Pattern in the pieces...

Has anyone noticed a (coincidental?) pattern in what kind of game pieces we get each year? Going back to 2002 onward, even numbered years have some type of ball/sphere, like with Aerial Assist, Breakaway, FIRST Frenzy etc. The odd numbered years have pieces that are much more unique in shape like Triple Play’s tetrahedrons or Logo Motion’s inner tubes.

The only outlier has been the “moon rocks” for Lunacy in 2009. Do you think those qualify as balls?

I’m convinced there is a deeper pattern that can be found then that. Considering the budget constraints the GDC has shown you think you would find a purchase pattern such as “game piece is whatever didn’t sell during the holidays.”

This pattern has been noted on multiple threads in the past. The general consensus is that 2009 will not count as balls since we don’t like anomalies

I haven’t had a chance to look too in detail but what other patterns have been noticed?

I have noted this multiple times on a few threads. Yes, rotating from a perfect spherical object to an imperfect spherical object/irregular object is a trend. Lunacy’s game piece is not a perfect sphere (it has holes in it) so it fits the trend.

I’d have to imagine this is an intentional approach to prevent reuse of ideas – this just might be one of the many things they intentionally switch to change up the game.

It can be seen as a four-year cycle.
Year 1 (2008, 2012) is a normal ball (exercise ball, basketball).
Year 2 (2009, 2013) is a wildcard game piece that can be shot (moon rocks, frisbees).
Year 3 (2010, 2014) is another round ball (soccer ball, exercise ball).
Year 4 (2011, 2015) is another wildcard, but you can’t shoot this one (inflatable logos, totes/containers).


Yep, something like this- the typical duration of a students time in high school, and thus on an FRC team, is four years- so it would follow that the GDC wants each kid to arrive somewhere in the cycle of four and experience each part.

In fact, 2001 was the only exception since, I believe, 1996. And no, Lunacy doesn’t count.

Aww poor Johnny never got the recycling containers he asked for for Christmas.

2001 had balls. :rolleyes: (you may have meant 1999’s “floppies” which were circles.)
I believe that the moon rocks counted as balls. They rolled and their acquisition and manipulation was by mechanisms that were designed for spheres.

The origin:

1992: Circle, with corn. Waiting for that recycle.
1993: Circle, here comes the carpet.
**1994: Circle, **but with three Robots (triangle).
1995: Circle, with a ramp (triangle), and three Robots. Goalposts.
**1996: Circle, **with again, three Robots. Also a hexagon goal. First Human Players.
1997: Circle, (three Robots), the first inner tubes.
1998: Circle, 3 bots. The year I made the “mistake” of touching the vortex that is FIRST.
1999: Circle, the floppies! the first 2 v. 2. Endgame becomes more important.
**2000: Circle, **The introduction of Co-opertition to our vernacular. Robots that hang and get on ramps. The endgame evolves.
**2001: A Space Odyssey. (had to add this) Circle. ** Most like this this year in that the alliances of 4 teams were playing against the game and not each other.
2002: Circle. 2 v. 2. The first “GodBot” 71
2003: Squares. 2 v. 2. This years game fixed the problems with Stack Attack. In 2003, all the stacks got knocked over and it turned into “King of the Hill”. This was also the introduction of the Autonomous period.
**2004: Circle. ** 2 v. 2. Robots that hang. One of the best games strategically, in my opinion.
**2005: TRIANGLES! **(or tetras for their four faces) Waiting for their return. First 3 v. 3. First game release documentation with a password.
**2006: Circle. **Also a platform. Had offensive and defensive periods. Great to watch, hard to understand.
2007: Circle. Robots climbing on top of each other. The appearance on the game pieces on the rack allowed a spectator to “see” who may be winning. Bumpers.
2008: Circle. And NASCAR. Hybrid controllers in the autonomous.
**2009: Circle, yes, circle. **Vision tracking. Knowing which team was on which alliance was tough. Game theory was great as the goals were attached to your butt, so while you were scoring, you could be scored upon. Much loathed, a mess to watch. Static electricity from the pl: tic surface caused havoc, and their are memorable accounts of Dean out on the field with a spray bottle.
2010: Circle. Soccer analogy. 469’s “GodBot”, but they were defeated in the Finals. Colored Bumpers made it easier to see who was on which alliance. This is the year that the GDC made a concerted effort to improve the game for a random spectator.
**2011: Triangle, Circle, and Square! **Also Minibots. Great for the spectators. A great honor to Dean’s father and why we should change STEM to STEAM. Archimedes would be proud.
2012: Circle. Basketball and the co-opertition bridge. The “eh” team. WiFi issue controversy on Einstein. A learning opportunity.
2013: Circle. Climbing and hanging return on a triangular structure.
2014: Circle. Was also disliked at the start like this year. By eliminations and the CMP, possibly one of the best games. Using assists as a way to multiply your score was brilliant. However, scorekeeping and refereeing was problematic.
2015: Square. Stack Attack fixed with 2001 mixed in. In my opinion, 2003 ranks below Lunacy. Is there a “GodBot”?
The verdict on this years game is still out.

For those interested in seeing modest capsules of the games:
FRC Game Summaries

Yes, hence why 2001 was an exception… The pattern is even years ball, odd years no ball.

It also seems to be that items that aren’t usually bought are used as game pieces.

I was quite angry my parents didn’t buy me a tote or a 2 ft ball for christmas… worst christmas ever!

I am going to have to disagree with you. They may have been sphere shapes, but a sphere of the same size would not have worked for the game. I believe the orbit balls were chosen as a game piece because of the holes, which allowed them to be skewered by the trailers.