How Much Is Too Much For An Update In A FIRST Game Manual?

On August 31, FIRST Global Challenge realis one update (the only one so far and more than a month after the original reveal) where they added a new action in the game and changed the whole way to rank in the competition.

Supposing you have read both versions of the game manual. In that case, it is easy to understand why they made the changes (now, the critical part is to make a tonne of points. Before, it was win matches, that sounds similar, but the game had an almost defining strategy that I think would be very efficient). Still, at this point, teams have been working for more than a month on strategies and robot architectures for a different challenge.

I don’t have any problem with updating the game manuals when it comes to clarifying or solving significant issues with the games, but this was a 7 pages update for a game manual of 37 pages, and more than a month after the reveal.

So… How Much Is Too Much For An Update In A FIRST Game Manual?
And… Do you know of any other situation like this in the FIRST history?

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I am very thankful they have never done something like this in FRC.
I got lost trying to figure out what the updates were!


The closest analog in my time with FIRST was when they modified (but did not fundamentally change) the ranking rules for the 2010 FRC Game (Breakaway) after Week 1. Prior to the update, the ranking system worked as follows

  • The winning alliance received seeding points equal to their own penalized score + 2x the unpenalized score of the losing alliance
  • The losing alliance received seeding points equal to the unpenalized score of the winning alliance

So if there was a 3-2 result where the winning alliance had 4 points pre-penalties, the winning alliance got 7 seeding points (3 + 2*2) and the losing alliance got 4 seeding points. This system set up an incentive for an alliance who knew they were going to lose to not score for themselves at all and instead just score for the other (winning) alliance. Since the only difference between winning and losing was that the winners twice the losers score, so it behooves the losing alliance for that to be 0. And if the winning alliance receives penalties, then the losing alliance comes out ahead on seeding points. Playing 6v0 was better than playing 3v3

To incentivize being on the winning alliance, a 5 seeding point bonus was added to the winning alliance’s score after Week 1. Since the game was largely low scoring, this was enough in most scenarios to push everyone back to 3v3 gameplay.


I can think of a couple of cases where there was a significant change made to the game via Update. Usually this is to shut down chokehold strategies. And usually, it’s in TU #1 or TU#2. Less often the Week 0 update.

But a full strategy and ranking update is rare, let alone midseason. (2010 is about the only one I can recall.)


2005 changed the ranking tie breaking algorithm to match what was implemented in FMS after week 1.

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Ultimate Ascent, after W0 they changed that the frisbees could only be thrown by the HP in the last 30 seconds.

In the rules quoted above, could someone interpret what the “average of the sum” of match points is? If you sum them, you get 1 number, correct? And the average of that number is that number. STEM - the M stands for Math.

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While this is a big change, it really needed to be done. Prior to the update, shooting the balls was literally useless in elims as it used to be WLT, so the only thing that mattered was having more climbs than your opponent which would create very bad and boring gameplay. Past the #1 rank team, balls would’ve been useless to consider.

However, I am disappointed in the “alliance selection”, assigning alliances based on rank will encourage teams to throw matches to get on a more favorable alliance and removes much of the strategic depth from elims.

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