One machine?

We are seeing lots of awesome ideas this year, like have the “ball funnel” from Team 45, but can one robot do it alone again this year?

Believe it or not - The past two years’ games could be “underminded” so that only one, dominant robot could win about 90% of the time. I know a lot of you will disagree with me on this one, but it is obvious - just look at Beatty from 2002 and Wildstang from 2003. Both of these teams dominated the game in their respective years, but they still needed a partner to do some basic operations.

This year, I believe an alliance will need to consist of two very strong teams if they plan on going a long way in the finals.

What do you think? Can one robot dominant this year’s game… again?

Very good post,

I agree with you 100% the last 3 years could really be dominated by one robot.

This year I believe that the qualifying matches, you will see matches that will be dominated by one robot. However as the elimination matches roll by, no one robot will be able to completely dominate the game. It’s just too hard for a robot to do everything at once. Also I believe that there are multiple strategies to win this year, unlike the past 3 years where you saw one main strategy winning (2001: Everything at once, 2002: Goal domination, 2003: Ramp control). It will be very interesting to see how the first week of regionals turns out; from there you will see a lot of teams set their main strategies.

I think that the obvious answer is a very strong NO - one team will not be able to dominate the playing field by themselves.

I’d even go out on a semi-unrelated limb and say that if you have a non-functional partner, you’ve pretty much lost the round. Two medocere robots will be able to significantly distrupt a single robot. Just have 1 robot play a little defense by pushing the opponents small balls around the side of the field, and have the other shuffle your balls into their chute, and they pretty much win the game.

This game is easy to play defense because unless you store balls internally, scoring is very easy to disrupt, by simply keeping balls in motion around the field.

Would you like to try to shuffle balls into the chutes when there’s a robot whose sole job can be dedicated to make sure you don’t?

I know I wouldn’t!

Just a few thoughts,


I must disagree with this. We depended heavily on good partners last year. The most important thing that led us to a championship was not that our robot was so dominant - it was that we were able to select two amazing alliance partners that both complemented us extremely well. Remember how important the second match of each elim round was last year? We depended on having a strong partner that was very skilled at removing points from the opposing alliance, and 65 did that as well as (or better than) anyone else. Same thing goes for the first match - we depended on controlling the ramp, and it was nearly impossible for us to control it alone - so we chose a very powerful partner (469) who could help us dominate it. Additionally, look at the two regionals we attended - we did fairly well at both, but I’d hardly say we dominated.

As for this year, I do agree - alliances are going to be extremely important. There’s just too many things happening on the field. A good strategy executed collectively by all alliance members is key.

I think the last three years have been dominated by teams who had very good strategies coupled with very good robots and were able to pick alliances that complimented them well.

In 2001 Beatty was incredible, but there were other robots that could do what the did. 60, 177, 308 were some of the big ones that did the same thing as beatty. The difference is Beatty picked an alliance that complimented them better than those teams.

I think besides having a good robot with a good alliance, sometimes it comes right down to whether or not it’s your day. Look at wildstang from last year, they had bad luck at their regionals, but it all came together at nats. One day of good luck can make all the difference.

This year there will be a dominant robot, probably more than one. If they get some good allies they can take it.

I thought Beatty was a pickee. Correct me if I’m wrong, peanut gallery, correct me if I’m wrong.

Beatty was certainly a picker in 2001 because they were in our division … ranked #1 in Newton.

Mr. Flowerday,

I would agree with you about your (Wildstang’s) position last year at the National Competition. You guys had some great partners, but nonetheless your robot was definitely able to control the field better than anyone else. With your strategy and robot last year, your team was certainly a force to be reckoned with! I believe this year will depend heavily on alliances sharing the work load. Good luck this season!

Personally , if you look at the potential scoring methods, I think the machines that are going to dominate the game this year are those that can consistantly knock the release ball down

and collect and delivery small balls quickly, accuractly and repeatedly

there will be 24 small balls on each side of the field, worth a potential 120 points

and if you cap the goal, 240 points

I havent seen ANY bots in the photo section that capture the small balls - Ive seen plenty with little arms that are intended to push the balls around

which is going to be like hearding cats covered in superglue

I think the machines that can pick up the balls quickly, move to the corrals, deliver them quickly, and even gather balls from the other side of the field - those are the ones that will win the matchs

capping the 2X goal is much simpler than climbing the steps and hanging, so I expect there will be more alliance bots able to cap goals than hang - so the bot that can get those goals filled will consistantly score well over 100 points per match.

Umm, there are 4 teams currently that have posted their bot that can catch balls from the ball drop. 21, 45, 93 and one other team in the 1000’s (sorry i don’t remember the number off the top of my head).

If this is not what u ment let me know.

lol WOAH open your eyes… theres at LEAST 4, if not 5 that have posted not only pics, but vids too.

