Team Playbook

This was just an idea I was toying with at our Saturday build session yesterday.

You know how in football they have a few dozen plays that seach team member memorize and then in the middle of the game they might call for that play?

Well what about having teams with FIRST triple play playbooks? Since teamwork is one of those important aspects this year, being able to just print off a series a plays that your alliance could work with might be pretty cool. You wouldn’t have to give them the whole playbook, just 2-3 that they might want to consider. There’d be autonomous plays, end-game plays, and a whole lot of mess in between.

What do you guys think? I’d like to hear your ideas.

Sounds cool, but way too complicated.

My guess is the whole thing would be shot to hell once the match actually starts.

Not necessarily. The plays would have to be more simple then complex. Strategies such as having two bots play defensive by blocking the space between the center goals while the last one loads them up with tetras could be viable strategies for something like this.

You wouldn’t plan out the entire match in a play-by-play. But you might give your allience members some opening, closing, middle-game stratigic plays to consider. Then during the match, when you yell out the play your allience members would know what you’re talking about instead of wasting valuble time during the match trying to explain it.

So as you’re thinking about this, think simple.

“Playbooks” like that were used very often in 2001, when choreography of robot movement was incredibly important to alliances. It was easier to stick to plans that year, since there wasn’t an opponent to disrupt your plans. It’s normally much easier to stick to vague goals in matches against live opponents, like “we’re going to cap the stationary goal with 10 seconds left” last year, or possibly something like “we’re going to cap the central goal on the far row, and you guys cap the central goal in the middle row with 10-15 seconds left” this year. In this game, you can’t choreograph every movement throughout the entire match.

Awesome idea

Just keeping the game going the same mite be a problem

Autonomous playbooks are especially useful for when you and your alliance partners are planning who’s going to run what program.

But normal playbooks might be a good idea too. Our team is making a bunch of different situations and assembling them in a book format, so I guess we already have one!

We kind of dropped the ball on this last year but I think it would be nice to have come competition time. I’m going to try and make it a reality this year. The other good thing is if you have a hard copy at competition you can have something for your alliance partner to look at.

my team decided to make a little strategy “book” this year to help with our organization. Most teams probably have something similar to this already, but we wanted to be a bit more organized this year. Last year we had to scrounge around finding little scraps of paper that told us about what are plans were.

While a playbook would be handy…I think something very useful is a minature field or field layed out on a whiteboard…alot of teams do use small whiteboards during strategy meetings to allow for many different strategies…and because its not very hard to use.

I think a playbook would be cool and useful. I think it would work even better in finals because you know your alliance and opponents. You would have to make it in the most simplest of situations because you would have to assume a lot. But I think it would work.

I think there are a few noticeable effects of playbooks.

On the more negative end, yes it’s hard to stick to some of the complicated designs that come around during the actaul match. You’ve got an adrenaline high, and one of the most important aspects of a quality drive team is the ability to think on their feet.

Also, it will depend so highly on what your alliance partners do. You can’t limit yourself to a play and find yourself in a corner mid match because it didn’t work out perfectly. As Bill Gold said about 2001, it’s easier without an opponent.

However, I see a few awesome perspectives.

I think a playbook is a great way for the team to organize and explain the game for newcomers. Last year, I didn’t have a clear understanding of the game until midway thru my first competition, and it wasn’t until Nationals that I even truly understood our drive team’s awesome strategy. Having a small playbook available for competition newcomers to look at (on the bus on the way to comps or something) could increase bonding, and the entire pit crew could have a voice if they didn’t like a design all of the sudden.

Also, it’s true that designs shouldn’t be complicated in 2005’s game. It would teach your strategy team true engineering: they would have to take what resources they have and put them into a complicated situation and narrow down beneficial possibilities by looking at all angles and costs. Instead of having them plan stuff in a textbook for some class, they would be doing it for real knowing the high technological and logistical limitations.

