What did Rapid React get RIGHT?

I’ve seen a lot of threads complaining about problems with this year’s game, but there are so many big things that has been done right this year. These positives has made year’s game the best of the one’s I’ve participated in least, and pretty high up there as one

No match of Rapid React is the same. Due to the random nature of the ball returns, match strategy can quickly change in the middle of a match creating much more interesting matches. Compared to recent games like 2020, 2019, 2017…, those games had very predicable matches, 2020 teams would just cycle their loading station and if they are winning cycle the other loading station, 2019 one team would get shut down by defense while the other is free to score, 2017 is just running as many gear cycles as possible. Whereas this year, cycles are not predicable at all.

The rapid game play makes for exiting matches. Rapid react does as the name says, this is the fastest pace game ever which leads to constant offensive and defensive action of the field, even at lower levels of play. Even many week 1 events were interesting to watch and play in, and dcmps and champs were even more interesting due the extremely fast gameplay.

The gamepices were very consistent, durable, and forgiving. Compared to the power cells, very few cargo got damaged. The cargo indexed relatively easily unlike the power cells which would frustratingly jam all the time. While balls would loose pressure, the effects on shots wasn’t drastic and were managable.

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Balls.

In the air.

Lots of them.

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It was an appropriate-level of engineering challenge to come back from a season with no robots from. Tasks we had seen before with a twist. Readily available solutions demonstrated in the very recent past.

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The biggest thing that I liked was that while the field was separated into “red side” and “blue side” during normal teleop regular robot actions had robots crossing paths and interacting. That was a big flaw of 2019 and somewhat 2020.

Some of the great games like 2013 and 2014 had robots regularly cross the half line and interact.

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I definitely enjoyed the mid-match strategy changes. Starting the match off in a specific third of the field then having to rotate around with the cargo made for interesting matches.

As far as people complaining that the top teams were light years ahead of the lower teams this year, I feel that is due to the relative simplicity of the game as a whole. You just need some drive practice, a half decent intake, an accurate shooter, and some sort of climb to be a little bit competitive. Anything more moves you well above the average; much more than that makes you a top tier team.

The simplicity was probably a good thing with this being the first year back to real competitions.

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I think a central scoring location is great for audience experience. You don’t have to dart your eyes across the field a lot during a close match to figure out who’s winning.

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I think I’ve said this elsewhere, but I am amazed at how durable these game pieces are. It makes me think that they should look at dog toys for use as game pieces more often in the future.

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I STILL don’t think I fully understand the optimal strategies for this game. There were so many ways to play this game and the strategies were unique every match based on your alliance partners and opponents.

This is a top 3 game for me!

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Great game! With how close match’s are though, the randomness of balls colliding in the air made it feel like a lotto at times.

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This game checked the one box that it needed to for FIRST this year. It was exciting. With two years of competition being missed out on, the most experience any student had coming into this year was 2019’s game, which was an alright game at best. Imagine three years of students experiencing FRC for the first time and it’s a slow paced, no defense game. This year’s game had a lot of scoring, but also had defense, which is essential for making games interesting.

This also game wasn’t too complicated, which helped give these students an “easier” goal. Instead of throwing them to the wolves, it gave teams a chance to regroup and get back to the basics. I couldn’t imagine trying to wrap my head around Infinite Recharge having no prior experience.

Overall, I think this years game was what FRC needed, especially for teams who lost a large portion of their membership during the pandemic.

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My friends said it was easier to understand on stream

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Rapid React is one of the best FRC games of all time. Some reasons include:

  • Like @Anthony_Galea, having all non-endgame scoring in the centre of the field was fabulous for the audience
  • All tasks looked hard to the audience, but were very achievable for teams of all levels, while still providing appropriate engineering challenges for teams
  • The tasks in the game led to a large variety of robot designs
  • The endgame was dynamic, exciting, and a new twist on the old favourite of hanging
  • The game pieces were easy to source, relatively consistent during game play, and very visual for the audience
  • The open field allowed for robots to move freely (minus the cable protector lol) and provided free flowing action
  • There were lots of different strategies to keep things interesting for teams. Ball starvation, different flavours of zone offense, zone defense, triple offense, 2O+1D, etc.
  • The low goal was useful and meaningful, but not even close to overpowering
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From another thread.

See also Paul’s reply.

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I’d push back on this sentiment a bit; most of the gripes I’ve seen with this game are with its refereeing and not the game design itself. This, IMO, is the best game since 2014, and it’s not close.

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I would say Rapid React was great because of how straightforward it was. You shoot your team’s-colored balls into the basket, and then climb the monkey bars. Games like infinite recharge were too complicated in my opinion, trying to explain the three different places to shoot power cells, plus balancing the climb, plus the color wheel. I still don’t really know the point of the color wheel, and I was a FRC member for that season. There is no way I can explain that to the parents that think this is battlebots.

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The fact that it allowed for even low-resource/skill teams to build competitive robots, thanks to how incredibly simple it is–with more advanced teams opting for the high end stuff, like windmill/otherwise very fast climbs, turrets, etc.

Additionally, the fast-paced offense and viability of defensive strategies made it a fun experience as a driver.

But perhaps most of all: the unique engineering challenges that this game–and especially the climb–provides. I saw several dozen climbs and I don’t think there were two identical climbs at all.

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It was so easy to watch the flow of the match and had a great back and forth. You’d see 4 red balls go in, but blue only scored 2. But then 2 more blue might go in. Very cinematic

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Simple understandable scoring that didn’t snowball (I’m looking at you power up).
Central scoring location. You could look in one spot and get a good idea on how the score was playing out.
Exciting endgame
Single champs forced super competitive play at the top end

Add another 2 balls per alliance would be my only notes

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I liked this game a lot. I do think I would have liked for there to be a few more balls though. (1) more than 1 bot per side could have done an impressive multi-ball auto, and (2) less time with bots just driving and looking for balls.

[edit] would love to see an off-season competition where all your balls start on your side of the field (and maybe add 3 more balls per alliance, preload 2 each?)

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Enabling robots from both alliances to use essentially the entire field is the most important feature making this a great game. Highly related to that is that there was no place to play defense and largely shut down gameplay or make robots come to the defender.

The visual aspect of balls in the air, especially with relatively long shots, made this game very audience-friendly.

I don’t see any “votes” for the autonomous period making this a great game. I’d have to agree with that absence. If auto would have allowed all robots to perform to their capabilities, this game would have gone from an A- to a full A for me.

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