Re-Visiting BO1 and BO3

Yep, I’ll go back and fix it, Quad and Bridge Battle was the same year. We played both and never looked back.

We played Face Off against local FTC and VEX teams and the VEX roboteers crushed.

Over 10 years ago, times fun when you are having flies.


Thanks for the perspective, I’ve been around for a while but not quite that long. The initial shift from FTC to VEX would account for an initial boost in the first few years. The $ per student reached you mentioned would be a major factor for a lot of people. I also think that VEX has benefited from being seen as the more serious competition.

This is all good and wholesome, and I agree. That being said, watching Zion Williamson jump from the freethrow line and throw down an earthquaking dunk has value too. Pick up games and nba games both have their place. In my opinion, the best way to reach the most kids is to make VEX part of popular culture. To do that, we need the Zion Williamsons of the world.

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Or not. I pulled all what I posted from when I read a SI waiting for my eye guy to do his thing.

Machine that does my prescription while I look at a mountain road, another machine that scans the retina of my eye and builds a 3D model that they spin and look at for issue. Blood vessels that look like 12" pipes but in reality are less than 1/3 of a hair. Put your face here, read these letters, crisp, clean. Here is your script, see you in a year. — That was much more impressive than Zion. — roboteers that make that, do that, make life better from engineering, touch everone. Sorry Zion, bball is cool, engineers are cooler.


I don’t really watch bball either. I’m not even sure if Zion could dunk from the free throw line, it sure looks like he probably can from the few clips I’ve seen.

Life changing engineering is taken for granted all the time. It takes a specific type of person to think that an eye scanning machine is more interesting than a star athlete. Most people just want their eyes fixed. The challenge is to show kids that engineering can be cooler than bball and should be given the same status in culture. Isn’t that the point of VEX and FIRST?


Yes it is, it is exactly that.

And none of that cares about B03 - B01. Think the long game, the long game is what matters. Not this year, but this cohort of roboteers. What will they do, what skills can we give them, what can they achieve.


Exactly. I think the bo1 vs bo3 issue is completely trivial. Inconsequential. sure, it may give one party a better time at one or two events, but in the long run, it doesn’t matter. I think bigger issues are things that actually affect people’s interest in vex, and I hardly think bo1 will do that. Can we all just agree to disagree about bo1 vs bo3 and get on with it?


When taking into account BO1 v BO3, one also has to consider 16 alliances. They are what even it out. 16 alliances mean 32 teams in eliminations. Those extra 8 teams (considering 3TA with BO3) will feel more rewarded being in eliminations. Thusly promoting more positive feelings and memories about and toward engineering.
(But then again, these teams will likely continue in the field regardless.)


@Foster I am guessing you are a coach from your post so you didn’t grow up with social media while you were in middle school or high school. I think what @aaronlucas may be try to get at with the Zion Williamson thing is how big an influence people like that have on people who like/do the same activity. I imagine the vast majority of middle and high school basketball players follow Zion and everything that has to do with him on all their social media because they want to be just like him, or even better. This is sort of the same thing with Vex. Many top teams have Instagram accounts with hundreds of fellow roboteers following them. Many top teams have YouTube accounts with hundreds of fellow roboteers following them. This inspires the students to what is possible and they want to be just as good as their favorite Vex team or even better than them. I know as a coach all these top teams do not matter to you. If I were to try and talk to my high school robotics coach about some robotics team that is not a team we normally compete against he would not know them or really care about them, like most all coaches would. But if I talk about a top team with a student who is dedicated to robotics and is aspiring to become an engineer, more often than not it would be a lively discussion about this top team. Last year I was on 8675A otherwise known as Fuzzy Wuzzy 2.0 and I had no idea until US Open and Worlds last year how much of an impact my YouTube and Instagram account had on other teams. I just would walk around and people would say to their teammates “here look there is Fuzzy!”, and would come up and talk to me. I also got asked to sign robots, cones, shirts, hats etc. I took countless photos with teams I didn’t know, because my team was their Zion Williamson. I even once at Worlds got followed to our RV because someone wanted to talk to us, and we chatted for half an hour. Students and a few coaches came up to me and said they would watch all my videos and were always looking for my next tournaments matches to watch, one coach even said all his team would talk about some practices is “Fuzzy” and he finally understood who “Fuzzy” was. Last year I traveled to an out of state tournament in a small town that just started robotics. For the students on these teams it was their first tournament. When they saw what my robot could do I saw the same fire in them to learn that I had when I watched US Nationals finals my 6th Grade year (Gateway). So my point is these Top teams have a huge impact on new teams and with social media the impact is greater! It is not the individual Top team that matters really, it is the fact that this is a great team that does really good and share with the Vex community to better all teams! So yes Top teams do not matter directly to coaches, students learning matter to coaches. But Top teams definitely matter to coaches indirectly as they motivate students to learn.


This. This is my goal. Either people don’t recognize me (there’s no face to connect to the name, only the logo), or nobody knows who I am. It would be spectacular to be that influential on teams everywhere.
Maybe it’s because I’m just not as helpful as I think, or maybe nobody cares, (or maybe I’m just too isolated in Ohio and need to go to a larger venue,) but I haven’t been approached.

