[Official 2008 Game Design] Radical Tournament Ideas

This thread is a spin-off of this discussion, and has been started to focus on radical tournament structure changes. This thread is intended to collect innovative ways to structure tournament play. Using previous years as an example, this might include ideas to add human players to a robot-only format, or to change the three robots playing at once to a three-team alliance format. Sizes of alliances, lengths of matches, number of matches at a tournament, etc are all open for discussion. Like the other threads, this thread is meant to collect creative ideas that can be applied to any game concept.


Here is the first idea. In the Tournament after the Quarter Final round the teams get reseeded. It could be more exciting, especially if the same match parring formula is used next year as this year. That formula made scouting more valuable and I saw a lot of teams pick outside of the top eight with there first pick. It also gave us a lot of “upsets” with either a 7th or 8th seed winning.

I know people didn’t and don’t really like that formula, I know I didn’t at hetimes, But it did what I think it was supposed to do. The formula is another thing that could be tweaked. I would like to play with and against as many teams as possible. It would be nice to never play with the same teams at a regional, but it could and would be hard to figure out how 60+ teams are never going to be paired with each other more than once.

Well that all for now.

I have two radical tournament ideas.

**1.**After alliance selections, the top three seeds have five minutes. In those five minutes they get to decide what alliance they play in the first round. Lets say I am number one, I can choose to play the number eight, seven, six, five, four, three, or two seeded alliance in the first round. The next highest seed then gets to choose who they play. Finally the highest seeded alliance left gets to choose who they want to play. Here is an example of the system

1 picks to play 6
2 picks to play 8
3 picks to play 4
5 has to play 7

instead of having the usual 1v8, 2v7, 3v6, 4v5 bracket, we have a completely new and interesting match up.

**2.**Going off what Jherbie said, the number one seed should always play the lowest seeded team. Whatever seed is lowest, has to play the big bad one. If six beats three then the two seed has a hypothetically easier road to the finals than the number one seed. The higher seeds deserve any advantage they can get with the serpentine draft.

I also have a replacement for the serpentine draft. How about something like 1-8 first round and 8 to 5 then 1 to 4. That way 8 still has an advantage but 1 and 2 aren’t penalized as much.

  1. switch from “best two out of three” elimination format, to double elimination style. It makes a much more interesting play set up, and forces teams to keep on their toes and be ready to go again.

  2. bring back the “end -early” bonus from 2001. Having opponents makes it all the more fun; do you shut down robots early for bnus points and risk your opponents taking control of the field elements, for fight it out the whole match.

  3. do a tag team scenario, change the alliances to 4vs 4, with only 3 robots active at a time. If the one of the starting three doesnt disable itself before the halfway mark, a random robot on that alliance will be disabled so the 4th robot can go active. This would requires a lot of communication and teamwork, making it all the more fun.

  4. let alliances orient their opponent’s robots before the start of the match, rather than their own (within a certain starting zone)

  5. Only give teams a list of which matches they are in, don’t include who they are allied with and playing against. This lack of information would make scouting and on-the-spot strategy key elements of the game. Teams can talk strategy for the few minutes that they are “on deck”.

I’ll think up more later

Eliminate half the practice rounds on Thursday at the Championship Event.

All teams have competed in at least one, with a decent percentage in two regionals. Everyone should be able to pass inspection by the end of lunch. There would probably be more of a sense of urgency to get inspected if you knew you had less time to do so as well, speeding up the process.

After lunch, start the qualification rounds. Run then from 1 PM to 7 PM and close the pits at 8 PM. All teams should be able to get at least 2-3 more qualification rounds, which would be huge, considering you’re only getting 7 right now. It would give teams more value out of their $5,000 and make the event more competitive overall.

This is the only solution I can see that gives teams more matches, without requiring more fields, more days added to the event, or FIRST needing to find more volunteers to staff the event. It would require that the referees and scorekeepers all work an extra day, but they’re all at the event on Thursday already. They’d just be forced to complete their training earlier in the day, and they wouldn’t be able to do two jobs at the event (ie: referee and inspect).

I like this idea.

