Reducing Luck in FRC Competitions

Nope you totally do not understand the question. Surely you analyze your teams chances of winning each qualification match? SO my question to you and your team is “do you care” if you have a qulification teams your are assigned to that can not win against the opposing team more than 50 percent of the matches?

I’ve honestly never gone into a match thinking that I can’t win. Ever.

What makes you think you can’t win?


Frankly, if don’t win our matches, that’s no one’s fault but our own. If you want to win, you have to be good at playing the game, it’s that simple. RFID tags are a solution to a perceived problem that frankly doesn’t exist (and if you think rankings aren’t fair now, you would have hated every game prior to 2016).

Not saying we shouldn’t fix problems that exist, but let’s fix problems that actually will impact engagement, retention, and program reach, not problems that might make us feel a lil better at an event.


Wouldnt it be wonderful to know you always have an equal chance to win. That your teams efforts are given an equal chance rather than no chance at all?

That’s because you always have 3538 on your alliance…


You seem to fundamentally misunderstand the premise of a competition.

Some robots are competitive. Some robots are not. Not every robot has an equal chance to win because not every robot is equal. If you artificially change the matchmaking so that every team has an equal chance of winning, you are just penalizing the good teams by putting them in harder matches.


It is not your teams fault that they lose a match, when the opposite team is stacked with only the top 10 event teams while your team is built out of the bottom event teams. Worse than that it happens 10 matches out of 12.

@tmichals, may I recommend that you consider switching from FRC to BEST Robotics? FRC abandoned the 1v1v1 model many years ago (1999, I think) because individual team scoring led to 2v1 situations too frequently. Since then alliances score together, or they don’t. BEST uses a 4v0 model, where each team racks up points with minimal or no interaction between the robots, as they each have a separate quadrant of the field. It is a great program for certain mindsets, and certain types of teams. I coached a BEST team for many years and even met my wife through their program. The FRC model isn’t for everyone, and rather than saying “here’s this elaborate idea for completely changing FRC” perhaps you should look at other programs, or create your own model. I’m still fantasizing about starting an Aerial Assault league one of these days, so I’m all for new things.


This entire thread is conflating two different questions:
a) How do we make FRC more “fair”/“balanced”
b) How do we automate and/or individualize scoring

You are loosing people when you are combining the two. Question A could easily have its own thread with just as many responses.

Its unlikely anything will happen with Question B until someone(You) can say:
“Here is a system that can score game objectives A, B, and C. Here is a video of it scoring objectives A, B, and C. And after getting a quote from a supplier it will cost about $x per field, $y per robot, and $z per game element(power cell).”


We’re all given the same chance when we get the game
Nothing in life is fair, not that it’s right but solving inequality is a root-cause issue, not a rankings bandaid

Stolen shamelessly from @Katie_UPS

But to be blunt, yes, it is your fault if you loose a match.


Of course not. You’re telling me that the robot that we field after spending years gradually improving our team should have the same shot at winning a match as a drivetrain someone put together in a weekend? No thanks. Any team can win 50% of their matches by being 3% smarter about how they run their season.

254 at SVR 2015 was the most devastating I’ve ever seen a robot be without running a cheese strat. They were up against 3 of the best robots at the event and allied with robots that were seeded in the 50s. They won almost singlehandedly, although winning did not affect the rankings in 2015. If you’re telling me 254 should always be matched up like that, I would urge them to find another competition.

I don’t think winning 50% of your matches is even likely to put you in the top 24 of seedings at some events. You need to earn RPs too.


In my time mentoring, I don’t think we ever discussed if we could win a match or not.

The question that was asked was “What do we have to do to win this match?”

No match is un-winable. Unexpected things happen. Robots break, pieces get stuck in manipulators, etc. I fell teams should be more focused on figuring out how they might win a match as opposed to being worried if they can win or not.


Perhaps no one feels they have little to no chance of winning? This coming from a team that rarely wins. Also not every team participates in FRC every season with an eye on winning. Sure, besides being a competition the events “validate” your robot to a degree. But it’s still somewhat about teaching high school kids some skills in a fun/cool way. Even top teams with a goal of winning it all can surely find things to hang their hat on and call it a successful season when they don’t.

I find this happens time to time (never this extreme), but ultimately balances out. And you can still get picked by teams even if you’re very last. There have been years I’ve been a little miffed that our robot wasn’t picked when we were just outside the top 8. I thought objectively we had better mechanisms than some other teams. There are many possible reasons why we weren’t picked, but ultimately it’s a team’s choice. Can I really be that upset that we weren’t picked when one of the few times we’ve been alliance captains we picked another school in our area just because we’re buddies regardless of how good their robot was? Well yes I can, because I’m occasionally a hypocrite, but I try to get over it as quick as possible.

Scheduling quirks sometimes hurt you. Scheduling quirks sometimes help you. Overall the impact is so negligible that any attempt to fix it would have to be so extremely low effort and low cost as to not be worth trying.


Isnt being drafted into top teams artificial right now? Even if it is just a LUCKY chance that it happens? I think everyone wants a level playing field where no qualification team has an advantage because of a LUCKY team matching.

I personally think RFID is a BAD idea.


It does not balance out because the numbers are not balanced. I do not want to win a competition that depends on the luck of the draw.

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Okay then what is your solution if not RFID?

You can control your own luck.

Very likely without RFID or any other system that automatically tracks individual robot scoring.


@tmichals What numbers aren’t balanced?

(The answer is that it does balance out, this is basic statistics. The variance in your data goes down as sample size, or number of matches played in this case, increases.)