Fuel V. Gears Strategy(s)

This years competition my team (5099) focused mainly on shooting and climbing and have been successful in those regards. While we excel at shooting, probably we will be the best shooter at the SBPLI regional, we will probably be below average with our gear mechanism. I’m worried that we won’t be picked, or picking, for that reason. Is it better for my team to attempt to focus on gears with a feeble gear mechanism, play defense, or continue shooting throughout? Please voice your opinions.

My team played this exact strategy at Montreal. We seeded 5th, and we made the only extra RP for the regional in quals. We would’ve seeded 1st if we didn’t put our ratchet backwards on our climber during a vital match. Now for playoffs… you’re gonna have a hard time beating a 4-rotor alliance

It really depends on your district. If there are no other consistent shooters, and as you say, you will be the best at it, then that is a a good place to be. Although yes shooting is wildly undervalued, if one team decides that they would prefer to have a shooter than a gear runner, then yes, they will pick you. It depends on the district. An example from my district… My team won an event because our first pick had a low goal auto, so we got an extra 3 points… that won us the event. Your district may not have this kind of luck, so it depends. If everyone else is a gear runner, then yes, Id say stay shooting and climbing… and you will definitely be a solid pick.

And one thing that isn’t really asked for but relevant-- drive team!! We scout massively based on how the drive team acts and performs. Do they crack under pressure? How do they act with each other? Are they friends? How did our drive team mix with them? Its the small things that matter, and a good team will notice these things when scouting.

I know you didn’t ask for a paper, I’m sorry. But I hope this helps! :slight_smile:

I think it depends on the match. If competing against another fuel bot, obviously make sure you get more kpa than them given your strength with fuel. If competing against an alliance that can’t shoot & you can score fuel in auto, then either do gears or play D immediately when tele begins because you already have the tie-breaker points (unless you got fewer auto points & need to make up for it). As far as gears vs. D, it depends on your alliance’s need for your help with gears. If your two partners are confident they can get 3 rotors without you, then play D. If they say they need a gear or two, then do that and then play D.

Daniel, how do you effectively scout regarding the drive team? What kinds of questions are you asking? I’m the head scouter of my team, but we haven’t done much scouting in the past (I’m trying to get it up to standards lol). How do you effectively scout?

What I have noticed within my district, if you want to win a district event focus on gears if you want to won’t the district championship or world championship shooting with a decent gear mechanism

Well, You don’t ask the team any questions. You ask your drive team to just pay attention to them and see what they notice. For example, In their match, ask if the other teams just kind of did their own thing, stuck to the original strategy, just sat there… It’s not that difficult to pick up Its basically just asking your drivers opinion of their drive team. Because to my team- the drive team is way more important than the actual robot. A rookie team could have a below average bot, but if that drive team is solid and plays well with others? Still a solid pick.

One thing that comes to mind is this team in our district (obviously won’t name it) who always has a really amazing robot but never actually performs that well, not really because of the drive team, but the coach. They have a mentor coach, and he’s one of those that is a little too into the moment kind of guys. He yells at his drive team whenever they lose a match and always counts down the match from 20 seconds right in the drivers ear… (He’s trying to help, but it’s overly distracting, and 20 is kind of overdoing it anyway)

Scouting in queue is a major part of scouting it’s just no one seems to talk about it!

So, if you are the head of scouting, This is what I’d recommend. Talk to your drivers often, keep communicating about where the scouting team is and where the drive team is, and dont keep anyone out of the loop. (As in the entirety of scouting team and the entirety of drive team [human players too!! they often have the most insight- they get the most time to really see up close and pay attention to how a robot is performing]) Ask your drivers about what they think of teams your scouting team is interested in, and take their advice! If they don’t like a team, Then don’t have them as your number one pick.

Have scouting meetings!! At competitions lunch is a free hour! and after a day of competition, you can get a pretty solid idea of where teams are going to be for playoffs.

Again… sorry for the paper. I can go on about this for days… You can PM me if you still would like more, I’d love to help as much as I can :slight_smile:

Proof shooting can win a match. Whatever you do best, do it. That +1RP in qualifications will help you and extra points in playoffs will be very attractive for 2 very well partnered gear bots. Can you achieve the 40kpa yourself pretty quickly?

While being true to one’s nature is usually the way to go, I believe in the game of Steamworks there will be times when a team should do something that is not what they’re best at.


  • If your alliance achieves 3 rotors with 50 seconds left (not enough time for the 4th rotor) and the opposing team is 2 or 3 gears away from their 4th rotor, then it’s time to be a defensive bot for 30 seconds to block that rotor and give your alliance a chance to win.
  • As mentioned earlier, if you’re a shooter on an alliance with gearbots capable of 3 rotors competing against an alliance with no shooting but that is capable of 4 rotors (especially in elims with the 100-point bonus), then it may make sense to score a little fuel for tie-breaking and then play defense for most of the match.

You have to be good enough to get close to 40kPa as a shooter. Otherwise it’s not worth the effort.

Can a 3 rotor + >40 kpa alliance do a smack down defense on a 4 rotor alliance?
That is the question for the up coming district champs. The game is going to evolve to the next level in the coming weeks. We can run gears and have done 4 rotors several times. We are totally focused on trying to improve our shooter. Defense against 4 rotor runners is a must for fuel focused teams.

For our two wins it was definitely worth the effort.
But that also depends on what event teams are participating in.
If OP is truly the best fuel shooting robot based on scoring the most kPa, I’d say they have a great shot at winning the event.

In Montreal, you folks were clearly the best fuel shooting robot. If I had the first pick, I’d had chosen you folks in a heartbeat.

If long Island is at a similar competitive level as hvr was last week I’m not sure how viable your strategy will be. 4 rotors was not too uncommon at hvr and with so many teams doing both hvr and sbpli or on their second play from another event the level of competition looks like it’s only going to rise.

That said if you can get the 40kpa bonus I bet you will seed well and if you can climb every time I’d bet you are going to get picked.

On another note have you seen 1156s bot yet? https://youtu.be/UtYRw6WRNwE

In many cases, the third rotor isn’t even necessary.

This has been something I’ve thought heavily about after watching the San Francisco Playoffs. Because 40 kPa is worth 60 points in playoffs, 2 rotors and 40 kPa is worth more points than 3 rotors and no fuel. (Not taking into account auto bonuses). So all that a fuel alliance needs to do is stop the opposing alliance from getting that 4th rotor. Now this doesn’t leave much of a buffer room for climbing, and one failed climb will still cost the match.

I could see a viable strategy being a fuel bot scoring fuel for the entire match, a defense bot preventing 4 rotors on the opposing alliance, and the 3rd bot guaranteeing the 2nd rotor, then either helping with defense against the opposing alliance, or helping protect the fuel scorer from defense.

One of the strategies that I wanted to run at Bayou was 3 then D and fuel. I wanted to get a good fuel bot (3937, 3039, 3478) for our first pick, but sadly they were all picked before we had the chance to get them. We were going to get 3 rotors as fast as possible with 3 robots, then switch to 2 on defense and one on fuel. With our driver’s defense, and the quickness of us getting 3 rotors, I was sure that the strategy would have at least taken us to finals, as keeping the other alliance to 3 rotors would win us every match if we had enough fuel to break any ties.

As the mentor who coached me said, “Do your chores.” Translation, do what you designed your robot to do, and do it as well as you can.

Many matches in the finals of SFR were won by fuel. 2 rotors + >40kpa fuel handily beat 3 rotors.
Especially with 2 robots that can shoot, that gives you 2 defense bots available to stop your 4 rotor run while 1 bot lobs fuel into the boiler.
To us, it worked and was more reliable to win by fuel rather than rely on 4 rotors. We will see how finals goes.

In this game you have to look at who your opponent is. The reason that I don’t believe that 3 and D is a viable strategy is because of the increasing number of capable gear robots, which inherently leads to more 4 rotor matches. And with the 100 point bonus for 4 rotors and only 20 point bonus for kpa it creates a large margin for an alliance to overcome.

In order to just match the bonus given for all 4 rotors, the 100 points, you would have to shoot an additional 240 balls into the high goal. The math for that (100 bonus for rotors - 20 bonus for kpa = 80 points. 80 * 3 balls/point in the high goal = 240 balls). And that just matches the bonus given. In order to make up for the extra rotor that they have you need to score an additional 120 balls (40 * 3 balls/point = 120 balls). So the total number of extra fuel needed to be scored is 360 balls (240+120=360).

And that number goes up even more if your alliance is able to pull off 2 Rotors during autonomous which equates to an additional 20 points. Which means that the alliance needs another 60 fuel, (20*3=60) and the new total will be 420, (360+60).

The only scenario in which a 3 and D would work is if you could prevent the other alliance from getting 4 rotors, which as I started earlier is becoming harder to do with the increased number of capable gear bots.