BuGa 2023: Conclusion

As the tournament at the Bundesgartenshow (BuGa) is now coming to an end and we have secured an excellent second place, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on our journey.

Compared to the RoboCup 2023 in Bordeaux, we were able to significantly improve our performance with the new robots: The radio communication issues have been completely resolved, and our robots executed their driving commands as precisely as they haven’t in years. This clearly demonstrates the advantage of robust industrial solutions like the HBC radio system compared to our previous custom solutions.

The motor board problems have also nearly disappeared as a result. The theory here is as follows: When our robots don’t receive radio signals, they shut down all wheel modules as a safety measure to avoid being a hazard to people and themselves. However, this also results in an abrupt shutdown of all wheel motors, and the remaining current circulating through them, due to the electrical principle of inductance, which dictates that current through electric motors cannot cease instantaneously, can lead to defects in the Motor Controller Boards.

So, when we have radio communication issues, the modules are regularly and unexpectedly shut down. When everything works smoothly, the activation and deactivation maneuvers are carefully controlled at the beginning and end of a game: The motors are brought to a halt by the AI, and then the modules are shut down.

Aside from these two issues, the new robots required very little maintenance—compared to their predecessor generation as well. Only some motor connectors showed problems on the board side: It seems that the through-hole connections of the pads are breaking, causing the power lines on the Power Distribution Board to detach from the motor. We were able to prove this through resistance measurements.

Since we also had problems with our shooting board (same PCB manufacturer)—back then, the solder mask had peeled off from almost all traces at certain spots—we seriously need to consider switching to a different PCB manufacturer.

Nevertheless, it was an excellent tournament that reinvigorated not only our robots but also the spirits of many team members. The enthusiasm is clearly noticeable among all the present members. The positive developments of the other teams since the RoboCup—especially RoboTeam Twente, whose performance improved drastically over the last month—have further fueled our members’ motivation. And so, after the final match, we actively joined the other teams in dismantling the tournament.

We are already looking forward to competing against all the amazing teams at the next European event. It was a pleasure playing against them this weekend. And so, we bid you a heartfelt farewell from the BuGa!

BuGa 2023: Game Schedule

Group Stage (Saturday, 12.08.2023)

Points Table

Platz Team Spiele Punkte Torverhältnis
1 TIGERs Mannheim 3 9 21:0 21
2 ER-Force 3 6 13:1 12
3 Immortals 3 3 3:20 -17
4 RoboTeam Twente 3 0 0:16 -16


Time Match Article Stream Final Score
10:00 AM ER-Force vs. TIGERs Mannheim Article 00:01
11:30 AM Immortals vs. TIGERs Mannheim Article 00:10
01:00 PM ER-Force vs. RoboTeam Twente Article 03:00
02:30 PM ER-Force vs. Immortals Article 10:00
04:00 PM TIGERs Mannheim vs. RoboTeam Twente Article 10:00
05:30 PM RoboTeam Twente vs. Immortals Article 00:03

Knockout Stage (Sunday, 07.07.2023)

Time Match Article Stream Final Score
11:00 AM TIGERs Mannheim vs. RoboTeam Twente Article 10:00
12:30 PM ER-Force vs. Immortals Article 01:00
14:30 Uhr TIGERs Mannheim vs. ER-Force Article Livestream 03:00

BuGa 2023: TIGERs Mannheim vs. ER-Force

It feels like it was just yesterday when we played the first game of this tournament. Well, it was actually just yesterday. But still, time has passed very quickly, and now we’re just about to start the final game.

As expected, TIGERs delivered a very confident and dominant performance, much like during the RoboCup in Bordeaux. They mostly managed to dominate their opponents. However, they couldn’t score against us; we only lost due to an own goal.

