Defensive Free For All


Be very careful about this. 2014 started with this exact rule, which then defending teams could use to get penalty points from teams trying to pick up the ball. The first weeks were rough, and the GDC eventually changed this to clarify that defending teams cannot go into the FP of teams they’re defending.


More like 175 penalty points… :cry:


I agree with this; in general rules surrounding defense need to be written such that the benefit of doubt is always given to the robot trying to score. I just think that the judgement call of “which robot is trying to play defense” when a FP incursion penalty happens will be called much more consistently than “was that contact over my arbitrary line of what constitutes a high speed ram”.

I really don’t know why there isn’t a clear-cut answer to this question from HQ already. It seems perfectly reasonable to me that robots who lost communication, by default, shouldn’t be able to incur repeated penalties. If there’s a specific situation where it’s warranted, it can be an explicit exception in the rules. It’s not like this specific question has effected games going back decades or anything. /rant


One thing about this is that the defending bot chose to be in a risky situation, and baring a field fault, staying connected is their responsibility. Say, for example, a team last year tries to stop an opposing team from entering their Scale’s null zone. They know the risks of playing defense this way, and are planning on backing away as soon as the other robot starts to win the pushing fight. However, they end up dying in their opponent’s null zone. They are now dead in a situation that hinder’s their opponents from scoring, and are rightly punished for doing so.

Now for an example of the opposite outcome from FTC:

Michigan States Franklin QF4-1, a blue robot went to play defense on a red robot by preventing red from picking up Minerals. When the red robot is right next to their scoring area, the blue robot leaves the Crater to hinder the red robot from getting back to the Crater. This action (blocking access to the Crater) is similar to pinning in that there is a 5 second countdown before the defending bot needs to back away. However, the blue robot died at that point. Because of the way the field is set up, red is now completely trapped inside their scoring area and unable to even turn.

This should have drawn a multitude of penalties, namely being pinning and blocking access to the Crater. However, not a single penalty was drawn on blue for this action. Keep in mind that this is FTC, where there is no FMS. The blue robot was completely at fault for putting themselves in that situation, and dying in that situation, and yet they received no penalties. Can you say that it’s fair to red that they were able to break multiple time-based penalties for around a full minute simply because they died?

I am in the firm belief that robots that put themselves in risky situations need to be penalized if they fail to adhere to the rules, even if they lose connection. The only time a dead robot shouldn’t be penalized for safe zone infractions is if the opposing alliance pushed them in for the specific purpose of gaining penalties on them.


One big difference between the FTC rules and the FRC rules is that in FTC, a disabled robot (by rule or robot failure) does not earn penalties after being declared disabled. (See FTC Rule G25)


True, but my point still stands. I would argue for the removal of G25 in FTC. How is it fair at all that a robot can die in an optimal defensive location that would normally draw penalties, but because they died (something that’s their responsibility to not do) they receive no penalties?


Please clarify between FRC and FTC rule references when made if it isn’t already obvious. I was confused for a minute there.

FRC doesn’t exempt dead robots from getting penalties, due to possible strategy implications, as noted for FTC above. They might end up with C8 or its equivalent for that year working in their favor, but that can’t be guaranteed.


Watch how they back off when they almost knocked over the opponent at 1:28. Well done! It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment and come at them again. I admire their persistence, but they do tend to peg the center of the robot who’s shooting rather than hitting them strategically to change the ball trajectory. A little more nuance would go a long way. I’d give them a 4 out of 5.


Regarding dead robots and subjectivity, I think it’s important to realize safe zones are frequently a little bigger than they need to be, and it’s entirely possible for a robot to die in one most years without really slowing the other alliance down. Dropping a dozen tech fouls on them on top of being a 2v3 doesn’t seem necessary in those cases. That said:

I hated this rule as a driver when it was introduced mid-season in 2014. What’s high speed? When does a hit become a ram? If I’m driving at a robot driving at me and it suddenly stops without giving me time to react, could I still get penalized for a ram? It made me terrified of solid contact in a game that necessitated it.

