Is This Not A Viable Strategy?

Background: Our robot lacks any ball manipulators. We had to take it off because I said it was stupid, we were overweight and it was never tested. It was a kicker, it would have been a terrible feeder either way. So, all we can do is lower the bridge, go over bumps and balance.
Tip middle bridge then tip our bridge.
Drive up the bridge to balance. (The balance is just an extra touch, just a show of dominance)
Make our way to the opponent side and attempt to push the shooters with targeting systems into corners.
Herd balls using our “plow”.
Disrupt play.

For the first 2-4 matches (before lunch), do solo balance (4-8 seconds max) to rack up points while we have a chance. Chances are, the teams will have terrible shooters and balancing, so while others will have trouble, we just outright win matches with the 10 points + what ever our alliance makes.

The rest of the matches, we would do coopertition. We practice coopertition throughout the lunch. That is solid 1 to 1.5 hours of practice.

This is pretty much playing the ranking system. However, my mentor feels that we should always go for coopertition. I do not think that is wise, especially without having the solid practice time during lunch.

I think what your mentors suggested are the way to go.

Because of the ranking system this year, cooperation points are playing a major role. If you go for balancing in the middle bridge all the time, you would get 18 ranking points (depending on the number of seeding matches at your regional), that is almost enough for you to get top 8 seeding at most week 1 regionals without actually winning a single match. If you just go for solely balancing on your bridge to win, you run a chance of getting 0 ranking points, and it is only 10 points for your alliance during that match, most of the teams can easily overscore that even early on the first day.

it seems like to me it still depends on what the game score is looking like. You don’t want to be balancing Alliance bridges if you know you’re going to lose, so if you can coordinate a coopertition before hand, do so. The key to seeding high will be to get more QP, so look for the win, if not look for Coop.

Well, my mentality is that we do not have much time to practice with teams because we are given our match sheets on the day of qualifications. I can confidently balance solo, I rather not run the risk of trying with another team until I get solid practice with them.

It is a perfectly valid strategy - I believe that defense and bridges have been consistently undervalued, especially in qualifications. I believe that the average alliance scored ~16 points this week, so if you guys managed to reliably score 10, then you would be in the top half of teams. And if you are very good at both defense and the bridge, you will likely get picked for eliminations.

If you win 7 of your matches - which is possible if you play well - and balance 5 coopertition bridges, you will have a qualification score of 24. The top-ranked team at San Diego, 4161, had a qualifying score of 24. That number will increase, but you definitely have a legitimate strategy.

Don’t even pretend to balance in auto - you might accidentally tip the bridge and touch the carpet on the other side.

Be careful playing defense. Make sure your drivers know their stuff. Your strategies sound aggressive (but fair) but it seems easy (looking at week one clips) to accumulate penalties.

We have a good targeting mecanum shooter that can lower the ramp (and maybe go up it - we’ll see). A solid defensive bot with smart drivers that can push us onto the bridge (with them) would make a great partner.

Good luck!

DO NOT balance in autonomous. It’s a huge penalty if you fall over to the other side, and I’d never balance a robot autonomously without the possibility of driver intervention in the case something goes wrong.

On the subject of defending, you can do it right, or you can do it wrong. The results of getting it right are perfectly starving your opponents, legally disrupting play, and aiding your alliance in a positive way. If done wrong, not only will teams not want to pick you, but you will get many, many penalties. You need to make sure you can be effective at defense without getting penalized. At all.

Here’s my advice: Before the competition, get your drivers together and draw out routines as to where you can drive without getting penalized. Also, STUDY THE RULES. They are your greatest asset to being a successful driver.

Also, be sure to gear low. I mean 7.5 - 9 fps low. Trust me, when you’re pushing 120 pound robots, you’ll want to push them the most you can. 4 CIMs in the drive, more motors in the drive if you can. If you’re only going to be a drivebase and a bridge actuator, use all motors you can in the places you can.

Hope this helps. You have a good robot, believe it or not, and excellent drivers. I look forward to watching you in your regional(s).


At San Diego, balancing with another team didn’t seem too difficult, as long as only one robot was trying to move at once. The strategy that seemed to me to work best was to have one robot pull down the bridge from one side, drive onto it and to the other side, tipping it down for the other robot. Then the second robot pushed the first until they were balanced. Go for a double balance this way if you can.

However, because you plan to balance during autonomous, it sounds like you have a reliable autobalancing system, so this would be a point in favor of balancing solo to safeguard against an unskilled driver on your alliance.

