Deep Space is going to be ruined by Defence



The bumper slot on the Cargo Ship, while designed for head-on placement of game elements can also be a side bumper slot when a defensive robot pushes you into the Cargo Ship. Meaning the field can enter the left or right side of your robot perimeter and do all sorts of damage… like tear motors off… can the field get a yellow card???


From talking with them during the weekend, 2910 sheared 7 neos this way scoring normally.


Ouch. We’re going to be moving some components around before our next regional.


Not to worry though. We had temporary fixes in place on Sunday and will have this issue completely fixed for our next district. Luckily, it only caused us to loose steering on our 2 rear modules for 2 matches (quals 16 and 18), but we were still able to be somewhat effective.


After finally playing a few matches of this game, it’s no longer speculation for me, and I can finally post my thoughts. My initial thoughts were very inline with JNo (OP) and I thought defense was going to really make me dislike the game. I can confidently say I have not changed my mind. A game, where a team who designs to play the game at the highest level can lose (or worse, break) to a robot that is just a drivetrain on wheels due to the craziness of the defense is not fun for me. This is not new, and sure it was an issue with many games in the past and you can likely list a bunch of games where this was the case. I just don’t think that makes it okay.

Everybody has fun in different ways, and I can see how many of you find games with more aggressive defense fun. I will go as far as to say I may have enjoyed defense at various points in my tournament this past weekend. However my overall opinion is that protected scoring zones don’t take defense away, there are examples of this in many games over the years as well. The reason why I think the protected scoring zones are better is because, teams are at their most vulnerable during scoring. Drivers are paying attention to scoring, mechanisms are likely outside frame perimeter, and inside or around field elements waiting to do some damage. Usually the same isn’t true for the defensive robot.

Watching 188 almost complete a solo rocket was a lot of fun for me. Watching 2200 fill the cargo ship was fun for me. Watching a professional athlete hitting the shot, or scoring the goal is a lot of fun for me. While I believe there is a place for the blocked shot, or the checking, I think sports have a lot of rules that are certainly created and in place when it come to defense that make sense. DDS does not do this to what I consider to be a reasonable level. A defensive robot parked in front of an opposing scoring unit, can be considered pinned by the offensive robot during scoring is a rather silly situation. If a defensive robot is trying to stop a robot from scoring by pinning, and the only way for the offensive robot is to move in such a way that causes their appendage to make contact inside of frame perimeter, leading to a potential yellow card is silly. The fact that the rocket RP isn’t split among the rockets and encourages D and can cause a loss is silly.*

As people read my post likely they will be thinking, just design your robot to withstand that. You (should have) read the rules at the start of the season and known this was coming, and just planned for it. Yes, I guess that is true, and a large part of the reason why this post was created was to raise awareness of it for people who didn’t see it coming. That all being said, I am going to play defense, I am going to ask teams to play defense, and I am going to try to score when defense is played on me. It is the game, and I can only play it. It just not the game I would have liked to play.

*A drive coach who doesn’t make the call to switch strats and just win the game is sillier, so feel free to call me out on that.


The defense will certainly play a bigger role than ever this season in the two events I witnessed OCR and CADM defense won games and if it’s well honed it can win Einstein.

Whether by game design or startegy , eliminations in both events involved defense and very close games in week 1. A lot of allainces traditionally favored walking.

So get ready this may turn out to be a game filled with great defense. With week 2 looming.

Think of it this way everyone past top 4 offensive bots is a potential defender/agressor in eliminations


Indeed; defense is a go-to when something goes wrong with your bot and the rules for defense this year were basically made to limit defense to the point that an alliance couldn’t just swarm another alliance and shut them down while also allowing enough defense to make the game a bit more interesting. I was at one of the Chesapeake district events and defense is definitely valuable, especially if played correctly.


Your side makes sense, but I think the few matches in which there is one or more good bots on one alliance and none on the other would just force a blowout that would honestly be painful to watch without defense to put up a fight.

EDIT: I meant to omit “few”


At FiM St. Joseph, several good offensive teams were eliminated earlier than many observers anticipated, and there was a common theme: DEFENSE. More accurately, its disruptive effect on drive teams that had insufficient practice time against a defensive robot. A corollary effect: offensive robots that were not built robustly enough to handle their own drive team’s unpracticed reactions to hard defense.

