Melees

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Remote-Controlled Dave
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Melees

Post by Remote-Controlled Dave » Mon Oct 19, 2015 10:42 am

Hi all.
Been having a debate in my own head for ages now and as its a bit quiet on here I thought I'd open it up. It's about having first round melees at an AWS.
I know this suggestion has been dismissed in past debates, mainly due to the ability to 'gang up' on the good or favourite robots to get them to lose early on, and the tournament therefore not being a true representation of who has the best machine/driver combination. However, I'm not sure in the current climate where the same few robots come top at all events that this is necessarily a bad thing.
We used to run first round melees at every AWS and it was always good fun. It shook up the way you work out tactics, who to go for, how to drive, and allowed for (lets call them) 'surprising' robots to make progress. It also cuts the time a tournament takes down, which is a current worry at all tournaments.
So here's my plusses and minuses list:

Plusses
1) Can help the tournamenet be less time consuming
2) Can give people with 'lesser' robots a better chance at progressing
3) Can shake up the results/format of the competition
4) Can be more fun! Both to watch and take part in
5) Limits possibilities for less interesting one-on-one fights (such as between two kitbots or pushers)
6) Many other robot tournaments (featherweight champs, heavyweight champs, MMM ect.) run first round melees in official tournaments without complaint

Minuses
1) Can allow favourites to be ganged up on
2) Can mean the results are not a true representation of who has the best robot/driver combination

Now I do beileve that the minuses are strong points here, even though there are only two of them, it seems like quite a balanced table in my head, and I know some people on here will consider those two minuses to be pretty much the be all and end all (Scott, for example, I know you always put a level playing field first and foremost on the list). However I'm wondering if its worth giving it a go for one tournament and seeing how people enjoy the changes (or not as the case may be).

But I then had an idea for how to eliminate (or perhaps at least lessen) the impact of these minuses, in that nobody loses their place in the competition at the melee stage, more that that is then used as a draw system for a single elimination 1on1 tournament to follow. Robots enter a melee of, say, 4. Upon completion of the melee, each robot is assigned a place they came (4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st). This is then used to fill out a pre-randomly-drawn up template for the knockout brackets that the drivers don't get to see. For example:

Melee 1
CombatAnt (2nd)
Jaguar (3rd)
Void (1st)
Ouchie (4th)

Melee 2
Stewie (2nd)
Napalm Death (3rd)
Kwejiboom (4th, due to being ganged up on)
Ant2D3 (1st)

1st melee one vs 3rd melee 2 (Void vs Napalm Death)
2nd melee one vs 2nd melee 2 (CombatAnt vs Stewie)
3rd melee one vs 4th melee 2 (Jaguar vs Kwejiboom)
4th melee one vs 1st melee 2 (Ouchie vs Ant2D3)

Losers are eliminated, winners progress along the bracket til the final.

This means if a 'favourite' is ganged up on in the melee and comes 4th (Kwejiboom in my example), it doesn't necessarily suffer for the 1on1 stages, as it is still entirely at random who it fights next. Drivers don't get to see the 1on1 fight bracket before the melees so they can't fix their position by driving out in 3rd position to get an easy draw next time. Some will obviously be drawn into bypasses if the numbers aren't even. Every robot still gets at least 2 fights. If you lose a 1on1 fight you are out, so the better robot gets to progress. And I believe it will take up less time to run a tournament this way rather than the current double elimination.

I wanted to suggest running one AWS this way, maybe the one after Basingstoke, to see if people like it or hate it or have issues or whatever debate it may cause. There is no reason we couldn't switch back to the normal way afterwards, I just don't see why every AWS has to be quite the same. I would volunteer to run the next one in conjunction with someone who can find my a venue based on the main isle, rather than in NI, and to run it this way if people would like it.

Any further thoughts? Things I've missed? Total bafflement? Go for it.
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AntRoboteer
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Re: Melees

Post by AntRoboteer » Mon Oct 19, 2015 6:21 pm

My initial thoughts were 'Oh no, I really am not sure about this' but come to think of it, a melee sounds like a fantastic idea.

Sounds like it would be very action packed and fun to me and would be nice just to give it a go to see what everyone thinks. I hope people remember how fun and chaotic the ones on Robot Wars in the first round were. It would add a bit of variety and I'm all for giving it a go! :D

Rapidrory
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Re: Melees

Post by Rapidrory » Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:08 pm

I'd definately be up for trying out a new format, but would be slightly concerned that the fact it wouldn't nessasarily be antlog compatible would loose the time benifit that it may otherwise have, as the draw would need to be done manually..
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peterwaller
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Re: Melees

Post by peterwaller » Tue Oct 20, 2015 2:06 pm

Personally I do not like melees as part of the main event.
The nearest you can get to a fair fight is one on one where there can be no advantage from ganging up or hanging back.
To me it is similar house robots that have in the past been fairly decisive in many battles.
Having said that I do like to watch and complete in melees but as a separate competition.

