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  #31   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 10-03-2018, 07:50 PM
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Re: Blockading Rule Reform

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Originally Posted by BrennanB View Post
You do have to move to block effectively unless your robot can't turn. Hitting a corner of a robot that you can not push still will rotate them out of the way and they no longer have the benefit of their wheel friction helping them as much.



If there was no skill involved in playing this defense, more people would have played it, as you can see, it was pretty effective at some of the highest level of play. It's also pretty important to note that drivers make mistakes all the time, there is no flawless match where nothing could have been improved. You always can find an error and work with it.

I should clarify that I don't disagree that it is difficult to get around this defense due to the choke point, and I want to loop back to my original point. I believe that there is skill in playing defense well enough to prevent a team from passing through that choke point. You can find plenty of poor defense in this area that is less than effective. The point that is important is that there is an probable inconsistency with level of driving skills, where if you have a weak enough driver that has low ability as the defended robot, they may be the benefactor of a blockading foul/counting from the ref, while a more skilled driver (like 3310) may be able to avoid them (as shown with the positioning errors on the two clips I linked) and thus it makes it harder to call blockading consistently, which is a problem worth addressing in my opinion.
It is possible to construct a blue robot such that it cannot be turned in that situation. In fact it's quite easy to do, look up 1817.

It is not hard to call blockading this year. If the defending alliance has a robot in between the switch and an opposing robot is trying to get through and is impeded, then its blockading. Regardless of driver skill. It is an attempt to stop a required flow of the game. Its cut and dry.
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Unread 10-03-2018, 08:02 PM
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Re: Blockading Rule Reform

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnSchneider View Post
It is possible to construct a blue robot such that it cannot be turned in that situation. In fact it's quite easy to do, look up 1817.

It is not hard to call blockading this year. If the defending alliance has a robot in between the switch and an opposing robot is trying to get through and is impeded, then its blockading. Regardless of driver skill. It is an attempt to stop a required flow of the game. Its cut and dry.
There is a reason these lanes are not protected zones.
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Unread 10-03-2018, 08:04 PM
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Re: Blockading Rule Reform

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Originally Posted by JohnSchneider View Post
It is possible to construct a blue robot such that it cannot be turned in that situation. In fact it's quite easy to do, look up 1817.

It is not hard to call blockading this year. If the defending alliance has a robot in between the switch and an opposing robot is trying to get through and is impeded, then its blockading. Regardless of driver skill. It is an attempt to stop a required flow of the game. Its cut and dry.
Okay. Lets suppose you are correct, show me a match where a team played defense against a competent driver where the defender was positioned in between the switch wall and the alliance wall, and the defender completely destroys the offense.

Since as you say there isn't much to pulling off successful defense, it should be relatively easy to find a good match showcasing this.

I've shown you plenty of evidence showing that you can get through that defense, can you show me one where the defender prevented the robot from scoring for a very long period of the match? 30s+?
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Unread 10-03-2018, 08:24 PM
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Re: Blockading Rule Reform

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Originally Posted by JohnSchneider View Post
It is possible to construct a blue robot such that it cannot be turned in that situation. In fact it's quite easy to do, look up 1817.

It is not hard to call blockading this year. If the defending alliance has a robot in between the switch and an opposing robot is trying to get through and is impeded, then its blockading. Regardless of driver skill. It is an attempt to stop a required flow of the game. Its cut and dry.
What is defense if not "an attempt to stop a required flow of a game"?
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Unread 10-03-2018, 09:40 PM
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Re: Blockading Rule Reform

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Originally Posted by pkrishna3082 View Post
What is defense if not "an attempt to stop a required flow of a game"?
As I originally read it, and continue to read it, the rule as written this year and most recent years was written to explicitly allow robot-on-robot defense, but to prohibit "zone" defense of all instances of a type of goal or game piece source of which there are at least two. (Additionally the 2018 rule prohibited multiple robots colluding in shutting down the exchange.) It's the clear-to-defense but sometimes subtle-to-referes difference between assigning each robot a role to defend against another robot (and perhaps double teaming), vice assigning a robot to defend each portal, or two robots to defend the exchange. Honestly, it's hard to imagine how one would shut down all access to cubes (except late in a match) or quarantine an alliance's robots to a useless zone without pinning, but either would certainly require "zone defense".