I must agree with you dave. Although your robot was great it was by far not invincible and it depended greatly on some great alliance partners. I still believe that 469 has one of the best, most reliable, and fastest autonomous modes from last year and are great strategist. We picked up rounds of 220 and 302 with them by our side and they would have been our alliance pick from archimedes last year. We worked with both 111 and 65 in archimedes. We had a bad showing with 65 because of an autonomous miscue. With 111 they had a autonomous miscue and failed to end up on the ramp but we still pulled off a narrow victory. The ramp was only the icing on the cake in most rounds. If you won autonomous last year, barring a great comeback you had a great chance of winning. All in all I wouldn’t credit one single robot for the championship even though they all had amazing robots with very good strategist. Well maybe 469. I really liked Las Guerillas and I can’t wait to see what they’ve done for this year.

yes, I saw those, and they are super machines at what they do

but I mean capture them from the floor - once a HP shoots and misses, and getting them from the other side of the field if necessary - sweeping them up from the floor and carrying them to the corral, instead of just pushing them around

catching the balls as they fall will be an excellent strategy if the release ball is knocked loose by your alliance in auton mode - but it has some weaknesses

getting the 24 balls into the goal is going to require keeping both corrals fed with a steady stream of balls, for both HPs, and getting the ones that miss so they can shoot again.

besides, out of 950+ teams, only 4 have shown the abilty to gather, carry and control the small balls? thats not many

(but then again, we havent posted photos of our bot yet, KateGleasonOne :c)

Okay I understand. There are teams that do this as well though, I know our team can, and I have seen others as well that ahve some type of hopper or storage mechanism. If I’ll look later and link some pics.


We have become jaded and cynical in these past years. We always plan our bot to be able to do it all by itself. As bad as that sounds, we can’t ever take the chance of planning on our partner being able to do anything. Year after year, match after match, we get alliance partners who either

A. Break down.
B. Aren’t any good.
C. Rookies who have a student coaching and rotate their drivers.

Even so, this year we have strategies available for every situation. We can just as easily perform excellently with a good partner to back us up, or go it alone if they can’t.

Planning your bot to be by its self I feel is the best thing you can do. However for a robot to win, you don’t have to do everything. Even if you seed low because of partners, you will be picked (look at beatty from 2002).

Also you can’t predict everythign that is goign to happen, you will always find somethign new either with other bots, or your own.

Like i said planning on being by your self is the best way to make your bot.

Also student coaches and rookie teams do not mean that that team is bad, just means that they have a fresh perspective on FIRST.

Student coaching is bad??! And rookies are bad??! I’ve got a trophy and top 8 finish in archimedes to prove different. Not gonna flame on it though.

It is nice to do everything but I see the one’s that specialize being the one’s who do well in this years competition. Again, there is nearly too much to do to expect to do everything well. I have a feeling a least one team will prove me wrong but I stick to being able to do a couple things well and not worrying about doing everything. A minute forty-five is short.

i dont know if you mean my team or not, but our bot can catch balls and we’re 1389.

Yup you guys were the ones I was talking about

I would say in general, rookies are poor partners.

I feel the flames already coming… however, let me do some explaining. There are exceptions… but read on.

FIRST has been around for so long, that most the exceptional “rookie” teams aren’t really rookies in the traditional sense. As many people would agree, there’s an exponential improvement during the first 2 or 3 years that a team is in place, and I would say that many of the best “rookie” teams out there are not completely oblivious to what FIRST is about. Having 1 or 2 people with FIRST experience makes a world of difference to the “rookie” team. In general, FIRST teams aren’t as poor as the weakest link, but strong as the strongest members. Having a few FIRST experienced people on board can take literally years off the learning curve for teams. Having a handful of experienced team members can litterally take 500 - 800 off a rookie’s team number.

Can we all admit that many of us had a lot of room for growth our rookie year? Those of you that had exceptional rookie years probably had one or two mentors in FIRST to start up your team… there are obvious exceptions.

I’ll throw a bone out there and say that experience (read: learning from past mistakes, knowledge of FIRST competitive history) is among the most deciding factor for competive (read: not necessarily most inspiring) teams.

Hence, I think we can be realistic and say it’s understandable, though not completely fair, to be slightly apprehensive to see that you’re paired with team #3000 with 4 giggling freshmen prancing over to be your partners and alliance coach.


We were rookies in the true sense. Other than tips we picked up from mentor teams like 476 and 938 we had no previous FIRST experience. None of us had even heard of FIRST until that fall and the closest experience to robotics was one of the mentors had done solar car stuff. I’m just putting this here to keep people from under estimating the ability of the rookies. They might know more than you think.

My other heartburn is always about adult coaches but I won’t open that can of worms right now. I just think if a team has more than 3 responsible members of that team with knowledge of the robot and game the drive team should be all students. Yeah I don’t want to flame. Just opinions.