Time to reset field?

We are looking to host our first event in Iowa this winter. Can anyone give me an idea of how long it takes to reset the field after a match? We are planning on 10 minutes from start of match #1 to start of match #2 on the same field. Is that realistic, or optimistic?

Thanks for any input.

We ran a scrimmage in Auckland a few weeks ago, we had games starting 4 minutes after the start of the one before (1 minute 40 seconds between).
A team of about 3 can reset a field pretty quick (1 minute max) and as long as the teams got there robots to the field we were keeping to schedule even managing to get ahead of it.

Edit: i should add we had two fields we were switching between so 5 minutes 40 to reset and put new teams on

Queuing is the important thing here - make sure the teams are ready before their matches start. I would say that 10 minutes is plenty of time though, you could do it with 5 minutes for each match and still probably stay ahead of schedule as long as everyone was doing their job efficiently.

Some basics:

  1. Teams and the field crew will be MUCH slower at the beginning of the day, and match cycle times will be longer.

  2. A 2-field tournament will typically be able to support 4-minute cycle times. A really good crew that is flying can run at 3:30, which is the time at World Championship. I recommend starting with 4:30 for morning sessions, and 4:00 for afternoon. If you know you have a great crew, adjust for your local conditions.

  3. A 1-field tournament obviously takes longer, but you won’t need 10 minutes. I would recommend starting at 8:00, but you might be able to get down to 6:00 with some experience.

Gateway has the advantage of not having to score autonomous (which can take a long time in games like “Clean Sweep”), so the matches should go pretty fast. Field reset will probably be average, since there are balls and barrels that have to be put on the field in a certain pattern, but there really aren’t that many game elements. I’d guess that match times will be at or below VRC averages.

When I schedule a tournament I try to get in the most qualifying matches possible. If you have a rookie crew and you simply don’t know how fast they can go, one trick is to use a modest planned match cycle time like 7:30 or 8:00 minutes in Tournament Manager, and have it schedule the time so that every team gets 8 matches, even if it looks like this will take you overtime. Watch the clock and your match schedule, and if necessary you can terminate the Qualification round after 6 or 7 matches for each team. The software lets you cut off the Qualifying rounds early, and will simply ignore “extra” matches. For example, if you cut off Qualifications after every team has played 6 matches, the software will ignore the extra matches if have a few teams that have played 7 already. It is in the Tournament Manager documentation. (These numbers are based on a “normal” small tournament of 16-18 teams or so. If you have a lot more teams, aim for 4-5 Qual matches instead of 6-7. Tournament Manager’s scheduling algorithm can help you figure this out.)

Just to be clear, if you do what Rick suggests you have to tell Tournament Manager what you’re doing (it can’t determine this automatically). Just make sure you change the “Number of qualification matches that will count” under “Qual. Matches” in the Tools->Options window. If you skip this step, your rankings will not be correct.

My experience with match cycle times matches what Rick and others have said. With 1 field only, it’s tough to go much faster than 6 minute cycles. Having queuers, referees, and field resetters who have worked previous events will help. Also, it helps if you can keep the same volunteers for the full event. We’ve had events where the field reset crew is completely changed out after lunch, for example, and this can really slow things down while the new crew gets up to speed. Usually, though, after the initial learning curve the bottleneck is getting the teams plugged in & ready to go, not the field reset.

The best piece of advice I can give to stay on time is to do everything you can to have the teams in the next match all at the field and ready to go before the match before theirs ends. I emphasize this in the drivers meetings at our events. Last year I took it a step further and told all the teams there that they would get 1 warning for being late, and if they were late for another match later on we’d start without them. It may seem harsh, but if each team is just 1 minute late for each of their matches, a 1-day event could run an hour behind or more easily. That’s not fun for anyone when many teams have a long drive home and the hosts have to tear everything down and clean up.

Good luck with your event!

