Dark FRC, show me your secrets

What are some robotics tactics (strategies, robot mechanisms, etc.) in any past or current FRC game that aren’t necessarily illegal per se, but that are still shady, underhanded, slimy, etc?

  • 2002 - wedging.
  • Any instance where the foul (or yellowcard) is undervalued (i.e. attacking a robot trying to climb in 2017 (this happened on 2017 Einstein I think))
  • Whoever comes up with a noodle agreement for the current season

2019 defense.

But, actually, in 2017 if you interfered with a robot in auto you could screw them out of fuel and gear points, which could be huge in that unbalanaced game.

In 2018 if you could get a robot stuck on the scale.


2010 6v0


How would a 6v0 occur?

In 2015, some human players specifically targetted 148’s auto-stacker with noodles. At the Las Vegas regional that year, 148’s third robot in playoffs straight up parked in front of the auto-stacker with a net to protect it.


Basically your ranking score was determined by the winning alliance’s score. So if you knew you were going to lose the match, it was in your best interest to run up your alliances score to better help your ranking.


This is neither underhanded or shady, but compressed air to cool motors and breakers between matches makes a huge difference in performance and alot of teams don’t know that.


2015 900 at champs was “seen” as shady, though nothing shady/wrong/illegal actually ever happened.

Cool story though, worth checking out.


2019: The cargo had to be in in the cargo ship to be counted- so we did a logical thing and started designing a robot that could rip the panels off the other alliance’s cargo ship. We didn’t actually make a robot that could do this but we all though it was a hilarious idea


It’s been a while since I’ve read the 2019 rules, but I’m pretty sure that is illegal.


Back in the couple year overlap between allowing 6 CIMs and still using the cRio (prior to roboRio), it was definitely a bit shady. At that point, tripping the main breaker was a real concern for teams with high current drivetrains. Teams would use compressed air to cool their main breaker (which is thermally activated), which while not explicitly illegal, undermined the purpose of the main breaker.


There was a ton of this in 2015, to the extent where you had alliances with third bots whose only role was to have a ramp tied to them and not move.

That game sucked.

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Trust me it was…
we looked

To be fair we weren’t ever going to do that. My team just really likes coming out with extremely dumb ways to win.


Yeah, some people on the team were very disappointed with that rule

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We were pit scouting for robots that were good candidates for cheesecaking when one team literally told us to “Go away. We are busy”. This was a team that has a reputation locally for being a bit out of control and for doing things that get people upset. Our CAD Lead was a mild-mannered young man but was so offended by their rudeness that he said “We are going to pick them, turn their robot upside down and attach a piece of polycarb on the bottom and use it as a ramp!”


Not to drag this off-topic, but please don’t disrupt other team’s repairs to ask your scouting questions. Let them work on their robots.


469 in 2010. They took that game in a completely different direction from anything that any other team did that year. Definitely worth a look at if nothing else.


Also (emphasis mine):

G15. Be careful about what you interact with. DRIVE TEAMS, ROBOTS, and OPERATOR CONSOLES are prohibited from the following actions with regards to interaction with ARENA elements. Items A-D exclude GAME PIECES and the HAB PLATFORM.

  • G. Damaging

Violation: If prior to MATCH, and situation can be corrected quickly, it must be remedied before the MATCH will start. If during a MATCH, FOUL. If during a MATCH and extended or repeated, YELLOW CARD. If offense is via a ROBOT and the Head REFEREE determines that further damage is likely to occur, offending ROBOT will be DISABLED. Corrective action (such as eliminating sharp edges, removing the damaging MECHANISM, and/or re-Inspection) may be required before the ROBOT will be allowed to compete in subsequent MATCHES.

So, a disable and a yellow card. Was it worth it?

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