Deep Space is going to be ruined by Defence


Honestly, I believed that this thread was exaggerated with the effect that defense would have on matches. However, after just losing in finals because the other team sent a defending bot that rammed into our alliance partner full force — somehow turning them off when their breaker is placed in the middle of their bot — and then pushed us back to their side and gave us foul points, I’m starting to see defense’s magnitude. To be clear, I’m not taking a side as to whether or not defense is “ruining” the game or if FIRST made the choice in allowing defense. Instead, I wonder how my team could counter the defense better given that the rules aren’t going to change any time soon.

I noticed that the most effective part of the defense against us (beyond shutting off our alliance partner) was when the defending robot placed themselves in the narrow passage between the cargo and the rocket, after we already filled the other side of the cargo. They were able to keep us busy trying to go around them for ~20 seconds, and in the end, we shot out the cargo and went for a hatch instead (to cover the front cargo bay). See video . Do you have any ideas for how we could train our drivers to counter such defense — any special maneuvers we should perform to go around them…? Should we invest more heavily in preventative defense?—what the defending bot’s time is better spent interfering with the opponent alliance?


Part of touch it, own it is after your mechanism grabs a game piece, you then move the game piece and the mechanism back inside your frame perimeter. You have to design your bot so that the opposition can’t take the piece away from you.

I saw many bots last year grab a cube and keep their mechanism and cube in front of the bot, outside the frame perimeter. They then got strafed by an opponent that knocked the game piece away.

The rules are clear on this. Your mechanisms are safe when they are inside the frame.

Bumper to bumper contact is allowed.
Bumper to mechanisms outside the bumper is allowed.
Mechanism and even game piece controlled by mechanism contact to inside the frame IS NOT ALLOWED.
In previous years mechanisms outside the frame could contact mechanisms outside the frame, but not this year because the defender must be inside the frame.


Build a swerve drive base and pirouette infinitely like 1323. :slight_smile:

When in doubt…

Or if you woke up feeling dangerous…


This is only true within reason. If a referee determines that it is your strategy to damage the mechanism outside of the frame perimeter, you can still be penalized under G19.


You can’t call a penalty for hitting a mechanism outside the bumper because then every bot will have a mechanism outside the bumper and nobody will ever get hit.


That doesn’t mean every hit will get penalized. I’m just mentioning that If it looks like to a referee like “Strategies aimed at the destruction or inhibition of ROBOTS via attachment, damage, tipping, or entanglements are not allowed” then you can be penalized even with a mechanism outside of the frame perimeter. It isn’t called often, but it also doesn’t mean that a mechanism outside of the frame is fair game for anything goes.

  1. Have a bot that is faster
  2. Have a bot that scores faster
  3. Have a bot that can push the defender
  4. Steer around the defender

All of the above is what you can do.

The other thing you can do is be prepared to be defended and either counter defend or make them counter defend you.

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[quote=“cghercoias, post:229, topic:347551”]
If we want to make the same analogy with sports, with the exception of American Football and Rugby, there is no other (that I know of) sport that purposely allows you to touch players, let alone hit them or break their legs, hands, ribs, etc. You can take the game piece (ball) away from them but you’re not allowed to break them. You get “fault”, yellow card, red card, disqualified for a game or even a whole season for injuring a player. Basketball, soccer, baseball, volleyball, etc.
[/quote] (emphasis added)

In basketball playing post defense you’re allowed to have your hands on your opponent (within the bounds of the rules). I’ve seen plenty of ball players try their best to use their slide to break up a double play (within the bounds of the rules). There are plenty of ways to legally tackle in soccer that can result in knocking over your opponent, and have no foul called (again, within the bounds of the rules and at the referee’s discretion). Intentionally injuring is another thing entirely.

