I think it would be great if the tournament structure on Einstein was changed to incorporate a round robin portion. I think the following structure would be an improvement on Einstein:
Have the first round be round robin. Each team plays every other team once. The two teams with the best record then play best 2 of 3 for the championship. This would require 6 matches to get through the round robin part and an additional 2 or 3 matches to crown the champion.
The biggest advantage of this system is everyone is guaranteed 3 matches (up from 2 under the current system). Since these games often play out like rock-paper-scissors, it allows each of the teams a chance to show off all their strategies. The alliances that have made it to Einstein have worked hard and deserve the chance to show everything they have, in front of the entire audience. It can be very disappointing to go out there and lose two quick matches and be done.
Another advantage is that this might make scheduling easier for FIRST. Under the current system, there are a minimum of 6 matches to play and a maximum of 9. With the round robin plan, there are a minimum of 8 matches, and a maximum of 9, which should make things more consistent year to year and easier to plan.
Here’s how I think it would play out this past year.
Newton beats Galileo (like they did in the first match)
Curie beats Archimedes (like they did in the first match)
Newton beats Curie (guess)
Galileo beats Archimedes (guess)
Newton beats Archimedes (guess)
Galileo beats Curie (like they did in the finals)
Since there are awards between the matches, you wouldn’t have to worry about turnaround time.
At the end, Newton has a 3-0 record and Galileo has a 2-1 record, and then play best 2 out of three. Both alliances have now seen a lot more of the other alliance and can better plan, plus you have the best two meeting for the championship, rather then in the semifinals.
About the only disadvantage that I can think of is the GDC would have to figure out a way to break ties. This could happen if there were 3 2-1 teams and a 0-3 team. An easy way would be the most points scored followed by the least points allowed, similar to the way the do it in soccer.