First Half

05:00 The game starts with less than 5 minutes delay, the arena is full. TIGERs play in yellow, ER-Force in blue.
04:43 And a shot on goal right away by TIGERs Mannheim, but initially, we can defend. However, as the attacks persisted, it eventually happened: Goal for TIGERs.
TIGERs Mannheim 1 : 0 ER-Force
04:05 After several more attempts on our goal, two of our robots get stuck near our penalty area. Getting stuck here is very understated; they got along very well. As a result, there are ball placements for ER-Force, but both teams fail to place the ball.
03:06 More attacks on our goal follow, but our team can hold up magnificently.
02:30 Now we strengthen, putting pressure on TIGERs’ defenders with many attacks. However, the attack is eventually stopped, and our robot is mobbed by 5 Mannheim bots as punishment, gathering around and practically squeezing it.
01:47 Now the attack is again primarily in our half, and unfortunately, it ends successfully again: Goal by Mannheim with a shot from an acute angle past our goalkeeper!
TIGERs Mannheim 2 : 0 ER-Force
01:16 Another attack by us on Mannheim’s goal, but unfortunately, the ball narrowly misses the target. That could have been something; the goalkeeper wasn’t quite there yet!
00:28 Currently, the game is somewhat stuck in one of our corners. Both teams fail at ball placement; our robot even has its back to the ball while trying to place it, which is an interesting ball placement strategy.
00:17 And the ball is kicked out of the field again, but this time by us.
-00:17 After a cheeky move where instead of passing to our own robot, we pass to a Mannheim robot, the first half ends rather uneventfully.
00:00 Although we’re two goals behind, we don’t need to hide at the moment. After all, Mannheim still manages to sweep away weaker and even strong teams 10:0 in the first half. Additionally, our defense has been very solid, making it very difficult for TIGERs to find the gap. We’ve seen some interesting attacks from us, so we’re really hoping to catch up in the second half!

Second Half

05:00 The second half kicks off; TIGERs has ER-Force.
04:07 After crashing into a TIGERs bot for the second time and previously shooting the ball over the boards, we now receive a yellow card and can only play with 5 robots for the next two minutes.
04:07 Again, the corner poses a problem, none of the robots can reach the ball. It seems the 45° ramps, usually placed in the corners, were forgotten. Getting the ball out of 90° corners is practically impossible given the size of SSL robots.
02:06 The robots of both teams often get stuck in a duel, leading to many situations ending with Lack of Progress. At least our penalty time has expired without danger.
01:35 TIGERs had to change a robot, probably because the battery is empty. A characteristic here is the constant clicking of the plunger when the robot discharges from shooting.
01:27 And this time, TIGERs Mannheim shoots the ball out of the field, but luckily I could collect it right away, and the game continues quickly.
01:08 Strong attack by us, but our back pass to one of our colleagues goes wide. The ensuing counter-attack by TIGERs becomes quite dangerous, but one of our robots solves the problem, risking a foul (touching the ball in the penalty area). Unfortunately, this results in a penalty kick for TIGERs!
01:03 Unfortunately, the Mannheim robot scores the penalty, so there’s a goal for TIGERs following the penalty kick!
TIGERs Mannheim 3 : 0 ER-Force
-00:16 A very intense situation against us! Mannheim’s robots are in our half and even shoot at the goal, but the ball misses the target by a few centimeters.
00:00 Overall, this was a very exciting final game, even though the second half was rather quiet. Our play was very enjoyable to watch, and we defended very solidly. The progress of the last 4 weeks was clearly visible, and the trend for the next weeks and months is clearly set!

BuGa 2023: ER-Force vs. Immortals

Now, let’s continue with our semifinal match against Immortals. Since Immortals arrived very late yesterday, this is also the first game we can play against this team. We expect an exciting match here because Immortals is one of the best teams in the league and has had several hours to calibrate their robots and adapt to the game situation in Mannheim.

Overall, we believe that statistically speaking, we will win, but the uncertainty is significant enough that victory cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, we are very curious to see how the next 10 minutes of the game will unfold!