As for coopertition vs. alliance bridge balancing, you should go for the coopertition bridge only if you are ahead or more than 10 points behind the other team. In the first case, an alliance bridge would not get you any additional seeding points, and in the second, would not get you any at all. Otherwise, go for the alliance bridge.

The way to go depends largely on the score of the match in qualifications. If you can win the match with 10 points from balancing your bridge–or possibly 20 if you have an alliance partner on the bridge with you–but go for coopertition if either side is winning by more than 20 points (and therefore the result cannot be changed by balancing the red and blue bridges). Winning with no coopertition gives you 2 qualification points and the other alliance 0, whereas losing with coopertition would give you 2 points and them 4. So you won’t get any more qualification points, but you will be higher ranked because the other teams will be comparatively lower.

There was just another post about what it takes to win a match, it’s pretty interesting and helpful, we’re going to slightly adjust our strategy based on details from all regionals up till ours.

Well, I don’t think my mentor understands that. I’ll try explaining to him tomorrow.

well hurding the balls and playing defence was and is going to be a huge part of this game as we were one of the best shooters all week but when elimination came the other alliance played defence and beat us, but never the less if you decide to play defence all year make sure you dont commit any penalties or anything and leave the double bridge balance for the two robots that weigh the closest in weight as its easyier to balance it that way

From a maximizing your effectiveness standpoint, balancing the coopertition bridge is probably more important than balancing your own bridge. You get two points if you balance it, versus possibly getting two points if the 10 points from a solo balance is enough to make your side win. But more importantly, if you can balance the coopertition bridge, you will be showing other teams that you can help get at least two robots on your alliance bridge in eliminations, making you more likely to get picked.

It is certainly true that winning with no coopertition is better than losing with coopertition, but you also have to factor in how likely you think each of those actions are to come to pass. Coopertition bridging is going to be much easier with cooperation arranged ahead of time, rather than if both sides are waiting to see whether they are winning or losing. (In fact, this is very close to the Prisoner’s Dilemma.)

Remember, your strategy needs to work with your allies (and opponents) in each match. I don’t think that stating flatly “We go for individual balance in the morning and coopertition in the afternoon” is the best way to go. You need to talk to your allies and opponents. If the opponents aren’t planning to do the coopertition bridge, you can’t. If you have two allies who are planning on balancing on the team bridge, you should go for coopertition.

Here’s a strategy you might not have thought about yet:

Why do you think your mechanism is stupid? You can play very effective defense by starving the opponents of balls in addition to some push/shove tactics. If the kicker can punt the ball 10-20 feet over the bump, it’s perfectly fine. I would take some extra material to competition and find a team who can help fix your current mechanism. If you’re a box on wheels, you’ll have plenty of time to do so since your overall robot should be incredibly simple.

I agree that balancing in autonomous is a bad idea.

I think you’re overestimating the difficulty of balancing with others on the bridges. Yes, a lot of people screwed it up in Week 1. But it’s really not so hard if you do it correctly. (We looked at this for triple balancing in elims, though we never did it. The 2nd (bottom) guy has to move. If you’re new, try to never move away from your alliance partner.) By Week 3 teams should be better at that. Certainly, you don’t have to practice with each team–and I’d venture that you’ll face some resistance to actually setting that up.

This, and try to only power one robot at once. When two robots are driving at once, it should only be to allow a robot with insufficient torque to push another up the ramp. When you have two robots trying to move at once, you’ll try to compensate for each other’s movements, likely losing balance in the process. Make small and slow movements and you shouldn’t find it too difficult to balance with any team, ally or opponent.

You got a couple different things going on in this thread:
Go ahead and try to balance in hybrid, just use the Kinect station as an Stop function. Make sure you test it out a few times on the practice field, with a real bridge. Also check your braking, so if the human player waves their arms enough the robot will stop and not slide off.

I would do a fair bit of scouting and in matches where it will be easy to win with a balance, I would go for the points, in matches where you probably don’t stand a chance, get the coopertition points.

Also, how much traction do you have on the bridge? Do you have the ability to push someone else up the bridge? That will go along way if you could find a good way to cooperate with your teammates.

You might want to think about this one. What will the ranking of a team that goes undefeated and never balances on the coopertition bridge, vs. that of a team that loses 2 but balances 75% of the time?

If you can cross the bridge without assistance, guard the fender to force teams to shoot from the key, not create fouls, and balance reliably (on either bridge), you will be playing on Saturday afternoon for sure. You may not be the alliance captain, but you will be playing.