FIRST Steamworks is a very interesting game when it comes to strategy this year. There are many different game elements, like the gears, fuel and rope, and various ways to score with these elements. Fuel pieces, represented by whiffle balls, have two different goals that they can be scored in (the high goal and the low goal) and the gears have three different lifts that can carry the gear to the human player on the airship. This is FIRST Robotics’ first time having a human player interact with the robots and the game pieces while on the playing field. Here is the Robo Vikes’ strategy for the 2017 season.
Our strategy mainly focuses on gears and climbing. We prioritized gears because it has the largest points value at the beginning of the game and if executed correctly, also through the driver controlled period. We decided to accept gears from the feeding station and use a passive system to place the gear on the peg. After gears, we are focusing on climbing which is only available in the last 30 seconds and is worth 50 points, the possible deciding factor in who wins or loses the game. We plan on using a winch drum with a high gear ratio to quickly and smoothly lift our robot up and attaching velcro to secure the rope to the drum.
We have not really experimented with fuel scoring yet because it is much harder to score fuel for points than it is for gears. In the driver controlled period, it takes three fuel pieces to score one point for your team and in the low goal, nine fuel pieces equal one point. Even though fuel pieces are not worth as much as gears, we think that they will be the deciding factor of higher skilled games because there is not a cap on how many fuel points you could possibly score in one match unlike the restriction on gear use. We left room for fuel in the design, but it is not a priority.