As an interested observer this year here’s my summary that I hope may help a rookie team.

(initially had this at the end, but for people who don’t like reading)
My focus summary for a rookie team would be:

  1. Gears
  2. Rope
  3. Fuel
    Fuel may initially look easier than gears because there’s a lot laying around, but you have to score a LOT to make up the difference. Fuel MAY be the difference between the two top alliances, but by then you’ll be paired with a veteran team that will consistently score.

Robot Tasks:
Collect fuel/gears from stations
Collect fuel/gears from floor
Deliver fuel hi goal
Deliver fuel lo goal
Deliver gears
Climb rope
Push everything

Collecting **
Aside from the side hoppers, the loading station is on the opposite side of the field for gears and balls. Initially, you can pick a LOT off the ground, but as those boilers and bins start to fill, someone will have to go to the loading station. Don’t run around the whole field for 10-20 fuel. Also, gear has to be collected at the station. View WILL be obstructed for some games, but the station is wide and a camera should help.

You deliver the fuel and gears to YOUR side of the field. Aside from other robots, your view should not be obstructed.
Gears should be easy, all you need is a slotted shelf for the gear to rest vertically in and wait for the pilot to lift it out of the robot (1/9/16 currently legal). Lots of balls on the ground so EXPECT them to be in the way of the lift

Fuel is still tricky for rookies. Each slot on the boiler is doing 5 fuel/second, so you have to load fast for good points. You can dump truck on the low intake but that’s at 9/point. Going high is very hard to do consistently for even seasoned teams. Also keep in mind you have to be on YOUR side of the field to launch fuel. You can’t just grab from a hopper and throw.

Not everyone can do this, but good to go for. Don’t forget a ratcheting/locking mechanism to keep you up.

Push everything
Balls, gears, and robot everywhere! You can’t pin for long, but if you see someone trying to line up for delivering a gear, be sure to give them a good bump as you go by. What’s great is even if everything breaks except your drive train. you can push everything down to your side of the field and give the other team a heck of a time doing gears.

Side note on gears
A team needs 12 gears from the robots. If they focus on gears they can get 3 during auto, then each robot has 45s/gear to:
-go to your side
-collect a gear
-get back to their side
-line up
Defense can stop 140 points from happening on the last rotor

I hope to see some stupid awesome ideas this year again. (I have yet to be disappointed)

GRF is great advice to all teams, not just rookies.