Thank you GDC

Infinite Recharge was an incredible game design. I’d like to thank the GDC for knocking it out of the park this year. Even though Inifinite Recharge won’t get a chance to live up to its potential, it was one of the most exciting early week games I can remember.

As the strategy mentor for my team, I had a ton of fun this season. Each match had it’s own twist depending on alliance composition, and good strategy really could influence the outcome of matches. The autonomous action in this game would’ve turned into a chess match at high levels of play. Alliance selections were extremely interesting as there was no definitive ideal alliance structure. Triple offense vs 2 offense and 1 defense were both extremely competitive. There was no telling if this would’ve turned into a zone based or cycle based game at high levels of play… and the uncertainty was awesome.

On top of being extremely interesting strategically, Infinite Recharge was the best spectator game since 2013 in my opinion. Watching two teams flood the Outer Port with up to 10 Power Cells within a few seconds was incredible. The end game was exciting through the 5 seconds post match when teams were wildly swinging on the Generator Switch, and people were holding their breath trying to figure out if they’ll get the points for being balanced or not. More matches have been won after the final buzzer this year than any other I can remember.

All of this is to say that Infinite Recharge was a very well designed game. Climbing may have been valued highly, but that’s really the only possible complaint I can see about this game. The exceptional design this season gives me high hopes for future games. Thank you GDC, and keep up the good work.


First off, absolutely agreed. It doesn’t make the sting of the situation any better (in fact, it makes it worse), but the GDC absolutely nailed it. This was a great game, and they deserve to hear it. No gaping holes in the manual this time, either; I can’t remember a single change that would’ve significantly altered any robot plans.

One thing I do find interesting:

I agree with this, but

that has a direct relationship with this. Would it be as exciting if climbing wasn’t worth as much relative to power cells?

I do enjoy the concept of interacting with something that gets scored after the match is over, however; I’d like to see that return.


Yes! Thanks to the GDC for a very exciting game. I am sorry that they did not get to see it played at the highest levels in the later weeks and at the various Champs.

I would also like to thank all the Tournament Directors and their key volunteers who spend many hours each year to “build” the events we compete at. Unfortunately, many of them will not will see the fruits of their labours this season.


As a senior last year, I was very disappointed to not have the opportunity to be involved with the game this year. It’s been awhile since there has been a shooting game (2017 doesn’t count), and everything about this game seemed enjoyable. Everybots were competitive and easy to build for lower teams, and the high end robots were pretty crazy to see so far, and relatively speaking, there were any game breaking robots (could be good or bad), or crazy good approaches that everybody was flocking to as soon as season started. Seemed to be a well balance of tall and short robots, and overall just a well made game. Sad to see it die so shortly into comp season.


I agree. This game was a tremendous game. I’m not sure how I will feel in the coming days and weeks and months but as of now but I wouldn’t mind if the GDC decided to run this game again properly next year.


I think this could provide the rare opportunity to take a good game and make it better for 2021 or a later return of 2020. Infinite recharge the sequel could:

  • weight climbs at only 15 points each instead of 25
  • reduce the ball storage behind the driver wall
  • find tougher game pieces?
  • lower the control panel thresholds so that low-resource teams could use it effectively

Any other ideas?


Remove the steel bars in the rendezvous zone, maybe? I don’t feel those don’t offer meaningful design challenges (happy to be convinced otherwise!) and it’s wrecking wheels and robots. 6574 hasn’t had too big an issue with them (the one problem we did have was solved by a more rigid belly pan) and we’re running an 8 wheel West coast drive with 4" wheels.

I would either increase the number of balls you can hold from 5 to 6. Or conversely, reduce the number of balls to 4 and lower the height of the control panel. Either way I think it’s a significant enough change that would prevent the vast majority of teams from recycling their designs.

Our teams didn’t get a chance to compete so not direct information. I wonder however if the bars were higher if it would affect the decision.

Some of us discussed the reuse of the game with additional changes to force some redesign. If the steel bars were higher and the trench lower it would make that decision more impactful.

I was impressed with how well many teams with low robots designed and performed. It’d be an interesting exercise to determine where those would have to be moved to change that balance.

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A good indication of the game design is the Team Updates and Q&A.

The updates we have are mostly technical - adding or correcting something that was overlooked. The only real rule change was adding G15-A, which is a corollary of G15.

Q&A volume is down significantly. There are fewer questions because there are fewer things that needed to be asked.

All in all, a good rule set, even considering the changes needed earlier for no-bagging. That was an iterative effort, but it came together. Good job, GDC.


I assume the bars are there for a few purposes:

  • To hide/contain the extra material under the Rendezvous Zone, which I suspect is there to prevent damage to the venue when robots fall from height
  • To have an easy and consistent way of holding power cells in place for the start of the match
  • To make it easier for Refs to judge whether robots are fully supported when parking

I don’t think they’re there as a design challenge as much as to make the game work technically.


Since many teams never completed, I was hoping we would be able to recycle our designs, rather than let all that time, effort and money go unused. I’m not sure what the priorities should be for the next season, given the circumstances.


The bars are also there:

  • to reduce the speed of cycles through the dance floor, to prevent high speed ramming
  • to make going through the tunnel actually pay off.

But if they were gone, the game would still play fine I suppose. It would just be a bit more “exciting” in the middle


The season is currently under suspension, not cancelled outright.

Regardless, I don’t think many will be clamoring to play Infinite Recharge by next kickoff. The idea feels more like a knee-jerk reaction than a genuine solution, and I imagine it would be pretty underwhelming once we actually got to kickoff and the events themselves.

Taking away the next build season experience is not the answer to losing this competition season.


Too bad we don’t still have Spotlights. This deserves one.

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There is no reason not to re-start the season at week 3 level after WHO declares its OK this year. First will not throw away a good game and team efforts at week 2. It may look different but I believe all teams with paid events will get a chance at playing in an equivalent event at some point this year. There is really no other likely outcome. Then a IR championship next year. A single champ for next years game as well, to get both seasons done well. They can consolidate events in certain areas into larger regional’s to recover costs. Too many events anyhow. This could be a huge win/win for teams and First.


The boundaries also serve an important mechanical function, as they help position the vertical elements of the truss.

I hadn’t really considered how difficult this must also be for the GDC, who has spent a massive amount of time designing this year’s game and answering Q&As, to see the 2020 season be suspended.

They really do deserve a pat on the back. Infinite Recharge is a fantastic game.


I suspect the steel bar on the playing field were the main driver for teams who decided that going through the trench was key. They were certainly key for us when we calculated robot cycle times. This is what created the design disparity between tall and short robots. Without that, there would be little reason to be a short robot.


I think the long protected zone of the trench run was also a factor for many teams.