In any case, the key point is - are each of the defending robots defending against a specific robot doing anything at all (perfectly allowed), or are multiple robots working against any of the robots of the other alliance acquiring game pieces from a given type of source, or scoring them in a specific type of "goal" (not allowed)?
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Unread 10-03-2018, 10:35 PM
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Re: Blockading Rule Reform

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Originally Posted by BrennanB View Post
Okay. Lets suppose you are correct, show me a match where a team played defense against a competent driver where the defender was positioned in between the switch wall and the alliance wall, and the defender completely destroys the offense.
I don't have a dog in this fight, but here's one. Blue robot traps red inside the zone for over 20s. Red gave up and went around or it could have gone on all day.
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Unread 10-03-2018, 10:41 PM
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Re: Blockading Rule Reform

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Originally Posted by JohnSchneider View Post
It is not hard to call blockading this year. If the defending alliance has a robot in between the switch and an opposing robot is trying to get through and is impeded, then its blockading. Regardless of driver skill. It is an attempt to stop a required flow of the game. Its cut and dry.
No it isn't. If there's only one robot doing this impeding it can never be blockading, not in that part of the field anyway. Making them go the long way around isn't stopping them from scoring, it's just slowing them down.
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Unread 10-04-2018, 12:07 AM
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Re: Blockading Rule Reform

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Originally Posted by TJP123 View Post
I don't have a dog in this fight, but here's one. Blue robot traps red inside the zone for over 20s. Red gave up and went around or it could have gone on all day.
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Originally Posted by TJP123 View Post
No it isn't. If there's only one robot doing this impeding it can never be blockading, not in that part of the field anyway. Making them go the long way around isn't stopping them from scoring, it's just slowing them down.
As you note this is just good defense, red had total access to the opposing switch (which they eventually went to) and portals, and they could have gone around the switch. We did the same thing in 2017 with airships and you wouldn't believe how many teams spent 30 seconds ramming into us instead of going the long way around. FIRST needs to have smaller field elements if this type of D is bad for the game. I personally think it fits the NFL lineman analogy well, if my robot is good enough to block yours I can keep you from doing something all day (also similar in the NFL, good DBs can jam WRs at the line with no penalty if within 5 yards of the LOS, and on some plays can literally shut them down the whole play as a result). And it takes a fairly high skill level to execute this correctly, there were a lot of teams who tried the same thing and could not strafe and position their robot effectively so teams slipped by after a few seconds.

I am all for multi-robot blockading penalties, but expanding it to single robots handicaps all defense imo.
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Unread 10-04-2018, 12:40 AM
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Re: Blockading Rule Reform

One more aspect to throw into this thread.

I think there should be some clearly defined differences between 2-on-1 pinning and blockading. If 2 robots push an opposing robot into the corner of the field, that should be considered pinning. Might be difficult to communicate or call for 2 simultaneous pinning fouls, but I still think that distinction needs to be made. 2 robots working together to pin down 1 opposing robot is a fair sight different from an alliance working together to shut down a major part of the game.
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Unread 10-04-2018, 12:40 AM
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Re: Blockading Rule Reform

The first question to ask when trying to rewrite a rule is: What is this particular rule trying to protect against? The second question is: Is there another method of doing so? The third question is: Does the current punishment fit the crime?


Once those three are answered, you will know both how to start rewriting the rule and why the rule is written the way it is.




Personally, given those three questions... I would say that given the rule existed on a field with no obstructions at all, the second answer is "no", and give what my answers to the first question are, I think the punishment actually doesn't fit the crime. Denying the ability to score points (moving the goal, if you will) is penalized by a "if you screw up something else you lose that match instead". Personally, I'd add a Tech Foul to the Alliance Yellow Card (and I would keep the Alliance Card, because if you have a 10-1-1 and the 10 eggs the 1's on, I want to prevent the 10 from trying that stunt again--they're getting Red the next time, y'see). Not entirely sure I'd put a time limit but that might be a good idea--if so, call it 5 seconds and give yet another thing for the ol' tomahawk chop count to possibly mean.
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Unread 10-04-2018, 08:37 AM
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Re: Blockading Rule Reform

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Originally Posted by BrennanB View Post
Code:
Defended driver skill level: 1/10
Defenders driver skill level: 5/10

Defenders easily block the defended driver and prevent them from scoring. 
Blockading is called against the defenders.
Code:
Defended driver skill level: 10/10
Defenders driver skill level: 5/10

Defenders struggle to block the defended robot, there is a 5 second 
slowdown on the defended robot but they are able to make it through. 
Blockade is not called here, as the robot could make it through.
In both cases, the actions of the red robots were identical, the only difference is that the blue robot was able to make it through due to driver skill alone. I don't think it's a good idea to make rules that encourage weak driving from the defender, and discourage good defense from defenders.

