A strategy note: Tipped robots

Let’s suppose that there is a match in progress. A robot is attempting a hurdle when–BAM!–it falls over. Sideways. Now this robot is about 7’ high and it lands across the track. The track is 13’ wide, roughly, so the robot takes up half of it.

The point I am trying to make here is that one robot on its side will block a large portion of the track and create a traffic jam. The object of the game is to score lots of points. Having ANY robot across the track will slow that object significantly.

If you see a robot start to tip, please get under them and keep them upright. If they go over, please pick them up. This isn’t NASCAR; we don’t have “tow robots” to clear the way. We just have five other robots that are trying to score.

Remember, a tipped robot is your enemy, regardless of alliance. A driving robot is your friend, regardless of alliance.

(Oh, yeah, and if you tip, please compress as much as possible.)

If it also happens early in the match, we don’t get yellow flags to stop and move out of the way.

True–we just have driver alertness–hopefully.

BTW, my dad is the one who told me about this.

To play devil’s advocate, if I’m on the opposing alliance, that’s one less robot I now have to worry about scoring points and moving their ball around.

The tipped over robot is blocking traffic for everyone, but scoring less for only their alliance. Why would I want to pick them up?

Not even your alliance. If you are winning, and all lanes are shut than it would be beneficial for you to keep that “jam” as long as possible. Strategically the jam would be in your best interest.


Everyone scores less because it blocks so much of the field. If they’re already in the lead… If they have a trackball in grasp, it’s even worse (up to 100% of the track blocked until somebody clears part of it.)

Think of it this way: there’s an accident on an interstate that takes up two lanes. (Some have six each direction in SoCal.) EVERY lane comes to a halt/slow crawl as everyone merges into the remaining lanes. Once you’re clear/the accident is removed, traffic speeds up.

And if the situation is reversed? The other alliance is in the lead?

I would of thought of that after some time, like next week. But yeah, I would rather have a robot down that can hurdle than have more space to move around. I mean if you are a good hurdler then you want one of their hurdlers not to do good. You would really like it not to be from them tipping over, but when your in a match you don’t really care how you win. You would really like the opposing alliance to have a high score, but a wins a win.

I understand how traffic would slow down. The point is that it would slow down for everyone. While it may put everyone at a disadvantage, it does not do your alliance ay more harm than the other.

If anything, it gives you an advantage because now you are earning 2 more points per lap and you have more robots moving the ball around.
Even better is if their robot tips over in their home stretch. Now, if one of their teams stops and tries to put the ball on the overpass, he is likely going to be impeding traffic. Therefore I can bump him and he must get out of my way, i.e. he won’t be able to put the ball up.

I see an opposing tipped robot as a rather big advantage.

On a somewhat related note, would it be considered GP to push a tipped robot in front of the opposing alliances overpass? It would certainly give you the advantage I mentioned above, but what’s to keep that robot from getting pushed around all match as teams try to position it on the field?

The rules have been (I’m not sure about this year) if a robot is tipped, all “out of bumper zone” contact is ignored. That way someone can just move their robot out of the way.

This is all if one robot tips over, but what if two robots of tip over and block the entire lane for everyone. this is very unlikely to happen but still a possibility.

Personally I was kind of disappointed with the rules this year, they could have been better.

No. If it were, I’d push it in front of YOUR overpass and then get behind it so you can’t move it. Now who gets in trouble?

I saw a case where a tipped robot was pushed in front of a ball corral (2004). A penalty was assessed. (The robot was intentionally tipped, but it took the second tip–so it couldn’t get up–and the shoving into the chute to draw the penalty.)

Or set them on their wheels.

What makes this game interesting is there exists sort of a status quo that is constantly mantained. Everyone will likely proceed around the track at the same rate, as I believe any breakaways that do occur will either hit the pelaton again (which they won’t be able to pass through) or hit some other traffic obstruction.

So, lets say the other alliance is in the lead, but you so happen to have a robot about to hurdle. So they hurdle, and now you are in the lead. It is still in your advantage to have the robot down. Or if you are ahead, most of the time it will be in your advantage for traffic to be slower (of course, there are exceptions, but this situation is on a case by case basis).

So, picking the other robot up, or moving them out of the way is a strategic decision.

I don’t agree with this. If it is in my estimation a strategic advantage to slow the scoring down with a tipped robot, I will not move them out of the way. I will let them lie where they are.

I would say, a tipped robot, regardless of alliance, will slow down scoring. Whether or not this is a bad thing is highly situation.

I pity the repair job and the manipulator that is blocking the track. 25 Feet Per Second has Gotta Hurt!

Thank you for volunteering to write the rules next year. I am sure that you will do a much better job.


To add insult to injury, there’s probably a penalty for being over 80".

Even if you think it benefits your alliance because you’re blocking the other one… Eric is right. Not only do you reduce the chances of your alliance scoring, but you also run the risk of getting your robot destroyed.

To make it simple. Make a sturdy robot so it doesn’t tip. :slight_smile:

I think that discussing whether a tipped robot can be an advantage/disadvantage for alliances is probably not in the overall spirit of FIRST. It lets people think about the strategy of possibly tipping a robot which is DEFINITELY not in the spirit of FIRST.

In the past, referees generally do allow a robot to be moved out of the way if it has been tipped over. However, before you move another team’s robot, imagine if your robot was the one being pushed around after falling over. It probably would not feel very good to see your 6 weeks of hard work being smeared on the carpet just because another team wanted to win THAT badly.

So try to remember that even though you might not have the capability to help another robot up, you should do your best to try to avoid tipped robots (nobody wants their hard work being tossed around).

-my $0.02