Admittedly, however, part of my disdain for the rule was that it was one of three or so rules worth about as many points as 10-25 seconds of the entire alliance’s time, and all of them seemed to be called regularly and with varying consistency. If that rule was added to Deep Space as a regular foul with escalation to a tech foul and called consistently, I could see it being a good thing.


So, my team 2544, besides having camera issues, has had a decent practice round yesterday including tieing ourselves in our first match since we were the only team on the 2 sides playing. (10-10). But, this is not the problem. The problem was during our second practice match. Since there is no footage, I will describe it as it happened since I am the drive coach. It was about T40 when our only partner and us were by our cargo ship. We were the red alliance and was behind by about 15 points. Then comes along 6490 from the blue alliance which was wearing red bumpers. They proceeded to supposedly play “defense”. We start to back away from them when they drive full speed into us, causing our bumpers to go on top of theirs. So then we we’re on the back of their robot which has an angled plate for their control system. They then stop for about 3 seconds, Then they PROCEEDED TO DRIVE BACKWARDS INTO OUR ROBOT CAUSING THE ROBOT TO FLIP/FALL OVER SLOWLY, THEN QUICKLY after our center of mass was past the tipping point. They then just leave to go back to their side of the field. It was an instant red card for them IN A PRACTICE MATCH. And to make matters worse, we had some minor damage and wiring issues that were almost close to permanent. We mostly fixed it. When we talked about this to our alliance parter, they said that they are known to do this all the time each year. And, no one from that team has come forward to appoligise or to even check up with us. Disrespectful. Truely disrespectful. The event we are playing at is Finger Lakes Regional.


While that is very unfortunate, I would like to note that the Robot in question did receive a red card (sure it was just a practice match, but still a red card is a red card). However I do think FIRST should talk to this team and tell them that this kind of behavior is unacceptable and not to do it again.


What’s the point of a red card in a practice match? They don’t receive RPs for that match? I don’t know what all the head ref could do in that situation besides giving that team a firm verbal warning not to do that again, or even banning them from other practice matches? Could they receive a yellow card to carry over into actual matches?


Hey, just wanted to make sure you realized that @Travis_Hoffman who said you didn’t know any better was making a joke related to the “lack of defense in IN” conversation, not putting you guys down for playing defense! I didn’t see it clarified elsewhere.


They probably gave them a red card in a match to show what would happen if a team tried that in a real match.


As part of FMA , when defense is allowed in the game rules, the mid Atlantic region has always been aggressive. This does not mean robots are intentionally trying to break other robots, but to disrupt the other alliance from completing their objectives. Our defensive bot was told to wait until attempted alignment with the hatch or fuel and hit them on a corner to disrupt alignment. This is legal and after the game was announced, we seen this coming and built according.
Yes FMA ( MAR ) plays rough but always within the rules. We are a close region and play well with everyone.


If a team receives a card prior to the start of quals, it applies to their first qual match.


I deleted most of what you said but left this in place.

You mentioned expecting a red card as a result of going inside the frame perimeter. You linked G19 and G20. Take a look at the two more carefully. G20 discusses what happens when you go inside a frame perimeter and make damaging/deliberate contact. The violation comes with a yellow card, not a red. It’s entirely possible to make contact inside the frame perimeter, cause incapacitating damage, and get a yellow rather than a red.

The distinction between these two rules looks like intent. G19 talks about “strategies aimed at” which implies intent. G20 discusses an action without an implication of intent.


Oh, Big oof. Sarcasm doesn’t travel well over the internet I guess. I he sees this I apologize for getting snippy with him but considering that some think playing defense to be unethical I just thought that that’s what he was saying. Big oof on my part.


It sucks to have defense played on you. It sucks every year though. No one likes getting defended against. Yeah this year feels pretty brutal, but we havent had open spaces like this on a field since 2017 and we havent had defendable open spaces since 2014. No one is used to it because none of us have really experienced it. Everyone will get mad, but we have to realize it’s a part of this year’s game and learn to play around it. Just as last year teams had to learn to defend their switch, or in 2017 when teams had to learn to adapt to gears or balls, you have to adapt to the meta, rather than try to change it.


Playing legal defense is never unethical.