Winning Robot Strategy

I didn’t see a thread of such thus far, so here goes…

What does the game this year seem to really boil down to? And resulting, how would you describe a winning robot or winning gameplay?

The best ones in portland seemed to knock off bonus ball in autonomous and then hang. I don’t think the two teams I saw doing that lose to often. Efficient ball gatherer work well too. Most balls I’ve seen in a goal so far was 13. Kudos to the HP.

Simple answer: The one that scores the most.

Detailed answer: It’s honestly too early too call it. From what I’ve seen at the regionals some robots still that aren’t 100% functional, so it’s really hard to tell what’s going to win in competition. However, right now my guess would be that hanging and penalties are going to be the deciding factors in this years game. The robots that can hang and the players don’t penalize themselves are going to be the ones that win this year.

I think teams that best manage thier time will do best. Kind of like running the West Coast Offense. Script your strategy. In Autonomous knock off the ball or better yet retreive it. In the next 30 seconds or minute either corral balls or get the mutiplyer. With a minute to go finish up whatever task you were doing and get up on the ramp and start preparing to hang the bot. Any shorter time frame and your likely to rush and either tip the bot or not leave yourself enough time to do your job. That’s just one strategy. The main one is: Know your strengths and stick to them.

Hanging is probably one of the best strategies :slight_smile: 50 points in one shot. Thats the same as scoring 10 balls, which may be hard during some matches.

I don’t think any one single robot can have a winning strategy. Even if you are an unsurpassably godlike team like Chief Delphi (your robot…HOW?), you cannot win a game in the 2 minutes that you have doing all the things you need to do.

The best strategy is to make the best use of your alliance that you can if you are fortuitious enough to have a match made in heaven. Take Team Force and Hyper 69, for instance. Our robot can efficiently and quickly gather up to four balls at a time and deliver them to the human player. Hyper 69 can cap either goal and hang. Now, Hyper 69 is undefeated, as their unique design almost guarantees them well over 50 points by themselves (their human player is very good–Joe, you da man). And while our team is probably not going to win a match all by our lonesome, we can very easily facilitate a team with capping abilities.

For instance…on the Thursday practice session, everything ran smoothly. Our robot knocked off the ball release, and Joe and I combined to fill up both goals as our robot delivered 20+ balls to us. Hyper 69 capped the stationary goal and then hung as our robot made sure that the other teams did not cap their mobile goal. We scored well over 200 points.

Today, when everything didn’t go as smoothly, we won 95-90–and that was without Hyper hanging and our robot breaking down near the end.

You just really need to hope for a good alliance partner. This is a game where one robot cannot do everything–again, not merely because of technical limitations but because of time limitations as well.


Okay. I revise my winning statement. The robots that maximize their score (and opponents score) while minimizing the number of bad alliances will win. Last year I saw some team really prescouting their alliance early in some cases. Particularly I remember a team working on another team’s robot tread problems all Friday because they had a match together Saturday. That is a championship type team. You won’t play every round with a world champion robot by your side but you can still perform well in most situations. The teams that are able to manage these situations so that the match is successful will be champions. Know your alliance partners well and be able to work with them to win. A single robot has a hard time winning this game. In most cases you could tell the alliance that knew each other fairly well and could work together well. In some cases that was a kit of parts pusher that drifts to the left and a hanger. In the elims. the team that can maximize this teamwork will win. Those who work best together will be best. Team 34 had a sign last year that said “Team 34 works well with others.” and they won two regionals last year. I think that is a good lesson and prediction for this year.

from what Ive seen from watching VCU and Oregon webcasts so far:

1.many bots have hanging and 2X arms, but only trivial means of pushing the balls around

  1. pushing the balls towards the corrals is like herding cats

  2. lots of teams either dont bother with getting the release ball in auton mode, or they are not able to get their auton mode to work - maybe because they are only focused on hanging?

  3. teams that can collect the small balls and deliver them quickly ARE filling the goals up, and its not hard to get 11 balls in the stationary goal, which is worth 55 points alone - so if you can do that you will earn more points than a bot that can only hang - if you can collect 10 balls off the field + the 6 starter balls, thats 80 possible points and if you can cap it - thats 160

my conclusion? it looks like a lot of teams focused on hanging and the 2X ball, and only gave capturing and delivering the small balls a passing thought - I think the ones that control the small balls will win repeatedly.

I had to post this:

Cat Herders

I kind of agree but right now I don’t think anyone is herder small balls right now. Once you get people good at herder or capturing and delivering the 2x hanging will become important. Right now hangers can change the score enough that sometimes it is worth more to just hang than waiting to cap and then hang or not.

you are correct in that there are not many teams that have focussed on the small balls. there are a few, though, and the ones that do it well can prove to be quite useful.

