This is my first year driving, the first tournament we went to, we went 2 and 4, our second tournament we went 8 and 1, and at our third tournament we went 4 and 2, I have gotten so much better driving, but do any of you guys know of and strategies that can help me out.
Strategy depends a lot on your robot, so if you post what your robot does (what subsystems it has and how consistent/fast they are), I will post an updated guide. The following guide will assume that you are a 2 mobile goal robot with a conveyor to put rings onto an alliance mobile goal.
Strategy 1: Autonomous
Many people do not consider auton strategy much, but it is very important. For TiP, there are 2 main things that you can do in auton. You can try and rush for the neutral goals, and you can get 1 or more rings in your alliance goal to get the win point. As the auton rush is so competitive, I would suggest trying to go for one of the neutral goals first, and then come back to get the ring. The only objection to this is when you think you can still win without participating in the rush, where you try and get a ring in both alliance mobile goals by yourself. This worked very well for me in 2 competitions, where I ranked first and won the tournament even though I rarely rushed for the neutral goals. This can however not be ideal if you need the neutral goals to win.
Strategy 2: First 15 seconds of driver control
In the first 15 seconds of the match, you are going to want to grab one of your alliance mobile goals and a neutral goal. Many teams do this in autonomous, but if you did not this is your first priority. If one of them is still standing in the middle, I would go for one of those. If you can’t grab a neutral goal because they have all been grabbed, go for any other mobile goal that is not grabbed. If every other goal on the field is already being possessed, then you can either try to rip the goals away from the opposing alliance or work with what you have.
Strategy 3: 15 seconds of driver control to 40 seconds left in the match.
During this time, you are either going to be playing defense or offense. If you are playing offense, you will have 2 main jobs. These 2 jobs are getting as many rings as you can onto your mobile goal, and keeping your mobile goals away from the enemy alliance. This can be done by sitting in the corner and using match loads or roaming the field using rings sprinkled around the field. If you have a fast robot and a good driver, I would recommend the second option as it gives your more rings and allows you to quickly swap over to defense. If you are playing defense, you are trying to prevent the other team from doing what I said above. You are going to want to try and steal their goals and prevent them from doing rings. If they do not have a secure grasp on one or more of their goals, target these first as they are the easiest to get to. If they do not, target goals that are parallel with the ground as most clamps have an easier time clamping onto these, unlike goals that have been tilted. To prevent a team from doing rings, try and shove them into a corner or a wall, as it is much harder to do rings like this.
Strategy 4: Last 40 seconds of the match.
During the last 40 seconds of the match, your focus should be on the platforms. What you do here will be very dependent on what has happened in the match. If you have 4 mobile goals, you can guarantee victory (excluding rings) by either you or your alliance platforming and then you stack the rest of your mobile goals with them. This is a total of 190 points (again not including rings) if you can do so. The max amount of points the other alliance can get if they double park with 3 of their goals is 180. However, if you have 3 goals and know that the other team is going to platform 4 goals with or without a robot parking, you need to double park to have a chance of winning. While queuing, you should always talk to your alliance about if they can park and if you two can double park. If you can, I would suggest doing this.
These are good strategies to use while in a match, but this still will not beat driver practice. You should practice driving and doing things this strategy illustrates. If possible I would try and scrimmage teams, as it can be a good way to gain practice for driving and using these strategies in a competitive enviroment.
One thing our team has done recently is if we’re not confident about being able to lift the center neutral goal onto the platform, (e.g. it’s too heavy for our lift) we will bring it to our corner, then forcibly tip the mobile goal over such that the high branch hangs over the field perimeter. At least half of the teams you go against will not be able/won’t have the awareness to straighten the center neutral goal. However, be careful when performing this, as you could get yourself a hoarding call if you sit in front of that neutral goal while also guarding another mobile goal.
Like @Milo said, it’s easier to target straightened mobile goals compared to tipped ones, so generally speaking, if you don’t plan on elevating those goals, it’s better to leave them tipped in your zone, as it will make it difficult for the opponent to possess them again.
We have a rear goal lift and a front nematic clamp, we can lift the big center goal, we are pretty fast, but we are not efficient at all with parking
Ok then the strategies I mentioned up there work, except with the ring part. During the main part of driver control I would recommend playing some sort of defense, and then getting your alliance partner to park at the end of the match if possible. You could then lift mobile goals to the platform with them.