Will Alliances Win?

Looking back at FRC history, there have been many games where a well-designed robot could effectively win most matches on its own, and only a few where alliances with specialized and effective partners were necessary. The Coopertition Bridge in 2012 seems like a forced effort to get teams to work together, so I’m not counting that. Aside from 2014, I can’t think of many games where effective partnerships were super important.

What about this year? It seems possible that we might have actually received a game where the "we-will-do-it-all-ourselves-please-stay-out-of-our-way"robots may not be able to do it all, and where specialized machines in symbiotic partnerships will win more than a do-it-all. I may be wrong in this assessment, and would to hear your points of view.

It’s also my opinion that, if the above turns out to be true, it will be an *especially * bad year for mediocre do-it-alls. My advice to mid-level teams echoes that from a few earlier threads: please don’t try to do both major scoring objectives. Do one of them well, and climb. Maybe I’m wrong there too, though.

This is almost always good advice, many years there has been a lot of value in excelling at one thing, and being a capable contributor for the end game. Perfecting one of the two scoring methods and being able to hang will be enough to be capable of winning almost all district competitions, and most regionals. Balls this year are a linear points system, but it is a slow slope, gears become less valuable after the first 2-3. 3 middle of the road robots that split time between both tasks will not get either extra ranking point.

I expect the top teams will do it all, and do it all effectively. I imagine the elite teams will be able to run a cycle loading a gear and filling up the hopper at the loading station, and/or picking up balls while driving, then unload their gear and empty their balls high faster than above average teams can just pick up and place a gear. The alliances on Einstein will likely have 2 of this type of robot.

After analyzing the rules of the game very deeply, I have come to the conclusion that alliances will indeed win. In fact, I predict that for every match of FIRST Steamworks, there will be on average, just under 1 winning alliance.

The elite “we-will-do-it-all-ourselves-please-stay-out-of-our-way” teams will still do everything in the game, and do it well. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say these teams will be so superior that they can overcome a 1 or 2 climb deficit. Making up 50-100 points in this game will be a real challenge. I think the difference for these elite teams will need to come during autonomous, because putting in 150-300 Fuel during teleop while also cycling 6 gears will probably not happen very often.

I also agree that specialization is usually very important for mid and low tier teams. Doing one thing well is better than being average at everything. But is it really so difficult to do every aspect of the game this year, and are teams that try to do everything going to be negatively effected more than they would be in a typical year?

My initial reaction to those questions is trying to do everything this year isn’t any more challenging than its been in the past. I think it might even be easier. The reason I think so is because teams can literally have a static mailbox or “Gearage” as my team likes to call it, on their robot and they can complete a significant aspect of the game.

Regardless of what Gear mechanism you choose to use, you can only hold 1 Gear at a time, and the Gear mechanism won’t take up the entire volume of your robot.

Every decent team including 2nd picks will need to climb this year. 50 points is too large of a deficit for a playoff alliance to consistently make up. So low and mid tier teams will at minimum need to find space on their robots for Gears, and for climbing. I don’t see how those mechanisms will occupy the entire volume of the robot, although I could be blinded by experience.

I would think most teams would benefit from having a way to collect Fuel from the hoppers and then dump them into the low goal. It’s a significant boost in robot quality with the addition of a single mechanism.

In my mind, the ideal 2nd pick would have a 6 cim drivetrain, be able to cycle Gears, climb, and shuttle Fuel from a Hopper to either the Low goal, or to the key for the best high goal shooter to quickly intake and score it. I also think this type of team will be extremely rare, because many of these low to mid tier teams will fall into the trap of high goal shooting…

Do you consider a tie a half a win, cause if so then there will be exactly 1 winning alliance on average lol

Tie =/= win :smiley:

I’m predicting that there will be less than 10 teams capable of placing 5-6 gears per regional. These teams are definitely going to pick each other, and any robots that can’t also place gears and deal with/dish out defense just won’t be picked. The 100 point bonus from all rotors turning is way too huge to not have a few extra “insurance” gears in case things go pear shaped. Climbing, unlike last year, is pretty much a must for a first pick. I can see (good) climbers being in short supply after the first round of selections, so I think having a triple climb in district and regional levels is going to be rare and powerful.

