VRC Design Convergence

I think the dynamics of scoring and descoring in Sack Attack will be similar to those of Round Up and Clean Sweep. Sure it will effect the match, but there’s plenty of scoring space available, and a lot more game objects than there were in Gateway. One or two sacks won’t make a huge difference the way one or two barrels did. Plus, there are ways to defend against descoring.

Tipping over during a match is bad in any game. But there are ways to prevent that, too. Luck isn’t the biggest factor there.

For some reason, everyone is acting like descoring is a new problem, even though it isn’t. If you want to know how it affects gameplay, just look back to years before Gateway. Those years show that it’s not the most important feature in the game, because before robots can descore, somebody has to score. In the end, scoring is what wins the match. I’m not saying it won’t have an effect, but I think people are making too big of a fuss over it.

Tiping was an example just anything that goes wrong in terms of just bad luck. If someone can undo an entire game worth of scoring in 10 seconds do you think it is over powered?

I think that descoring is probably the biggest part of this game. Given that there are really only two main goals where robots on one alliance will score in most matches, and in others, maybe a third that (most likely) won’t have many game objects in it, but is worth a lot more points, it ought to be very easy to pull out a large number of game objects from a goal in a very short amount of time.

If there are just 10 Sacks in a Red Trough (no Bonus Sacks), and a Blue robot is able to pull all 10 out, then that is a 50-point change in the score, and that could probably happen in 5 seconds with a quick, efficient robot. Similarly, if that same robot was able to take all 10 of those Sacks and pull them out of the Red Trough, then drop them out into a Blue Trough, then that would be a 100-point change in the score. In my opinion, that could probably happen in around 12 seconds.

A (theoretical) 100-point change in the score in 12 seconds.

To achieve the same by scoring, what would that take? In order for one robot to score 100 points in its colored Troughs, it would need to collect and score 20 Sacks. Right now I am doubting that 20 Sacks will be able to fit easily all in one Trough, so it would probably have to score in multiple goals.

So whereas the “descore, score” robot was able to simply pull out 10 Sacks, then drive right over to their adjacent Trough and drop them into it, in order to counteract that point change, the other robot has to collect double the amount of Sacks, which by the end of the game are probably scattered everywhere, has to (well, assuming that it has one) raise its arm and lift them (which the other robot would not have had to do), and then score them in two separate goals.

So, in my opinion, I believe that as soon as a few objects have been scored by the opposing alliance, the most profitable thing will be the “descore, score” strategy. It’ll be back and forth, unless some defense happens, so I believe blocking/defending your goal will be a very important part of the game, as well.


I wouldn’t really consider any ability overpowered if there’s only one way to score in the game(put sack in a goal). Now if it was like bowled over, where you could lift crates, put magnet balls in goal, put balls in goal, bowling ball, i would call an ability overpowered if it wasn’t limited in some way.

I have to side with raptor on this one. I think of it as a real time strategy game. Whoever is faster starts the chain. Then people counter and counter until someone cannot and the game is over.

So the first part of the chain is scoring. How can your opponent react? they descore. How can you react? you dont leave your goal and cover it. How can they react? They hoard more pieces. How can you react? Swap back to collecting pieces. How can they react?

This chain keeps on going on and on and becomes more and more unpredictable, but it each gets “countered” by another decision. Whether the counter is effective, we will learn in the future. But just if rock beats scissors doesn’t mean rock is the best thing out there. Who knows, scissors may call up paper and things will get crazy.

Let’s also not forget that this is a 2vs2 match(most of the time:p). This completely changes the mechanics of game play.

A team could stop their opponent from descoring by hoarding up a large number of sacks and sitting by their goal to score a huge dump. The opponent would eventually be forced to go pick up some sacks.

I’m not saying that descoring isn’t important, but it’s not the center of the game.

I was referring to the post about luck. Lego explained perfectly how in about 12 seconds you can have a 100 point swing and I’m just scared that with some bad luck an entire game can be changed in the last ten seconds.

Imagine a game of domination from call of duty. The longer you own the area the more points you get so the strategy is to get the majority of the areas and then hold them but if instead their was a time limit and the only score was how many areas you had at the end of the match all that would matter is the last minute of the match and you could nap the other 9 minutes. This is what i am scared this game will be like and that a little bad luck towards the end of the match will entirely change who won.
one team out of commission for the first minute of the match but then started working
both teams worked for the beginning of the match but one broke down for the last 12 seconds
The blue team wins

i guess you can. but the more sacks you hold, the more prone to defense you become. plus there are only so many sacks beside your goal. Then there’s also the chance that your opponent stops worrying about their goal and starts covering yours. Plus there’s a realistic factor. Is it really possible to move around and lift 20+ sacks and still react to robots who do not focus on descoring?


I’m confused on what your asking. luck is an equalizer. There’s no ability that’s better or worse than another when luck is involved.

sorry i dont play cod so i have no clue what your talking about:o

Its like king of the hill with 3 hills; every second your team gets a point for each of the hills it controls. So the strategy is to take the one near were you start and then the teams fight over the hill in the middle so in the game every minute is just as important as any other minute.

robots will need to be active throughout the entire match.

