Predictions Week 4: Bash Fests in Boston, San Diego & Waterloo. Big Scores @ Buckeye


Some process notes first.

Sorry folks, these predictions are late in coming this week, we are ironing out the details of how to go forward with these predictions as a weekly publication. I have some helpers this week. They have been a great resource. PM me if you are interesting in joining the team.

Also, I am travelling for work these days and it is putting a spanner in the works so I am later than I wanted to be.

Thankfully, there are only 4 Tourneys to get to this week, so let’s get to it.
This week we have 4 regionals (I am making the arbitary dicision to put the midweek GM/Technion Israel Regional in week 5):

  • Boston
  • Buckeye
  • San Diego
  • Waterloo
    ** Boston:**

50 Teams, no 2007 Regional Champs attending and a boatload of rookies and 1 year teams. Also, almost 3/4 of the teams in Boston will be out on the field for there first weekend of the season. That could spell dissaster this late in the season. Let me bottom line it for you: The Boston Brahmins play in the muck and mire this weekend. It is going to be a Bashfest in the elims. Even with 50 teams, the drafting teams will not find enough good tubers to make the rack any more useful than modern art.

As to favorites, I am going with the robot from Rhode Island, Team #121. I know some old timers who never forgave the Rhode Warriors for their infamous flipper robot of Torroid Terror (1997)[1], but I have always liked Navy Undersea Warfare (#121). They are a great team on 100’s different measures. I would expect good things from them.

Of course, Clinton Nypro (#126) has got to be considered a strong contender. Even though they didn’t have that strong of an outing in NH, they I expect that they will be in high form this time out. BUT, they’ll have to be able to take a licking and keep on ticking if they want to take home another trophy for their bulging trophy case.

Another easy pick to be fighting for a spot on the top of the leader board is HYPER (Gillette - Quincy #69). They were #1 Seed in FL in Week 2. Their experience should be enough to keep them competitive in Week 4 as well.

The big question for me from CT is what about The Rage (#173)? I want to pick them, but let me down last week when I had them going all the way. So I am going to take a pass on them this week. It is up to the former FIRST Champions to prove me wrong – if they can have a good showing this week, I may give them the nod for the Championships…

My Heart goes to Team #88, TJ2. I still have a pair of of signed Tie Dyed Mo Socks from years ago (Even though they’re collectors items, but my Daugher still wheres them as good luck tokens to FIRST competitions – I could use another pair if anyone on TJ2 is listening, Sarah’s heading off to College and I fear they may end up in her dorm room :wink:

** Buckeye:**
The Buckeye should see the highest scores of Week 4. It has a lot of things going for it. It is one of this year’s larger regional (58 teams). Perhaps as important, unlike Boston and San Diego, there will be a much smaller percentage of rookies and 1 year teams.

Even more important, this regional is packed with teams that have demostrated experience and success THIS SEASON. 65% of the teams in OH will have played Rack & Roll at an earlier regional. 3 of them will have WON a regional (and each of these champions were each drafted in the first round so save your e-mails trying to convince me that they were just lucky in seeding or the only team left hanging around in the 2nd round of the draft)

Great Lakes Champs and Regional Chairman’s Winner, Frog Force (#503) take another swing for the fences this week in OH. This is going to be a tough field but I suppose they have a shot at it. They have a more than serviceable double ramp and they can score too. Look for them to go early in the draft if they don’t seed high.

Charger Robotics (#537) is quickly rising in the ranks of powerhouse teams. Of course, they course tased victory in WI in Week 2 of this season but in 2004, they won ST. LOUIS… … in 2005 they won CHICAGO… …in 2006 the won ST. LOUIS again. Now they start the 2007 with in MILWAUKEE. I’d be a fool to think could win in CLEVELAND.

Yet ANOTHER Regional Champion heading to OH this week is #1270. They Seeded #7 in FL and were drafted 4th. This is a home game for this team from Cleveland so look for another strong outing by YTA Robotics.

