasing elim ranking points to automatically include win points would ease scoring, since win points could be easily calculated automatically from FIRST’s ranking page. QF’s stays the same, add 4 points to Semifinalist, add 8 points to Finalist, add 12 points to Winners. If a team took it to 3 matches and then lost, they’d lose out on 2 points, but that’s not a huge deal if everyone is scored the same way.

Actually… I was thinking of doing the opposite. Losses = 0, so QS is what the scorers use for quals. BUT, in elims, W-L-T has no effect. The reasoning behind the scores originally was: QF, you don’t lose points. SF, you get win points from QF, etc. But, when losses = 0 and W-L-T is factored in for elims, winning the event is the same as RCA, which we don’t necessarily want. (The other thing I was thinking was a 2-point bonus for a third match in any series, given to the losing alliance.)

As far as using the District scoring system for District stuff, that would be playing by 2 sets of scoring rules. (Not that you Michiganders seem to have a problem with that!) It’s easier if everybody in FF has the same scoring. At one point, I seem to recall being asked for the FF scoring system by someone in FiM, to see if that was something they wanted to tweak to fit them…

And for PVCPirate–I was thinking two drafts, split by weeks, plus DCMP–2 chances to change teams.

Would it be a hard reset on all picks, or would teams be able to just keep one? It’s probably in the category of minutiae that will fall into place later but I’m curious.

It would be two full normal drafts plus DCMP (again, normal process). If a team competed in two events covered by one draft, the average score would be used.

That works as well, however I think we should keep out the 2 pt bonus just to make it easier on the scorers.

So now that the FRC season is complete, I thought I would write down some of my thoughts on this years FF season.

One of the big draws for me to FF is the fact that I constantly bump into teams that I had never heard of before, yet they are a very successful/up and coming team. In this way, Ed’s one team per week is less appealing to me, as “one team per week” for all of the competitions. Pretty much all of the picks will be well known powerhouses, and who wins FF will come down to who picked the more powerhouse of all the powerhouses. It becomes more of a chance game. "who is going to be better this year? 67? 469? 1114? 2056? 254? 987? 33? 1986? That being said there were also times where I wished I didn’t have to pick a third team, because the selection was so limited. I don’t like the fact that some of the events the teams had to reach waay down low for picks.

I think my goals are as follows:

  • To preserve the feeling of finding a new and upcoming team/one that isn’t popular yet.

  • Minimize the amount of “luck” that comes into play.

  • Make it easy to participate.

  • Make it easy to run.

So firstly what could have gone better?

From a player’s perspective

It’s draining to go through two full events every day to make a coherent pick list. With the exception of a few teams, very few FF teams had a full scale pick list. As Breakfast Company, we started with listing all the teams in order at the beginning of the season. We quickly realized that it was too much effort. Most teams seemed to have 7-15 teams on their list, followed by “random rookies” or just “randoms”

Drafts were frequently delayed/moved around at the last minute. You would prepare for a draft happening that night, only to realize that the draft got moved to the end of the season, and was replaced by one you hadn’t had the chance to look at. Often drafts weren’t run because nobody wanted to run them.

Waivers at the end of the season didn’t really exist. Teams that had time to be on the ball stole some killer picks (Eg. one of the MI districts 67,1918, 1718 and 503? Joined after the draft was done) Sucks for teams not devoting a ton of time for this. For us as an FF team, we just looked at other people who were picking up teams, and picked up the same ones if available in our tier.

Getting stuck in a tough tier. Some teams have expertise in a specific FIRST area, because that’s where they are from. If you are in the same tier as they are? Sucks. Meanwhile the other tier leaves tons of stellar teams unpicked. It’s not a major thing, because it could be anyone, but it does add another element of luck into FF.

From a draft runner

Spending a ton of time filling in randoms for the 50% of teams that didn’t submit a list (perhaps for some of the reasons above) then waiting again for those teams draft time to end so we could move on with the draft. It was annoying.

It takes a lot of time and energy to run a draft, and you want to make sure that you don’t mess up a draft (which always happens) The pressure was also on you to get through all the drafts before FRC kickoff. (One night I was running like 5 tiers)

The lack of organization of who was doing what draft, and the lack of people who were able to help run them. It always seemed like we were struggling to get enough people to run them.

Going through pick lists could be long and tedious at times. Occasionally you would miss someone’s pick due to that team getting picked in the other tier, and accidentally crossing them off.

From a scorer

RANDOMS suck. They take forever (because you have to go down the list to like #25) and so many teams dropped/switched competitions, and teams didn’t realize that they were missing a team.

Manual entry is irritating, because it takes so long. Scoring an event for me would take around an hour from start to finish, so it’s a big time commitment.

Thoughts on what has been said so far

I like being involved in all the events, even district events. If we only ran a few of them/some sort of culmination thing, I think we would be adding another item of luck into FF.

As for the actual points awarded for picking teams, I don’t really have anything for that.

Possible Changes

**Pick one team per event. If you miss your pick, you don’t get assigned a random. **

This one solves literally almost all our problems. Picking only one team per event reduces the time commitment, makes it easier for scorers (less teams to score) makes the drafts quicker, and makes lists easier to make as you don’t have to dig that deep to find a decent pick. I wouldn’t assign a random for these reasons:

  1. They missed their pick, that’s their fault. If they random a good team, that means someone who is actually on the ball with their list/live draft misses that opportunity.

  2. It’s a pain for draft runners to keep the random list updated.

  3. Half the time a random is assigned, the team swaps it out anyway. Wasted time for the draft runner.

  4. Teams will notice that they don’t have a team for the event and fix it.

This also means that teams can no longer request a “random” if a FF player wants a random, they can go type in all the team numbers into a random list themselves.

One Player per team

This is one i’m not 100% sold on, but with only picking one team per event, it shouldn’t be that bad to be on your own.

Auto draft/score/waiver if possible

This would be really nice. I will do what my little knowledge of excel can do to help.

**Submit lists via Google Forms **

Almost positive this is easy to do. It will format the list properly, and you can just copy and paste all the lists into (hopefully an autodraft) where it does the magic. No more reformatting lists that are a mess. Also. You don’t need a google account to submit to the forum. Google account would only be needed for draft runners. (if people are really bugged about having a Google account)

Run District Champs and Divisions with 3 teams per player

The field is deep enough, we can run it like we do now for these events.

Run all the players in one tier (AKA no more tiers)

Everyone plays with everyone. Unless we have more than 30 players/(perhaps teams) with each of them only picking one team. Then they can be fit into one tier.

Only hand out randoms for dropped teams (hopefully few)

When scoring, make a random list if you need it for a team that is missing their one team, then sub em in. Hopefully they notice that the solitary team that they did pick isn’t competing in that event anymore, and they fix it beforehand.

Let me know if you have any questions/comments. I haven’t been involved in FF that long, so if any of these things have already been tried and failed, then I would be interested in knowing why.