How Important are Rings?

There’s been a noticeable lack of discussion around what sort of strategies will be the most competitive this year, namely how much will strategies focus on rings versus goals, so I’m starting this topic to change that.

First lets take a look at the actual point values for each item:

goals:

  • 20 points for being in home zone.
  • 40 points for being balanced on the platform.

200 points available using just goals, if you somehow balance 5 on the platform.

rings:

  • 1 point in the base of a goal
  • 3 points on low branches and alliance goal posts
  • 10 points on high branches

it’s a little bit harder to determine how many points are available just from scoring rings, for the sake of discussion I’m going to assume that 4 rings can fit on each branch and 8 rings on the alliance goals, and that rings in the base of a goal will be ignored altogether because it’s obviously not worth your time to do that.

so with that in mind I’m going to say 280 points are realistically available from rings. (108 for high branches, 324 for low branches, 16*3 for alliance goals)

I think it’s pretty clear looking at these values that the goals offer the biggest point values for the time spent, however rings also have a lot of potential for points.

my current opinion is that a robot needs to be able to control a few goals, but should be spending most of the match working on rings. Here’s my reasoning why:

if you can gain possession of the tall goal during auton, that’s really valuable. I think it’s a good idea to grab and hold onto that goal for the entire match. Both because it deprives your opponents of the goal and all it’s potential pointage, and because it has the potential to earn so many points for your alliance.

I think that you should be able to stack rings onto the tall goal while you’re carrying it around, that way you never have to set it down and risk it falling over or your opponent stealing it. I also think that you should be able to externally stack on alliance goals while still carrying the tall goal, that way you can still score some points once you’ve filled up the top and possibly lower branches on the tall goal. The reason why alliance goals are important is because they’re safe points, and a fair amount too. if you can fill up both your alliance goals with 8 rings each, that’s a good 48 points. not a ton, but still decent.

I don’t think the two short neutral goals are very useful for stacking rings on, since you won’t be able to do it internally if you’re carrying the tall goal, and if you do it externally your opponents can just steal the goal and all your points.

I also don’t think climbing the platform is actually that good of an idea. I think that instead you should be lifting goals onto the platform from the side, for a few reasons. First of all, you have 30 whole seconds where you can do this without your opponents being able to descore the goals. That’s enough time for you to put up both your alliance goals and potentially a neutral goal. Also not climbing means you just don’t have to deal with pulling it down, and fiddling around on it, trying to get you and possibly your partner to balance on shaky, pivoting platform. And it means you have extra time during that end game period where you can score more points, or take away points from your opponent. If both your opponents are busy parking during the last 30 seconds, I strongly believe you can gain more net points during that time just by yourself than both of them would from their parking bonuses.

Now, it seems like a lot of people are thinking about going for a goal-exclusive robot. I think this is a perfectly viable strategy, it’s obvious that goals are worth a ton of points for something seemingly easy to do. Except I don’t think that it will be easy to consistently win matches with a goal only strategy. The biggest problems I have with ignoring rings is the logistic challenge of carrying 4 or 5 goals around, and the massive risk this strategy has. If you can get 4 or 5 goals up on the platform, then great, you win. But how exactly are you going to be able to do that against an opponent that will try to stop you? With a goal only robot, it’s a hit or miss strategy. All your points will be earned in one maneuver, collecting most of the goals and bringing them up the platform. But if one part of that maneuver goes wrong, your strategy fails. If your opponents end up getting to the goals before you do, if they succeed in blocking you from climbing your platform, or even if you by yourself fail at completing the maneuver, all is lost.
But if you distribute your points in many different ways, by scoring rings on both the neutral goals and alliance goals, bringing goals onto the platform, and into your home zone, and having the option to steal points from your opponents at the end instead of balancing means that if one part of your strategy doesn’t go to plan (and lets be real, this almost always happens) then you have plenty of other sources of points to still have a good shot at winning. And because of the wide array of viable designs and strategies this year, I think the winning robots will be the ones that can adapt to any opponent and score points in the most possible ways.

But this is just my thoughts on the strategy for this game, I made this topic for the sake of discussing the many strategic options this season offers, what do you guys think about the importance of rings versus goals in your strategy?

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I think rings are very important. It’s fair to assume you’ll struggle to claim all 5 worthy goals in a match, and because of this you might need to cover a gap in points.

The fairest assumed split is 3 goals and 4 for each alliance, and let’s say the teams are only putting goals on platforms instead of parking… Working on loading both alliance goals with rings will cover the gap and earn the win.

Apologies for the short post. While goals are the pivotal value in this game, rings when used right will be able to make the difference in the end.

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I read somewhere that the alliance goals will take up to 9 ringles since they sit staggered on the pole. 54 points for both goals filled is not something to be ignored, especially since they’re guaranteed points.

Furthermore, the layout of ringles at the start of the match will likely allow for one of these goals to be almost fully filled during the autonomous period (3 preloads plus 5 ringles in a row on the ground). A ringmaster-style conveyor belt would easily be able to intake all of these very quickly to then be scored on the closest alliance goal. Placing this mogo on a platform filled with ringles would almost guarantee an auton win against an alliance that focussed purely on hoarding goals. The auton bonus isn’t huge, but combined with ringles on alliance trees I think that it’ll often be the deciding factor of close matches.

