When I left Hatboro-Horsham today, 4454 the Artisan Rockets were ranked 3rd overall in the competition and currently have an OPR of 40.49 according to TBA.
And their robot looks like this.
To put that into perspective, teams 33 and 67 who currently hold the world high score both have OPRs of under 40 (which makes me doubt OPR for this game.)

Teams who have poured resources poured into custom drivetrains, shooters and intakes (including 1640, 2590, 341 and 1218 who attended Hatboro) are losing to a robot with stapled bumpers and three degrees of freedom.

I think that the majority of teams are overthinking this game. All you need in order to compete in FIRST Stronghold is a box on wheels. In order to physically get anywhere in this game you have to be able to cross Defenses (they’re there to defend the tower). It’s not helpful if you can climb and have an awesome shooter if you get stuck every time you cross a Defense.

Because of the ranking point and amount of points available, Defenses are extremely important to this game. Clearing the Defenses is a must in order for any alliance to be successful. At higher levels of play these might be a given, but they are the meat of this game. Only once teams can clear the Defenses reliably they can start to think about completing other objectives.

This is why I was initially confused by WCP’s MCC, because it’s not a “Minimum Competitive Concept”. It’s an extremely strong robot that could win blue banners with the right strategy.

I would like to urge teams to remember KISS and not discount the value of a sturdy box on some sturdy wheels.

Agree defense breach is easiest way to eliminations BUT once there you better shoot and/or climb to be sucessful.

Another major factor is consistency and reliability…harden your bots teams. This game takes a heavy toll on your bot.

I am serious bring all your spare parts and harden all you connections and secure all screws …we have broken about seven different major systems between practice last week and two days of competition including elims in San Diego.

Amazing we did not miss any matches yet with extent of our repairs, cut it so close twice . We have been really lucky and even received help to keep us going. get another round next week…every time our bot gets stronger.

It looks to me like 4454 built the right robot for this game - particularly for early in the season. You don’t need to score all the points to get a high OPR. You just need to be around when the higher scores are achieved. A team like 4454 could easily score 10 in auto, cross 3 of the 5 defense groups, score boulders in the low goal every cycle, and get 5 points on the batter at the end. More importantly, they could influence match planning and strategy to make sure that every alliance member stayed on task and made the “whole” better than the “sum of the parts”.

At Standish-Sterling district this week, our first pick (4377) looked a lot like a tank-tread version of 4454 and had a well deserved OPR 35.33. They only did low goals, but they did them reliably and were difficult to defend against. We thought this made them the best partner candidate for capturing the tower.

For this game, KISS has the added benefit of fewer potential failure modes. Crossing the defenses can be quite brutal, and as the game develops I expect the robot-to-robot interactions to take that to another level.

OPR is what it is. If you like your rating, you tend to think it is very accurate. If you don’t then its not. At the moment (ours was 45 this weekend), I would have to say it is “very accurate” (haha).

I guess we’ll see how our robot does next weekend in NYC…it’s pretty darn simple. There seem to be few robots without an arm. Ours is one of them. We added another mechanism though, we can shoot the high goal as well as low goal.

Neat game…quals is all about the defenses, elims is all about the towers.

The thing about OPR, is it is just a number… If you have scouting use it, if not… it’s better than nothing. . .

Comparing OPR to the Bees can give you a false sense of security…

The scouting data would show they gave the rest of the field a head start, by not moving at all in their first 3 matches, and still finished 8th ranked.

Hot does their homework… they were first picked for a reason.

Maybe at district champs or at worlds but right now, this is demonstrably false.

I can only speak from what I’ve seen. and tbh it seemed like the shooting robots were the only ones going anywhere at Northern lights and Lake Superior.

That may have been true there, but this is likely a problem of lack of imagination and failure of strategy. The minimum point value for getting a breach and capture in eliminations is 116. Earning 130+ points is very achievable with no high goals at all. So far, 130 points seems to be able to take you a long way in the competitions.

We decided that KISS was the way to go this year. High goal is worth more points but at what cost?

