Blocking the lane with an ubertube in autonomous

I am watching this strategy in the Alamo regional - it appears legal. One of the teams drove toward the opposing alliance’s lane and dropped its ubertube into the lane during autonomous, blocking the path to the feeder station.

G33 (breaking the plane of the lane) only applies during teleoperated period.

Looks like a good strategy, if the opposing team can’t pick game pieces off of the field.

“Blocking the lane”

How specifically? Were the opposing teams encumbered at all?

With any tube on the ground in the lane, it makes it difficult if not impossible for most robots to get close enough to the feeder slot to accept a tube. For robots that can’t pick up off the ground, this is a disabling move, since they’re unable to get the blocking tube out of the way. For robots who pick up off the ground, it’s a minor nuisance if they prefer to pull from the feeder slot, but it’s time wasted dealing with the offending tube if they want to accept from the slot.

It should be noted that the tubes are wide enough that you can’t get around them in the lane, the only way to remove them is to pick them up and put them somewhere else.

Why would you not just drive through the tube and smash it?

We had some experience with this at the Nashua scrimmage, they don’t give that easily. They do crush some, but they’re very very resilient when they get between the wall and your robot, and for the most part they don’t crush enough to allow easy access to the slot in that position, and they don’t fly up and out of the way when hit hard like you might expect.

I’m willing to bet we’ll see this happen a few more times at least (either on purpose or on accident) at this weekends’ events.

I saw one team in Alamo spend basically the entire match ramming into a tube that was blocking its loading slot. They never succeeded in smashing it, or went to the other slot (probably the better strategy). Match ended 0-0.

We didn’t drop the tube in the lane, but we did start with the tube in such a way that once the robot moved in teleop the tube would go into the lane.

An unexpected tube on the floor of the lane will trip up a lot more teams than you think.

After seeing this on the webcasts, we tried to test it with our robot.

The circles seem to be the biggest problem.

We can crush (almost pop) the triangle and square to get to our feeder slot, but the circle doesn’t like to give as much.

What would the penalties be if a robot popped a tube by crushing it, because an opposing alliance purposely blocked their feeder slot?

<G38> ROBOTS and HOSTBOTS may not intentionally deflate GAME PIECES. No violation will be assigned for unintentional deflation. Violation: PENALTY plus RED CARD for intentional deflation. Repeated unintentional deflation may result in a YELLOW CARD.

I see no reason why a game piece in your lane would be any different nor do I think placing a game piece in the lane would count as forcing you to take a penalty.

Interestingly, I saw this in a practice match yesterday (via webcast):

Judging by the number of tubes being thrown completely clear of the lanes in FLR, I doubt this will prove to be an effective strategy during later regionals

our team competed at BAE and didnt have much problem at all since we have tracks and can just power through

Only a few teams were tripped up by a half-dozen or more tubes in the lane, most teams just went through them.

Actually MOST teams picked them up off the floor after their opponents tossed them right in front of their zone.

I think that placing ubertubes in the feeder lane is a good strategy, but for a different reason. Because of how little the feeder stations are being used, with most alliances I don’t think it’ll make much of a difference. The reason I think it’s a good strategy is because it’s a place to get rid of ubertubes that are other wise in the way. If a team is able to score an ubertube in autonomous, I think scoring with it would be much more beneficial than putting it into the feeding lane.

This sounds like an easy fix, though: remove from play any released ubertubes in the lanes at the end of the autonomous period. I don’t see much need for a penalty here.

I see no need for this ‘fix’.

There is no penalty for (nor rule against) putting the Ubertube into the lane during autonomous, so why change the game now? … unless you can’t deal with the tactic?

Using uber-tubes for the lane I find a bad idea. Instead, a good human feeder could throw a logo pieces into the lane accurately with a reliable method to get a tube where you want. I find the 6 or 9 points resulting from hanging an uber-tube top row outweighing the benefits of using such a strategy. Good manipulation of game pieces by human players or the robots during teleop could create some hazardous obstacles. At Traverse City I noticed a lot of tubes getting in the way of robots already without purposeful rearrangement. Now imagine those tubes are purposely being pushed to get in the way of robots that are not allowed to pick up another tube.

A change would mean the GDC never intended for the tactic to be used. In the same way that placing a tube into the lane would cause slot-loaders to adjust to the tactic, a rule change would cause the teams employing this tactic to adapt.

The tactic is a cheap shot against slot loaders that are already at an inherent disadvantage this year, imo, though it probably didn’t effect even 1% of qual match outcomes. Furthermore, it probably significantly increases the frustration due to improbable success of slot loaders this year – slot-only pickups are already disadvantaged (in practice) due to the early design decisions to NOT pick up off the floor. So why keep allowing the tactic if it only serves to frustrate those who have no other option, rather than actually impeding good robots that really NEED good tactics to play effective defense against? I think we all make mostly logical decisions in the beginning that we’re inherently ‘punished’ for due to better decisions being made by competing designs.

I think this a perfectly fine strategy and one of the major reasons we made sure we could floor load.

I also think it should be fine for a robot to toss an unhung ubertube into the lane after autonomous. Failed ubertubes can block the rack for robots on your alliance why not just toss it into the lane next to you. As long as you are not holding on to it when it breaks the plane, it’s not in your position and there for not a penalty. We never got around to doing this at Alamo but there were several times when our drivers should have cleared ubertubes into the lane just to get them out of our way.

<G38> ROBOTS and HOSTBOTS may not intentionally deflate GAME PIECES. No violation will be assigned for unintentional deflation. Violation: PENALTY plus RED CARD for intentional deflation. Repeated unintentional deflation may result in a YELLOW CARD.

I believe the important distinction here is “intentionally”. The root word is intent. If you act intending to pop a tube, you get a penalty and a red card. If you act intending to get to your feeder slot, and inadvertently cause a tube to deflate, you are not intentionally deflating a tube, and should not receive a penalty or red card.