Strategy in Steamworks

Steamworks has proven after week 1 to be a strangely balanced game, as many of us expected. The most important scoring task is climbing, and the hardest shooting task FIRST has ever given is currently deciding less than 3% of matches. 

But there are a lot of unknowns still, and most of competition season to go. 

In week 1, there were three kinds of winning alliances that I identified:

  1. 3 rotors, 3 climbs, no fuel, and defense
  2. 3 rotors, 3 climbs, and fuel 
  3. 4 rotors

The first type of alliance here was the predominant winning alliance this week. Whatever alliance at the event most consistently got 3 rotors and 3 climbs won the event. They often played some killer defense to prevent 3 rotors or 3 climbs from happening on the other side. This works when no alliance is playing at a consistent level of gear scoring except yours. 

The second kind of alliance was rarer. But if your alliance could score 3 rotors consistently, and then also score some fuel on top of that, you won. This was 3824’s alliance at Palmetto with 359, and 33’s alliance at Southfield, as examples. 

The third kind of alliance was only seen at one event, and that was the Granite State District Event in New Hampshire. The alliance of 5687, 1058, and 4908 scored 4 rotors in 6/7 of their playoff matches, setting the current world high score of 445 with not a single fuel scored in eliminations. 

As weeks go on, I expect we’ll see more of the second and third type of winning alliance, and at highest levels, potentially a fourth type- 4 rotors and fuel- come into play. I’ve been of the opinion the while season that 4 rotors would be extremely difficult to get consistently- but it happened in week 1 in one of the more historically defensive regions of the country, so perhaps I’m way off. 

My closing thoughts are questions-

How do the rest of the weeks play out? Will 4 rotors become common? Will fuel begin to decide more matches and matter more? 

5687’s alliance at Granite State has flipped much of my thinking on end, and I’m not sure anymore. 

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