It’s awesome to hear success stories, and people like you are the ones that get students interested, and furthermore stay interested in robotics. Even if BO3 vs. BO1 is irrelevant, and causes teams to ragequit (or other issues like V5 or the Small Region (previously dubbed Singapore) issue), the engineering experience gained in only that short amount of time will benefit the adult STEM community in 8-15 years. Or even if Vex drives people away to First, or NRC, or BEST, thier message is still getting across, even if not through the RECF. And that’s a win in my book.


We have to remember that encouraging weak and strong teams is not mutually exclusive. There are compromises that cater to both. If bo3 is really something that would discourage new teams (and I don’t think it is), why not do bo1 in local competitions and bo3 in state competitions and up?


While the general consensus seems to favor BO3, I would like to provide some perspective for BO1. This is coming from someone who lost to an upset by 1 point in the round of 16 of eliminations after being the seconded alliance at WPI as well as disconnecting also in the first round eliminations at states. Although we were clearly the better robot in both situations and deserved the win, a combination of field misplacement, luck, choking from our driver, overconfidence, and just being out-strategized by our opponents caused our losses. The same thing could be said of life where sometimes its just unfair and you don’t get what you deserve. There are going to be things you can’t control (white screening, dc, bad refs) and rather than complain, its best to just move on, learn from your failures, and focus on the little things and moments rather than our big ambitious vex dreams and I think vex, particularly BO1, does a good job of teaching this concept. Also I feel that BO1 brings more competitiveness and excitement to competitions where you’ve no idea who in the world is going to come out of those two minutes as well as giving the underdogs a shot a beating the top dogs because who doesn’t love a good upset! All in all, rather than complain about BO1 or BO3, I think we should really just focus on what made us enjoy vex in the first place and have fun doing it without expecting any outcome. Because it is those teams that go far in competitions and have the most joy doing what they love.


In college in the 70’s I had one of the first 800 email addresses (Before Al Gore created the internet). So I’ve been online, a long time, possible since before your parents were born. So while I appreciate the lecture about “Social Media”, I’ve managed world champion Excellence Award teams before there was Social Media. I remember the Jones 677 and the amazing robots built by Green Eggs. They wouldn’t have cared about B03, B01 or B011. They would have gone “OK fine, that’s the rules, this is how we will win”.

And I walk the fine line between mentor, I work directly with 12 schools/ libraries that have IQ teams (total of 44 robots) and VRC teams at the MS/HS level. This year at states, the IQ teams took Teamwork Champions, MS teams took Excellence and Event Winners. So as we say, been there done that have the tshirt.

I’m also an EP, I ran or assisted with 6 VRC events and 7 VIQ events, VRC was the Delmarva Championship, the final VIQ event had 44 teams. I also helped at two different PA events. More T shirts.

So I see both sides of the coin. Our teams prepare for B01, they show up buttoned up, charged up, ready to play. I show up with events that are ready to go, minimal wireless on the VEX channels, ready to make matches work. I watch the lights and remind teams about charge levels, offer USB extenders to move VEXNET keys out of the middle of 20LBS of metal.

Two things happened. Alliances of three went away. You now pick your best partner and the two of you are not hampered with picking the 16th worse robot in your event to join your #1 alliance. But it’s once and done, so you need to play your A game.

B03 isnt’t coming back. Happy to watch @Anomaly do the Don Quixote thing and tilt at windmills. I do that too, I’m in a battle to get VEX to put the vision support in RobotC so I don’t need to mess with it for my VIQ teams. So I get that part. But at the end, B01 will prevail and at some point I’ll need to swap to VCS.


(Pro tip, your wall of text had valid ideas, but it’s hard to read as block of text. Paragraph breaks are your friend)


I really wasn’t trying to make a point about BO1 vs BO3, personally I am cool with both. I just thought that it is important to know that many students have that team that they look up to. Also that Vex should take into account what teams think about how to improve the Vex experience along with mentor, EPs, etc.

Thanks for the tip about paragraph breaks! Will definitely use that from now on.


I definitely think this happens. The student participants are not a homogeneous group. Perhaps it might feel that way if you frequent the Discord but there are many, many other participants with many other viewpoints. I don’t think it’s fair to use as evidence that certain ideas students have not being adopted is proof that RECF is not listening to the students. I can guarantee you that they are. They have to weigh a number of factors when making decisions. And one thing that is frequently forgotten is that there are a multitude of unintended consequences for any decision. So, while on face value, a certain idea may seem genius, the potential unintended consequences could be show stoppers.

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This is a good point, and it’s actually been a point high-ups at vex have made, but it doesn’t really make sense when you look at it more carefully. The world is full of awesome experiences and opportunities, but it’s also full of a lot of injustices and horrors. For example, I lost my grandpa to cancer two and a half years ago. It was a really rough time, particularly for my grandma, and we all emerged a little different. I still think about him almost every day.