Of course, if teams were to ask around enough they could figure out who the other teams in the match are, just not who’s on which alliance, allowing them to do some stratagizing (if we are with team X we can do this, if we are with team Y we can do this…). This would still leave most of their stratagizing to the last minute, so it could work.

Of course this would only work for the qualification matches.

Or, it makes going around and talking to other teams to assemble your own match list important. Still, that’s not entirely a bad thing–hopefully, they’d talk about more than just what matches they have.

This is something I have been thinking about for a while, but it would only really affect the Championship event. There are many pros and cons to this idea, but it’s something that would most certainly shake a lot of things up.

For the championship event, after all of the division winners are created, (Archimedes, Curie, Newton, Galileo all have their winning alliances i mean)

they will have to meet at Einstein to reseed. Meaning the winning alliances of all the divisons will mix up.

With this, teams will be able to get the opputunity to team up with teams from other divisions, and also make things more unpredictable.

An issue could be that the partnerships formed could be broken, but it causes teams to put their strategizing skills to an even more complicated task.

For the ranking of the seeds, i assume it being random would be a little too much so i assume you could seed the teams the same way you would in the qualifying matches? I guess just by comparing how they did in each of their divisions. I haven’t looked too deeply into this aspect of it.

Again, it would make an insane Championship event, but it would take a lot more out of the teams as well.

Have extra alliance members for larger regional or 2-4 more alliances.

An example of the first one is at regionals with 40-45 or less teams you would still have only 3 teams to an alliance. While at regionals with 45+ teams your would have 4 teams on an alliance. You would rotate in the extra robot after each match, just like it was right before we started having games with 6 teams on the field. You could augment it a little by only being able to play in 3 straight matches. This makes it so you aren’t switching between only 2 robots and would make strategy important. You would allow the alliance captain to be in the player station for strategy during the matches there robot is not on the field. One problem with this is how many open slots are open for registering for the Championship event vs how many slots are set aside for regional champions. This is something that could be used at the Championship event.

The example of the second one is just what the do at GTR. You have more alliances and make a “wild card” round with the extra alliances. This one is harder to do at the Championship event, I think it would only make the day longer, and I think being there until 6:30-7:00, or later, at night is long enough.

These are good ideas for allowing more teams to be in the elimination matches and give them experience being there.

Note: I called it “Championship event” Because I didn’t want to call it Nationals. It’s not that any more because FIRST is global not just national.

I’ve said it in the other make the game things for 08, but since it is very radical, I’m going to repeat it.

A game that evolves, changes ans grows as the seeding matches progress.

Think of it like this…imagine that you start out a game similar to Zone Zeal in a 60-70 seeding match regional…than after 20 seeding matches, an additional goal is added, the zones change in size, and add more balls to the field. After another 20 matches, four larger balls worth more points are added to the field, two goals are removed and a stationary goal in each alliance zone is added…than the last of the matches result in each alliance gets two of the big balls ally to their color with a tower structure in the center. Aliances try to score their colored ball on top to gain even more points…all the while, the original rules stand…than one more something is added for the elimination matches.

While the example I have is rather complex, a more simple version to the concept is easily doable, say as a game progresses, there are different places to score, or point values change. Maybe there are three types of balls, the points for the three could be 1, 2, 3 for some matches, 1, 1, 5 for others and 1, 3, -2 for others still.

I’d think that the evolutions would be expressed in the rules, so no one is caught off guard, but considering the joke pulled on us with the changing lights from Aim High Nationals, some out of the hat unknown addition can be added for the finals at nationals.

My reasoning for this is that in the real world, things change and things evolve, and people need to be ready for that change…thus lets make robots ready for anything that gets thrown at them.

True, to do this, you would have to make sure that robots wouldn’t need to be edited greatly during pit time to deal with the new change, but maybe thats a type of innovation that first has yet to tap into…

What if there were three game pieces that changed how much they are worth depending on how many were scored each match. Example: Game pieces are red, blue, and white balls. After the match, all the colors are counted and the most scored is worth the least amount of points. So lets say for fun that there are 38B Blue, 6 Red, and 18 White balls were scored in a match by both alliances. Blue would be worth 1pt, White 2pts, and Red 3pts. This would really make strategy a big part of the game. You couldn’t just go for one color, or you just might end up short on points for the match.

