IRI - 4th Alliance Team?

The Good and Bad Threads have been hijacked - and there is a lot of discussion regarding the 4th team in the alliance. It was a good debate with the extended planning team, and we chose to make the decisionon who played totally up to the AC.

Continue the debate here

If I can figure out how to do it, I will move the discussion posts into this thread/


Keep the 4th team.

Don’t force them to be played.

I agree, keep the extra backup team and allow the alliance to choose who goes on the field. As the 4th parter on our alliance, we were grateful that we got a chance to play in the quarterfinals, but the alliance should be allowed to choose the best group for their strategy no matter who is the “extra” team.

As a side note, IRI was better than advertised, we had a blast.


I think the IRI Planning Committee found the perfect compromise that allowed more teams to stay involved longer, while not forcing un-necessary structure. I suppose I can see how teams that are used to “playing after lunch” might be frustrated to be picked and then not play. But that has to be better than not being picked at all (like our team), also much better than the FIRST method of having the next xx teams on standby and your alliance has to take whoever is “up next”. The IRI method allowed more strategy to be included in the mix.

With the depth of the IRI field this really makes sense. You have enough good teams that you afford another round of solid drafting.

469 played in our 2nd quarterfinal match. It was a close outcome but we lost that match. We decided to go with 148 the rest of the way, almost making it to the finals. 469 had some repair work to do on their ramps after their match, I believe, and they worked very hard to return to full readiness for our alliance should we have called upon them again.

Perhaps we should get rid of the term “backup” for the 4th pick and simply refer to everyone as equals??? Each team on the four team alliance should be considered an equally interchangeable component at the discretion of the alliance captain. Everyone gets the same trophy if they are fortunate enough to make it into the final round… They don’t stamp “Finalist/Champion Alliance Backup” on the thing…

With the amount of teams going to IRI now adays, unless they go to a 2 field setup (dont see how they could unless they switched gyms and set up there own bleachers), keep the 4th team, and in my opinion, I think, like FIRST used to do, they should be forced to play once every series (or they could play the entire series if the alliance wanted to.)

I’ll restate my opinion stated in the other thread. I really feel that the event would have been much more interesting and exciting if every team that was selected had to play to least one match during the elimination matches. My team was put in the position of being a fourth member who never took the field, and it was not a lot of fun watching our destiny be decided on the field by other teams. And we’re not a perennial powerhouse who’s used to playing in the eliminations all the time at any level, especially not IRI (this was as close to the IRI eliminations as we’ve ever been).
I suggest having it so each alliance would have to play all four teams at least once during the elimination matches. That would mean if you lost your first match during the QFs, you would have to play whichever team sat out during the next match, as your alliance may be eliminated. If you won/tied your first QF match, you could opt to stay with the same 3-team alliance until you’re threatened to be eliminated in a later round (or you’re threatening to win the competition and you still haven’t played the fourth team). This is very similar to what FRC did with elimination alliances from 2000-2004, and was FTC still does.
Since you’re only required to play them once, unless you draft a broken 'bot, you shouldn’t ever be forced to play a broken bot (or if two 'bots break, but that’s a risk in the current system as well). A question was raised in the other thread that if you lost your first match, wouldn’t you be in bigger risk to lose your next match if your “back-up” truly is your least competitive alliance member. Simple solution to that problem, play your “back-up” in your very first match. It may lower your chances of winning that first match, but it allows you to sit them for the rest of the eliminations should you desire, and depending on how the other alliance utilizes their back-ups, may lead to favorable match-ups in later matches. Look at how many alliances have structured their alliances in FTC over the past couple years to see that is a very viable solution to that dilemma.

Completely for and one word summarizes it. Strategy.

Of course I would like it (ONLY if I was the higher seeded alliance) if I got to switch bots after the other team similar to re-placing the robots last year. It would make for a MUCH more interesting match up and would add an “X-FACTOR” to every game. Even with the current rules, you are allotted a lot of strategy and no matter what, I think that this will be the beginning of an awesome series of matches in the future.

EDIT: I think that it should not be referenced as the “back-up” robot. Travis has a good point and example (148). It should be a 4th robot. IF strategy dictates in matches, like I hope it does, teams would be switching bots every other/few match(es) giving some sense of “mystery” to the game.

As an alliance captain, I wouldn’t want to be mandated to play anything other than the game I intend to play. If that means playing the same alliance partners in 1, 2, or 3 matches, that should be my prerogative as an alliance captain. If I feel my 4th partner would be more beneficial in a given match, it’s my choice to play them. In all honesty, I’d feel less in control of my alliance’s destiny if I were forced to play all robots, especially if we come up with a working strategy with just 3 of us.

In fact, my team was an alliance captain in 2002 at the UTC Regional. If I remember right, we were the 7th seeded alliance captain. Playing our first choice alliance partner, we beat the number 2 seed in our first match. This being the pre-serpentine draft era, our second alliance partner wasn’t as strong of a robot as the number 2 seed’s second alliance partner, so being mandated to play them, we lost our second match. Third match we were in a winning position holding on to 2 goals in our zone, when our first pick alliance partner blew a fuse and got dragged accross the field like dead weight, goals in tow and all. Had we played our first pick again for the second match, even if they blew the fuse at that point, the third match could have potentially gone either way. In any case, being mandated to play our second pick put us at a huge disadvantage in our second match given the drafting style at the time. That felt more like we were out of control of our own destiny more than having to sit on the bench and cheer our partners on.

I say keep the 4, and allow the captain to choose who plays without restriction.