If i understand you correctly, your worried about a robot that just camps till the last 30 seconds, then de-scores all the troughs and wins the game right?

I think he means that he doesn’t want this game to be decided by luck, like many Gateway matches were. The difference between Gateway and Sack Attack that there are so many more game objects and points to score, and big point swings can happen at any time in the match, not just the end.

Every game has an element of luck to it, but if you’re careful and responsible in your design, strategy, and competition, you can reduce the factor by which luck affects the game.

Exactly, maybe even not intentionally. I am scared that being out of the match for the first 2 minutes because something went wrong is better than missing the last 20 seconds. My whole thing about luck is that if say my team is just destroying the the match and we stall or trip a breaker or something that is just plain bad luck and miss 10 seconds. The other team could descore score enough to win even though they werent as good.

But you can’t forget your alliance partner, if you work together one robot can be scoring and the other defending. This is a great example of when the Wall-bot comes into play, there will be a few teams who go all the way and build robots that cover troughs and can stretch to 11ish feet long to entirely block off the field by the end of the season. If the other robots aren’t working, Wall-bot, Deploy! If the other robots are camping, Wall-bot, push, then Deploy!

But luck can ruin a match for you, my team was paired with three teams in a row at nationals that didn’t work or couldn’t score in the 30" goal, being a great team means you can adapt to bad fortune and design your robot so that it doesn’t trip the PTC’s.

i would say you wont be destroyed, but things can happen. The way i think about it, the only thing that differentiates scoring and de-scoring is where you get the pieces. if you spend 1 min 30 seconds(without interference) to score, they can counter it with 45 seconds of de-scoring(without interference). But since troughs are next to each other, i would shave maybe 10 seconds of time.

But this is considering your robots are equal. If your robot is amazing, your opponent will probably need to take more time to grab the same amount of pieces.

picking up 10 sacks off the ground while driving around other robots and around the field takes a lot longer than grabbing 10 out of the trough and driving over to score it in your own trough.

My point is that descoring will be very important. My reasoning? Once a few objects have been scored, if that Trough is left unattended at all, in my opinion descoring those game objects would be the opponents’ best move, as long as they are able to descore them into their own robot.

If someone is going to “waste time” blocking their Trough, you go pick up game objects until they leave it. If there is an opportunity to choose between scoring and descoring, my choice would be to by all means descore.

Yes, I am not saying that there aren’t any ways to keep someone from descoring, but as I said above, if you block your Trough, the rest of the game is now 2 vs 1.

If I am able to descore your points very quickly and efficiently, and that causes you to block your Trough because you are afraid of this, the cause for you not being able to continue scoring is because of my ability to descore. Yes, the game is won by scoring, but if you can effectively “descore, score”, then I believe you will do very well.

In Round Up, descoring was rather important, but not very much so, mainly due to the fact that once you pull off a game object, it was the opponents’ color, and therefore you couldn’t use it to score for yourself. In Sack Attack, anything which you descore can then be used to score for yourself, and the goals are extremely close to each other, which makes the process very quick and easy.

Anyway, the “center” of any game is scoring, as you can’t win without scoring any points. All that I am doing is pointing out that in my opinion the best thing to do once a few game objects have been scored by your opponent, is to descore them and score them for yourself, rather than picking up non-scored sacks and then lifting them and scoring them in your Trough.


Have you timed it? Don’t forget that each trough is about 3 feet long. So if you can de-score in 1 swoop you travel at least 6 feet

it will be important, but not broken like tabor fears.

If you have the option to successfully de-score, but by all means do it. however that plan only works if there are pieces nearby. Only trough sacks will be close enough to pose that threat. If you go for a far away game piece, your probably going to choke out your ally and leave yourself vulnerable to de-scoring or heavy defense.

but in the scenario tabor is using(the last moments of the game), a 2vs1 isn’t important because scoring has settled down.

true, but remember the goals were smaller than your robot. troughs are 3 feet now. So ether way you would need to travel a lot. Then don’t forget that sacks are half a pound while rings are a quarter of a pound, meaning robots wont be as fast as they once were. Also in round up, defense was still quite useful for those who used it.

Round Up not only had coloured objects, but a goal capture mechanic, so scoring a tube on top of another tube was nowhere near worth as much as descoring and replacing their tube. As for the effort it took, descoring/rescoring was really quite easy even with having to pick up an extra tube.

Sack Attack is the only game except Clean Sweep and Bridge Battle with non-coloured objects, and neither of those games are helpful analogues for analyzing this (one because of the back/forth scoring, and the other because of relatively low skill levels).

Now, what happens if you score, your opponents are descoring, and you continue to pick up more game objects? If no one picks up past the first couple sacks and just descores back and forth, then there’s a low scoring match. But what will happen if you introduce more sacks to the scoring zones? Really, I have no idea; I’m just going to wait for the season to start and watch some games.