I would like to ditto both this comment and would like to add that the expressions NOT only on the students’ faces but on the mentors’ faces as well was something that I thought was needed and IS needed to be more competitive and more on our feet. There is only so much you can do with single/double element games (Tossing tubes and Climbing ramps), but with more random variables DURING game play teams would have to run to come up with multiple solutions for a single game. Also, because I feel that there are 2 objectives (one easier and one harder) and that is neccessary for the experience and funding and all of that of a team, you could potentially list out or say like “Element 1 OR Element 18 or Element 25” will be used for 100% of the match ups.

Not sure if I lost you but pull another light trick, but make sure it stays for the duration of the match. I like lights! They keep people on their feet. Especially the last part of Aim high with the colored lights, that was to die for. :cool: I wonder how many people got their computers out and started programming before you said it was a joke.


I think the general idea is that the 08 game should be less static, and contain more chaos within both match game play and during seeding matches.

We have grown tired of “Place these here like that”…what if it was “Complete this like you think you can.”

Another idea. If you would like to keep the game static, you should go with your idea, and see where you can replicate it along the field and place different colored lights around them (or no lights) and make them worth more or less depending on when the light is on/off or something. That way there is still some “randomness” and some “flexibility” in the game. BUTT, I’ve learned from this season not to judge a book by its cover, so I don’t have too much room to talk yet.

I would really like to see a match between the losers of the semi-finals, competing on the 3rd place. You can find it in many sports competitions worldwide (Football(soccer) World Cup, in the Olympics, Basketball world championship etc.) so i dont see a reason for it not beeing in FIRST too.

I really like the idea of not knowing who you are gonna be with and against in qualifying games. Instant strategy desicions is good practice forthe brain, and it will also give a bit more of an advantage to newer teams, as they scout less.

Something that really bothers me. there are a total of about 350 teams , at Atlanta we had about 220 teams (correct me if im wrong). This means that 2 from every 3 teams is in Atlanta. Israel has 34 teams, only 4 were in Atlanta this year. That is 1 from every 9 teams! FIRST should consider giving one or two more awards which lead to Atlanta. I would suggest adding the Finalist captain, and maybe 3rd place captain. Maybe the highest scoring team, highest rookie seed, and the best optin might be a specail Judges Award that sends a team straight to Atlanta, but only for the quality of it robot, This team must not be a team who won the regional/chairman/engineering Inspiration/rookie-all-star/free ticket to Atlanta anyway.

We must remember that Atlanta is like a dream for most teams, in particular here in Israel, and that having more teams from here in Atlanta would strantghen FIRST Israel, it’s teams and add much more teams. We are hoping to have 2 Israeli regionals in 2 years, and having more teams in Atlanta is a hugestep in that direction.

Thanks a lot, Liron

Actually, there were approximately 1350 teams in the entire FRC competition in 2007, not 350. Approximately 320 teams participated in the FRC Championships in Atlanta, not 220. Those numbers will change your statistics a little bit.


Oh, well that might explain a couple of things =]
Still though, with 1350 teams and 320 in Atlanta it still is a 1:4, Israel has a 1:9.
Thanks, Liron

I suspect it has something to do with the cost to get to Atlanta from Isreal. And that many teams from Isreal were rookies and so could not use the “buy your way in” sign-up.

If you want to look at it in a different way, the Isreal regional had a smaller number of teams than most regionals, and yet still had the same number (6) of qualifier spots for Atlanta. When a team wins more than one award - say on the winning alliance plus Rookie All-Star - there are fewer actual teams that qualify from any given regional.

Israeli teams are not aware of the buy-your-way-in thing.
We had only one combo of Chairman winner+regional winner.
I still think that Teams from Israel, Brazil, UK, Netherlands and Ecuador should have some more saved slots, in order to make FIRST more of an Inter-national project.

Human players

What if an alliance’s human players have to complete a task together as a team? What if Human players could control a moving part of the field?