To Co-Op or not to Co-Op

Hypothetical situation (understand that this year’s scoring may not come around again in a while, but if it does…)

You are ranked rather high in the standing and in your next qualifying match one of the teams on the opposing alliance is also ranked rather high. You are strongly favored to win the match giving your team 2 qualifying points. You are asked to co-op balance by this team which would give them 2 qualifying points and your team 4 qualifying points.

Do you co-op or do you not co-op?
How should your team make that decision?
Who on your team should have a say in that decision?

The reason for the question. I would like to create an understanding for how my team deals with this or a similar situation going forward and would like to hear how others would respond.

Kinda missing a lot of variables here that could affect what my personal decision would be (how late in quals how many qual points do you have and how many do they have) but ill go with what i have.
I would not coop in this situation. First off i would tell our team that we are not going to co-op. If one of your partners wants to you can’t stop them. I would then make sure we win the match especially if we’re not cooperating. I think decision should always be a game time decision made by the drive team.

There are two situations, as I see it:
A) You coop every time, all the time, no matter what
B) You find the need for strategically not cooping to gain a specific place in the rankings

For B, the only time I would find it necessary is in a situation like this:

You’re red alliance, and you have a 99.99% chance of winning this match. It is your final match of the day, but there is a team on the blue alliance who is very close to you in the rankings that has 1 more match. This team has a 50-50 shot in winning their next match, and has a large chance of cooperating that match as well. If you cooperate with them this time, and they win/cooperate their next match, they will pass you in the rankings. If you don’t cooperate with them, then there’s a chance they won’t pass you up, and you’ll remain the leader.

Only time I see an advantage to not cooperating.

And to answer any questions of yours I may have missed:

  1. The team should make the decision by looking at the rankings if every team on the opposing alliance, and seeing if event B can happen.
  2. The drive team (and drive coach) should make that decision.

I completely fail to see the advantage to not co-oping.

Scenario 1: You win the match and co-op. You: 4 pts, Them: 2 pts, two-point adavantage to you.

Scenario 2: You win the match but do not co-op. You: 2 pts, Them: 0 pts, two-point advantage to you.

If the win is a lock, as stated in the OP, and the difference between your QPs is always 2, why not co-op? Why deny yourself two extra points?

IMHO The only situation in which attempting a co-op would be bad is if the match results are in question AND the likelihood of a co-op failure is high.

The only time I could see refusing to co-op as a good strategy is if all teams on your alliance will NOT be captain (all ranked below 15 with no hope of getting to 15) AND there is a strong chance of highly ranked captains not on the opposing alliance choosing one or more of the teams on your alliance. Even then, some may view this practice as shady.


I was thinking it would potentially be advantageous to you to avoid co-oping if you were a high seed and guaranteed to not go down in the rankings, and you wanted to keep one of your opponents out of a high seed so they would be more likely to accept your pick, if you take that team. But again, this is a bit of a sleight to your opponent.

I think what some of the earlier posters were trying to say if that you should ensure the win for your alliance, thus giving you the 2-0 QP advantage, rather than sacrificing points and risking the win to co-op, and possibly ending with your loss and a 4-2 QP disadvantage. As it was stated, however, that’s not exactly how it sounded.

I dont think this makes sense; there will be no difference between you and the other team if you coop or not coop as stated above by Taylor

I see a situation where this can be advantageous. Consider the following:

You are ranked high, somewhere in the top 8 and you are separated from the teams around you by a few qualification points thus, the extra coop points wont make any difference in your rankings. The team who you are against is the best team at an event. They are currently somewhere around 4th at the event. If you coop with them, they will be bumped into 2nd seed. You may not want them at the 2nd seed position because you want to keep apart an alliance between 2 powerhouses. If you beat them, and you know you can, then they will drop to somewhere like 5th or 6th from where it would be hard to build a powerhouse alliance.

This strategy is VERY particular, and I can only see a few teams employing it. I also do not support it at all, because I feel like doing this is a disservice to your alliance partners who may be positively affected by a coop balance. You would be denying them that opportunity.

The strategy you mention, indeed took place, at various events, in discussion with many teams around the country as events took place from week 1-week 7.
That strategy was used on us unsuccessfully at least twice this season.

As good as the intent was on having co-op used in the game this season, this particular strategy made it tough between teams that were involved as every team wants to win. If given the opportunity to give input on whether I like how it was employed this season or not, I hope its never done this way ever again.
Two games were being played in every match…one to win the match, and the other to do a coop. At what point do you stop scoring, to ensure that a co-op is done? Co-ops between you and opposing alliances are no guarantees even when trying to do it with lots of time left in a match.

There is nothing you can do to stop your alliance partner from doing the coop bridge so if they want to then you can’t really stop them (unless you play defense against them :ahh: )

Agreed, many conflicts also came up during the season, including this one that sparked up some conversation among several teams.

Overall though I think it opened up an interesting discussion between teams about what they thought was “within the spirit of the game” and within the spirit of FIRST. I know within our own team we had differing opinions on the subject. My own opinion was similar to some things stated here such as that there are too many variables in each scenario that can determine whether or not you want to co-op.

Like was already said your Qual point difference with the other team is two either way, but if you Co-Op and win you have the have a four point qual score increase which will help you against ALL the other high ranked teams.

Plus if you DO lose the match, because upsets never happen right :wink: , you can still get the two qual points, which is a whole lot better than zero.

Seems pretty straight forward to me, Co-Op is important everytime.

I do not support using any strategy aimed at not using the coop bridge, but I do think there are specific cases like I said above where there is a benefit for not cooperating. It is a reality, and I know that because teams have experienced it this season. Even though it adds a bit of controversy, honestly, I am a fan of the bridge. I understand the secondary strategic game that can be played, and while it is unfortunate that people use that to their advantage, it makes for an interesting game. My non robotics friends understood it easily and enjoyed watching the coops. It was the most exciting part of the match since it was worth just as much as a win

Back to the OP, in response to your question, it should be the driveteams job to decide, and t should be done well before a match and it should be well thought out. Doing this in most cases is simply shooting yourself in the leg

Its not straight forward.

If the ultimate goal is to win a regional, your suggestion is an isolated one within a match for the 6 teams played that doesnt take into account how it affects everyone else.

Go to match 89 of Lone Star.
We co-oped and barely won the match. Prior to the match we were #2 and went against the #3 seeded team.
If we dont do both, we are not #1.
It was a known fact that #1 would have chosen #3, which created a highly likely scenario of a consistent triple balance alliance that we would have had to go up against.

Who does this benefit? Everyone? Or just us?

As Akash pointed out, there wouldnt have been tons of threads and responses to the subject, if it was that simple.

Simple is when you either win, lose, or tie when doing rankings.

I’d co-op. In every situation, no matter what. If anything you owe it to your alliance partners, plus it looks good on scouting databases if you have the maximum amount of co-op points.

And at least for us, being inside the Michigan district “bubble” if there are bad feelings between teams, it’s not next year before you see them again at a competition, it’s probably next week… (And teams do have long memories as well).