Worst Scoring System in Years

My general position on defensive vs. offensive strategy:

FIRST is supposed to represent what the world should strive to be. A world, where there are more participants than spectators. A world that rewards those that make it a better place.

Let’s start with the definitions.

An offensive robot works by performing better than the opponent.
A defensive robot works by disrupting the performance of the opponent and preventing him to do what he is designed to do.

Now let’s apply that to some real world situations.

Would you prefer a market system in which companies compete to deliver a superior product vs. a market system in which the companies use various other means to force their opponents out of business?

Would you like to be in a soccer game were pushing (although the contemporary society will probably like this idea) is allowed therefore players that are heavier, which is a trait that is irrelevant to soccer performance consistently beat players that are actually skilled at maneuvering the ball?

Going back to robotics, I think that the game would be much more entertaining if the robots were trying to outperform each other instead of having one robot prevent the other from doing what it is supposed to do thereby resulting in a game were robots just end up sitting on the field.

To sum up, the life of a person is not about winning or losing, it is about performing and allowing others to do their best.

Good Luck to all this season!!!



I guess I misunderstood your argument as well. Did not you say that teams that win deserve to rank higher? If so, than raising the score of all winners would insure that. Furthermore, by continuing to use the performance as a factor in ranking we would favor the better performing teams over those that simply got lucky by being paired with a weaker opponent.


The only difference I see is this years system eliminates the significance of freak matches.

In 2002 if you win your match 70-0 and your apponents got DQ’d you got 210 qualifying points. If you get any reasonable amount of points for the rest of your matches you would have seeded 1st (this did happen). This year you would get 2 points for winning and move on.

I think if anything the scoring system does a better job of showing robot performance. It shows how good you are at winning. If all you had to do is score one ball more than your apponent why would you do more? If you had 10 balls and they only had 4 why would you hang?

I love the new scoring system. As for the data I believe it might be a little squed. Most team will do enough to win (as they should). They do not blow out the competition everytime but play smart. They play efense as well as offense. I don’t think one match where you score 200pts should boost you in rank. Wins shows consistent preformance and that is why it is FAIR.

this game rocks…hands down…

if you dont like it…dont bring it here because a majority of the people in first who have been here a while LOVE this new system.

Therefore the opinions of minority do not deserve to be heard? I did not expect that from someone who has been in FIRST for many years. Remember that our biggest award is for collaboration with other people in making FIRST a better place for everyone. Robots are just something that brings us together.


the only reason i say that is because a team will complain about how first cheated them and etc., all im saying is i have always been against the former system, and have always prayed that they would change it. and they have…

now that there is a feesable system that caters to what the aspect of first is… teams that dont do well argue that the systems is unfair and whatnot, but truthfully, its the best way to get other outside sources interested in the game…

you dont know hard it was to explain 2001-2003’s game to people…and how they seed. now its simple…best record=best seed

so sorry if i came off crabby…but its the only way it should be done

If you noticed, my team did FAR better according to the new scoring system.



why you anti-utilitarian you! :wink:

to paraphrase their main point:
“The wants of the many outweigh the wants of the few, or the one”

and judging by the poll results, the game this year is probably the best it has ever been… and most agree. Another thing to keep in mind: deservance is a subjective term. many do not believe in one deserving certain things unconditionally, ie being heard in a cacophony of other opinions.

Leon Machado did this spreadsheet attached of the BAE regional. A few things I noticed off the bat:

  • RPs are still necessary for a higher
    seed. The catch is, this year you actually have to win rounds.

  • On the topic of RPs, the ninth seed had the highest, 17th had second, 32nd was third, and the 2 seed was fourth. So again, you need high QPs. Imagine the shakeup that would’ve happened had we used a scoring system based on the RPs.

  • Most of the higher seeds pulled lower RP scores. In fact, seeds 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, & 8 in RPs placed 5, 4, 21, 9, 16, 25, 30, & 44, respectively.

  • This is the first year in the Alliance Era QPs were based on Win/Loss. If they had been based on previous formulas, we’d be seeing teams shooting for the opposing goals, and maybe less fighting (for lack of a better word) on the platform. Take that any way you want. We’d also see the 9 seed placed first. Again, take that as you will.

    BAE Granite State Analysis.xls (33.5 KB)

    BAE Granite State Analysis.xls (33.5 KB)

I think you might be missing the big picture…

Who ever said that the scoring system was designed to be fair? Who ever said that its purpose was to identify the best robot? Perhaps the scoring system each year pefectly meets FIRST’s purpose…

Team Update 15 stated it in black-and-white: "Remember, our organization is not one that centers on winning a robotics competition, but rather one that is focused on transforming lives."



I think this years set up was nice. It awarded a good desin that was capable to win which was the main ranking tool. But then it had the opponents score as the second which gave an oppurtunity to show gracious profeesionalism in not beating a team exubriantly like removing a multiplier even if you knew you were winning

Out of the few years I knew of FIRST, I think this year has the best ranking system (just MY opinion). The main reason has already been mentioned: it rewards both good offensive as well as defensive robots. This vastly increases the variety of strategies that teams have and makes the game more interesting.

I also agree that the system is fine because its based on wins and not points.

If the system was based on points, that meant that the top seeded team must have allowed their opponents to score a lot of points, almost as many as them. While it means that the winning team scored a lot of points, it means they didn’t play defense against the other team. I’m not saying that its not good that both teams scored a lot of points, I just feel that ranking by score removes extra variables that are necessary to make an educated guess about how a team performs.

