Value of defense

In Aerial Assist, there was only one game piece, so four robots were left with nothing to do but bash into other robots (I hated Aerial Assist). Four defensive robots and two on offense. This game appears to be the antithesis of Aerial Assist.

With all the potential for scoring, and the availability of scoring opportunities, combined with the protection rules for robots during scoring, I don’t see any value to playing defense. If your goal is to maximize Qual points (during qualification matches), your alliance needs to breach the four defenses and take the tower. Any time spent playing defense detracts from the time available to damage defenses and weaken the tower. Even a pizza box can be an effective scorer this year. I believe you can score more points during the match than you can possibly prevent.

Totally agree! But we both know we are about to hear the contrary ::ouch::
Wait for it…wait for it… Here they come…

This sounds like a discussion we had last night. Similar conclusion.

Defense will be critically valuable when offense can not keep up with the opponent, as has been the trend in most goal-oriented games.

Defense is valuable when:

  1. Annoy a shooting robot / steal their missed shots
  2. Keep other Alliance from parking in SP to steal your boulders.

What rules are you talking about? There is nothing like the key (in RR) this year. If you are talking about backing up into the outer works that seems to grey area that I am sure the QA will clarify.

If everyone is truly building short robots as a recent poll suggest then I think a 4ft 6" blocker angled 15 inches into your short robot could be very effective at blocking shots.

Not to mention that the goal is a lot different compared to say AA where you could shoot at a wide variety of angles (at the correct height) and still make the shot.

I however do agree that defense even as I mentioned doesn’t seem viable until eliminations and even then only against short shooters that can be blocked easily AND a capable enough offense (from the other 2 bots) that can still score 8+ times.

Am I missing something?

There are no safe zones for scoring boulders, including on the batter. There are no rules which inhibit defense against scoring boulders, except those surrounding the outer works (i.e. ball flow).

Hope those batter shields are tough :ahh:.

There is a safe zone stretching all the way across the field. The outer works.
I have it on good authority that the outer works protection rule was intended as a dual role. Protection for both breaching and shooting. I do not expect an update changing it.

Based on shooting from the key in 2012, I don’t expect shooting from the outer works to be overly difficult, however, it is a high risk for the reward (missed shot is a huge penalty in time), so many teams may decide to forgo long shooting. With only one defensive bot allowed, there will always be at least one low goal vulnerable.

Exactly, I don’t understand how there is such a big debate about this part of the game. They clearly specified they way you can shoot and used the wording “And no other carpet” rather than “only completely in the enemies courtyard” I expect many team that do well at these competitions to use that safe zone.

However (and this isn’t directed at the quote above) the value of defense should not be over looked, which it is year after year by many people. While you may not Need a defender at all times or in all matches. Certainly as the weeks progress and teams start stealing balls from the secret passage way. or teams that have to rush low goals to breach and capture Defense will be critical to stopping them not only from getting to the goal but also keeping them from getting back out or opening the Group C Outerworks for teammates. Defense is not just complete prevention of scoring but when you can add 5-10 seconds to a few of the other alliance cycles that’s as good as getting as getting points for your alliance. (at least when you alliance is capable of already doing both the outerworks and tower without you)
PS: don’t forget about the value in playing defense while you teammates break defenses that you can’t and then switching the defense and an offense bot to get the varieties of outerworks broken up in the most efficient way.

As I read the rules, we have come to the same conclusions, as far as the value of our robot doing defense. This is not zero-sum - there are two zero-sum points on the match win, and up to more points for doing offense. Going for those QP has to be a top mission.

However, there are always teams out there who manage to put up a pretty good defense even when it doesn’t seem to make sense. In Recycle Rush, some teams threw more noodles into their own yard and the opponents landfill than their opponents field, but threw early and often, even when it messed up coop points. Don’t count on enlightened self interest, because many teams do not follow it. Be agile enough to outmaneuver anyone who can hit you hard, and tough enough to take the beating from anyone who can keep up with you.

I agree. My team has also come to a consensus that it’s a much better idea to play offense rather than attempt to slow down enemy robots. There’s more value in scoring than defending.

It is weird that you can’t hard commit to defense in this game and score at the same time. I would have liked to see breaching not just be such a one sided thing. I’m no expert nor should I be telling the GDC its bidnizz but an obvious addition to the game is when a robot runs over one of its own damaged defenses it could repair it. This would mean robots actually have more then one zone to play defense from. Anyway that is just wishful thinking. Defense this year puts you in a position where you can’t really boost points you just need to hard stop the other side from scoring. Stalling a team just isn’t enough with the hit point system, and the boulders constantly being forced onto the field. Scoring is a self perpetuating cycle that without defense can easily snowball out of control.

Hmm, we got distracted by the opponent castle wall as both an alignment device and semi-safe zone. We also got distracted by ‘trapping’ a bot in the courtyard, preventing it from getting to the outer works after it delivered a boulder.

Ok, I think I can see how the higher levels of play will form around this game now.

The defensive rules remind me of 2010 when only one bot was allowed in the scoring zone. It was very difficult to stop the other bots from scoring if they were good at handing the ball and shooting quickly. That’ll be the case this year as well.

After walking around AutoDesk’s CAD’ed field last night I came to a striking conclusion about the outer works. I bet the zone for effective offense is at least 6-12" away from the outer works. The defending drivers cannot see the rear bumper of an offensive robot , and therefore are really unable to estimate whether the bumper is over the outer works or not. This is huge. I bet it will cause a LOT of penalties in early weeks.

I don’t agree with those that say defense is not a viable strategy in this year game. Will you be able to totally prevent scoring, obviously not. But a look back to 2014 and where defense could be readily effective in delaying the offensive robot from scoring. Secondly whether or not there will be two robots in the courtyard zone at the same time both ready to shoot and in need of defending seems like a less than often occurrence. And even then simply delaying the shots long enough to where the other alliance can’t score 8 boulders and preventing them from weakening the tower, there by preventing a capture, seems to be a very viable strategy.

So, are you going to defend the castle or the outer works? Maybe both? (requires two defensive bots) If your opponent is using all three bots to weaken tower / damage defenses, which alliance is more likely to get the extra QP?

Not as many as you think, remember the defender bot has its drive team looking right at it, and can see pretty easily if they are in the protected zone or not, just like the refs can, especially since most teams are hinting at staying small this year.

If you play defense then you focus on defending inside the courtyard. Because, like I said, I have doubts that there will be two teams at the say time ready to shoot, so you focus on the team ready to shoot. And after the give up and go to the low goal, or they get around you and shoot, then you go after the other team that has now entered the zone and defend against them.

with three robots trying to score, the odds are pretty good that there will be two bots trying to score at the same time. And remember. the low goal is just as valuable as the high goal for obtaining the extra QP, and if you are busy defending instead of scoring, the the extra three points for the high goal don’t matter much anyway.