What do you think is the most strategic game so far?

What I mean by “most strategic” is how much strategy and proficiency of the human players mattered compared to how well/effectively your robot was built.
Disclaimer, I only have experience with last year’s and this year’s game, but I have looked at how each game from 2006 until now works.
I think i would say 2018 just because of the powerups, and especially choosing whether to put boxes on a switch/scale or give them to the vault for use later. I don’t know how influential the powerups actually where, so I could be wrong.


2018 was strategically pretty shallow, IMO. Power ups were less strategic than they seemed, since they represented small changes in points relative to the rest of the game, once you had a lead it was easy to keep it regardless of other factors. The whole game was won or lost in auto in most cases. I think it would have been a more strategically interesting game if there were fewer cubes available, forcing you to really choose where you were allocating them.

I predict that most people will say that 2014 was the most strategic game, given that there were a lot of tradeoffs you could make with regard to cycle time vs cycle value. I’ll say that 2005 and 2007 scoring was interesting, and that both were probably challenging to play at a high level.


2014 was the most strategic in my opinion (for all the reasons @BordomBeThyName said, beat me to it). The fact that there was only one game piece in play meant that you had to constantly switch between offense and defense if you wanted to be at the top of your game and use your time wisely.

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Definitely 2014.

Now the question for what is the second-most strategic game is a bit more interesting.

I’d say that it’s between 2016 and 2019. I’m leaning heavily towards 2019 because of the huge variety of scoring locations and the two different game pieces. The fact that some robots could only score one of the two game pieces made strategy even more important.

In addition, the fact that every scoring location was worth the same number of points (as opposed to games like 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 etc etc) meant that there were a much wider variety of strategies that were competitively viable.


2020 :sob:


I mean, 2005 was literally tic-tac-toe, with 2007 following a similar pattern. Lots of mischief to be had there.


And all the strategy was in the game of event signup?


Assuming you’re serious, I disagree. Each robot can basically operate as if their alliance partners don’t exist. There are enough shooting locations and places to get balls that planning out this stuff ahead of time doesn’t matter much to the outcome of the match.

If your robot has a better intake, you win more. If your robot has a more accurate shooter, you win more. If your robot has a faster shooter, a better vision system, a better drivetrain, you win more.

On the strategy side, choosing different shooting positions, climbing order, or auto placement isn’t going to make you be able to beat an alliance with better robots (unlike 2014). Defense doesn’t have much ability to slow down powerful offensive robots.


Rack N Roll - Scoring was based on where you placed the pieces, doubling as each new piece was added to a row.

Triple Play - Required the human player to stand on a pad to keep the robot running. Also there was strategy in where to place the tetras - in some cases it was good for you to score for your opponents.


Yeah but the way those games ended up playing out was that the teams who could score the fastest still won. You got more points if you put more gamepieces in a line, if another robot could place more gamepieces than you, they could cap your pieces and the order you placed yours in didn’t matter.

I agree we definitely haven’t seen anything incredible yet, but strategy will evolve later in the year. We’ve never seen alliances that are good enough to have three robots scoring at the same time effectively.

2020 had some real potential there.

2006, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 all stand out to me. All allowed for varied alliance composition, no clear “single best strategy” for all alliances / cases, etc.

2019 and 2018 specifically were extremely limited in strategic depth.


Personally I found 2018 to have a ton of strategic depth.

Power ups were definitely less strategic than they seemed because you basically always needed the extra climb, and then the others had clearly defined optimal times when you could play them to maximize your score.

The late 2018 season also brought in tons of planning for playoffs, such as placing your best bot on the same side of the field as the opponents best bot to try to balance potential auto scoring, or doing the opposite to get a lead but risking starting down. Any game that brings in ‘robot on robot’ matchups like this is fun to me, at least as a drive coach.

The limited number of ‘easily available’ cubes on the field allowed for lots of creativity and flexibility that changed from match to match as to how 3 robots can share the allotted cubes effectively while reducing cycle times and traffic. As well, the limited # of easily available cubes played into some of the most fun defensive strategies I’ve seen, in which defending game pieces from being picked up by opponents became more important than defending actual robots at times. Any cubes picked up beyond these ‘easily available cubes’ meant that the robots picking them up would be very susceptible to defense.

I think by the end of the season the overall accepted meta was super simple - whoever won the scale won the match, and this usually was decided in auto. However personally, as my team could not place on the scale that year, we found creative ways to win around 8+ matches the entire season where 0 robots on our alliance could place cubes in the scale but our opponents could. For us, this was one of the only games we have played where two completely different strategies could win us matches (control home switch + scale w/ partners, or control home switch & op switch & vault).


2018 was a pretty strategic game IMO… Figuring out where to place the cubes was pretty difficult…
2019 was incredibly strategic, the order in which you placed game pieces and where you placed them was crucial and decided matches more often than not. Also, no game required good handling of defense as much as 2019, although that might fall under “tactics” rather than “strategy”


2018 had the most in-game strategic depth. Finding the most optimal location to place a cube on the fly was… Fun :slight_smile:


Imo, 2018 has to be the one, as you want to know where you want to pick up the cubes and when to play defence.

As my team’s strategist in 2018, I disagree. The game always felt like whoever controlled the scale would win. Also, auto decided most of the match. I had one of my proudest strategy wins in 2018, but that’s because I was using a mainly switch tactic that shouldn’t have worked. To me, 2018 just seemed like an unbalanced, strategically meh year.


Paths to victory in 2018 that didn’t involve winning the scale battle were few and far between.



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2016 (Stronghold) it was one of our first years doing just in time match strategy from our scouting data. knowing which defenses to put up against the opposing alliance was huge, and helped us with our blue banner at WPI. I think that really solidified for us how much value there was in using scouting data to influence strategy.