Best of 1 is bad

I think we can universally agree that some of the top teams with the best robots lost in their divisions due to unfortunate occurrences, making for many subpar round robin matches. @VEX GDC please bring back Best of 3 next year.


I watched most of the elimination matches, and saw teams I was hoping would win narrowly lose. The reasons they lost were in their control. Auton cones not falling right, mogos tipping to the 5 point zone when another inch would tip them to the 10 point, etc. BO1 is tough, but it is not unfair.

And, just saying, starting an argument with “universally agree” is a poor choice.

Unfortunate occurrences doesn’t mean Bo1 is bad. Generally better teams not getting to a certain point shows up all the time in competition. Generally, we would consider it more unfair if that were not the case. For example, in a tennis tournament, should we just skip the whole tournament and give the trophy to the highest ranked player? Or is it better to let the possibility of good or bad outcomes show up as well? If you look around the competition world (not just sports), you’ll find it’s far more important to allow for those moments of great or terrible outcome. That doesn’t imply Bo1 is good. What it means is that stating better teams didn’t make it because of unfortunate occurrences and using that as justification that a system is bad is a severely flawed argument whether the system is good or bad.

Personally, I think the 2-team alliances are so far superior to the 3-team alliances that making adjustments to other rules to make those alliance work, such as changing to Bo1, is a really good thing.

I do like the proposal for a referee-discretion rematch on accidental potentially match-altering accidents. That way referees don’t get placed in the situation of just choosing a winner via DQ or not when it’s more accidental than negligent. For example, those two robots getting interlocked and one pulling the other over the fence last year in autonomous - both sides can rightly say it wouldn’t have happened if the other hadn’t done what they did.

Tennis is a really bad example. I’m gonna copy paste from Wikipedia, so this could be wrong, but:

If tennis was run like best of one, it would be more like there’s a single serve, and whoever scores the first point wins.

One thing I did notice in Paul and Karthik’s commentary of the best 2/3 High School finals was how much they enjoyed seeing the Blue alliance adapt to Red alliance strategy in the second match. In fact, everyone really seemed to be enjoying the best 2/3 format.

I have to admit the best of one really sped up the divisional eliminations… although the amount of time spent making judicial decisions seemed to take up a fair bit of time.

I may be biased because I was watching the BC teams. We sent 9 teams to the high school tournament and 8 of them made it to elimination rounds.

Three of the eight were eliminated because of DQ’s, while 1010X and their alliance partners advanced after DQs to their opponents in the semis and the finals of their division. So for 50% of the teams I was watching in the eliminations… teams that had played clean throughout the tournament… their victory or defeat was based on a ref’s call.

Don’t get me wrong… from my point of view the refs got every call right. It’s just that advancing or being knocked out because of a DQ seems so much less satisfying than having the chance to adapt, come back and take one more crack at it. And I agree with Paul and Karthik that I like seeing alliances adapt and try to come back.


And 1010N accidentally tipped us in auton. That match was also in the balance of a referee call. The division ref told me they would be DQed, then that higher-ups were reviewing it, then that they were not DQed, therefore we were eliminated. (Not calling out the team, they only ran a normal auton. No hard feeling there.)

First, realize I was just trying to point out the one issue of ranking with that example, and you’ve decided to apply it in a totally different way. So my example not fitting what you’ve applied it to differently is really irrelevant.

Second, you’re analogy here is way off. Your analogy is the equivalent of this past competition having a single cone and no parking areas. Are you seriously claiming that’s what was just competed at world championships hours ago? Or were there lots of points scored by both teams in all the matches?

No, each serve is a game in itself, with a winner and a loser. They can be very brief (in the case of an ace) or very long (in the case of some rallies). You could say that the winner of one serve or rally is the best player, and in general if you put a better player against a worse player they will win the serve. But, tennis players agree that a single serve alone is not an indication of the best player. A serve is part of a tennis match, like a match is part of a robotics tournament. Having a single serve is indistinguishable from a tennis game except that there are multiple serves one after each other, not in that each requires different strategies and skills, while having a single cone is a different game entirely.

Right, as with what I was responding to, which was that a true Bo1 tennis game would be a single service point determines everything. So your “no” for me is really “yes.”

Consider this for tennis if you guys want to keep applying my statement as it wasn’t intended. You’re rallying at net and you get hit in the eye on accident and can’t keep playing for quite a while. What happens? You forfeit the whole match. Not just the game, not just the set, the entire match. One accidental misfire and the whole match ends. Does this happen (not the eye, but this type of loss)? Yes, it does.

Consider this. You see 10 seconds of a VEX ITZ get with one cone present. Does this look like a normal ITZ game? No. You see 10 seconds of a tennis serve/rally. Does this look like a normal tennis match? Yes, only briefer and less consistent.

So you are saying that single elimination is okay because injuries occur in sports that on their own can cost a tournament? Alright, but why do we have to have that in robotics? Also, chronic issues can plague a robot that is not properly managed. And in the case of the tennis play, this occurs due to a mistake of some magnitude by the player. If they were perfect, they would be able to hit the ball back instead of taking it to the eye, or be able to land in such a way where they do not roll their ankle if you want to say I’m twisting that metaphor. Whereas in the case where I was DQed (and I’m glad that you agree this loophole should be addressed), I put myself at no undue risk and still found myself being pulled over. My lift was low, and at the time I was actually below the team that accidentally pulled us over. Moreover, my lift motors are actually mounted on my chassis (the lift is powered by chain and sprockets), the lift weight was minimized to run at 1:4 on two motors, and our batteries were mounted at the very back of our full-length chassis. Simply put, we took every precaution possible to avoid front tipping.