Can’t say that I can add that much to what the experts have already said, but the most important thing I can think of is to remember that unexpected things will happen…

Make sure you do build some time buffers in for random things… One tournament I was at had a slight problem with alliance selection: out of 23 teams, two of mine, and one other team scored consistently. This meant that only the top 4-5 teams were actually ranked, and the rest were randomly ranked. This meant it took almost an hour to sort out everything, call people to make sure what were doing was legal (since the winners would be qualifying…) talk with all teams, make sure everyone understood what was going on, all that fun stuff…

And remember, all the teams are there to play and have fun… Remember to make sure everyone running the event has a great attitude, and make the event a fun one… (i.e. pizza, good music, maybe some random awards, etc…)

Unclejoe makes an excellent point. When I schedule a tournament I always leave a full hour for lunch. Aside from giving teams plenty of time to work on their robots after the morning session, it also acts as a buffer for the early matches running long. You can go a long way into an hour-long lunch and still give volunteers a chance to eat before the afternoon qualifying matches.

Ahh yes. the wonderful lunch break. Comes in very handy. The other point I might suggest, would be to set a time that the matches will run until. So instead of saying teams will play a set number, say they will play to a time, and that you’ll try to fit in as many rounds as possible…

Also, put your local RECF people on speed-dial. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to call them for legal questions, unanswered rule questions, qualifications, and yes, even some negotiations for some teams. You’ll never know when it will come in handy…

WOW! Thanks for all the input. I know it will be a pain learning the first event we put on, however we all plan to have fun with this. Thanks to all of you for your help.

At the risk of derailing the thread, can you explain this a bit more? Other than maybe calling RECF to make sure your winners would still qualify, why would having a bunch of teams that don’t score add any time to the tournament? What was there to explain to the teams? Were there any other actions you had to take?

Just curious mainly if something didn’t work the way you expected, and/or what would cause a delay like that in this case.

Determining and explaining penalties took a little more time this year than in previous years for our event last month.

Also, the inputting of scores is a little more time consuming compared to years past. The score inputting only slowed things down slightly in the eliminations where we wanted to post scores before moving on to the next match.

Make sure your refs are on the ball. Dispute with refs and teams can set back even the most well planned match scheduling.

Hi Bill,
This Doug from Techna Pwn Robotics, if you would like some help for your tournament, send me a message and maybe I could get some of our parents who have vol. at other tournaments to lend a hand, depending on your location and the time you set for your tournament of course. Also, check out our first tournament set for early Feb., you would be more than welcome to come and visit or compete.

Well, first, we stood around for 15 minutes trying to figure out what to do. The main problem was that we didn’t know which teams to make the captains of the lower alliances…

The main problem was that none of the teams could really score. This meant that the there were a group of teams that were all tied. (in this case, they had all scored one ring in one game) We had to call RECF to make sure the arrangement we made would be acceptable (assuming that one of these teams could conceivably win the qualification) and then to explain our picking process to the teams…

It’s hard to think through all these possibilities… It was a combination of a completely unexpected problem, inexperienced tournament personnel, no firm grasp of the rules, and everyone approaching the end of the day and thinking about getting home…

The software ranks all the teams automatically based on wp > sp > max. score > random. Failing that you can implement the same process yourself; it’s all in the manual. You shouldn’t have to (or be able to) have any input.

Normally, yes. But when you have teams that are tied in WP, SP, and max score, we were trying to eliminate the randomness…

Why try to eliminate the randomness though? That’s precisely what is called for in the VEX manual. If the teams are tied in WP, SP, and all scores are equal, the rules say the next tiebreaker is a random electronic draw, which is built in to the Tournament Manager.

Basically, my concern is that the situation you described should not have caused any extra hassle or time or required anyone to figure anything out on their own, so what do you think needs to be done to eliminate this delay in the future if this situation occurs again?

Maybe send a hard-copy of the Manual to the people running competitions for the first time? It wasn’t so much that there was a problem, it was just that the people running everything (myself included) didn’t have a firm grasp on how to run everything…

Since then, I read the manual, and actually follow the directions… :slight_smile: