I’m trying to lead my team through a mock kickoff in the next few weeks. From advice I’ve already received it seems that using an official (and fairly recent) FRC game is the way to go. The game I’m leaning towards is Logomotion so I’m trying to gather some data about what worked (and what didn’t) in that game. I want to be able to say to my team at the end of the day what was actually successful.
I’d like to hear from people who actually played the game what some of the effective strategies were. I’ve got some ideas but I can only glean so much about how the game was played from old CD threads and a few youtube videos.
Roller claws would definitely be #1 on my list. Look at 1114, 254, 148, 233, all dominated with the roller claw design, and were able to manipulate the tubes so incredibly well. The best ones even ripped tubes from other teams grip.
Fast lifts were important too. The best teams were never waiting for their arm to get up to the right height. Pre-programmed height for placing tubes on pegs (needed 6 heights total) helped a lot with this. Many times this was done with encoders, but some teams used limit switches in pretty creative ways.
Consistent mini-bot deployment was key, but insanely fast mini-bots were critical at high levels of play (teams learned to take the gearboxes off and direct drive the motors with a small shaft with some surgical tubing on it). My favorite solution to the consistency problem was arms that swung out of the bot and contacted the pole.
I know some teams ran timing loops starting at the beginning of the match that launched the mini-bots EXACTLY when they were allowed to. Another key mini-bot strategy was ramping it to the pole. Basically the mini-bot was already near full speed by the time it was even touching the pole because of the ramp. Most teams just got the bot to the pole fast, but the fastest mini-bot launches had a ramp.
Honestly, it’s not a great game for a mock kickoff because the basic answer was “do everything.” There was a team that found an effective way to play the game without picking tubes up off the ground, and they still figured out how to pick tubes off the ground (1503). I’d look for my team being able to identify that there are severe diminishing returns in the teleop logos game, which amplifies the importance of auton (maybe go for a 2-tube auton) and especially minibots. Extra points for identifying that there could be lots of game pieces on the ground and quick acquisition would be helpful when fighting over them, but honestly I can’t name a game where quick game piece acquisition wasn’t really important.
In terms of game strategy, there were only really a couple effective ones.
Tube denial - no throwing in. By placing two of your robots in the center just pushing tubes into your protected zones, and NOT having your human players throw any tubes onto the floor, you could effectively deny the other team tubes. This worked the best when you knew you were outgunned - the other team has two fast hangers and you only have one.
Minibot denial - if you knew the other team has a faster minibot, then playing heavy defense on than robot in an attempt to stop them from getting back to the post could win games. The minibot was absurdly over-valued points wise.
There really weren’t many more strategies than that. Some teams hung a tube after their minibot was released. It was showy, but I can’t remember it ever being the difference in a game.
Some teams had an arm that could go over and back. It took the right driver, and saved a bit of time, but not much. Rush (27) was a great example of that.
Some teams had blindingly fast lifts (469). Even that wasn’t enough if you didn’t have a robot that was well rounded.
I agree with most of this, roller claws were not the end all and be all, proper geometry lead to some spectacular pincer designs. I bring this up because 876’s pick and place was quick - but much of what made that work was a top notch drive team. Lightweight arms/lifts made for quick movement / placement and tended to float towards the top of the rankings.
At worlds this was the only widely used solution for fast bots, take a look at team 33’s minibot/launcher, as well as (you guessed it) 118’s final iteration.
This time check was insanely easy to implement - however I believe this was the first year that teams were given access to the FMS game clock as a basic call function. I don’t know how many people had implemented it in the first few weeks of competition. It was commonplace at worlds.
Many of the more successful tube scorers in 2011 had hybrid claws. Rollers for that fast, continuous acquisition and pinchers for smooth release without “shooting” the tube. This made scoring tubes over ubertubes significantly more consistent.
The entire world champion alliance that year had hybrid claws. You could also see the concept in 148, 33, and 2122 at IRI.
There were quite a few successful pincher claw bots. 330, 359, 1503(who couldn’t pick tubes from the ground!), and 217 are just a few that come to mind.
This TBA Blog about 1503 in 2011 outlines one of the greatest strategic analyses of FRC history. Anyone reading this thread should also read that blog post.
