My opinions on this year's game (open for duscussion)

Hey all! I’m sure this is probably the bajillionth time someone’s made an “opinions on '23” post, but I want to shoot my thoughts into the internet ether without interrupting ongoing conversations in other threads (possible CD idea: being able to make sub-threads to go off on tangents for topics without blocking other’s ideas).

So, first up: my opinion on this game’s core concepts. Personally, I’m glad we have all graduated from ‘pick up and shoot balls’ game type. During the infinite recharge and rapid react years, I noticed a lot of teams that were pretty much just drive trains that went around and bumped other people. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with that, but without any real methods of scoring for drivetrain bots, it hurt alliances to only have two scoring teams against an alliance of three scoring teams. I’m glad that this year those drivetrain bots will be able to do more, by pushing things into the lowest scoring rows, and by balancing on the dock.

That makes a good segue into my next thought: this year’s rather high skill ceiling, and the importance of good drivers. While the skill floor for this year is really low, there is still the opportunity for good teams to really go off on the field. Based on the abilities of my team, we calculated that a good maximum score for a single team in an absolutely best-case scenario where the five other robots are not there and your robot has no issues, we could score somewhere around 75 points. I’m not going to say how for strategy reasons, but there’s a potential for really high-scoring games amongst elite teams. Also, the fact that a majority of the field is just a wide-open free for all zone is fun to me as a (I like to think) really good driver. I’m hoping to see tons of lightning-fast robots dodging each other as they go from the loading zones to the scoring zones.

Now, on the subject of defense: I hate to break it to y’all but simply won’t be very effective. Since the only place you can contact opponent robots is in the middle where there isn’t anything of interest, there just isn’t much you can do. Most robots will be flying through at top speed, and you can’t touch them once they’re in their own community. Unless you get lucky and can bully around a mechanum drive robot in the middle of the field, defense will mostly be watching other robots driving around you while you try to pin someone. I’ve made plenty of posts about defense, so if you’ve seen them you know my fairly tilted opinions on it, but to tl;dr it here I’m just going to plainly say: defense bad. Of course it isn’t as simple as that, but in it’s essence a fairly low-scoring robot will still mostly be more valuable than a defense-bot in any capacity. If you’re just a drivetrain, just scoot stuff around the ground to fill up the bottom row of the grid. That’s three whole links for your team, and a fair amount of points.

That is as much as I want to start with, and if anyone disagrees or wants to bring up other aspects of the game, feel free and I will be happy to have a good discussion about it.

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The thing with this game this year is that the difference in the skill ceiling this year is how efficent their robot is at doing the task. I can see teams being highly efficient and completing every node and doing nothing but spinning around waiting for endgame. My team wants to use mecanum this year since it wont be very much of a defensive game this year so it would help score more points. The only issue we seem to have with doing mecanum would be the charging station and the robot sliding down.

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I have to disagree with you on the defense. I think defense will be pretty effective, especially against 3 scorer alliances. you can pick a spot in the path and begin blocking it. If you begin succeeding the next robot enters the area and is also potentially blocked or slowed down. If the first robot has slipped off you can begin playing defense on the second robot. near constant opportunity to play defense and slow bots down in some way.
The real trick will be how to do so while allowing your alliance bots to not get caught in the mud you’re creating.

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True you just have to be careful with the foul withing communities and loading zones and can be triggered easily even if not intended to go into. I do believe defense will happen this year since there is tons of open area but for robots who intend to stay in their community it is not needed. if that makes sense.

In general, I think this is mostly good assumptions, but I will pile on with the defense aspect. Defense will be effective, if done correctly, but will look a lot different than in the past couple of years. Proper defense, IMO, for this game will consist of slowing down fast cyclers. This can be achieved without even touching another robot. Just need to block their path. The really difficult thing about doing defense effectively will be slowing down opponents without getting in the way of your own alliance-mates. Seems pretty duh, but properly positioning a robot for defense will be key. It will be much like defense in Steamworks. I’m not sure that running a dedicated 2O/1D alliance will be as effective as last year. I guess we’ll see in a few weeks!

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Yeah for sure slowing down cycle time is the play just make sure to not get a foul for intentionally blocking game areas I think it would be hard since lots of robots will be crossing paths so trying not to also slow down your own alliances cycle time is also an issue

100% agree. Any game where a basic KOP chasis can score more than just the auto move points is always appreciated.

The glory of having known things that robots can do with known point values are that you can use basic math to figure out how a certain score was achieved.

Auto Mobility: 3 pts
Auto Docked and Engaged: 12 pts
End Game Docked and Engaged: 10 pts

So that is 25 of the 75 point value you described so we now need to make 50 points with cones, cubes and links.