A tipster said this:

Don’t discount 1038 in Buckeye. They were finalists in Pittsburg, and the only team (to the best of my knowledge) to score on the top spider during autonomous. A quick and deadly scorer, I think they could emerge on top, especially if they get paired with 503 and/or 1270.
This tip supports my claim that there will be a lot of scoring going on in OH. If you agree with me, you may want to keep on eye on Team 1038, East Robotics [2]

My Heart Pick from Ohio this week goes to another team from Pontiac, MI, The Huskiebrigade (#65) GM & Pontiac Northern HS. Ken Patton & the rest of the Huskies have build a real scoring machine. These guys were unbelieveable tube scorer at the Great Lakes Regional. Don’t turn your back on them this week or you’ll be see tubes hanging from the rack like ornaments on the Yule Tree. These guys can put 'em up. I will be pulling for them to get a good set of partners and to have a long run after lunch.

** San Diego:**
San Diego is similar to Boston in the number and mix of teams (approx 50 teams, only 15 teams with less than 4 digits in their team number). Again, look for a whole lot of bashin going on. The only thing that may make CA different from MA is that the field in San Diego is much more experienced THIS SEASON. Like the Buckeye regional, this is the second regional this season for 2/3rd so the teams competing. But a second competition doesn’t make a basher become a tuber. If anything, I expect many may become even MORE agressive their second week out. Bottom line, Lots of broken bots and low scores the whole weekend, but most especially in the later rounds of elims.

The Beach Bots (#330) will be working hard to make SD work out like LA. Don’t be muddled by the fact that these guys had the mighty Cheesy Poofs as partners in LA in Week 2. The Beach Bots can really do some heavy lifting and notice that Poofs proved they were mortal in SJ in Week 3. While Beach Bots will have a hard time finding another partner in SD as good as the Poofs, looking at the Beach Bot and knowing what I know about this team, I think Team #330 is going to have things go their way in Week 4.

Another two teams to watch in California this week are Teams 980 and 696. These two were Finalists in LA. They were a very powerful combination and came so close to taking the Finals to a 3rd match against #330, #254, & #4. I wouldn’t be surprised to see either of these teams take home a banner this weekend. Though to be honest, I am a bit worried about that arm on Team 696. A big storm is brewing. Can that arm weather the storm? Time will tell.

** Waterloo:**
Waterloo is not just where Boneparte’s 100 Days came to an end, it may just be the end of scoring on the rack as well.

This is one of the smallest regionals (just 30 Teams) and fewer than 1/3 of the teams have 3 digit numbers. Even worse, this is the first regional for over 75% of them[3]. I predict will be the FIRST 2007 Season Bashfest Kings. I hope am wrong, but I don’t think so…

Who do I like in this regional? This is Karthik’s Home Regional, so I have to go with #1114 and #1503 at a minimum. Woburn (#188) was impressive the first year I saw them and I expect that they have aged well so you have to give them a tip of the hat as well.

#1114 did a great job in Ypsilanti. Seeded #1, they looked awesome from start to finish. Well, not exactly to the finish. They were out played on the rack and their pick for a ramp partner proved their undoing. But… …that was Week 2. I think that the Simbotics folks will have studied their game tapes. I doubt that #1114 will be denied in Week 4. But as one tipster put it “#1114 has to be the favorite… …but Waterloo is going to be a defensive meat grinder… … If 1114 wins, they are going to need to use their ramp more, especially in the qualification matches.”

Other notables. Truck Town Thunder didn’t seed well at the Great Lakes Regional and almost missed the draft. I think they were the victims of the Great FIRST Seed Pairing Fiasco of 2007 and perhaps some first regional jitters. Don’t count them out to be both a High Seed and/or an early draft in Waterloo.

My Heart this week goes out to The Rat Pack (#830). They had a tough outing in Ypsi in Week 2 and in St. Louis in Week 1, missing the draft entirely both weeks. I spoke with Lisa Perez, a former member of #573 and now a double major engineering student at U of M and a mentor on The Rat Pack. She has high hopes for Waterloo. I have a ton of faith in Ms. Perez. No one will cheer louder if Team #830 has a good run in Ontario this weekend.