First off, that cat herders commercial is funny as hell!!!

I believe that the “perfect” alliance, consists of one robot that can catch and delever all 18 balls, and the other robot that can trip the bonus ball and than hang right away.

Keep it simple and you will win.

autonomus knocks off ball… then grabs 2X ball… herds for a few seconds, caps stationary, hangs = win

And of course you say a catcher will win because that’s what your team built. While I don’t doubt that strategy will be successful (we almost did it, ourselves), I don’t think that will be the only “perfect” alliance. Any robot that can get 18 balls, no matter how they do it, will be successful. So, I think more generally, the “perfect” alliance will have one really good small ball bot and one good hanger.

I was noticing during the Portland regional was that some of the ball grabbers were the ones that were winning. I only watched the competition for an hour though so I only saw about 15 matches. The majority of the time, the ones with autonomous and a good capper normally won. First they hit the 10 pt, then collected a few balls before removing a 2x ball from a mobile. They let the HP shoot for a little then capped and hung. Those that did that normally scored in the high 90 and 100’s.

Some of the teams had a mixed combo of capper and ball gatherer that didn’t fair so well but sometimes they did great. Just depends on the experience that the different teams had this year.

I think I am going to agree with Koko Ed, and ngreen on this. Winning Robot Strategies is going to come down to these 3 interdependent factors (in no specific order).

  1. Ability to adapt to varying game situations, and ability to manipulate and influence the game in their favor.
  2. How well teams are able to communicate, coordinate, and execute their plans in a effective manner (teamwork).
  3. Reliability, and Effectiveness of your robot (including those in your alliance), and how “conditioned” the drivers, and human players are.

No one robot in this entire organization will be able to “dominate the field” for this game. Unlike in previous games, the qualifying matches were usually about points, and in the elimination rounds, it was all about pure strength and power. With FIRST Frenzy, there are too many variables. This is why selecting an alliance member that compliments your team’s robot is crucial. With all of these variables, teams are going to run into several different types of robots in competition, in which they have to implement different strategies for different types of robots. This makes scouting a bit difficult as well. The robot, drivers, and human players must perform harmoniously. The robot must be in top condition (thanks to the pit-crew); it also helps to design and build a robot that is rugged, reliable, yet efficient in it’s primary function. The drivers and the human player must also be skillful. Just look at the VCU Regional. The Championship Final Match at that regional competition was decided by one 5-point ball. It was that close. I was not there (watched the webcast), but all of the elimination rounds were spectacular. Just a sweet taste of things to come.

On a side note, I was a bit surprised at the amount of penalties given out during some of the matches.

Instead of retyping something that has already been well stated in real time, I will just post the link.
It is a play-by-play of the Finals in NJ!

Build a robot that does as much as possible well. For example we are great at hanging, good at the 2x mltiplier, and not too bad with the small balls. Even in an alliance with a bulldozer we can do well. If we are matched with a great herder/hopper we will cap. If we have a great capper, we will hang. If we both need to push, thats fine, we will push and then hang. The key this yearis versatility and having an autonomous that knocks off BOTH teams balls during autonomous (but of course has an option to only hit one side note:see team 33, they do this VERY well). That way you can maximize points and chances of being selected/winning a lot.

~The thoughts and oppinions expressed above are those of an individual, not necessarily those of an entire team.

I watched the VCU finals, then the rest of the Oregon regional… from what I could see, I think the best team would be:
one robot with good ball collecting and a good human player
along with another robot that can cap the stationary goal from behind, and then quickly hang.

At VCU, Buzz had amazing ball collecting ability, and a great human player. But I didn’t see many of their partners taking advantage of capping a full goal.

I think in general the cap-and-hang robots will dominate the preliminary rounds. A cap-and-hang team should be able to score 100 pts on their own (5 small balls in stationary goal, 2X cap, and hang).

I think what will win this year will be the same as always. Organization and team work. Know your alliance, plan out, and execute, and any robot can do fine. :slight_smile:

As an observer at BAE in NH, the teams picked were mostly hangers. 2 robots hanging = 100 points. 4 out of 6 balls in goal = 20 points. After doing the math it is hard to beat. It was a difficult task to have 4 hangers at once unless 1 was from the field.
I did notice that from day 1 to day 2 then to elimination rounds that the game changed each time. We figured that the 1st day averaged about 35 points per side. That was a lot different than the finals.