Lets assume you score your preloaded cube/cone and plan to utilize the monetary possession rule to grab 2 more and score them as well all on the top row. This gives you 18 points and a completed link so 23 points total.

You now need 27 more points which is the other top row completed link on the outer station (15 points+5 points for completed link) as well as 1 top (in the co-op station) and 1 bottom scored game piece (anywhere)

This gets you 75 total points solo with a 3 game piece auto and 5 in teleop. For a team under 0 defense seems entirely reasonable since you have all of the game pieces you need sitting in the middle of the field.

If you are only going for 2 in auto (both top) then we now need to score more points in teleop (38) but not any more total game pieces.

You still complete both your top rows on the outer station during teleop and thus their circuits for 30 of the remaining points done and now you need a top and middle scored piece for the remaining 8 points.

2 in auto and 6 in teleop once again with literally every piece you need in the middle of the field is very reasonable.

I disagree but I will elaborate more below.

Defense is not about only stopping you from scoring at the scoring location. To use a football analogy if I tackle the person who just caught the ball I have stopped the score from happening which is good. However if I swat the ball out of the air, or tackled the guy throwing the ball I also stopped the scoring and they are further away from scoring then if I tackle the guy who caught the ball.

If I slow you down enough in as we affectionately call it “no man’s land” to make your total cycles less than they would have been than defense has been effective. If we make you drop a game piece and have to go back and get a new one or fight the defense bot to pick it back up then we really have been effective.

When I mapped out your theoretical 75 maximum point robot it was making half field teleop cycles and was doing 5-6 of them. Being generous this assumes that if you have to make full field cycles you will be doing 3-4 of them under 0 defense. I am going to assume you are a better driver with a swifter robot then a kitbot who pushes game pieces so we will give them 2 low scores which is 4 points. If them getting in your way, pinning you, or just being generally disruptive makes it so you score 1 less top node than defense resulted in a net positive of +1 compared to them playing offense since they stopped 5 points.

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Just my two cents on defense:

If we believe that we will see teams max out the scoring grid during teleop, then defense becomes much more important, especially if one alliance wins the race to max out scoring and then hard pivots to three defense.

A big if, to be sure, but definitely something to consider. The limited scoring of this game means that staying full offense for the full game may not be possible at the highest level.

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I’m biased here as we love playing defense, so take this with a grain of salt, but I think defense this year will be bigger then it was in 2019 and I think this will become aerial assault part 2 (not that I think that is the “proper” way to play defense).

I think defense (intentional or incidental) will be huge this year since once the 8 pre-placed cube/cones are scored teams must cross each other’s path to do scoring cycles. With everyone talking “speed, speed, speed”, it seems like the game is going to be a lot like this:
fig8

Hope your mechanism holds those cube/cones tight!

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I see opportunistic defense to be a good thing for scoring bots. That is if you are returning (without a game piece) to get a new one and you can t-bone an opponent bot carrying a game piece, potentially causing a drop I say take that opportunity.

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Exactly. I’m thinking those opportunities are going to be very plentiful.

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‘Graduated’ may be a bit disingenuous, we have had a lot of shooting games in the past and we will have more in the future. I don’t know if you are implying that one game archetype is better than another. Shooting can be hard, pick and place can be hard, shooting can be easy, pick and place can be easy. Depends on the GDC.

2020(1) was a difficult game with regard to game pieces. 2022 was a lot better; that was a great gamepiece. Pick and place games will have a lot of teams just on drivetrain as well. It just seems easier for the GDC to make pick and place that are “drivetrain friendly”

Agree, there is a lot of spread. Should make the first 2 weeks of competition much more interesting.

Time will tell. The jury’s out on how this game will be played and it is impossible to make that call week 1 of build. We can only say defense is bad if there are rules that don’t allow defense to happen. I will only buy the “defense is bad” argument for 2015, and even then we had can burgler mind games towards the end of the season. IMO defense will be just like any other year. One playoff aliace running 3 offense, the other 2 + 1 defense. Time will tell.

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I agree with this point. I like to call it “playing pong” (referencing the Atari game) but if i’m in your way and slowing you down, you can’t easily push through me and I can move back and forth locking you away from your community at least temporarily. If I make your cycle that would’ve been 8 seconds long take 12 seconds, you’re going to score roughly 1/3 less points.

Extending 4 feet outward seems like a defensive opportunity to explore. How to deal with a 4-foot extension out at bumper level on a 3-ft wide defense robot is something to ponder.

Be careful about G107 & G203

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Agreed. Q&A will be interesting to review on this.

Seems like a nice long lever arm to just spin someone out of the way with.

Sounds like a G207 generator once it gets pushed.

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I don’t hate it. the tic-tac-toe elements are a nice callback.