Clarification on G203

G203 *Don’t collude with your partners to shut down major parts of game play.

2 or more ROBOTS that appear to a REFEREE to be working together may neither isolate nor close off any major element of MATCH play.

Violation: TECH FOUL, plus an additional TECH FOUL for every 5 seconds in which the situation is not corrected.

What is a major element of MATCH play? I would submit that a ROBOT constitutes a major element. When I watched this match, I assumed there would be massive tech fouls on blue.

At T= 51 (106 seconds left in the match), two blue robots work together to stop a red robot for over ten seconds. should have been three tech fouls

At T=1:12 (84 seconds left), again, two blue robots shut down a red robot for 7 seconds, should be two tech fouls

At T=1:32 (64 seconds left) Two blues shut down a red for 4 seconds. Should be one tech foul.

At T=1:45 (52 seconds left), two blues shut down a red for 6 seconds. Should have been two tech fouls.

So there should have been 80 points in tech fouls assigned to blue. There were none.

As for red fouls, there was a tech foul during auton (crossing center and contacting a game piece), and at 1:32 there was contact inside frame perimeter, should have been a foul. By T=2:02, all red robots were dead. I never saw another red flag waved, but at the end, red was assigned two tech fouls and a foul. Not sure where the second tech foul came from.

Am I missing something? Is a ROBOT not a major element of MATCH play?

If you look at the examples in the blue box they are all referring to parts of the field. So, I believe the intent here is to prevent “blockades” not to prevent double-teaming.


The blue box also states:

2 ROBOTS independently playing defense on 2 opponent ROBOTS is not a violation of this rule.

Which would imply that two robots working together to play defense on ONE opponent robot would be a violation.

Yeah…this is clear as mud…and subjective. EVEN if you blocked something…what are they? Charging station has two ways on. The community areas? Game cones and cubes?

Preventing blockades? I get it if it is 2 on 1 and preventing a movement of a bot…swerve mostly takes that out of the equation.

I can’t think of reason that this would be thrown out there as a foul. At least not in the context presented.

That isn’t how blue boxes work. You can’t just assume what isn’t covered is illegal. They usually only only cover the most extremely obvious case and leave the “grey” for the referee to interpret.


But, the blue box is meant to lead interpretations down the right path. The fact that the blue box never mentions shutting down robots should gove clues to referees.

This rule has been around a while.

I can tell you double defense on a single robot has never been blockading. I don’t even have to look that far in history to tell you that is not the case. Just last year it happened a lot:

I do love the second photo because the head referee is looking directly at the double defense.

A robot does not constitute a major element of “match play” in the same blue box you quoted:

Examples of violations of this rule include, but are not limited to:
a. shutting down access to all GAME PIECES,
b. quarantining all opponents to a small area of the FIELD,
c. blocking all access to the LOADING ZONE, and
d. blocking all access to the COMMUNITY

Notice how robots are not mentioned anywhere except in relation to quarantining ALL of them. Everything here is related to interacting with the field or game pieces even the quarantining example specifically states “small area of the field”.

After watching the match in question I will also say both of 1771s alliance partners dieing in the locations they did actually did more to constitute blockading and even just generally impeding them then anything their opponents did.

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Implications aside, it means that 2 red robots are free to play offense with only one blue defender. A major element of match play is the actions robots take on field to get or score game pieces or interact with field elements. Like going to loading zone, placing pieces on the grid, or docking with charge station.

This rule has always had the “no blockade” spirit. At our first event, one of our alliances was trying to play three robot defense across the field. I told the other drive coaches that what they were describing was a “blockade” and would be called a foul. One of the coaches tried to spin it as just three one-on-one defenses happening mid field. I told them that a ref may see it as shutting down access to the loading zone, and call tech fouls. Fortunately they agreed and did not try this.

this as well as the classic FRC clause that has haunted weird rule decisions for years, "The intent of this manual is that the text means exactly, and only, what it says. Please avoid interpreting the text based on assumptions about intent, implementation of past rules, or how a situation might be in “real life.” There are no hidden requirements or restrictions. If you’ve read everything, you know everything.”