Bo1 obviously cannot be compared to a fatal case of cancer, but I see it as a microcosm in some ways. My grandpa ate well, exercised regularly, kept his mind active, spent a lot of time with his family, and basically did everything else doctors recommend to reduce the risk of getting cancer. But that didn’t change the last year and a half of his life, nor did it change the fact that my grandma will live the rest of hers as a widow. There was randomness that couldn’t be controlled, and as a result my grandpa is dead. If you’re telling me getting bo1ed a few times would have made that loss easier because it “does a good job of teaching this concept,” you’re just wrong.

And then there are the bo1 matches themselves. If your brain white screens or your sensors glitch, you’re going to get over it a lot faster than if your loved one dies. But the same “I can’t control this- why me?” mentality is going to apply, and that doesn’t make you a bad sport, it just makes you human. When these kinds of injustices happen, you don’t get stronger or “focus on the little things” more, you just have a worse life.

Hell, if we want to interject randomness into matches to build character, why not add the automatic 1/5 death feature? Once in every 5 matches, a random robot is selected to be lit on fire. Halfway through the match and with no warning, the ref lights one of the robots on fire. There is nothing you can do to prevent it from happening, you’ve wasted thousands of dollars that you cannot get back, and there’s no reason for it to happen. (Kind of like flying to Kentucky and getting white screened in elims.) By your argument, does this build character?

And worse, we’re voluntarily buying into this program. If I could live in a world without randomness- where people who keep their minds and bodies active and live without stress aren’t diagnosed with cancer before they turn 80- I would move in a heartbeat. The world has components nobody likes, and as a company, it’s a terrible financial decision for vex to integrate those components into their program.

On a lighter note… The students in this program are not a homogeneous group, nor are the parents, EPs, mentors, members of the GDC, US Senators, or any other group of any kind. But the arguments put forth by the GDC high ups are certainly evidence that they’re not considering student feedback. In an email conversation I had with Dan Mantz about bo1 a few months ago, he made the point that many of the EPs he’s talked to prefer bo1 at the local level. He went into detail about the conversations he’s had with them, the arguments they’ve made, and they effort he’s gone to in order to hear their feedback. It may well be that most EPs prefer bo1 at the local level (it may even be that many competitors prefer it) but nowhere in the email did he mention the viewpoints of the students in the program, nor did he mention any attempt he’s made to collect their feedback. In fact, he told me he wasn’t going to respond to my first email to him because I hadn’t CCed my mentor!

And in my only significant interaction with an active GDC member in real life, a 20ish minute conversation largely but not entirely about bo1 with Jim Crane at Google, I got a similar sense. He brought really different positions to the table, and I was really glad he took the time to fly out to Google and made the time to talk to the competitors and event staff, but he was definitely thinking in terms of what EPs and spectators want. The only pro bo1 point he made that a competitor should have cared about was that a robot might not be able to hold up in 6 back to back to back to back to back to back semis and finals matches without a replacement third alliance. (Which doesn’t really make sense because one of the two robots would have to do this anyhow in an old bo3 bracket and one of the arguments for bo1 is that it rewards robust building, but I was more interested in listening to his thought process than arguing with him.) But everything else he said was an argument for why bo1 is preferable for adults. It makes events run nominally faster for EPs, it makes matches more exciting for spectators, etc. 6627X’s feelings when their battery cable gets yoinked are simply not important compared to the spectator’s supposed excitement when 21S wins an impossible match. The fact that in a bo3 bracket this legendary match still would have occurred, 21S still would not have won the tournament with a broken alliance, and 6627X would have been given a fair shot to win and a chance to learn from and fix their issue, were overlooked because the students on 6627X are (unsurprisingly) students.

I seriously considered quitting vex before this season started and again in December. There’s not a reason in the world why vex couldn’t make another terrible change two weeks before worlds (though they’re running out of things to screw up) and it’s really scary as a competitor not to know what’s going to happen next month. By making these changes, Vex is not only screwing up matches directly affected by said changes, they’re also losing the trust of their core. Another 10 years like this and vex may well not exist in 20.


Robot Mesh Studio has Vision Sensor support today for VEX IQ, and with Python (an industry-standard language) to boot. ROBOTC is exiting stage left (and I bet you get that cultural reference) and if you have to change anyway, give RM Studio a try. Come on over, @Foster, we welcome you.


I’m a competitor starting my third year of VRC. In TP we went to the U.S. Open and were very mad about the finals round. Our alliance was tipped in the beginning of a match that we could have easily won. The refs did not allow a replay and I feel like a Bo3 rule would have been good. More detail in this forum post. <G12> Tipping a robot in Turning Point

Another thing we were mad about was at Worlds at the opening ceremony that VEX was going to listen to more of the students ideas of improving VEX. That seems to be going well.

If you couldn’t tell, that was sarcasm because there is still a Bo1 rule in the game manual.

ok we shouldn’t be reviving yet another old bo1 vs bo3 thread


@DRow could we lock this one down when you have a moment?
@TheMartian The current thread is: One more reason to love BO3 (and other things that could make VRC less stressful)

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