My team’s takeaways, in preparation for our next event:
(1) our drive team needs to run a lot of practice drills with a defensive robot in our face,
(2) our build team must reinforce several potential failure points on the robot, to allow drive team the option of confronting hard defense when the situation calls for it,
(3) speed and accuracy are the best countermeasures against defense – to neutralize a defender, we must get there first and get the game piece scored. Often that will mean switching on the fly to Plan B or Plan C, rather than trying to push through a defender toward Plan A.

This game has a lot in common with Rugby Union. Speed and skills are important, but to win you must be ready to take some hard knocks.


I was not a fan of this game while watching it on webcast week 1. But watching this game in person is 100% better experience. I loved the defense, the collisions, the driving skill, and strategy this game provides.

Driver practice, robust bumpers, and bullet proof connections are a must.


The more I see and play this game, the more I like it.

At this point, the only thing I don’t like about DDS is that an offensive robot can “pin” a defender that gets between the offensive robot and their targeted goal. That should probably be removed so if you cross into your opponents side of the field to play defense, you run the risk of getting pinned.
And Lv3 climbing is hugely OP in qual rounds. But hopefully that one becomes less noticeable in the later weeks.


I can understand the viewpoint that watching a fine-tuned offensive machine shut down by a box on wheels feels disappointing, but frankly one of the most frustrating aspects of FIRST for me is the (perceived) predictability of playoff results: the top scoring teams pick each other and run roughshod over the rest of the teams. I want some balance. I like the tension of not knowing how a match is gonna end until the clock hits zero. Right now the only way an underdog gets a fighting chance at overcoming a powerhouse alliance is to try and slow down their scoring, and the only way to do that is pushing and blocking. This is a little off-topic, but something that’s been missing from FIRST games for a long time is the ability to descore your opponent’s game pieces (my all-time favorite example being Team 25’s 2000 robot). I think this is a key to rebalancing FIRST games without relying on bumping and bashing. It’s too late for this year, but I hope this gets considered in the future.


I wasnt supposed to play defense until our operator controller couldnt connect to the dashboard. NYTR Q43.
Actual strategy:
6621 would do defense.
1665 does cargo in ship.
4508 does hatches on rocket(s) as much as possible.


Watching quals with little defense was somewhat boring, but in the playoffs when defenders came over, this game really livened up. This could evolve into a pretty exciting game by Champs.


Going to Miami valley regional there was way too much of this, everytime one of our robots tried to do a task it’d be smashed by the other alliance, however when we made it to finals our alliance pushed their robots across the whole field.


Oof this is too right. 3792 was in charge of what happened on our side of the field for sure. It takes skill to drive like Army Ants did, so I don’t think defense ruins the game at all.

In the quarterfinals of MVR for example, team 4145 played extremely aggressive defense, and mistakes on their part ultimately cost their alliance the match. Both of our quarterfinals were decided by fouls incurred by 4145.

You can absolutely go to the other side of the field and “shut down” another team to a point that it’s kind of ridiculous. And to be honest it doesn’t take too much skill. But doing it without penalties that cost you the match? That is (in my experience) extremely hard.

From my experience in MVR. Truly “game breaking” defense is a bold and risky move that (assuming good refs are at work and fair play is being had) takes a lot of skill.


Defense made finals at Milford exciting. 1st alliance would have lost 2 in a row, were it not for a climber mech failure.

The low scores make the game competitive, and a good 2nd pick can be the equalizer.

Defense MAKES this a good game


I do agree that defense makes this game more interesting. And I think that will be the case at all levels of play. Mainly because of how strong it is and how it can turn the tide of a match.

Just take a look at the finals in Amarillo. Team 1817 (picked by 7271) was against 148 and 3310. In finals 1 1817 just cycled against the two powerhouses and lost by an almost 50 point margin. But in finals 2 they played defense and the margin was reduced significantly. They only lost by 4 points in finals 2, which is a huge difference in terms of cycles vs defense.

Against 2 powerhouses a single defender helped almost even out the score. Now that will make for more interesting matches instead of just teams rushing for cycles. Especially if they can play strong and smart defense on their opponents.


In the NE District Waterbury Event, we were able to push the quarterfinal between alliances #3 and #6 to 3 matches because of defense. That was the only quarterfinal that went to 3 matches, even though the #3 seed beat us in the tiebreaker.


After seeing a good number of matches ringside at Rock City, I think the GDC found a good defensive balance in the rules this year, though it would be better if C8 were more clearly and consistently enforced. At Rock City, the #1 seeded alliance proved to be vulnerable to well-played defense, #2 fell because bonus RP in quals didn’t translate to elims, and the finals went down to the #3 alliance defeating #5. (Sorry, #5, not #6).