*Originally posted by Ken L *
**You can tell Mike has been around for quite a long time ;-). **
Not as long as you have '01 was actually my first year as a mentor.
Thanks for pulling up old threads for us to read. It’s fun to look back at the history of FIRST and how people reacted to changes & events over the years.
A little more background to the thread. aTm was Tony, our driver from '99-'01. He was obviously upset with the 4v0 game because it was not as fun for the drivers. He wanted another physical game where robots battle with each other.
I’ll take a stab at the questions & positives you brought up, and maybe we can get a good discussion going here.
Is it exciting for spectators to watch?
Just like all the FIRST games, some matches are boring and some are exciting. The qualification matches seemed to drag on and for the most part weren’t very exciting. Sure there were some good matches where alliances put up high scores, or where teams showed great skill & teamwork. Unfortunately most of the qualification matches were disasters where at least one team messed up and cost the alliance a good score. Not only were these matches unorganized, but since the score was low, the crowd wasn’t excited. Unlike 2v2 matches where there’s always a winner, if the alliance does bad in a 4v0 match, no one applauds. The odd silence after many matches was not a good thing.
The eliminations were slightly more exciting because most of the alliances had a good plan & were usually capable of executing it which meant less disastrous matches. Unfortunately by the end of the season, most alliances used the same strategy of filling the near goal with ~10 small balls, adding a big ball or two, balancing two goals, and getting 3-4 robots in the end zone. Of course everyone did it because it was the best strategy. But because of the, the elims became repetitive and very predictable. Unlike 2v2 games where alliances can disrupt their opponent’s strategy, many times it was obvious which alliance would advance before the round began. For example, how many people picked Beatty to win Nationals?
Is it challenging for teams to participate in?
Most certainly yes, designing a successful robot for the game was a big challenge. Not many teams understood how important balancing two goals from the ground, being able to limbo & place big balls on the goals, or quickly grabbing a goal were. Strategy was also challenging. It was tough to assess how many points your hodge-podge of an alliance was capable of getting & even harder to coordinate all the robot movements during the round. Many of the disappointing rounds were because alliances tried for too many points or because drivers & coaches couldn’t get the job done.
Is head to head better?
Yes. There’s a reason FIRST moved back to 2v2.
Now to address some of your positives
Both veteran and rookie teams could do well in that game.
Agreed, it was pretty easy to build a robot that grabbed a goal and moved it around the field. It was even easier to build a robot that got to the other side of the field & in the end zone. But it was still difficult (and it should be) to build robots to accomplish the big tasks like balancing & placing big balls on the goals.
There were a lot of varieties of machines.
FIRST definitely did a good job in this aspect. Unlike '02 where goal dominating robots were king, and '03 where stack toppling & ramp dominating robots were king, all types of robots were needed in '01. Each alliance needed a good balancer, a couple of good big ball bots, and a good goal mover. We saw tall bots, limbo bots that moved goals, limbo bots that placed big balls, and even some ramp bots (I had to throw that in). Some robots even had multiple attachments they would use depending on who their partners were.
Teams learn to work with other teams much better, a lot of friendships were built because of that year, and the atmosphere of collaboration grew much stronger as a result.
Yes, and no, it wasn’t as smooth as some may think. We had to work with other teams, but many times the pre-match negotiations turned ugly. Since balancing was the most important task in the game, everyone fought to be the team that balanced the goals. Unfortunately this also lead to teams overstating their balancing ability, and sometimes outright lying about it. We saw times where quiet coaches were ignored while the other three teams planned the entire match strategy. When matches went bad, teams would be upset at their partners who didn’t get the job done.