The Wrap Up:

Okay folks, that’s how I see it this week. If you like Defense, Boston, San Diego and, most especially, Waterloo are your towns this weekend. If you want to see some tubes on the rack, get ye to Cleveland.

Talk at you next week. That’s all for now.

Joe J.

[1] Anyone within 5 counties of Plymouth, MA during the Rumble at the Rock that year heard the cries of “TIMBER” and that sickening THUD as Team #88’s wicked awesome tall robot hit the pavement (and I DO mean pavement, the Rumble was held in a parking lot that year). FIRST’s rule against tipping mechanisms is a direct result of the Rhode Warrior 1997 robot.

[2] Keep those tips coming. We have 10 regionals in Week 5. I can’t dig up all the dirt myself. Get out your shovel and see what you can find. If you do find a gold nugget, feel free to tell me about it (and tell me if you want it to be an anonomous tip or for attribution).

[3] For comparision, Detroit had 34 teams (slightly bigger than Waterloo) and 50% with team numbers < 1000 (better than Waterloo) and the 2nd regional for over 50%of the teams (again better than Waterloo). Detroit was brutal. Teams that could score where sufficiently rare that they were savaged – they just had to be stopped (ask the Thunder Chickens if you want a first hand account). Waterloo will make Detroit look tame.


I see disaster for Boston. Not too many teams with experience with the rack and a load of rookies makes that just a bit more interesting. Hopefully all of the teams have “Gotten it” and are ready for game and the challenge this week.

Buckeye is going to be fierce this year. I am going to place a wager that one of the teams that makes it to the final six bots on the field here will end up on Einstein at Atlanta. They have some great teams and since there are bunch of veterans at this regional it will be some tough competition with people “in the zone” and prepared for what is in store for them.

I have a very good feeling about the Beach Bots and unfortunately I believe that although 1038 was one of the few scoring during autonomous at Pittsburgh (Dr Joe’s source), there will be much more autonomous competition by about three to four bots per regional due to Update #19.



I completely agree about Boston although I am still rooting for Rolling Thunder to come back with a great performance.

About Buckeye, I think Joe left off 2 very good Xerox teams. I could see 1126 or 191 coming back from Ohio with some hardware and medals.

From what I have seen about Beach Bots, I love what they have going.

Good luck to all teams this weekend. Try to remember, FIRST is like life, it is about the journey not the destination.


I think they will find a very similar team in 968 :cool:


Can we PLEASE put this certain little urban myth to rest? Yes, the Rhode Warriors had a very effective robot flipper on their 1997 robot. But so did a lot of other machines (Team 118’s wicked little corner flippers come to mind as well). Flippers were not a unique feature to this one team. And I can say with absolute certainty that the “no tipping” rule that started in 1998 was NOT directed at just this one team. It was a response to the feedback from many teams about having their 6-weeks-worth-of-sweat-and-tears-labor-of-love flipped over in the first 15 seconds of the match by any of a number of robots that developed a strategy of taking out the competition to clear the field and then score.

The reason that I am making this point is that I have seen many similar comments over the past years (frequently by some very senior mentors that should know better). A certain new feature or method of play pops up one year. The next year there is a new rule prohibiting or enhancing that new thing. Many teams may be utilizing the feature or style of play. But often one particular team will stand out because they are already well known, or they compete frequently and well, or they advertise the particular feature, etc. That one team, because they were notable, may be the only one that people remember the next year when a rule is issued in response to the feature or tactic. But it must be remembered that they were one in a group of many. Yet suddenly everyone is commenting on the “new rule targeted against Team xxx.” Simply put, this just isn’t true.

To the best of my recollection, in the entire time that I have been involved with the game design process there has never been an instance of a rule being developed in response to the actions of a single team. Only once has something been done in response to a single action by an alliance of teams. In every case that I can recall, rules have been created when it is perceived that multiple teams are adopting practices or technologies that affect the outcomes of the game, or philosophical directions defined by FIRST. The resulting rules may either prohibit or promote those practices or technologies, based on their impact.