The original “bullying tactics” video you posted was actually a reference to counter defense, since the blue robot was pushing the red one out of the blue side of the field. In the second video you referenced, It’s hard to tell if their intake was broken by the defender, or their partner seconds before. Let’s assume it was the defender, should they be penalized if offense robot was extended beyond their own frame perimeter, thus reaching into the defending robot’s frame perimeter? Granted, it looks like the defender in this case may have driven over the other team’s bumper, and if so that would violate the rules and thus should be penalized accordingly. However, defense within the bounds of the rules is just playing the game as designed. Find a video of a defender tipping over a robot or ramming a tipped robot or driving over a broken mechanism, and I’ll be willing to call that bullying. But it seems to me that relabelling defense as “offensive” or “bullying” would just stigmatize a legal strategy.

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Defense is going to be played no matter what FRC game we have - I have no problem with it, and in this game it does add to the excitement.

In fact, this last weekend at Northern Lights, our alliance was bested by the #1 alliance as they sent over their 3rd bot to disrupt our offense, and they did it quite effectively as the #1 alliance won the event by playing strong defense.

However, I do have some sour grapes as the robot playing defense lost their bumpers for part of the match (95 seconds in). They were not e-stopped immediately by the refs - they played for at least 18 seconds without their bumper and continued to use their unprotected frame to jam our robot. We lost the second match by 4 points. I don’t blame the defensive robot, they were doing what they could to win the match.

But I know that many of the head refs and higher ups do read CD, so I hope they see this and it goes into the training of the volunteers working the events. Bumpers come off when playing defense, they should be e-stopped immediately.

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2015 would like to have a word


Jiu-jitsu. Karate. Tae kwon do. Judo. Boxing. MMA. Wrestling. Kung fu.

In every single one of those, contact is required. Usually, violent contact.

By the way… About half of those are Olympic sports. (I could also throw fencing into the list, but that isn’t hand-to-hand, it’s with an implement.) They’re known as the martial arts. Injuries aren’t uncommon.

And hockey counts hits as a stat–the difference between that and baseball’s hit is that hockey counts hits against opposing players. (Hockey also tolerates fights, within reason–but will tend to toss the fighters into the penalty boxes once they go down.)

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Lets just say my 2 experiences with “defense” was total crap. It’s not defense at all. It is simply interference with the other alliance because you don’t have the skills to score. Plain and simple.


I actually think you were fortunate not to get called for damaging contact within their frame perimeter or bumpers not staying within the bumper zone.


That’s actually normal in FRC and is (IMHO) a huge asset to the program because it allows low-resource teams or ones whose mechanisms aren’t working to remain engaged in the competition while also making the games way more fun to watch / less predictable. I get though that it can seem really weird / counterintuitive if you’re new to the program and didn’t know to expect it.

The topic has already created some contention recently. You might want to see the thread Why is “defense” allowed in FRC? for more discussion on that front.


Isn’t the definition of defense interference with the opponent’s scoring?


Defense in Week 5 has made for some exciting matches with unexpected outcomes. Alliances need to work together to develop an effective strategy. FRC is NOT about individual robots–it IS about alliances of robots.


This. Our [rookie] team followed a design path whereby they’d complement other robots rather than targeting rank #1. Continuing to score under defense was baked in and proved valuable during eliminations. The real question is what strategies, both design and game play, are employed to prevent defense ruining your day!

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Didn’t read everything but I lurked the first 100 or so when this thread first came out. Frankly, now that we are seeing lots of very high level play, this is probably one of the most fun games to watch in recent years and the level of defense is definitely a part of the reason why. (IMO)


7887 (Ventura) was a kit bot unfinished and other teams helped build with a rookie team (6 students) it was by far the best defender I witnessed this year. They played D the correct way (foul free) not complaint free I saw teams visibly upset by them. Aggressive, smart and low bumper-bumper and by far the biggest headache for any offensive bot.

Deep space is saved from mind numbing boredom by defense. There were two backup bots called into service in Ventura as teams broke due to agressive defensive gameplay.

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I agree that any FRC game with no defense/interaction between teams is bad. However, this year, defense is so powerful, you could viably be a first round pick with nothing other than a 6-cim drive train and some ballast. The GDC knew defense was going to be too powerful. That is why they had to limit it to one robot on the opponents side. However, I don’t think it was enough. I’ve seen some super aggressive defense this year. Most of it legit, but a lot of it was just “ram the other robot really hard”