I noticed at Waterloo, especially on Saturday, the head ref was being particularly quick to pull the trigger on the “Blockading” techfoul for any 2v1 defense that was being played against teams like 1114, 2056, 610 and 1310.
I wasn’t there for the driver’s meeting to hear his explanation of how he was going to call this, but this seemed VERY different to how head ref Ian Mckenzie called GTR East.
At GTR East, teams were told that Blockading would only be called if multiple ALLIANCE ROBOTS were stopping the flow of the MATCH, (ie. 2 robots sitting adjacent to the PYRAMID, attempting to stop robots from passing) NOT if multiple ROBOTS were stopping the flow of a single ROBOT.
This was the strategy that we used during St. Louis eliminations to starve 1706’s full-court shooter. We checked with the head-ref on day 1, and he wasn’t going to call blockading so long as the pyramid was open (even if no one on the other alliance can’t fit under the pyramid).
There doesn’t seem to be much consistency, so it’s just something that’ll have to be clarified per venue.
From my perspective, at the point when the game announcer called the blockading, I had only seen good, clean, 2-on-1 defense that didn’t seem to me to be an “attempt to stop the flow of the MATCH.” There was at least a 10’ path around the two robots on either side, as the “blockade” was right in the middle of the field at the center line. A few seconds later, there is a moment when 610 drove up against the side wall that might be interpreted as a blockade if it persisted, but even then, the 2nd robot immediately backed away.
In any case, from the matches I watched at Waterloo, it seemed that almost any 2-on-1 defense was being called as a blockade. Even though our team’s robot is primarily offensive, so such a call would typically work in our favor, I don’t think forbidding of any 2-on-1 defense is the intent of G25, but maybe that’s just my “New England Defense” view. I sure know we had to struggle against 2-on-1 defense at plenty of tournaments each of the past two years!
I can’t believe that was called for a penalty! One robot could have performed the same defense just as effectively without a penalty. The announcer definitely should not be calling for a penalty either. I think of a blockade as being an immobile attempt to trap a robot without pinning it. That robot was not trapped, it simply had to out-maneuver the opposing alliance.
According to the Q and A, two on one defense generally is not to be regarded as a blockade:
Game - The Game » ROBOT Actions » G25
Q577 Q. Does G25 have the potential to apply (at the referees’ discretion) to all types of 2-on-1 defense, or is the intent limited to field-centric blocks? Could intentionally impeding 1 robot with 2 defenders qualify as blockading if no other match flow is stopped?
FRC1640 on 2013-03-13 | 3 Followers
A. We cannot comment absolutely on hypothetical situations. Generally, impeding a single ROBOT without blocking all traffic across the FIELD is not considered a violation of [G25].
Your mileage may vary depending on the regional you are attending of course
It shouldn’t vary, though, and that’s my point. Q&A answered exactly what I thought, that 2v1 defence should not generally be considered blockading for the purposes of G25. Seems to me like the Head Ref at Waterloo was overstepping his bounds by calling G25 so aggressively.
Grand scheme of things, its too late to change now, and I don’t recall any matches that were decided by a G25 (typically, the ones they were called in were blowouts anyway), but the point is that all calls should be consistent from event to event, and it should be consistent with the interpretation provided from Q&A/The Manual, if one exists.
I definitely agree that the calls should be more consistent form event-to-event, but that ultimately they can’t be made identical…
I do think that just because no matches were decided by G25’s doesn’t mean it didn’t affect the outcome of matches… Teams that had a G25 called on them for open-field 2v1 defense would probably avoid it in the future (20pt penalty is 1.75 cycles!). So, I’m guessing that more teams would’ve played effective 2v1 defense later in the event if they hadn’t learned earlier in the event that it was likely to incur a G25.
At any rate, it was called as it was at Waterloo (they did at least seem pretty consistent about it calling it on 2v1 at Waterloo), the best that can be done is just using it as an opportunity to help improve continuity across events. Perhaps this is a case for particular training/clarification to the Head Refs from FIRST HQ?
As has already been said… if nothing else, teams should ask in the drivers’ meetings about how the refs intend to call G25’s.
Blockading has definitely been an interesting one this year. It’s a 20pt call that could definitely change the outcome of a match. I don’t it has in any of ours yet this year, but it’s a huge points swing.
The way it was called between BAE and Waterloo was indeed very different - and I don’t think I could call either way explicitly “right” or “wrong.”
We saw lots of 2 on 1 defense at both events, and one consistent thing when blockading calls were made were two robots, lined up one in front of the other, driving sideways across the field.
This is about the only arrangement I’ve seen where blockading calls were made consistently.