In games with many different ways to score and possible strategies (as in… most FIRST games) it will allow more exciting finals as captains can pick the 3 (of 4) best robots to field against THAT particular opponent. Not the themselves and two they pick during selection for the entire finals.

I would leave it as is. You guys added a great feature to the IRI by doing this. I don’t think an alliance captain should have to play a team unless they want to, because they earned that right by being an alliance captain.

I wasn’t at IRI, but I did [strike]stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night[/strike] watch the webcast.

Keep the 4 team alliance, and don’t make any rules about who gets to play. Dean says it every year “FIRST isn’t fair.” Personally, I’d rather get picked and not play than not get picked AND not play. At the very least you get excellent seats, and for me, strategy before the match is just as much fun as the actual match.

Additionally as a pick list maker dude for the past three years, I would’ve loved to have had the opportunity to take an extra team, who perhaps doesn’t have the scoring we need, but does have the rough and tumble (but not so rough and tumbly as to warrant carding) defense.

Obviously there a lot of pros and cons concerning the 4th alliance team but the good thing i see about a 4th alliance team is that it’s an extra set of eyes. I know that most teams listen to only their own coach, but it’s a nice advantage to have one person watching everything going on the field and doesn’t prioritize a specific robot during the match, but instead looks for things that can be applied for the greater good of the alliance as a whole. (not saying that teams only try to benefit themselves, but i hope you guys get what im trying to say)

the idea of making all teams play a match if picked seems fair, but if the 4th team would rather let the other team(s) play matches instead for strategy, then I don’t see why they shouldn’t be allowed to do that.

Overall it’s nice to have a 4th alliance because you’re actually given an option.

Can we create a poll within this thread? I was going to do so, but then saw this thread already existed.

I like NOT mandating the 4th team to be played. It was made clear on day 1 that the 4th would be a “backup” and played at the discretion of the alliance captain. If you would prefer not to be in that position with the potential of not playing, it is your choice to decline the invitation. Sure maybe in one tiny way it sucks to not be on the field during elims, but come on… you’re still IN the eliminations (where many weren’t) and should see the positives instead of negatives.

If it wasn’t very much fun to sit on the sidelines and watch the alliance TEAM on the field, then maybe they weren’t as excited, supportive, or encouraging as they could have been to the rest of their TEAM. I hope this doesn’t sound harsh, but if I were the 4th team chosen, I would just be excited and grateful that I was picked out of the 40+ teams remaining on the sidelines. It’s not like anyone was defaulted into the 4th position due to few teams - they were still CHOSEN out of a crapload of awesome teams.

I’d much rather be sitting on the sidelines cheering my alliance on than packing up my pit or otherwise. I now have the potential of earning my team name on the winners banner, trophies, and bragging rights (and everything else that comes with it) - and yes, I said earn - because a team can still do quite a bit without having their robot on the field. Each of those 4 teams likely contributed something to the outcome in robot or non-robot ways. Rather than say - yeah our alliance won IRI, but my team didn’t do anything - just stop at the first part of the sentence and be thrilled.

The alliance captain did earn the right to make their choices regarding final strategy of who plays - hopefully with the input of their alliance-mates. Perhaps they would have had every intention of playing the 4th, but when on a winning streak, why mess up a good thing? Not that they don’t have confidence in the 4th, but if they win the first match, they are taking a risk by putting in their “backup”, esp if they feel like their on a good roll. It’s just another choice in the grand strategy, which the alliance captain has the honor (and difficulty) of deciding. A key to strategy is playing the robots who are a good match together as well as against their opponents - not just because they are forced to play a certain robot. If we want to pull strategy out of the equation, and hold hands while skipping around the field (or something like that as someone once wrote), then by all means, mandate that everyone gets their big chance.

So yeah… I’m for no mandating… (and before IRI, I was leaning more towards mandating).

I would have to say that the 4th team is almost to serve the other teams. This is because they are in the finals only because of the other teams picked them. If they play great, if not that was part of their “job” as to help out their alliance.----That made sence right?

I had a much longer post typed out, but the wording wouldn’t work right. So I’ll just suffice to say this:

As a driver, I didn’t particularly like it. As a strategist, I really liked it.

Strategy-wise, the 4th robot was a brilliant idea.

But once your robot doesn’t take the field… blame shoots around. Although it was a good idea, I think that telling one team that they can’t play can bring about hostility between teams. And that certainly isn’t GP.

Not only that, but it goes even further. The Alliance Captain is in charge. It’s as simple as that. The other alliance teams accepted their pick, therefore agreeing to follow the Alliance Captain’s leadership. If they didn’t want to follow this direction, then they should’ve said “no”. The 1st pick, the 2nd pick and in IRI’s case, the 3rd pick need to all adhere to what their alliance captain wants them to do.

Each year, I am amazed when I see teams who get picked and they try to take charge of the alliance and don’t listen to the alliance captain. This regretfully takes place when the partners don’t know each other very well, and more often when the alliance captain is a young team who picked an old veteran team.

Of course, the alliance captain needs to listen to the input of the partners, and the partners need to state their opinions. However, these teams on the alliances are not equal partners. The Alliance Captain is in charge. All of the partners need to follow their leadership. If they disagree, they can tactfully voice this opinion in a proper way without causing hostility.

Andy B.

Although I agree with you, the alliance captain doesn’t always have the experience to know whats best to lead their team so when vet teams take charge, they have a [usually] solid history that enables them to make MORE informed decisions to benefit the alliance.

On Paper - Bottom Line: Captain > ALL
In Reality - Bottom Line: More Experience > Less Experience.