I’ve deliberately left out fuel from the above, and that’s because I think most robots will just ignore it entirely in favor of gears during eliminations. People seem to be seriously under estimating the difficulty of getting 12 gears on the airship.

I doubt very much that a robot like this slips to the late second round for the top seeds at normal Regional/District events. If they are effective at climbing and one of the two tasks then they will be an alliance captain or 1st round pick in shallow events, and an early 2nd round pick (seeds 5 - 8) at worst for a deep event.

At most events your top seeds are going to just be looking for a team that can move and climb for their last pick. They may have these other scoring mechanisms but they won’t work well, if they did the team would have seeded higher and would already be snatched up by an earlier alliance.

On a related note, I see 6 CIM drivetrains mentioned more and more frequently on CD, but it is rare to find in my experience. You can’t do 6 CIM drive using the kitbot gearboxes which automatically excludes 50% of teams, and even for teams that do a custom chassis or other gearboxes many don’t use 6 CIMs. In 13 years of FRC no team I have been with has done 6 motors of any type on the drivetrain and we’ve made playoffs 11/13 years, advancing beyond the quarterfinals 7/13 times. Maybe I just think pushing power is a bit overrated, we’ve had much better success sinking the extra weight/power/money into manipulators or beefing up the frame.

Last year, many teams could reduce the tower, whether 8 or 10, and cross 4 defenses on their own, and only needed the other 2 bots to mount the batter at the end–not too difficult of a task. So they could get all of the RPs and bonus elim round points on their own.

I don’t think that a team will be able to get all 12 gears on their own running standard cycles, and the climb is a bigger factor this year. So alliance mates will be more important in the qualifying rounds. Also coordinating both placing gears and setting up for shots will be more important.

One other thought–low goal scoring during teleop will be worth very little. It takes 360 low goals to get to 40 kPa. That’s time better spent chasing gears if that’s the choice a team faces.

And for that reason I predict defense in this game will play a role like we’ve never seen before.

Were you around for Aerial Assist?

He joined CD in 2015, so I don’t blame him if he wasn’t on a team to know the defense present in 2003, 2006, 2007, 2011, or 2014.

2015 wasn’t a great year to join, at least concerning defense.

Fixed that for you.

I am quite aware haha. May have been exaggerating slightly :wink:

I just think people may be underestimating how big defense will effect matches this year especially in elims. It’s just been a long time (if ever, not a game i can think of) since there has been a game with two primary ways to score with only one of them being protected. And the one that is is what some would consider less advantageous.

I think we may see a fuel alliance beat a gear alliance. The distance to travel to collect gears and score them is somewhat large as well as blocked by obstacles. Some of the lifts are somewhat hard to see and the peg is not exactly the biggest target. Mix some or two robots in playing defense I think some interesting things could happen.

This year, it seems like gears are the prerequisite for doing well rather than a main task you focus on. I think even for two really strong robots, it will be tough to get all the gears done and even if they can, having a third robot able to do their part in gears is going to be too helpful to pass up. Especially since there are so many other things going on in the game.

I think overall though, a really strong robot will be able to carry itself through qualifications. Alliances, like almost every year in my opinion, will be what wins events.

I think that the auto gear is absolutely essential for fuel robots. My production is to be a first pick you need it and any other robot with it is an auto second pick. Gears are not going to ml win the game at the high level. They will just be the starting point.

We used a three cim drive train once for 2014… and let me tell
You for that game it was well worth it. But we have been designing our own gearboxes for years. It’s not somthing in would recommend for a rookie team two Will do just fine for this game!

Aerial assist defense was absolutely insane nothing better then that, you could shut down an entire top ranked alliance And beat them doing one assist cycles. I miss those games