Code:
Don’t collude with your partners to shut down major parts of game play. Two or more
ROBOTS may not isolate or close off any major component of MATCH play from an ALLIANCE.
Violation: RED CARD for the offending ROBOT(S). TECHNICAL FOUL
Let me know what you think!
For the first part, I'd wholly disagree. You've presented a hypothetical that doesn't really represent what we're seeing in the situation discussed. Robots with basic drive skills can drive forward and backward leaving their robot in a sideways position. A driver with excellent skill will still have a harder time moving around that robot, especially given the sideways positioning. If you want to avoid providing incentive to poor driving skill, you wouldn't want to enable a blockade as seen at Chezy. Weakening the rule enables poor driving making a larger impact.

For the last part, I'm not sure how it makes sense. If you're assigning a red card for the alliance, there are exactly zero point values that have any actual value. Winning by 1 or 1000 results in the same win. Why assign a foul of any kind? It doesn't change anything. I'd agree with the red card as it closes a loophole many teams have considered using. But, I don't see the point in adding insult to injury with a foul beyond that.
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Unread 10-04-2018, 08:48 AM
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Re: Blockading Rule Reform

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Originally Posted by JohnSchneider View Post
It is not hard to call blockading this year. If the defending alliance has a robot in between the switch and an opposing robot is trying to get through and is impeded, then its blockading. Regardless of driver skill. It is an attempt to stop a required flow of the game. Its cut and dry.
I'd agree that it's cut and dry. However, it's in the opposite direction of what you're suggesting. It's cut and dry that blockading requires two robots. The case you described only has one.

It's very difficult to call blockading this year. Here are some things for you to consider before providing a counterpoint:
1) blockading MUST include multiple robots
2) those robots MUST be working together
3) their actions MUST be shutting down some aspect of game play in a way that goes beyond what one would consider reasonable defense
4) there are very few places two robots can perform this task in this year's game without putting themselves at risk of drawing other fouls
5) as blockading asks for a judgement call on intent, it needs to be fairly clear both robots are intending to take the action it appears they're taking. For example, if one is "in the way" but clearly focusing their efforts on scoring in the scale/switch, it's very difficult to state "their scoring was a decoy, they intended to block access."

Blockading is historically difficult to call for these reasons. In fact, there was once a discussion with a mentor from your team and a mentor from one of your alliance partners where in frustration, a remark along the lines of "if it's that hard to call, then it isn't a rule at all" was thrown out.

If it were as cut and dry as you believed, this wouldn't be a debate. Unfortunately, the grey area exists somewhere else entirely. The part you're worried about is entirely within the realm of legitimate defense. As you suggested, I'll point towards 1817. The strategy you listed was a cornerstone of their defensive prowess this season.
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Unread 10-04-2018, 08:53 AM
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Re: Blockading Rule Reform

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Originally Posted by JeffB View Post
For the first part, I'd wholly disagree. You've presented a hypothetical that doesn't really represent what we're seeing in the situation discussed. Robots with basic drive skills can drive forward and backward leaving their robot in a sideways position. A driver with excellent skill will still have a harder time moving around that robot, especially given the sideways positioning. If you want to avoid providing incentive to poor driving skill, you wouldn't want to enable a blockade as seen at Chezy. Weakening the rule enables poor driving making a larger impact.
I understand your point, but where it falls through I think (and the point that people seem to be sticking on) is that it's really not that easy to play defense, even in that choke point for the average team/below average team. It is very difficult to get around choke points for any driver, but the difference is for a weak driver against some match ups it will be impossible, while some drivers can do it significantly easier. Blockading to me is executing a strategy which leaves the opposing alliance zero counter play, no way of still possibly winning. This is why this point was brought up. What may be impossible for one driver is just hard for another.