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Shakey
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Re: Melees

Post by Shakey » Tue Oct 20, 2015 2:30 pm

One of my main concerns is that in the format you posted doing well in a melee has no effect on the contest. It's essentially just running an AWS under single elimination with melees to get the '2 fights'. Something about that just seems odd to me.

Plus if they did contribute I'd have serious concerns over fairness and ganging up aswell. Spinners wouldn't exactly have a good time in melees.

I do enjoy melee fights though and would be interested in a format using them in a non AWS.
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Remote-Controlled Dave
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Re: Melees

Post by Remote-Controlled Dave » Tue Oct 20, 2015 2:42 pm

Rory, yes, not antlog compatible, but much quicker to draw as all you have to do is draw robots into the melee groups then draw up the further fight chart which is very easy. But yeah, I take the point.

Alex, yeah, my only concern was about the melee winner not benefitting from it. I considered maybe doing a points/league based system from melees but that would take forever.

I do think we are maybe getting a bit hung up on "fairness" though. We all know 1on1 is the fairest way to run a tournament. But its a relatively dull format that leads to the same results a lot of the time. My point was it might be worth doing something a bit different, more fun, even at the expense of a bit of the 'fairness'.

All very well saying you want melees in other competitions but some of us can only make AWSs. I feel the format is a little stale, and we all know the minute we have a big sign up we get in trouble time wise.
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Re: Melees

Post by joey_picus » Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:44 pm

I don't think getting concerned with fairness is a problem when it's the main and most prestigious antweight competition - surely we want the AWS to be fair?
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Remote-Controlled Dave
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Re: Melees

Post by Remote-Controlled Dave » Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:39 am

"Fair" is a subjective term. But fine, fairness over fun. Was just an idea.
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Re: Melees

Post by Hogi » Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:23 am

it wasn't a bad idea Dave. i think maybe a system whereby we stay with double elimination but have the first round as four way melees with two robots going into the winners bracket and two robots going into the loser's bracket might be favourable. that way everyone would still get the same amount of “lives” and therefore the winners would benefit from winning, although it wouldn't really save much time other than reducing the number of battles in the first round. that would still leave us with the ganging up problem though which is unfortunate but i can see why people would feel cheated if they were ganged up on.
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Rapidrory
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Re: Melees

Post by Rapidrory » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:40 am

I think it's worth looking at how the other weight classes run their events, as they're all different, all make use of melees, and I've never heard anyone have any issues with the fairness of them as far as I know.

Beetleweights are still developing their format, but the next event they're having is likely to be single elimination, but with a losers melee for each group. This way everyone gets 2 fights, it takes much less time than full double elimination, and the monotony of one on one fights for several hours is interspersed with some exciting big melee fights. It would be unlikely to do much to effect the line up of the final group, but would certainly help time constraints whilst letting everyone have at least 2 fights and adding some variety. This would personally be my preferred alternative format.

Featherweights run a qualifying system, where every robot has 4 qualifying fights in 3 way melees. If I remember correctly, you score 4 points for a win by KO, 3 points for win by judges decision, 2 points for second, 1 point for third, and no points if your robot doesn't make it into the arena. After the heats, the top 18 robots with the most points qualify for the main competition. I'm not necessarily suggesting this format, but more looking at the fact that despite the first round melees, it's always the same few robots in the top bracket. During the melee fights, it's not always a case of ganging up on the favourite robot; as it's points based, you often end up making deals with the favorite before the fight and team up on the other weaker member of the fight to ensure you get second place at least. Probably be viewed by many as a bit mean, but I actually really quite enjoy the 'making deals' aspect of it, as it adds quite an interesting extra dimension to the fight, and making a poor deal cost me my place in the top 18.

Heavyweights take the melee fights to the next level; First round is a set of 4 way melees, the top 2 of each going through to the second round. The second round is then a 3 way melee, where the winner goes through to the third round and second place goes into a losers melee. The third and above round is run like a normal one on one tournament with losers melees for each round. This format allows almost anyone to progress it seems, with many of the highest ranked robots going out in the first round at the last tournament, and robots like Nuts making it through to sixth place. It does end up a with a little bit of a feeling of 'This doesn't feel like much of an achievement if almost anyone can progress regardless of effort..' though, which is a slight concern when it comes to overdoing it on melees..
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