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I agree with most points here.

This is what I disagree with. It isn’t really worth more points. A robot going from not parked to parked gets you from 0-30 points. A goal going from alliance zone to a platform is 20-40 points. A net gain of 20 point vs 30 points.

I think all goals is viable in the early season, but in the late season, I think all the goals will be grabbed and held in the first 20 seconds. Then it will come down to scoring rings and parking. Wouldn’t be surprised if at worlds if all the rings are scored.

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the main reason I think it’s better is because you can lift 2-4 goals onto the platform during the first half of that 30 second endgame period, and then you have extra time at the end of the match to either stop your opponents from parking, or steal goals from their home zone, which would be a net swing of points greater than parking.

it might be a similar scenario to parking during tp, where sometimes teams would just choose not to compete for that center platform in favor of firing off a few more last-second shots, because that could yield more net points than parking. except this year the point values are much higher from both and that endgame time is much longer.

also it’s just easier to not worry about needing to climb the platform, since it seems kind of sketchy.

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actually, you can’t balance robots or goals at the end of auton, because the definition for balanced and the definition for elevated both include that it must be at the end of the match. I figure the gdc thought that parking with a goal was too easy to be worth the amount it is during auton, which would make autons in general less interesting, which I agree with.

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Here are my thoughts on a couple of things that have been said so far.

I completely agree with this. I have heard people say that they will rush the goals in auto and beat every one else to them, but the problem with that is that there are 3 goals and it is safe to assume if you have the ability to rush goals, so does your opponent. And like you said if you are down one mobile goal rings make up the gap. In another scenario, they have a mobile goal extra and you have auto again rings make the difference.

This is also really true. 54 points would even more than make up for the opponents having an extra elevated mobile goal due to the odd number of mobile goals. Then it would come down to auto unless they also have rings. Which brings up the point of doing rings while you might have to mobile goal lead to make sure the opponents don’t make a come back off of rings.

I agree again. People will see the high value of goals and think they can win on goals alone, but the key to beating them will be to get one neutral goal or more, then rings will make up for the one mobile goal deficient. And since all the mobile goals will be in a bot’s possession within the first 10 seconds after auto if not in auto, I was wondering if some sort of design to steal mobile goals off of another team’s robot is possible. Especially since many teams think of their bot design without thinking of how other bots will interact with it (like how many teams were not prepared to face yy’s defense bot in change up) and even when teams adapt it can just be used for normal mobile goal manipulation. Simple designs such as a fork lift design similar to 1970k’s itz reveal would be susceptible to getting their goals stolen (and I imagine this type of design will be popular especially early season).

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well i mean like goals would be my first priority then rings because goals are easier to hold and easier to score than rings (at least that’s what I think)

I agree that it’s unrealistic for a robot, even one that specializes in grabbing goals as fast as possible, to be able to obtain all 3 neutral goals consistently. And even when they do, that’s only half the battle because good opponents will do anything they can to stop a robot from climbing a platform with 5 goals.

another problem I have with a goal only strategy is that even if you do gain control of all the goals, you’re going to do so at the very start of the match, and you won’t be climbing the platform until the very end of the match. That leaves a large portion of the match where you can’t be scoring any points. And you won’t be able to play very good defense if you’re lugging around 5 goals.

Compare that with a bot that can score rings and goals, which will always be able to score points at any point in the match. It seems a more productive strategy to rush goals first, stack, and then do endgame tasks than it does to only do the first and last objective, even if you are slightly better at doing the first than a ring bot.

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I agree that the game points appear to be nicely balanced, which makes it almost impossible to win with the mobile goals alone and without scoring any rings. Of course, that assumes evenly matched opponents.

However, I am not sure that it will be easier to put mobile goals on the platform one by one, rather than having a robot park on the platform while carrying four of them.

Also, it seems like it will be very unlikely to steal a mogo from a competently built robot, once it gets hold of it. Just look at the pneumatically actuated claws in the Taran’s concept.

It is much easier to imagine two opposing robots grabbing the same goal and neither letting it go. I think, there will be very few opportunities to score any rings on the neutral goals until the last 30 seconds of the game, if the defense is competently played.

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how are we defining easier here? it might take less driving skill to drive up a platform with 4 goals, and it might be quicker, but it also might be more difficult to build a robot that can carry 4 goals, especially if the robot also has to stack rings (which I think robots will really want to be able to do).

also consider the advantages of being able to move freely at the end of the match, instead of sitting still on your platform. You can take away any goals your opponents have left in their home zone, you could score some extra rings, you could even defend an opponent trying to reach their platform and stop them from doing so.

I’m not so sure about this, for a robot to defend an opponent carrying the neutral goal to the point where they cannot stack rings on it, they would have to spend all of their time defending, and even then it might not be a perfect shutdown. which can be a viable option if your opponent is the only good robot on their alliance and you have a competent partner, but otherwise it’s a net loss for you to spend your whole match defending.

and I don’t think goal only robots will be able to defend very well if they’re holding a large quantity of goals. that weight will slow them down, especially when it comes to acceleration, so much so that even with a 6 or potentially even 8 motor drive, opponents should be able to outpace them.

