Lovin' This Game

A little early I know, but I LURVE this game so far. The fact that top level teams are revealing bots that not only look and perform differently, but are approaching the game from different angles, tells me that the game is well designed. The fact that so many robots are succeeding at doing important tasks tells me that the floor has come up. Nice job FIRST. Can’t wait to play this week in Northern AZ!

This game is definitely pretty cool.

Pro List:
Real Time Strategy: As the main database guy on our team, we took this game to finally develop some real time tools. The tools worked great but the “live” part of the data wasn’t implemented until day two due to emergency paper scouting on day 1. Will see how “live” works in week 3.

Fun to watch as a spectator: While we were in NC, I met a guy at a hotel who asked about robotics. I showed him the animation and he seemed super interested and was trying to go to the event (not sure if he ever got there). A lot better then stacking totes for a spectator

Gap between ok and bad is really small: Good robots as always always stand out. But the difference between your mid ranking teams compared to the bottom of the list teams is pretty slim in comparison to other years. Pretty much every robot can cross some sort of defense.

Con list:
Robustness is an issue: Our robot was on the field every match but broke in 3 to 4 of the 12 qualification matches and in both QF matches. Many other teams including our first pick had a similar issue. Our first pick 3196, Spork (awesome people to work with by the way), went from being a great high shooter in qualifications, to being a low shooter only in our first QF match (broke high shooter mechanism), to having no shooter in our second QF match (broke low shooter in first QF match). It was nothing that was foreseen and was caused by a rough game. That is just one example.

Scouting is huge and some teams can’t afford it: Scouting is a huge part of this game this year. By this, I don’t mean it costs a lot in money. By this I mean some teams of only 10 people just don’t have enough people to scout. If a small team becomes skilled enough to end up in that first spot, the robot they may have seen perform well a few times might not fit into their alliance well.

Third partner is super important: The issue I see with this is in last year’s game, the top captain and the first pick could win a district event or regional with little to no help from the third partner. This year, scouting drive trains is even more important than ever. Third robots need to be able to play defense whether they were designed for it or not. At certain district events, there are only 25 teams. This makes choices super slim for the first alliance’s second pick.

There is even more I could add to the list but this post is long enough. Hope you enjoyed. Just hit the big points. Don’t get me wrong. This is easily a top 3 FIRST game. Just had to add some cons too :wink:

I love this game for a lot of reasons, but number one has to be that it’s a game in which almost any team, regardless of skill level, can build a robot that can contribute effectively to an alliance. In almost any previous year, a box on wheels has been almost entirely useless except as cheesecake fodder, this year, that robot might be able to cross multiple defenses in auto and teleop and play effective defense. I love that.

Definitely better than the last two, both from a game standpoint and the engineering trade offs of low bar vs scale, with high ground clearance and boulder tossing added for good measure. While game strategy is always important, it was essential for Stronghold. Depending on how the meta plays out in later weeks and through Einstien, we may well find Stronghold to be one of the all-time favorite FRC games.

There’s even a good possibility that each of the 32 robots on Einstein will play at least one match.

This game is great to watch unless your robot is in the match. Then it’s a cringe-fest. Good luck this weekend, and may you find all of your parts on the field.

Sounds like a “pro” to me. Last year was so boring, TV stations weren’t interested in broadcasting the game. Now, good strategy might help you overthrow a powerhouuse alliance.

Not true. I know of two Week 1 alliances that won a playoff round using an Alliance Captain or first pick for defense. I also know of alliances that won by playing no defense; 3 offense bots.

I can definitely see it as a pro for many reasons, but the main reason I listed it as a con is because it sort of stinks for small district events. There are a few district events that only have 25 teams. Having a game where the third robot is important can really stink for a first alliance where their third pick may be broke or have little functionality. I know that the teams that rank low at competitions are definitely happy about this because it makes them important. That is a good thing and a pro for sure. But at our most recent event in NC, there were 30 teams. 29 could go to alliance selection (5188 broke and declined at alliance selection). Our alliance had the 12th pick or the 20th overall robot and we only had two robots to choose from before we got to our “bottom tier” list. If we were the first alliance captain, it would have been hard to choose which robot we wanted. Like I was saying, it isn’t to be mean to teams. Last year, everyone did the same task where this year, a good third pick can swing the whole thing. I think we’ll be seeing a lot of alliances 3-6 winning district events (not regionals). It sort of can discourage being #1 or 2 in my opinion if that makes sense?

Our third pick was a low robot that only shot low goals. They were a rookie team but had their robot perfectly timed to go under low bar and score a low goal in autonomous They only missed twice in 14 matches. One other miss was due to our robot getting in their pathway. This was a perfect example of what a rookie team should have worked on - pick out one plan and do it consistently. While a defense robot was trying to stop our two high shooters in QF and SF, this robot kept making fast cycle times so that in the end we could capture the tower. 3rd robots are definitely going to be difference maker this year.