As the scouting/strategy mentor we have solid success with qualitative scouting past two seasons, we started the scouting department two years ago (about 8-10 students) . I highly recommend this approach to any team thinking of scouting the matches, it works. The whole drive team the scouting info helps them greatly in gameplay and per game custom tactic discussions with partner teams. We use the numbers too but only as verification of what our actual eyes saw. Also to re-evaluate those on the numbers sheet that missed our radar. The students come up with the “game by game” strategy and talk to the drive team then the drive team uses that info to partner with other teams. I try to scout all the games and then on Friday night we compare notes. Get pick list ready. We try to do enough day 1 to be in top 12 that gets on every scouts radar Friday night higher if we can. Lower and we did not do our jobs/roles well somewhere along the line. Durability was a huge issue last year… engineering design issue made it hard. A good learning experience to try to overcome.
So on Friday night…We (scouts) discuss what a perfect alliance with us would look like with the list, being realistic with likely pick order and look for groupings each round. Sort of like NFL draft. Sometimes #38/60 has just what you need, we trust our eyes regardless of final position. Know your own strengths and weakness. We as scouts scout our own team like any other and try to estimate our finish position. We then design a playoff strategy based on IF we can assemble that team. Our play in elimination is usully different than qualification, try to find efficiencies with certain bot types.
Saturday is mostly “match strategy” to maintain/increase rank and a quick re-verification of our list make sure no one is having serious issues, looking for upward (or downward) movers that might have missed (or made) our list and interview those teams to find the story. We then target certain teams for elimination partners the ones that mesh to create a strong alliance whether captain or not. This helped us as #8 beat #1 in two games. We were much stronger than selected last year. The stories jived. Part of it is marketing and having a plan how to win if paired with your preference bot type to execute the strategy. Be brutally honest in these discussions what you can and cannot do, find out stated “embellishments” from your scouting notes. Many teams over estimate certain things, eyes don’t lie.
We look for attributes of teams that would “help us” throughout the entire lead up and competition. Take a lot of notes on tendencies/strengths/weakness etc.
We watch any posted video, practice, game of any competitor or partner… then look for the rest in game.
We did video scouting for weeks ahead of our competition in 2014 so we knew over half the field in both competitions bot/drive team tendencies and such way before we saw them live. Last year back to back early so not much video.
From other scouting activities like picking a horse in a horse race…" Class " is a huge indicator same for robotics teams have histories or “Class” which typically indicates how they will do on average each year. Pretty easy to see this if you look at histories in Blue Alliance. Also recent performance is a huge indicator, quick turnarounds are usually a place jump in second competition due to playing in the game already. we enjoyed that last year back to back. Same this year.
We look at it as a three prong approach for gameplay:
Engineering… Driving… Scouting/Strategy
All of equal importance in a season.
The issue I have with number or software solutions is sample size and uneven match pairing . Eyes and good notes don’t lie. especially if you have a team of eyes and limit what they evaluate. Focus on what traits are important. KISS. Avoid information overload and noise.
Our tools: Notebook, pen , eyes and highlighter plus some Internet stat verifications.
Knowing the desired attributes going in helps a lot. Then finding those and assembling that list.
We typically go 24 ordered list deep and 6 outliers/specialty (8 alliances x3 is 24) in regionals almost half go. Its a matter of finding the half that help you. There are always really good bots that don’t pair well with us. With so many tasks you alone cannot do them all and trait duplication not good sometimes. We look for filling in gaps that tends to work well. Plus its fun to watch all the action.
This season especially qualitative seems like a good way to go due to the Fuel deal.