In my analysis I used the match points, not the ranking points (RP) since FIRST did not make the average match points available on their website, I actually had to calculate them myself.

Lastly, with exception of the few posts arguing that the newer scoring levels the playing field for offensive and defensive robots I did not see many other good arguments in support of the newer system. Most degenerated into repetitive “that is the way it is and deal with it” or “I just FEEL that it is good.” Please include some stats to support your arguments.

To clarify my argument once again, I dislike the current scoring system because it produces results that are far more random than the results produced by other system. Eight games just are not enough for this to give consistent results. (Speaking scientifically it is too small of a sample.) There are hundreds of little things that can sway the game. However, the team with the best strategy and the robot will consistently score better than a team with the worse robot and strategy.

To those of you nicely point out that I should shut up simply because the poll is stating that I’m a minority let me remind you of a few other minorities that changed the world.

Galileo and Copernicus – Changed the view of the solar system
Martin Luther – Forever changed Christianity
Mark Twain – One of the strongest speakers against slavery
Emerson – Writer of “Self-Reliance”


Oddly enough, I was watching Star Trek II, and that quote from Spock came up literally 5 minutes before I read that post…

But back on topic, I do very much like this year’s scoring compared to previous years. In 2002 (Zone Zeal), during our team’s first match at nationals, we had an incredible match. With 10 seconds left, the score was something like 54 to 45. With that 10 seconds left, the opposing alliance moved their goal full of balls out of the scoring zone. The resulting score for the match- 54 - 0.

Rank was determined by average qualification points. Qualification points were equal to three times the loosing alliance’s score. Three times zero averaged into 7 matches doesn’t work out very well, despite a very good match, and a relatively strong showing the other 6 matches. Needless to say, I didn’t think it was too fair, but didn’t mind. I had a great time at nationals that year, and accepted it as part of the game.

This year, the primary method of rank based on wins is a tremendous breath of fresh air to anyone who ailed under the previous ranking systems. The inclusion of the Ranking Points system further increases the fairness in the ranks, by including the all important factor of specific performance in addition to a simple win/loss.

What it comes down to is this: robots that do well deserve to win. The argument is how well they win. In a game focused more on strategy (as inferred by the quote from the manual earlier in the discussion), does a robot not deserve to be ranked by merit of win/loss than to points? Does a robot who hangs on the bar deserve to be ranked higher than a ball gatherer/capper? Each potentially yield different point values yet will succeed if well built and capable. In the current system, robots who do well win, and rank accordingly. However, as you say, 8 matches is not enough to accurately rank based on that alone. Hence the ranking point system. To quote the FIRST manual-

All four teams will receive a number of Ranking Points equal to the Match Score of the
losing alliance or their alliance score in the case of a tie.

In order to gain qualification points, a team must win the match, implying they have a score greater than the loosing alliance. However, in the spirit of FIRST, shutouts are discouraged, and will reflect accordingly in the rankings. Therein lies what I believe to be the primary concept behind the current scoring system: Robots must be capable of controlling the situation of each match to the point where they win by a minimalistic margin while attaining the highest possible score. So essentially, a quarter of what you wish to be in the scoring system already is, in that score has something to do with it. But, in all fairness and the interest of FIRST, it’s not the winners score which is important, but the loosing alliance’s, which adds a very interesting dynamic to the way the game is played. It makes the competition that much more exciting, particularly from a strategy perspective.

While i have never had the pleasure of meeting him in person, i would have to say a pretty wise man said last year :

and to morph that into a term we can use this year, “A WIN IS A WIN IS A WIN”

i think Dean Kamen said it best at kick off STOP BEING LAWYERS

the scoring is one of the most simple yet, you win, you win you loose, you loose. the tie breaker is your match scores

Competitor Friendly: Yes
Spectator Friendly: Yes
Gives us a new way to strategize: Yes
Gave us a headache at NJ as we tried to figure out who was ranked where: Yes

to quote another wise man: Thank you FIRST this really is the best yet

i wouldnt have found that quote if it werent for the spotlight system thanks brandon

I agree with the original poster, this years scoring system was a step backwards.

First, the stated goal was to make the system simpler, they succeeded in making it more complex. Now, instead of having to keep track of one number (avg. opponents score) you have to keep track of two (# of wins and avg opponents score). Also, winning is important but so is the “cooperation” aspect, I think that last years scoring system balanced both of them quite well. Unfortunately, this years system didn’t - there was too much emphasis on winning at all costs, if you were in the middle of the pack winning or losing a game would cause you to jump a whole tier (maybe as many as 10 slots) so it wasn’t worth the risk of losing by a small margin. Last year, losing by a small margin wasn’t bad at all so there was more of an incentive to try for really interesting matches with high scores on both sides.

Here’s an example of how the scoring system seems to punish losing a little too much: I remember that one of the last matches at UTC was between four excellent teams (181, 782, 195 and 236 IIRC). I think that 181 and 782 won by a score of something like 115 to 110 - a margin of 1 ball and as a result 195 dropped from 6th to about 12th and didn’t make the finals. Last year a high losing score at the end wouldn’t have hurt nearly as much.

I don’t know, maybe this system will grow on me but I think its overly convoluted and a step backwards.

Actually, I’d imagine that the strategies would shift somewhat. In qualifying, you want to win with your opponent having a high score (to get the win and the QPs). However, as eliminations come, QPs go out the window and the ability to win (within the rules and GP, of course) becomes more important. While it still isn’t cool to utterly crush a team, you still want to come out ahead.

Maybe the folks that have been to regionals can prove me wrong, but that’s how I’m reading the tourney setup.