As long as you don’t limit yourself, a referanceable playbook is a great option

  • Genia

You might also want to consider the advantages of being able to quickly plan out a strategy, especially in autonomous mode, between matches. There will most likely be games at regionals that you only have 15 minutes in between a match in which you have to plan, develop, and perfect your strategies for your alliance for the next round. And on top of all this, you have to repair your robot if it took damage. If each team had a playbook, the drivers could quickly confer on what the best plan of action would be for the coming match instead of each team throwing out vague and non-descript tactics.

Teamwork will be very important this year. Anything that could help teams work better together could be very important.

I created a 11"x17" version of the field layout (without the dimension lines) for just that purpose. It’s like a “John Madden” football playbook.

But, in all honesty, I think that doing “what-if” strategies is fine, but gut instinct and a quick assessment of all three robots in a given alliance will dictate who plays defense, offense, etc.

But here’s the paper chart if you want to use a whole stack of them.

IF your alliance can remember the plays it would be a good idea. If something goes wrong, just call a different play. This sounds cool. My team might be interested in doing this also. :smiley:

I think that brings up a huge point. For one thing, your plays need to be open to having only 2 people or even just yourself available during a round. Robots break, yah, but if you’re lucky, your ideas won’t. Remembering them by number seems like a tough decision. Maybe a good way to sort this out would be to outline some goals in your playbook such as…“Cap Offense”, or “Destroy opponent alliance rows”. This way you could quickly assign tasks before the round based on your alliance capabilities.

Usually what we do is talk to our alliance partners and rely on our detailed scouting to determine what to do against other teams. A playbook would be nice but we have some pretty devious minds on our team who can think up some pretty brilliant strategies before the match. The randomness of the match prevents making concrete plays.

Although you could be a like a rookie QB and have an armband covered in plays :yikes:

With a game that has 2 three team alliances and 10 places and 4 ways to score…there are too many variables to make set plays around; take it match by match at the competitions. Plan for as much as you can in every match. Think of what the other teams might do plan around it… all like a set of “ifs” and “thens.”
“If they cap and of the middle tetras… we should go cap over it”
“If they try to cap the middle center tetra with a big stack to prohibit other stacks…defend them.”

Each team should also have a list of things to do in order of importance…

  1. Team A main goals…
  2. Team B main goals…
  3. Team C main goals…

Last year our goals were:

1)Retrieve mobile goal

2)Get a 2x

3)Cap a goal with (all) HP balls in it.

4)Push mobile goal to HP

  1. HANG

My team has done this in every match that I can remember…we talked to our allies before the match… and sometimes just in the cue lines. Match by Match strategizing is the best way to win a match IMHO.


Knowing waht you’re robot will be mainly doing is important to know way back in the design phase.

Last year this is what our plan pretty much looked like.

(1.) Hang

(2.) Hang

(3.) Hang

Anything else that we added to our amazing hanging robot was pretty much just tacked on while we were building the thing. It worked out very well though.

I am talking about knowing what it will do in each match… my example was normally what we did. Occasionally we defended other goals… or just went and defended the bar. Lets say this year you have your alliance of three robots. One robot Caps tetras…the other gathers tetras very efficiently…and your robot also caps tetras. Your main objective will be to have the two capers get the tetra “gold” from the gatherer on your team and cap as fast as you can, pretty straightforward. The next match your alliance is composed of three capers… for that match one of the robots is probably going to play defense on the other side of the field to uncluttered your side of the field for the two robots playing offense. Your robot may be the defender. OK: the match is going well then…BAM malfunction of one of your alliance members…luckily before the match you said to your alliance “we have to have 2 caping at all times” so you adapt to a the strategy that was prepared for before the match. Two matches… same robot…different strategies. You have to be able to adapt and plan for as much as possible. I don’t think there would be a point in writing down plays to call in a match. I could see documenting plays though. After a regional look back on matches and say “Hey… doing this works well against these bots” and write it down for future reference but not as a set of a definite plays to pick from.

OK, I posted a white paper if anyone wants to download my teams strategy guide for 2005.