Defensive rank point

@mmongar and I were discussing how both bonus rank points this year correlate with scoring very well Some years one of the bonus rank points correlates with something odd that doesn’t really help you win. Would it be good or bad (I think it would be very interesting) if they had a defensive rank point. So in this year instead of a rank point for 20 cargo a rank point for holding your opponent to 15 cargo or something like that. Have we ever seen a defensive rank point awarded? Do you think it would change the nature of the game? Maybe something for FRC to consider on future game design.


This is definitely an interesting idea in theory and I would love to hear other’s thoughts on this.

My immediate concern would be how this would be regulated. It would have to be automatic, exactly like the current RP system. The system detects 20 of your cargo have gone through, automatically rewards you the RP. The scorers input the climbing results, and the system will give you the RP dependent on your points.

Defense comes in many forms. There are many ways to deny points, intentional or not. What would you count and what would you exclude? If my robot bumps into yours seemingly by accident and causes you to miss, would that count towards my defense RP?

I think that is an interesting concept, but I think a problem with it could be that an alliance might not be good enough to score 15 cargo, therefor just giving their opponents a free ranking point, while they might not have even been defending.


What if a particular alliance cannot score any cargo? Three pizza boxes on the alliance, for example. I know this is specific to this game and your example, but I think implementing a defensive RP would be difficult at best.

A defensive ranking point has the same issue that DPR (Defensive Power Ranking) has, which is that algorithmically it can’t tell the difference between a match where extremely heavy defense is played and scoring is prevented, and a match where all robots are broken and don’t move.

Unless the game design radically departs from the norm, I don’t see this as feasible.


Unfortunately I do not believe this is a good idea for two reasons:

  1. How do you differentiate defense vs lack of opponent’s ability? An alliance that fought teams that couldn’t score well would be rewarded just as well, if not more, than an alliance that played phenomenal defense.

  2. FRC is mostly focused on rewarding the engineering of teams, then how well they can utilize their robots. Since FIRST wants to make matches as exciting as possible (adding points for just moving in Auto, for example) they will never add anything that encourages the opposite.


From the games I have seen, only 2018 had defense that didn’t look the same on the results screen as an alliance that had disabled, or broken robots. Or even just a match with robots that are unable to do the task required. Like a situation where all three robots on an alliance are traversal only robots.

In situations like those, you would get awarded for having a good match schedule, and not playing any defense at all.

I also feel like FIRST should be awarding points to teams that score within the challenge well. That’s the challenge of the game. If you get points or RPs for preventing opposing robots from doing well, the game is far less about building a robot to complete a task, and much more about building a robot to prevent a different team from doing something well.


If the point is to learn about Robots, then focusing on defense does not help develop usable skills. It is the fall back option for low skill or broken Robots.
Teams work hard to build scoring and climbing Robots. They stay within a weight budget, which limits the overall structural integrity for taking body slams. Some of the defenses this year border on Demolition Bots, which in no way is Co-opertition. Instead the attempt appears to be about doing damage.
Already we see that Referees are extremely slow at starting pin counts. And Robots are not required to separate for the required distance and timing. Defense is generally under penalized IMHO.
The penalties for offensive Bots playing the Game only to be flagged for touching a defensive Robot’s bumper makes absolutely no sense at all. And again this is counter productive to learning about how to build Robots that accomplish tasks.

While I disagree with the premise of this thread, there are perfectly fine working robots that play defense.

I think that would depend what the game is. For basic and bumping and banging I’d agree but if there were a game element that was defensive in nature and required a mechanism to achieve that goal it would achieve developing those skills.

(Ie something to try and intercept/block shots for example.)

The whole idea of defense is to decrease your opponent’s score to win a match. FRC isn’t a sumo arena and awarding defense seems a bit odd to me. Regardless, I do have one reasonable-ish way this could work:

A game where you can set up obstacles near the opposing alliance’s scoring area. After a certain number of obstacles are in some zone, you recieve a rank point. Otherwise, obstacles do not score any points.

Sounding a lot like crossing the defenses in 2016.

How about a game dynamic that when one alliance does an action on their side of the field it makes it proportionally harder to perform the game action on their own?

Say, in Infinite Recharge, the Inner Port could have been closed off by spinning the color wheel, or something like that.


In my example, they are mainly strategic.

They can’t even count balls, you want actuated goals?!


I think if you are going to award a defensive RP, there has to be a defensive “task” associated with the RP (think of interceptions or sacks in football or rebounds in basketball). You can’t just give the defensive RP any time the other alliances gets a low score (for the reasons stated by others earlier).

In this game, you have the ability to carry the opposing alliance’s cargo. If there was a “task” that you could do with that cargo then you could keep track of how well you did performing that task. For example, putting 30 of the opposing alliances cargo into your terminal might earn you a defensive RP. It would be a good defensive “task” by partially starving the field for a short time making it harder for the other alliance to get to those cargo while they waited for the cargo to be returned to the field (and would give the Human Players something to actually do back there during Teleop). If there was some time like 5 or 10 seconds associated with how quickly the cargo could be returned (sort of like the time it takes for cargo to get returned to the field from the hub) then this could potentially be a very valuable defensive strategy.It would also be something that the alliance could work together to perform or one well designed robot could complete solo.

I’m sure there are plenty of other ideas. But in the end the RP needs to be awarded based on accomplishing a “task” of some sort.


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