Hundreds of third picks have been "taught" how to play defense, and do so largely ineffectively. I think you vastly over-estimate average driver skill on defense. Most drivers are very ineffective when it comes to blocking top tier robots (even in choke points), and you can find tons of evidence from any year that will back that up, especially 2013 and 2018 since they have similar choke points. You really don't have to look far to see defense that is not effective. The point that part is trying to make is that there is a measurable skill gap in drivers, and that generally weak defense is not effective vs competent drivers. Therefore if you have weak defender against a weak defended robot, you are more likely to get a call in this situation which benefits the weak driver on the offense robot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffB View Post
For the last part, I'm not sure how it makes sense. If you're assigning a red card for the alliance, there are exactly zero point values that have any actual value. Winning by 1 or 1000 results in the same win. Why assign a foul of any kind? It doesn't change anything. I'd agree with the red card as it closes a loophole many teams have considered using. But, I don't see the point in adding insult to injury with a foul beyond that.
Qualification matches was the main reasoning behind that. Perhaps that's not required however, and that's a good discussion to have.

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Originally Posted by TJP123 View Post
I don't have a dog in this fight, but here's one. Blue robot traps red inside the zone for over 20s. Red gave up and went around or it could have gone on all day.
Thanks for the example. There are some of these that are shown that you can find, but not one where you just sit and literally do nothing and make it impossible to get by (which is what JohnSchneider was arguing) so my apologies. I am looking for an example where a robot sits in that lane, doesn't move at all, and makes it impossible to get by. (tipped over robots in the lane don't count.)
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FRC|> 2009-2012 (K-Botics #2809) -> 2013-2019 (W.A.F.F.L.E.S. Community Robotics #4476)
FLL|> 2006-2019 (W.A.F.F.L.E.S. #105)
VRC|> 2010-2013, 2015-2016 (W.A.F.F.L.E.S. #4476)
SLFF|> 2013-2019 (The Breakfast Company)
-------------------------------------------------

Last edited by BrennanB : 10-04-2018 at 09:03 AM.
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Unread 10-04-2018, 09:30 AM
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Re: Blockading Rule Reform

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Originally Posted by JohnSchneider View Post
I would argue that the defending robot made a mistake by moving. They could not be pushed. If they had just sat in the middle of the lane it would have been impossible for the offensive robot to get through. You cannot "out skill" an immovable object giving you no possible room to get through.
That is the sort of mistake one would expect a skill level 1 or 2 driver would make. The scenario you pose would require both skill level 1 or 2 robots to be well coordinated, which is consistent with drivers at a higher skill level.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnSchneider View Post
It is possible to construct a blue robot such that it cannot be turned in that situation. In fact it's quite easy to do, look up 1817.
1817 has ranked at #1 and #3 at events in 2014 and has often ranked in the top 10 in recent years. That is not consistent with a team at skill level 1 or 2.
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Unread 10-04-2018, 09:39 AM
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Re: Blockading Rule Reform

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrennanB View Post
I understand your point, but where it falls through I think (and the point that people seem to be sticking on) is that it's really not that easy to play defense, even in that choke point for the average team/below average team. It is very difficult to get around choke points for any driver, but the difference is for a weak driver against some match ups it will be impossible, while some drivers can do it significantly easier. Blockading to me is executing a strategy which leaves the opposing alliance zero counter play, no way of still possibly winning. This is why this point was brought up. What may be impossible for one driver is just hard for another.

Hundreds of third picks have been "taught" how to play defense, and do so largely ineffectively. I think you vastly over-estimate average driver skill on defense.
The point that part is trying to make is that there is a measurable skill gap in drivers, and that generally weak defense is not effective vs competent drivers. Therefore if you have weak defender against a weak defended robot, you are more likely to get a call in this situation which benefits the weak driver on the offense robot.
I'm not suggesting defense is easy. I'm suggesting it's easier than your example suggested. Your example hinges on a need for a weak driver playing defense against a strong driver trying to get around that defense. In those cases, I see your point. In every other scenario, a robot blocking a choke point provides a much greater hindrance than the ~5 seconds you suggest. The rule shouldn't look only at the best case scenario for the offense robot, for lack of a better term. It should consider the majority of cases. Let's not cherry pick examples and instead look at the overall intent. The goal is to prevent two robots from playing defense in a way that prevents teams from playing the game. Unless you're suggesting 3310's driver is a weak driver, you'd have to admit the defense in the end game of finals 3 was two robots working together with choke points to keep 3310 from playing the game. As that's the event that brought up this whole discussion, it's important to note that context.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrennanB View Post
Qualification matches was the main reasoning behind that. Perhaps that's not required however, and that's a good discussion to have.
Are you concerned about games where points scored is the ranking metric rather than RP? FRC seems pretty dedicated to RP as of late. The 2RP are far more value than the ~2 pts/match their average would be affected for tiebreaking would be.
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