For example, the “no flopping robots” rule of last year was NOT a rule specifically targeted at the HOT robot of the year before. It was a general response to the many flopping robots that had been seen in previous years, and an issue about how they would impact the game play of that particular year. HOT was one of the most widely known team that had used this design, but by no means were they the only ones, and the rule was never targeted just in response to their design.



Find it hard to disagree with Dr. Joe’s picks for Boston this weekend. Us old timers have to stick together. I think that this is probably 126’s week if they can just avoid revealing the target on their backs long enough to rack up some qualification round wins they should be in good shape going into the finals. If 121 or 126 is picking look for either of them to potentially pick the other team, these two teams have some serious history behind them and together folks, and you only have to be from New England to know that. Some on these boards have declared that veterans have no advantage in this years game but for my money I would never vote against them, especially not 10+ year teams from New England.


P.S. 121’s flipper bot from 97 is LEGENDARY!! Those who were there to witness it are a rare and fading breed which I am proud to be one of :slight_smile:


I think that “disaster” may be a little drastic. With a lot of defensive robots that have difficulty scoring on the rack, ramp bots will just be more important. Imagine a good scorer like 121/126/88 etc. (prolly more but it’s early in the day) with a good defensive bot and a ramp. Sure, the scoring robot may only get 1-2 tubes up whether they are defended by one, two or three robots, but the ramps are really a great equalizer, especially when there is really no way anyone is going to get a row of six with any regularity.

Look at SVR as an example. There were a few teams that could score very well, 100, 114, 254 just to name a few. However, if they were defended, it became very difficult for them to score big points. This brought it down to which alliance had the better ramp robot and the best drivers. If you can equalize a really great scoring robot on tube scoring with defense, a ramp will win out every time.


I would have to agree. 1126 is looking good and in the top 10 all day. while 191 has been up and down all day at the moment they are up in the top 10.

I sent Joe a message around the time he posted this about 1126, but looks like he didn’t think they would be a threat.


DITTO!!! However, I would add that instead of “ramps,” any kind of reliable good bonus point scorer and also the use of spoilers!


For the record, Team 830 was a semi-finalist in the St. Louis Regional. We built a reputation on being a defensive robot, so we certainly fit the mold that Dr. Joe was talking about for Waterloo. We are currently ranked 7th after the end of day one. And we also won the Xerox Creativity Award for our custom-made arm controller.


I forsee San Diego’s winning alliance being something along the lines of 330/968/812 for their ramps. =D


I’m rooting too! At the end of day one, 1511 is at #4, so it’s looking good. When I first checked this afternoon they were at #1!:smiley:


(to the melody of Dixie, with apologies in advance to Daniel Decatur Emmett)

*I wish I was in the land of (Tim) Horton’s
Robots there are not forgorten,
… eh?
I said, eh?
Way up north in – Waterloo!

Where Karthik leaps and Copioli chatters,
And a rollicking time is all that matters!
C’mon, eh!
Come to play!
Bring it on in – Waterloo!

Then I wish I was in Waterloo!
Hooray, hooray!
In Canuck-land I’ll take my stand,
To kick some 'bot in Waterloo!
Away, … away, … away up Norrrrrrrth!
In Waterloo!*

(Hopefully I’ll be able to get up there for 2008.:frowning: )


so far it looks like the Waterloo Regional is actually turning out to be one high scoring regional. there has been 2 matches with a score of 286. with quite a few other large scores.


That tipster sure seems to have eaten his words about waterloo. 1114, 188, 1503, 1680, 1901, and 2056 can sure pile on the points, and it seems to have been enough to overcome most of the defensive efforts. 1114 especially, they’ve scored 286 not once, but twice! Additionally, their 90-78 win is one of the best matches of the year so far, with 19 tubes scored on the rack, and a robot elevated 12" for each alliance, and if the blue alliance had managed to place a single more tube, it would have been 90-90. 188 is probably the 2nd best team at the moment, with their only losses coming to 1114 and when they got stuck (and I mean stuck) on the rack.


