Who We Are
Strategy is a non-technical subgroup that evaluates the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC) games, data, and runs Verification Tests on The Force Team’s products. During the Off-Season, Strategy focuses on training its members on Game Analysis, Scouting, and Verification Testing. They also manage the Off-Season Drive Team at non-competitive competitions. During Build Season, Strategy focuses on learning about the new game, devising a strategy for the team to follow, creating and training the Official Drive Team, developing a Scouting System, and testing each requirement that is set by the Systems Team.
Starting immediately after the release of each new FRC game, the Strategy group scrutinizes the official Game Manual to gain as much knowledge of the game as possible. This includes finding the dimensions of the field and field elements; taking in depth notes of the scoring methods; and finding out what violates the rules and results in penalties. After this process, those who went through Strategy Training in the Off-Season meet and determine the maximum score an alliance could achieve in an official match. Not only does this give the group a score to aim for while finding the most effective strategy, but it also allows for people to understand the rules and scoring methods. By the end of the night, the group makes a list of the best three possible game strategies that then get recommended to the Systems Task Group, a group of students who vote on requirements for the robot based off of one of the provided strategies.
Training of this task is open to all subgroups, but mostly consists of those within the subgroup. The Strategy subgroup runs the Game Analysis training, consisting of analysis from another year’s FRC and FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) games. Students are organized into groups, tasked with using the game manual to make one strategy in an hour. After regrouping, each group proposes their strategies. Once all strategies have been shared, Strategy reviews what strategy was used to win that year’s World Championship. This may be done with different variations of rules and years in the Off-Season to give new members as much experience as possible.
One of the most essential factors of a successful FRC team is a well trained and versed Drive Team. At “non-competitive” (as deemed by the leads) Off-Season events, any member of the team wishing to be a part of Drive Team is encouraged to sign up for the rotating Drive Team at these events. Strategy reviews the number of people who want each position and make varying combinations of students, so that everyone gets to try their desired position(s). During the event, the Drive Team Manager and Coach analyze the students’ performances and use the most individuals who most effectively performed their roles during the Elimination Rounds at said event.
At District Competitions or competitive Off-Season events, an Official Drive Team is represents the team. Through a series of tests and interviews, the Official Drive Team is formed. Starting early Build Season, Strategy works on looking through the game manual to formulate questions that test every aspect of being on Drive Team including, but not limited to: scoring methods, penalties, and physical elements of the game. While one general test is made and administered to all who are trying out for a position on Drive Team, separate tests are made to focus on specific Drive Team positions such as Driver, Operator, and Human Player tests. These test more in-depth aspects of each position such as what their responsibilities are for their respective position(s). After all participants complete their tests, they are graded by the test makers. Those who scored within the top percentile continue on to the physical tests and interviews. The test makers create a cycle for the participants to take to test their performance on the field. Afterwards, they, their VP, the CEOs, and their Lead Mentor(s) are asked a series of questions to determine the personality of the participant and gain a better understanding of their character.
Whether on the Official Drive Team or just joining in for an Off-Season Competition, Strategy sets up time meeting times to practice with the robot and interact with the mock field. This gives them a sense of how long matches are, how to link up with different field elements, and work with actual or mock game pieces. This practice also allows for Strategy to remind them of the rules of the game and give Drive Team members the experience of being on a Drive Team.
Gathering data on other teams at competitions, commonly referred to as “Scouting,” leads to more effective strategy-making, thus improving our alliance’s performance during matches. The Force Team uses three different types of Scouting: Pit Scouting, Match Scouting, and Elimination Scouting. As data is collected, the Drive Team will look at data on teams that we are competing against to form a Match Strategy. Match Strategies focus on finding ways we can win against the opposing alliance with the skills that our alliance has. Scouting Data lets the Drive Team Coach project teams’ patterns that then allow us to make a counter strategy against them. The Scouting data is crucial to see who our team should play defense on based on which robot performed the best on the opposing alliance.
Scouting data provides data for our pick lists before Alliance Selection begins. If FRC 1073 is seeded in a picking position, or we believe that we may be a first pick, a Scouting Meeting is held to determine who we should pick and why. The data from Scouting can be organized to rank teams based on different traits that the Strategy Team believes that compliment our own. We review data on ourselves to see where we need to improve before Alliance Selection begins.
After the game is released, Strategy makes a list of all the ways of scoring that could be done during a match. They then take this list and meet with Software, who uses the list to create two apps. One app lets the Strategy group Pit Scout, or visit each team at a competition to see what the other teams claim that they can do and gather pictures. If Drive Team asks about a robot, Pit Scouting provides them that data, so that they can start strategizing with other teams while referencing what the team has already told them about themselves.
The other app is created for Match Scouting to track how each team scores and the quality of their performance in a Qualification Match at competitions. The app is uploaded onto six tablets, one per team in a match, and it is tested in the weeks leading up to the competition. If the app cannot be completed by each competition, Strategy makes a temporary paper-based system in its place. At the competition, the Lead Scouters will hand out sheets of paper to their team of Scouters and, after each match, will enter the data collected into either Excel or Google Sheets. Before each competition, Strategy will run Scouting Training to teach all everyone, as Scouting is a team-wide task, what system they are using, how the system works, and what to look for in a match. They will also answer questions that the Scouters have so that everyone understands what they are doing.
If we are on an alliance during the Elimination Rounds, the Lead Scouters will conduct an entirely different way of Scouting, referred to as “Elimination Scouting.” While Scouting in the Qualification Rounds focuses on one specific team, Elimination Scouting looks at how each alliance performs as a whole. Elimination Scouting provides data to make a Match Strategy that will affect not only one team, but all the teams on the opposing alliance. Elimination Scouting is done on paper. Scouters write down the names of all the teams and during the matches, keep track on who does what, how much is scored by each team, and notes that will help our alliance do better.
During the first Systems Team’s meetings, the representatives vote on a list of set requirements for the competition and back-up robot to have. Verification Testing is the process that the team uses to make sure that the robots comply with our set requirements. The Strategy subgroup will take the list of requirements, then make a test protocol for each one, and give a definition for a pass or fail outcome of the requirement through the definition of acceptance criteria. All conditions of the test must be met for the requirement to pass, and if not, the Strategy team will tell the subgroup in charge of the requirement what must be done in order for it to pass.