05:00 The game starts on time; we’re playing in blue, Immortals in yellow.
04:20 Short break: Immortals receives a yellow card after causing multiple crashes.
03:45 Currently, there is more pressure on ER-Force’s goal; the ball is in our half more often than in the opponent’s half.
03:18 Oh, indeed, Immortals is driving aggressively: Not only are they causing crashes; one of their robots almost tipped over. Immortals now also takes a short timeout.
02:49 Apparently, there are also issues with camera detection in one of the field corners. It’s typical for SSL tournaments that the camera system regularly encounters problems, even if most issues occur on the first day.
02:46 Immortals has accumulated three fouls due to two crashes and one tip-over, which means they can now only play with 4 robots and therefore have to take their fifth robot off the field.
02:27 After a successful ball placement, we botched the kickoff, but the ball rolls almost randomly near the opponent’s goal. However, we elegantly make up for the mistakes from before by sinking the ball into the goal following beautiful passing. Goal for ER-Force! Immortals can now play with 5 robots again.
ER-Force 1 : 0 Immortals
01:00 After the ball has been permanently in the opponent’s half for some time, there was a somewhat dangerous shot on our goal that missed. Overall, our defense is as strong as usual, with most situations being handled confidently by our defenders.
00:34 Very tense situation in Immortals’ penalty area! After winning the ball and pushing toward the opponent’s goal, the shot almost goes in but bounces off at the last moment. However, the keeper almost kicked the ball into their own goal, but unfortunately, only almost!
-00:07 That concludes the first half. While the Iranians initially dominated, we were able to increasingly turn the tide throughout the first half and shift the focus of the game towards the opponent’s goal.
00:00 Something smells burnt… No one knows where the smell is coming from; both teams check their robots, but everything seems fine.
00:00 Apparently, the burnt smell is coming from an Immortals robot, which brings relief to our team. While we’re not used to our robots “going up in smoke,” it does get the pulse racing a bit.

Second Half

05:00 Immortals would like to switch sides for the second half. Generally, teams play both halves on the same side, but teams can also switch sides during halftime.
05:00 ER-Force takes a timeout, probably to test the robots.
03:40 Again, the game starts in our half, and there are some attacks on our goal. However, our defense can defuse a dangerous attack. Finally, the game is whistled for Lack of Progress between two robots.
03:14 Another stuck situation in front of ER-Force’s goal, Immortals now only with 5 robots and executing a substitution maneuver.
03:03 Extremely dangerous situation in our half after one of our robots passes confidently to the opponent. Naturally, Immortals takes advantage of the situation to launch a strong attack on our goal. But our goalkeeper is there and defuses the situation.
02:14 Apparently, our goalkeeper can’t shoot high properly. Instead of making clearance shots, we’re seeing more droplets. Perhaps there are mechanical issues preventing the plunger from functioning smoothly.
00:17 The pressure on our goal is definitely there! The second half is strongly dominated by Immortals, but our defense stands strong. Of course, Immortals is buying their attack through aggressive play and thus risking some fouls.
00:17 Quick bot change by us, but after a brief inspection, the robot is immediately put back on the field.
-00:20 Many duels that fizzle out into nothingness, ending with Lack of Progress, have dominated the second half, which has mostly taken place in our half. It ends with a beautiful attack on Immortals’ goal, which unfortunately doesn’t succeed, but the attacking intent of the opposing team was clearly felt, and we’re glad that our defense could hold the goal until the end.
00:00 After winning this game, we will now play in the final against TIGERs Mannheim at 2:30 PM.

BuGa 2023: ER-Force vs. Immortals

And once again, a game was supposed to take place, this time ER-Force vs. Immortals, but once again the game ends 10:0, this time in our favor, as Immortals is still absent.

Adding to the travel issues via airplane, it seems there’s now a traffic jam on the highway, which means the team will arrive even later. Luckily for them, the next game at 4:00 PM is between TIGERs Mannheim and RoboTeam Twente, giving Immortals until 5:30 PM to arrive and at least partially prepare their robots.

Due to our “victory,” we currently place ourselves in the first position in the table with 6 points and a goal difference of 12, directly followed by TIGERs Mannheim with 6 points and a goal difference of 11. However, we strongly anticipate that TIGERs will change the order at 4:00 PM, as the probability of them losing the game is overwhelming.

Accordingly, it seems we’ll finish the group phase in the second position on the table, setting us up for the second semifinal game tomorrow at 12:30 PM, while TIGERs already have to play at 11:00 AM.

Let’s hope Immortals arrives on time to prepare for their 5:30 PM game and can adequately prepare for their match against RoboTeam Twente. If they manage to win that one, we’ll still have the opportunity to face them in the tournament tomorrow.