The legendary flip is still something that is a huge part of my FIRST history when I was involved as a student. I had heard ancient stories of the early years of first and the battles that sounded like titans clashing in Plymouth. Oh those were the days. Now I’m a graduate student in college and am no where near a FIRST competition :(. Sad days. Personally I will like to show and pick team 69 as a team that will be a great asset to an alliance tomorrow. Oh and another legendary rule that everyone thinks was changed due to one robot in one particular year was the Beast I believe when they used velcro even though robots had been using velcro for some time. Anyways its good to see that FIRST has made such great strides and I look forward to working in a school someday that will have a FIRST program. Good luck to everyone


I think the tipster is setting himself up for a huge success! The predictions i know of seem to be meant for the elimination rounds. This being said, the defensive Bash-Fests will come out in full force tomorrow afternoon. Remember, waterloo is the regional most well known (in my mind) for removing your arm and strapping on a weight. Expect the gym to be short about 30-100 pounds of iron, depending on how many bots decide to get Down’n DEFENCE (as they say in Canada.

Tomorrow, the battle of Waterloo will be a defensive one.


Maybe. But I’m betting on the rack to get very colorful, very often. :slight_smile:

All those teams that Sean called out earlier, c’mon and show us how to hang 'em up quick.


I shall be rooting for 968 in San Diego, I want to see RAWC in atlanta, they have an amazing robot. Good luck guys.


Okay okay, I will concede that I made too strong a statement by using the term “direct result” But I stand by the statement, in general and I totally reject the label of “little urban myth” in this case.

Yes, there were other teams that had flippers BUT Team 121 that had one of the best flippers if not THE best and they had drivers that were very effective at using it. Even more, they were clearly the most famous team employing the strategy. Other teams (myself included) dreaded the day that we might come up against them. It was a legal strategy and but we lived in fear of it.

While the Game Design Committee may not have made the rule directly in response to this one team, clearly the success that the Rhode Warriors had in using this strategy generated the atmosphere where the GDC had to fish or cut bait. In fact, I recall posts on this very forum where I put it plainly: If this is how the game is going to be played, fine, let’s just wait and see the havoc that will be unleashed when Bill, Joe, Raul* and the rest of the great engineers in FIRST shift their focus from playing the game to designing the best flippers in 1998.

The GDC wisely made a rule against intentional flippers in 1998 and the rest is history. Perhaps they would have even without Team #121’s excellent robot, strategy & tactics in 1997, but I doubt it.

Joe J.

*Bill is Bill Beatty, Joe is yours truly, and Raul is Raul-the-Magnificent Olivera, though he would not acquire his title of “the Magnificent” until The Rumble at the Rock 1999.

How Raul became The Magnificent. A True Story by Joe J.
Raul was just Raul until 1999, the year with Floppies and the year that alliances became a part of FIRST** In order to get maximum points, the floppy game required robots to be on the puck and to raise floppies high in the air at the end of the match.

Motorola Wildstang’s motto that year was “We can go higher… …no, really! We can go higher.” (which was a reference to Wildstang’s claim that their 1998 Robot could score over any robot and had never yet been forced to raise to its full height).

At the 1998 Rumble at the Rock, Wildstang had made it to the Elimination Rounds. In the first match of the finals or semifinals (I can’t recall), Team #111 was on the puck and had raised high when they fell off the puck like an old growth redwood. Their robot hit the ground in a mass of rubble. It was obvious that they were not coming out for their next match. But Raul had other ideas. To the entire crowd’s delight, Raul and his crew managed to put Humpty Dumpty back together again before their Timeout had expired. Overcome with emotion, I jumped down onto the field and kissed Raul full on the face! He was shocked by my audacity. I was shocked by his 5 O’clock Shadow – that stubble is SHARP :wink:

I christened him Raul-the-Magnificent from that day forth. And so he remains to this day.


**a direct result (and I use the term advisedly) of some skulduggery involving Chief Delphi’s second loss in the double elimination tournament at the Nationals in 1998… …but I digress, back to Raul-the-not-quite-yet-magnificent.