I seem to remember “tube type” starvation being a thing too. An alliance would pick one type of tube, ie. circles, and not throw any circles out for most of the match. Anytime they saw the opposing alliance throw circles, they would grab those and either score or stash them to prevent their opponent from having them. The idea was to prevent your opponent from having any or most full logos.
It was a cool idea and fun to see in action. Not sure how many times it was used, 1678 never tried it. Maybe someone else here used it in-match.
Below is an example of a double ubertube in autonomous.
(This match is the one that got John Deere deeply involved in supporting FIRST. Some JD executives were touring the field and stopped to watch a 525 match. We (525) won a very close, exciting match. The executives were impressed enough that they started John Deere Inspire to support STEM. JD now supports something like 450 FIRST teams in all four programs and was named a strategic partner last year.
It all started with this Logomotion match at champs.)
It was, because a logo required one of each game piece. 2815 was basically a box on wheels at Peachtree (admittedly, not the top level of play by any means), but our defensive strategy with 2415 and 1771 was just as focused on moving tubes the right way* as it was moving opposing robots the wrong way.
*And that didn’t always mean towards our end of the field. There would always be at least one Ubertube on the ground (whoops, auto was important?), which was worthless in teleop. Step one was always shoving it towards their end of the field, just to occupy more space.
This was used to varying extents throughout the season, including on Einstein. Generally triangle starvation was the “default” as these tubes were the hardest to throw during a match, but some alliances would switch which tubes to starve on the fly.
The trickiest part is that the opposing alliance’s human players were immediately to your left and right, so you had to be tactful about how to communicate starvation strategy changes.
Roller claws and elevators are great, but you can make it pretty far with a pneumatic claw and a 4 bar link lift.
Two blue banners, and knocked out by the world champs on Galileo.
You really only needed 3 elevations, because the game piece had larger holes, than the difference between the two peg heights. Still human player was a game changer, and changed the design constraints for the game.
(Video also shows 3 ubertube hang from week 1 match 72, with 302 and 494)
Still Killer Bees 2 ubertube hang was a thing of beauty.
Thanks everybody. As Basel pointed out this was a bit of a “do everything” game, which is part of the reason I picked it. We aren’t a team that can do everything, so it would require some smart strategic choices. So I’d be especially interested to hear strategies that worked well but didn’t do everything (like the 1503 example). Obviously some combination of the things that made the best robots great would be good, but a few examples of robots that did some (but not all) of the things would be helpful. Thanks.
We were far from good, our entire robot cost ~$75 outside of very basic KOP components. We had 6 kids and two mentors and none of us had ever done FIRST before. We weren’t fast, we weren’t able to afford a minibot, we could barely get all of our drive team to the events. The one thing we were was consistent, well that is once we stopped unplugging our own battery in autonomous…
Nearly every match we scored an ubertube on the top row, and we followed up with at least one completed logo and maybe an extra tube here or there. We also played some okay defense with a sub 80lb robot and a starting linebacker for a driver.
Compared to the games that followed, Logomotion was almost devoid of strategy. There were very few tradeoffs to make, either during robot design or when planning or executing match strategy. Score your uber tubes, make your logos, don’t hand your opponents game pieces, win the minibot race. If you aren’t sure you are going to outscore/outrace the opponent, maybe add in some D.
Ultimately there were not a lot of upsets in Logomotion that didn’t involve breakdowns or penalties/red cards.
I wouldn’t suspect you’ll find a whole lot of strategic diversity from a kick-off level event. Much of the “tricky” elements from the kickoff broadcast ended up being non-factors. There was no real engineering trade off surrounding which shaped tubes to be pick up, as the same manipulators could pick up all three shapes easily. There sharing of minibots was exceptionally rare, and the FTC-integration basically didn’t exist (outside of some teams that also ran their own FTC team). The diminishing returns on height of tubes scored seems like an interesting game choice at first, but ultimately just made it so the top row was the only one that really mattered. Minibots were critically important. Just having a functional minibot was often enough to reach regional eliminations, but the race between the top 1% of minibots became a competition unto itself, and it mattered drastically more than what happened in the rest of the match.