I agree with this, robots will probably be able to hold onto their goals well, although having some sort of stick to push against the post of an opponents goals (essentially creating a high-torque lever), you might be able to tip goals out of some robots.

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If there was motor penalty for the pneumatics, I would tend to agree with you that it would be nontrivial and take some mechanical wizardry to build such robot.

However, no penalty rule makes it almost mandatory for teams, who want to win championships, to buy pneumatics kit and use it for auxiliary tasks (like locking the claws) and to shift motor power between different modes.

If you think about it, with access to 8 motor drivetrain and as much pneumatic cylinders as you want, it is not that hard to pack four mobile goals into a robot and carry them up the platform.

I would expect any competent alliance to keep all mobile goals they own locked on their robots and both of their robots stay in contact with the platform for the last 30 sec of the match, so that they could score collected rings without any interference from the opposing alliance.

Also, if I was a robot that snatched two neutral goals during autonomous, I would stay as far away from the opposing alliance home zone as possible. Because I wouldn’t want them taking me hostage along with the points that come with those goals.

I would try to pick another alliance goal and collect about 10 field rings during autonomous, then pick remaining alliance goal at the beginning of the driver period.

I wouldn’t need to - I would just go to my home zone, deploy some sort of the pneumatic brake, and spend the next ~60 sec trying to score rings on my alliance goals to make it more dangerous for opposing robot to harass me, as they would risk DQ if they cause any of those rings to descore.

If my alliance partner would want to engage opposing alliance, to interfere with them scoring any rings or play counter-defense on them - that would be great.

However, if I was a robot that was fast enough to snatch two neutral goals early in the game and reliable enough to collect 10-12 field rings, score them on the alliance goals, and park on the platform with four goals - then I would be mathematically guaranteed to win the game even 1v2 and even with very competent opponents:

TiP-4-mogo-park-288-vs-285

Assuming that on the championship level both alliances are evenly skilled and rarely make strategic mistakes, it will all come down to who will be able to grab more neutral goals in the first seconds of autonomous and then not fail in scoring the rings and parking on the platform in the last 30 sec of the match.

I hope the middle of the game is not going to be as boring as, I afraid, it could be. Perhaps, some tug of war over the neutral goals or strategic dumping of the rings under the platforms to prevent parking, will make it more interesting.

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no I think you’re right, but it is difficult, and possibly impossible practically to be able to score rings and lift 4-5 goals with nothing but pneumatics. And I think scoring rings is important.

easier said than done, even with free pneumatics. what on earth would that robot even look like? 4 goal lifts on all 4 sides with pneumatics and locking mechanisms, 6 motor drive, 2 motor ring mechanisms?

that’s a lot to pack onto a robot, and not something that many teams will be able to accomplish. and even if you do figure out how to do this, there’s not garuntee you can get 2 alliance goals in auton. just because your opponents might not have a 6 motor drive doesn’t mean they can’t employ effective speed boosting strategies and potentially beat you to one of the goals you’re targeting.

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Seems like if I built a robot that will go get and protect four goals and go park on the ramp, I win, right?

assuming you get the tall goal and one other neutral goal, as well as both of your alliance goals, and you park on your platform with them, that’s 190 points.

your opponents can still get 3 goals onto the platform and both of their robots, which is 180 points. But if they win auton or score rings, they can still beat you. So no, it’s not a guaranteed win.

the only way you can guarantee a win by yourself without scoring rings is to bring 5 goals up on the platform and park, which is 230 points.

if you can do all this, then the most your opponents can get is 60 points from parking both their bots, 80 points from elevating their alliance goals, 10 points from auton, and 48 points from rings on alliance goals (it’s unclear how realistic being able to score more than 8 rings on each alliance goal is), which makes 198

However the notion that a single robot could carry this out consistently is frankly unrealistic in my opinion, I don’t think any robot will be able to grab all three neutral goals before an opponent with any amount of consistency.

this is the main reason I think rings are necessary, they’re are worth a lot of points but not enough to win every match by themselves.

I do think an alliance of a ring scoring bot and a goal focused bot would be very formidable indeed, so I do think it is very viable to build a goal only robot for the purposes of allying with a good ring scoring bot. But it’s a risky strategy because it relies on either getting picked by a more versitile bot that does well in quals, or getting lucky and not having any good versitile robot’s as opponents during quals yourself and ranking high.

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Two days into our day camp and one team already gets four goals (two of theirs and the two small neutral goals) and parks on the ramp - almost every time.

You are right, it’s not unbeatable, but it’s close. especially with a partner that just tips over the big neutral goal (easy to do) and is just a pest to the others.

Not perfect, but pretty hard to beat.

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I’m genuinely curious how they do this, any chance we could see the particular robot?
surprised someone’s done it this early into the season, and it’s probably a very effective strategy this early, although I expect if they went up against a really good versitile robot alliance later in the season they would be defeated.

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How long does it take them to grab the goals?

image

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Why is that smart and dumb at the same time lol.

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