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Is "tanking" a legitimate strategy?

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  • Is "tanking" a legitimate strategy?

    At a qualifying match this weekend, we were "on the bubble" going into our last Qualifying match. Our Alliance partner for that match was already ahead of us in the standings. During Queuing, they informed us that their arm mechanism could not reach the top row, and they could not deploy their ramp for us to do a lift. When the match started, our partner made no attempt whatsoever to score a single ring and in fact "pinned" us twice during the match. We still managed to score a respectable amount of point on our own, but still lost the match. As a result of this match, another team from the same school moved ahead of us in the final qualifying standings. In the very next round, that same team managed to score several rings on the top row and were able to deploy their lift effectively.


    We were not the best robot there that day and did not deserve to win the tournament, but after preaching the concepts of "gracious professionalism" to the kids all year, this really left a bad taste in their mouths. What is your opinion? Is "tanking" your own performance in a round a legitimate strategy?

  • #2
    To answer your question: it is our opinion that the only way tanking would ever be appropriate would be if it somehow advanced your own team in the standings. And given how the FTC competition is structured I can't come up with a scenario off the top of my head where it would ever be to the advantage of your own team to lose a match.

    To answer a slightly different question that I think is at the heart of your question: We believe it is NEVER appropriate to tank to advance a "friend" in the standings. It is our team's belief that you compete as an individual team to win as an individual team.

    We have thought through and discussed this in some detail because we have attended tournaments after we were qualified for Worlds both of the last two years.

    Last year at the MI tournament we decided that we wanted to be on the winning alliance. We were on the bubble for being able to be a picking rather than picked team. When it looked like Kinetic Polar Bears (a terrific team by the way) was going to be the number 1 seed we told them, when asked by them, that we would go with them if they picked us. Hacksaw pulled off a surprising upset over the Polar Bears in the last round of the qualifying matches to become the #1 seed. Our team quickly pow-wowed and decided that since we had been willing to be picked by Polar Bears we were now willing to be picked by whoever was the #1 seed and would say yes to whoever was the #1 seed. (incidentally that was the same as the strategy we adopted at Worlds when we said yes to the LANDROIDS when they picked us rather than forming our own alliance where we would be captain)

    This year at Indiana our goal coming into the tournament was to be the Captain of the winning alliance. At the end of qualifying matches we were #4 seed and would pick last. One of our players on our team suggested that if "XXXXXX" picked us we should go ahead and go with them because that way we could be on a winning alliance, and that they were a great team and they deserved to go to Worlds. The rest of the team quickly jumped on that. After just a couple of minutes discussion we all agreed that it would not be gracious and professional to try to influence who got to go to Worlds. The ONLY fair thing for us to do was to play to our strategy, which on that day was to try to be captain of the winning alliance. Therefore we had to be a captain and pick alliance partners and play our best to win every match. That is what we did.
    Last edited by FTC4251; 03-05-2013, 02:38 PM.
    Cougar Robotics Team (Cascade Effect #4251)
    (Cascade Effect, Block Party!, Ring It Up!, Bowled Over!, & Get Over it! #4251, Smart Moves #127, Climate Connections #437, Power Puzzle #1470)
    [email protected]
    http://www.cougarrobot.com
    http://www.instructables.com/id/4251...-FTC-Robotics/
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    • #3
      I agree that tanking is really not a good expression of Gracious Professionalism.

      That said, it's the occasional consequence of sister teams playing against each other. We've seen matches with sister teams on opposite sides, and they generally play fair and both try to win. Every so often though, they don't. And unfortunately, that means things like those that happened to you.

      What seems like a fair, legitimate means of trying to boost rankings are agreements between opponents not to play defense so as to increase the number of ranking points earned. This is the tactic we generally see used in sister team matchups, as regardless of which side wins, both teams will get the same number of RP (ignoring penalties, but you generally try to avoid them anyways ), so it makes sense to maximize them.

      Quick Aside: Hey, 4251, you've got an anagram of our team number (5421)! Congrats on pairing up with the Landroids!

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