I don’t think you’re understanding his argument. In tennis, the basic unit of gameplay is that one player serves, both players attempt to hit the ball back and forth until eventually one side scores and wins that particular unit of the game and wins what I’ll refer to as a meta point. At that point, the game state is reset. Depending on the tournament/league/whatever, the logistics around the number of such points being required to advance can change, but the basics of the actual game do not change, that the object is to score once to win the engagement.

In VEX, the basic unit of the game is the entire match consisting of auto and driver control, with the winner of that game unit being whoever scores more, who receives a meta point. The game state is only reset after the entire match is completed. The tournament can change the logistics around the number of meta points being required to advance (e.g best of three or single elimination), but the basic gameplay mechanic stays the same, which is one match.

Changing the number of meta points required to advance does not change the fundamental gameplay, it only changes the balance between how quickly the tournament proceeds/how confidently you can say the better team/player won.

And yes, an eye injury can force the person to withdraw from the set. In the same way, a robot could be damaged in a best of three in a way that prevents them being repaired in time. In tennis you are allowed a medical time out to fix these issues, much as in VEX you can have a time out between matches to fix these issues.

No, I’m not. You’re having trouble with your logic. I’m saying that unfortunate occurrences don’t make single elimination bad, not that they mean it’s good or okay.

Meanwhile, again, you guys are misunderstanding the example despite my pointing it out. What you’re doing is the equivalent of this:

Me: “I like American football because it’s a contact sport, but not baseball because it isn’t.”
You: “But baseball has a ball, too, so how can you like football and not baseball?”

I was pointing out that we don’t want a situation where “the best” (which would be the top seed) automatically wins. The original statement included

If we get rid of that possibility, then we are left with the best having to automatically win. If you get rid of all unfortunate occurrences (and fortunate ones), you eliminate much of what is generally considered important to keep. In nearly every competition (chess and go being two exceptions I can think of) an element of luck/randomness/chaos/similar is involved. I have heard the lack of this as a specific complaint about chess/go.

If you instead want competition examples about unfortunate/fortunate occurrences can be a large portion of the scoring, I can give them: one-touch epee, soccer, etc.

BO3 doesn’t eliminate the ability to have exciting things happen. If you get two professional tennis players on roughly the same level together and have them play to 9 points, you might not know who will win, there will be an element of chaos, maybe there will be an exciting upset when the slight underdog manages to win. Maybe even it’s a pretty big upset because the one guy is just having an off day. That makes the game exciting, for sure.

What I don’t think makes for a good game is where a professional is playing a novice, the sun comes out from behind the cloud and temporarily blinds the professional just as the novice is serving, and because it’s just the single serve and by this fluke the novice scored, the novice advances and the professional is out.

In much the same way in Vex you can have two great alliances facing each other and you don’t know how it’s gonna turn out. And that’s exciting. What’s not exciting is when some fluke happens and one side forgot to plug in their power expander or tipped over in auto or anything like that and hey, it’s over now. That’s just a bummer to see. BO3 doesn’t really do anything to prevent the exciting elements of randomness, it just makes it less likely the pro’s tournament run is over in the first match because he slipped in a puddle on the field.

As one of the Refs for the Engineering division of Day 1 and 2, and Science Division for Day 3/playoffs, I think it really puts out an interesting game, more than BO3. every team is giving it their everything. sometimes when an alliance know the will lose the first game out of the three, they would not “try as hard” and it doesn’t put out an interesting game. at the same time, it doesn’t let the “losing alliance” to redeem themselves.

Another thing is that the games moves MUCH faster than they usually do. we finished RR16 within 30 mins and moved onto playoffs and finished that in 30 mins as well (minus special situation).

I’ve never experienced anything like that when I competed/at tournaments I’ve ran. It would seem to me that if they expect to lose the first game, they would also expect to lose the third even if they managed to win the second round, since typically the makeup of teams in the first and third rounds are the same.

I can definitely see how the first match being completely make or break can make it more exciting, I just don’t like it on balance with the amount it can allow flukes to decide who advances.

Yeah, I saw that match, too… I should have mentioned it as another round where a 2/3 format would have been nice to have. I’ve seen 2S and 1010N play all year, and I think they’d rather have seen the match go the distance, too. They play hard, but they play clean, and would rather not “win in the committee room”, to steal a sailing term.

I can’t debate the efficiency of the format… and won’t argue that it made any difference in who was ultimately deemed champion this year. It’s pretty rare to get an alliance THAT strong… but for a lot of teams they are going home wondering how far they might have gone had one little thing been different… had they had the chance to come back and adapt. To do all that cool stuff that was discussed during the final Final.

Completely unrelated, but I never thought I’d see this on here! Weird and awesome seeing my two world collide like this :slight_smile:

Losing a Best Of 1 Match made me so angry because I knew I had a chance, and yet I fail.

This is interesting as I just went back and did a quick check on how the World Champs did during their run. In their quarter final match 5225A and 8825S beat 6135W and 185A 132-128. In the auton period of that match 6135W missed putting their mobile goal into the 20 point zone which was a 5 point swing in the final score. Now I’m not saying anything against any winning or round robin team or that anything would have been different, but just this case alone shows how much B03 is needed that the world champions possibly* would have been out after qf 1-1 had 6135W hit their auto.