Key Factor In This Year's Game

It seems as though every year, we miss one of the main factors in the game. Last year, after watching the telecast, we thought “hmm the center goal seems to be the key factor to winning” so we built a two jointed arm that could stack 5-6 tetras on the center goal; however, the downside of this was that our arm was very slow! what we found out was that the main factor in the 05 game was speed, basically quantity of tetras over how high you could stack.

This year, I think we got it wrong again. Although there were many ways a robot could be built to win. One way would be using the dumping technique. A few teams were incredibly good at this, specifically 1006 (Fast Eddie) and 1138. It seemed as though dumpers were important in a winning alliance, for example 1006 won Arizona and 1138 won LA. Another way was to have a high shooter, pickup device, and large basket (like 968 or the cheesy poofs). with such a device like this, they were able to get on the ramp and unload their balls within a short amount of time.

I was just wondering if any other teams felt this way too. I just don’t understand how such a straightforward telecast and description of the game could lead some teams to success due to knowing the “key factor” while other teams just can’t seem to figure it out until later on after ship or during competitions. We’ve never really built a field, but would you say that building at least 1/2 a field is advantageous?

i think the key to winning this year game hands down was winning auto mode. Of coarse i could be wrong.


This year, more so than any past year, aside of possibly 2004, balance is the key to victory. Most winning alliances I have seen have had the ability to score both the center and corner goals, win autonomous, play defense, and get some (even if not the full 25) ramp points.
Amognst robot feature, a few are pretty much essential. Speed, traction and power in your drivetrain are of couse, as always, critical. Storage capacity (at a bare minimum of 10, preferably around 15-20 or more), especially on rapid fire shooters and corner goal scorers (even more so if you cannot load from the ground easily).

Autonomous mode is the most important aspect with efficent use of limited time as the next most important.

hm well in some cases I’d have to disagree with you on that. During the final rounds of the LA reg. I watched 968 do well and win autonomous mode by dumping into the corner goals. As they advanced to the final round, I saw in the second match of this round, they decided not to dump balls in auto thus not getting the 10 pt bonus giving them a chance to shoot all 10 balls in their offensive period which immediately followed. I guess it does have to do with strategy, but there is a certain point to where strategy can help win matches to some extent. From then on, it does depend on how capable your robot is. If you think your team was successful this year, what exactly helped you out when designing your bot?

Yeah, 968 decided that if 330 won autonomous, they’d maybe score about 25ish points max, letting 968 score 30 right away since they moved toward their ramp. Overall, I think having like Lil’lavery said, is a balanced team that can counter anyone, and strategy. I think strategy is the single most important thing in this game (and almost all other FIRST games). If you study what your opponent does well and counter it, I think you can always win.

Automode is what does it. Dumping into the lower goals is nice, but vs a robot that can shoot threes as easy as dumping 1s there is not comparison.

I’d also agree that balance on the team is key. Even though there are teams that can individually dominate the score, if for some reason they are stopped, that team has no other bots to do the trick to get a higher score. All it takes is a two-on-one defensive against an excellent bot and leave the other opposing bot free to score a few points, points that can easily be returned in the next rounds. While it may not be a simple 1 defense, 1 shooter, 1 ball dumper team, balance is essential for this competition.

Autonomous I have mixed feelings on the importance of it. If they have an auto that shoots 3’s consistently, definitely go for it. Just doing a quick analysis, having an opposing team know that you have just shot multiple 3’s and got the 10 point bonus throws off their calm and could cause their team to go slightly into chaos, struggling to figure out whether to go for upper or lower goals and whether they need all 3 bots on the ramp.

  • autonomous
  • the ramp

A few key factors I saw at SVR-

Balanced teams
Corner and center goal bots that work well together are a huge advantage

Efficient mechanisms
It doesn’t matter if you have the coolest looking shooter, you need one that’s fast and accurate.

Our eliminations alliance had quite a few broken robots by the end of the third match, one of which was gone after the first. The game this year is rough, and you need a robot that can handle a hit.

Our IFI wheels looked pretty messed up, but were still working because we had a really sturdy chassis and drive. We’d have been in trouble if it wasn’t built to handle a beating.

Low center of gravity
Flipped robots played a big role in a lot of matches

i agree 100% if you win autonomous you already have a 10 point lead.

More importantly, the other alliance has no balls left when they come on offense. Because you have 40 seconds until you have to go score, your Human Player can get loads of balls onto your scoring side or into your robot while you block the few shots that the other alliance has to make.

I think this was the key to winning; I know it was at the Phoenix and Davis-Sacramento Regionals.

Balance is key for any good team. But there really is no one key to the game. Autonomous is big, but how many teams have won after losing it. Anyhoo, it all comes down to the drivers, pit crews, and of course strategy. Without either of the groups the robot won’t work. Even if you are the best dumper, shooter, or defensive robot. Strategy is what wins close matches.

I think the key factor this years game is inspiration and fun. I mean gaining points in a match.

If anyone saw our robot, you saw that it had a capacity for maybe 50 balls in its massive spiral. We discovered after the fact that during the match, there simply wasn’t time to pick up 50 balls, so our beautiful handmade spiral was maximally 1/3 full at any time.

So, we overestimated the amount of neccesary storage.

Definitely a well balanced alliance - defensive and multiple offensive options are a must. Also - low CG!! Several alliances seems to have the advantage - but if just one bot tips over - they usually can’t recover.

Auto mode was absolutely awesome this year. We had offensive auto modes - but usually just played defense - since it took too long for us to pick up balls. So there always was this suspense during Auto mode if the defensive bot(s) could stop the offensive ones. Very exciting and much better than just watching a bot stack a tetra.

I think some of the key factors in this years game is scoring speed and scoring consistancy. If you have a slow shoter/dumper it’s not hard to push you away from a scoring position after one or two shots. Consistancy and machine reliabilty are also massively good things to have. Lastly being able to get up/push team mates up the ramp. In a close match 25 points is a deciding factor.

This weekends alliance that won Wisconsin of 111 and another great shooter showed how pivotal autonomous CAN be. After auto they could have gone and parked on the ramp for the whole match and still won. 95 points can be tough to beat even without defense.



There is no “perfect robot” for this game. Having a well balanced alliance is crucial, so good scouting is essential. Autonomous is very important, but not necessarily the ability to score–at Phoenix the key was to be able to adjust the autonomous defense to defeat the other guys’ auto scoring! Reliability is helpful, although we managed to do pretty well in Sacramento with essentially a dead drive system for most of 3 matches in the semis and finals.

Since none of these other things is the key, then it must be the ability to adapt to changing circumstances quickly, and to take advantage of any weakness you can find in the opposing alliance. This is what the winning alliances did in the finals at the two regionals I attended.

Yes I know I’m quoting myself, but I can’t help it. Most people think the key is an attribute of the robot. I think the key is the people who design, build, program, and test the robot. As well as the people in the pits working, in the stands scouting, and the people helping other teams.

The robot wouldn’t exist without these people THINKING up the design. Even if its mostly students doing the work, they are the key. A good robot is only as good as the people working on or driving it.