In the past few years, we’ve found more DoF doesn’t correspond with higher OPR. In fact, we found they tend to correlate negatively. In the past 4 years, our robots have had 4 DoF (2 drive), 4 DoF (3 drive), 3 DoF (2 drive), and 4 DoF (2 drive). We try to make all of our robots reflect our name - The Simple Machines. Good robots don’t need 20 DoF, they only need 3 or 4 with a good strategy and driver.

I too was at Hatboro and I noticed 4454’s robot. The Artisanal Rocketeers caught my eye last year, and continue to hold it this year. I was very surprised to see such a basic robot doing so well, but I was unsurprised (if that’s a word) when I saw it was them. Kudos to them and to all of the teams who chose to KISS.

Have a look at GTRC, most of the elimination matches saw a complete shift to low goals with a very few attempts at high goal. In the early regionals where you can eliminate high goal shots with good defense it will be a game of who can score 8 balls more reliably.

Let’s do some math here:

In eliminations…
If you get a 3-robot crossing in auto: 30 points.
If you go on to breach: 5x5= 25 points.
If you get 8 balls herded into the low goal: 2x8= 16 points.
If you get all 3 bots on the batter: 3x5= 15 points.
The breach translates to +20 points.
The capture translates to +25 points.

As a total, we’re talking a 131- point routine coming from an alliance without scaling, high-goal, or class C defense capabilities. Sure, you have to go through an inevitable defensive stand. Sure, 8 balls to score is far from a guarantee. But, seriously, we’re talking a score rivaling that of most FINALS matches I’ve seen so far.

To say that the MCC can take you far this year is quite an understatement.

Breach is 40 or (+10=50 ) as you can cross twice then extra 20 in eliminations making it a potential 60 or 70 point set of plays.

I figure a realistic max match is …

Auto 30 or 40 (one cross+HG)

Breach 70 (all defenses destroyed)
Capture 65 (all HG)
Endgame 45 (all scales)

= 220

Im wondering where you got that opr stat? At san diego the highest opr was 42.19 which is the highest ive seen so far

San Diego had highest OPR? I’m surprised by that.

Top 5 OPR as of right now:

  1. 179 Children of The Swamp 56.39 Palmetto
  2. 3683 Team Dave 54.69 Greater Toronto Central
  3. 5172 Gators 53.10 Northern Lights
  4. 359 Hawaiian Kids 51.98 Lake Superior
  5. 876 Thunder Robotics 49.42 Northern Lights.

The top four are all over 50, all qualified for championships, and all were on the number 1 seed alliance.

Seemed like a pretty easy homework assignment.

This weekend’s results were unsurprising, and mirrors results from other years. In 2012, most week 1 events were won by teams that scored in the 2 point goal and consistently got double balances. By the end of the season you couldn’t win any respectable event with high goal capability and often with triple balances.

This game is going to change dramatically over the weeks, and I’m very excited to see it do so.

Congratulations to the teams mentioned who have been getting far without the high goal and without climbing. You’re an inspiration to strategic minds the world over. But keep improving. No alliance (in my opinion) is going to win a regional past week 4 without high goal scoring, and no alliance (in my opinion) is going to win a world championship without scaling.

Stronghold is a strategic game, for sure, but strategy will get you so far.

Our strategy was a simple, robust robot optimized for passively getting over defenses and a very simple intake/shooter for low goal shots. No high goal, no scaling, no extraneous mechanisms. We were very pleased to discover that we were one of the few robots that could consistently get over the ramparts, the moat, and the cheval de frise without getting hung up. (As one announcer said “Wow, those wheels are bouncy!”)

However, we recognize that our shooting cycle time was not ideal and will be working hard to have that improved for our next regional.

Also, autonomous. There was a clear progression of improvements to team’s autonomous modes throughout the weekend. Those are only going to get better.


I’ve been saying it over the last couple of weeks. Scaling has been relatively rare so far but it’s inevitably going to become the one aspect of the game that determines Einstein.

Think the Can-Grabbers last year.

The semi-finals and finals at Guilford District were determined by the fact that 3506 (YETI Robotics) were able to scale. Once, in the finals they won by four points. Had they not have scaled, it’s possible they could have been defeated. Their only loss in eliminations was when their robot started scaling just late, causing them to lose by three. But, their ability to scale the tower helped their alliance win the eliminations.