I realize that this match video from 2/1/19 at “NERD Nation Tower Takeover” has gotten a bit more attention than anticipated. Because of this, I figured I might as well make a post on it.
Firstly, yes. This was completely intentional from the beginning of the match. And I do not claim that this idea is completely original, but my team and I did conceive it independently.
The video speaks for itself. ~6’ lift goes up, and crashes down in front of our opponents’ protected goal zone, not crossing the Inner Protected Zone.
This strategy was so effective because it was unexpected. The audio reaction during the “wallbot maneuver” is astounding. But if we were to try this for every match, it would not be as effective. For example, this was a Semifinal match. In Finals, one of the opposing robots camped the protected zone any time I was near, preventing a wall. However, this is a prime example of poeple being driven by the threat. I did enter the match ready to become a wall again, but my opponent sat there for me, taking away a little less than one robot from most of the gameplay.
Additionally, I do not reccomend this strategy to all similar robots. The fall does take a toll on the robot. While mine personally functioned well for Finals, there were obvious issues created by the wallbot maneuver. For example, one of my deploys didn’t slide all the way in autonoumous, a sign of excessive friction (which has since been fixed).
While walls can take away 2/3 of your opponent’s scoring potential, they also invite heavy defense onto your alliance. As can be seen in the video, once left without objectives to fulfill, opposing teams can take the fight to your partner, who is attempting to score you enough points to win the match.
I have a lot of respect for the teams we “wallbot-ed” in this match. The alliance likely would have won the tournament if this were a straightforward match of directly competing scores. They had been making insanely tall stacks all day, and I have no doubt they would have continued to do so. 6403A won Skills champ and a well-deserved Excellence, demonstrating the quality of thier teams.
A lot of our personal game strategy is based around game theory (figuring out what others will do in advance). The #1 seeded alliance we were playing typically utilized rainbow strategy throughout the day, simply out-cubing the opposition, as evidenced by the stack put up in the unprotected zone. There was no strong emphasis on colors, and that ultimately was why they weren’t able to blow us out of the water in that match, despite only having access to one of their three scoring locations.
Sure, wallbots seem very cheap and simple. While I did apologize for the maneuver, I would do it again. VRC is not always a competition of head-to-head score competition. There is a heavy strategy element to it as well. I enoucrage fellow teams to think outside the box, even with their own designs. I was not designed to be a wallbot, yet this video exists. There are no limits to human creativity, you just have to tap into it.