2021 Team Update 03

On second look they may have contradicted themselves with the new section plus the blue box. On to Team Update 4.

POWER CELLS which land in the challenge space may be fielded directly by the ROBOT anywhere in the challenge space; they do not need to be reintroduced by a human or into the Reintroduction Zone.

A POWER CELL is only considered scored if, as it scores, it is not in contact with a ROBOT and that POWER CELL has entered the Reintroduction Zone (via ROBOT, by human, or by rolling itself) since the last time that POWER CELL was scored.


It means that if you field the ball - aka, pick it up off the ground - you still need to return to the reintroduction zone. I’m ok with saying that you can’t catch it, but it makes cycles much harder unless you have a full goal structure, as chasing down and collecting the balls with a robot before returning them to the reintroduction zone is harder and will take longer than simply returning to the reintroduction zone and being loaded there by a human player

The problem is that the rule change will mostly affect teams that don’t have the resources to build a full goal.

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I disagree. A full goal means the ball stays behind the goal, or maybe slides out to the side. It then has be to returned the full length of the field before being re-introduced.

If you have a 2d goal, and plan your shot correctly, the ball will bounce back to about the middle of the field length, hopefully at the edge and at a fairly consistent place, and then only has be to returned (thrown?) 1/2 the field. This assumes that you use your human players to retrieve the balls.

This assumes that you use your human players to retrieve the balls.

You cannot use human players to retrieve balls that fall in the field - that would be a significant safety problem, and we wouldn’t allow it while the robot is enabled.

The difference comes down to the time it takes for a human player to throw the ball the length of a field, vs the time it takes for a robot to collect a ball from the field and return to the reintroduction zone. I think that the latter will typically take longer.

I agree with your safety assessment, but my point is that with a 2D target, you can simply shoot from off-center and ball will bounce off the field. Making sure that is reliable and repeatable is a task for each team.

Of course, I may be proved wrong.

I really don’t like this section of the rules.

A POWER CELL is only considered scored if, as it scores, it is not in contact with a ROBOT and that POWER CELL has entered the Reintroduction Zone (via ROBOT, by human, or by rolling itself) since the last time that POWER CELL was scored.

I had previously assumed that this challenge was supposed to simulate real IR gameplay in a smaller space. I felt it accomplished this with the old rules where “trench cycle” bots like 118 could succeed with their strategy and “cleanup” bots like 148 could succeed with their strategy. Now, I see no way for a cleanup bot to succeed if they still have to go all the way back to the reintroduction zone every cycle. They might as well just get balls from the feeder station. Also, picking up balls from the ground is going to be slower so there’s no reason to leave an intake on your robot. I think a rule that reduces the number of viable strategies and encourages removing another mechanism from a normal IR robot is a bad rule.

I think a better way to accomplish a similar result would be to require that a ball hits the floor while not in contact with a robot before it can be scored again. Edit: @ngreen suggested this first here

I’d also like to note that obviously both 148 and 118 can do both strategies well, I just used them as an example because I thought they did a good job demonstrating what I was talking about, especially in their elims matches at Plano

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One possible change that would keep the intent but make it easier is to only require the ball to exit the Scoring Zone before it can be re-scored. The “hit the floor” idea could still be very easily loopholed into a “bounce, catch, score” loop, while having the ball have to leave an area in order for the robot to be able to score it from inside that area…would still be a loophole of “get the bumpers just inside the zone, catch the ball, swing it outside the zone, bring it back in and shoot.”

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Don’t you mean @Nate_Laverdure above that?


That was the way the problem was handled in FTC this year. You still had stationary bots designed to pickup and shoot with minimal movement, but they couldn’t sit under the ring return chute. I was expecting a “must touch the ground” change, but I’m not comfortable with “return to reintroduction zone”.

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Yes and no, he suggested balls touching the robot as another way of making them eligible for scoring. Ngreen said only floor or human player. Either way I didn’t come up with that idea by myself.

Funnel all scored balls to a chute, chute shoots the balls back out.

+ a net or some other funnel like device in the reintroduction zone to catch them and line them up for easy feeding.

That’s a different kind of arms.

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I think folks are overthinking this.
If a power cell is scored it must return to the reintroduction zone to be scored again.
If it doesn’t score a robot can pick it up and score.
Not much different from the real game.
The intent is to stop teams with a flat goal from gaining an advantage by getting scored balls that bounce short and can be easily retrieved.


I’ve enlisted the help of a guru, a psychic, a shaman, a sorcerer, and an engineer to help us get to the bottom of this intent business. I’ll let you all know when the engineer stops arguing and they have an answer.


I’d suggest that you also add a lawyer, but there’s two problems with that:

  1. Disqualification from competition on “general principles”
  2. A lawyer.

I like that they gave this clarification very early on and I think it’s a good rule. It means you get 3 shots (assuming they score) then you are forced to reset by bringing the bot back to the re-int zone

Now teams just have to figure out the fastest way to get:

  1. The bot back to the re-int zone
  2. A full payload back to the re-int zone

I disagree. In the actual game, if an alliance overwhelms the opposing HP station, the PCs must be reintroduced right there next to the goal, and many teams (including your INBLO alliance partners) designed their robots and strategies to harvest them.


This was a strategy, but not one that was pulled off very much. Granted we only got 3 weeks of comps and we may have started seeing it more as teams improved.

Even for alliances that did pull this off, the new rule update is consistent with the game. Teams still have to move to rebound PCs then re-aim to score again in both cases. Prior to this ruling, teams could like on target perpendicular to the goal and rely on the rebound. This provides a clear understanding of what the GDC has determined to be a minimal amount of movement (re-int zone)


Interesting you say that. From the 2020 matches I watched in my home district, roughly half the teams did not perform trench runs; they preferred to harvest close to the goal. Particularly the low-goal robots.