Deep Space is going to be ruined by Yellow Cards/G20 Fouls

Since kickoff, I’ve had a nagging feeling that this game is actually going to be one of the worst FIRST games we’ve seen. This game has a lot going for it: scoring multiple different game pieces, new unique end game, a new take on autonomous mode, but it’s all going to be ruined by unprotected robot perimeters. Privately I’ve seen lots of discussion about how yellow cards/G20 fouls are going to affect this game but I haven’t really seen a deep dive here on CD yet.

Let me first say that I’m super proud of the robot 3324 has built at this year, technically it’s the most impressive we’ve ever built. We put thought into having scoring flexibility to be able to deal with G20 violations, but still a well-driven kit bot can easily easily damage our robot. I’m not sure how many teams out there have practiced with a defence bot yet, but we always try to, and it was brutal. Defense was a bloodbath, and there are going to be discouraged teams with yellow and red cards everywhere…

Unfortunately, with how this field is designed I’m not sure there was a good solution, giving teams a yellow card for every contact within the frame perimeter would be excessive and would further lead to many red cards. Splitting the rocket RP between the two rockets wouldn’t have fit the narrative of completing a rocket. Also, no one wants to see a fully protected defence free game like 2015 again, at least for a while.

I now understand why some top teams invested so much time into building triple climb robots, those 12 extra points (over 1 third level, and 2 second level robots) is going to be a huge advantage, especially if they give up on playing defense.

I just feel like this game is just going to devolve into an ugly game where yellow cards run rampant, and it’s going to cause a lot of red cards and unhappy teams. I’d love to be proven wrong, but now that I’ve seen how brutal defence is in this game, and how hard it is to not violate G20, I’m not going to be sending a defence robot to cause chaos every match and rack up foul points.


The yellowest of takes


You must have not watched buckeye…

This is satire.


If it makes you feel any better, this hasn’t been an every event trend. Out of our two districts (Gull Lake and Kentwood) I remember 3? yellow cards, and I’m not sure that all of those were G20. Hopefully, this will be worked out for champs by FIRST, and they will embrace this competition.

I believe there were 3 at Gull Lake and two of them were G20 but they were deserved G20 cards

At SBPLI #2 my team 533 and their alliance 3171&810 got eliminated from the quarterfinals due to G20 dual red cards.
At SBPLI #2 there were about 20-30 yellow cards regarding G20 played, which is insane…


What FIRST needs is clear definition of what is and isn’t allowed. Different refs at different events are calling similar actions in different ways, and it’s hurting the game.

Are there any events that have been making G20 calls in a way that’s “healthy” to the game?

Center Grove seems to be doing a pretty good job comparatively.

I’ve heard a lot about this buckeye event. How many yellow cards/red cards were given out in that event? I’m too busy to watch every match.

So we were on the opposite end of this in Orlando. In our first match we faced hard but legal defense but from then on it was 50/50 on the legal end. We knew it was in the rule book but did not realize the card attatched to it till it was finally called. After that we asked in a few matches and were told the refs had to see the damage during the match and could not look at the robots after. That event was brutal to us and we learned we had to reinforce several things nearly a foot inside the bumpers just to be safe.

Since then a Q&a came out about showing the refs damage after a match. We brought this up during the drivers meeting at South Florida just so everyone would be on the same page. I am happy to report that we faced more defense than Orlando however all of it was legal. Iirc not a single card was given out for G20 at the event and our only damage was either self inflicted or on something we extended out of frame during the match.

I would say in regards to this and the similar defense thread that legal and intelligent defense adds to deep space as while I am impressed by our matches where we flawlessly solo a rocket when left alone then throw 2 more cargo in the ship or climb and sit on the platform for 20 seconds, I am more impressed when we are able to get the rocket while defended and get the climb done just in time.

From what I’ve heard, FIRST has been changing the interpretation of G20 to protect offensive bots more. This went into effect for Week 5, and at SBPLI #2 teams were hit particularly hard.

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I watched that and honestly felt terrible for you guys. The amount of cards at that regional was ridiculous. I am not knocking the ref because I heard him say that he did not want to card people, but he had to follow the rulebook and make those calls. I did hear that FIRST was trying to crack down on G20 violations, and that is why we saw much more yellow cards this week. Is there anyone in the loop that can clarify this?

@ SBPLI-2 the head ref met with drivers on Thursday evening after practice matches ended in a impromptu meeting to explain that he was there to remind drivers of the G20 rule. The next day did only what he warned that he was going to do. He and his crew set, what I think is a record for the most yellow cards ever given in a single regional (or District event). I can’t find out the exact number, but I think that more than half of the teams were given yellow cards and several were DQ’d as a result of receiving a second yellow.
What makes the situation frustrating is that although most of the cards were warranted, many were downright impossible to avoid. ie: 1. Team ABC drives up on a ball in front of their loading station and becomes immobile. Defender XYZ drives under them and knocks them free but in the process ABC falls on XYZ, damaging them–Yellow card for damage inside the frame perimeter! 2. Team DEF is pushed against the wall by Defender TUV who continues to pin until he is pushed backward. DEF simply drives forward a few inches to free himself and his corner bumper enters the opening of TUV’s ball intake and he receives a Yellow for G20. This type of penalty happened ALL DAY LONG
All of this would ALMOST be acceptable, except AFTER alliance selection on Saturday, head ref. informed everyone that FIRST said to stop issuing so many yellow cards for the G20 violations and instead just assign penalties.
TALK ABOUT CHANGING THE RULES!!! …and AFTER alliance selection!!! That clearly changed the potential outcome of the game. Teams who were reluctant to pick a defensive “rambot” for fear of a red DQ, would have re-thought their decision and gone with one of those teams. I know this to be true because I spoke with alliance captains who would have done so. This is an egregious error on FIRST’s part to so blatantly change rules at such a crucial time–especially when it was brought to their attention before they imposed the change.
I am very curious to see how this next week plays out.

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If this was actually called in a match it is an incorrect application of G20, no matter how strictly/poorly it is enforced. The very first word of G20 is “Initiating…”. If you don’t initiate the contact G20 should not be called on you. I can’t run into an opposing robot, causing damage to myself, and have them receive a G20 unless they initiated the contact.

The head ref Troy is a great guy, it must of been hard to make those calls. From what i heard from different people running the event, FIRST contacted events for this week to be more strict with the G20 rule. I guess they didn’t intend this game to have crazy defense.

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I see what you did… and I appreciate it.

the inconsistency of how the rule is applied is the most frustrating part. We had defense played on us every match last weekend with cutouts on our bumpers, robots riding up on our frame, and saw I think 1 G20 call.


Yes, Maine951, I guess I should have mentioned that we harbor NO ill will toward Troy (head Ref) he is OUTSTANDING!!!. I’m sorry if I implied that he was wrong in any way. I know that he was enforcing FIRST’s decisions. We just felt that FIRST was too quick to rectify a problem without investigating potential new problems created by their solution.


I didn’t think you did. You’re right, FIRST was way to quick in trying to fix the issue.

Agree 100%. Troy was one of, if not the best, ref I have encountered.