FIRST Rule Changes

Does anyone know where would be the best place to post a request to have a rule changed?:slight_smile:

Off-season event planning committee.

FIRST Forums maybe

Well, if you want an official interpretation of a rule, then the Q&A is the place to go.

But that really isn’t what you’re asking. Asking for a rule to be changed should probably be done by contacting FIRST directly, perhaps through team support.

Another way is to post the rule you wish to have changed, and the changes you’d like to make, here on Chief Delphi prior to officially requesting the rule to be changed. That way you can get some suggestions and feedback on the changes you seek, and perhaps build a community of supporters for the suggestion.

A good way to do it might be to ask, “Does anyone know why rule XXX is “blah blah blah” instead of “blech blech blech””? Sometimes rules that seem silly only seem that way because we don’t know the reasoning behind them… other times they are completely arbitrary, and set that way by the GDC because they thought it would be a good idea to make the rule that way.

Regardless of how you go about it, however, the likelihood of having a rule changed for this year’s game is slim. The only time I’ve seen FIRST change a rule during the season (like they did this year) is when unintended consequences of a rule are significantly affecting the desired outcomes of the game.

Of course the rules for next year’s game are all up in the air right now, and I’m sure the GDC is open to good ideas on how to make FRC better.

But rule changes during the competition season are rightly seen as disruptive and undesirable.

So post your ideas here and then e-mail them to FIRST, or just send your suggestion/request directly to FIRST.


There is really no way to request a rule change during the season, as you can imagine how chaotic it would be for FIRST if they allowed such a thing. The GDC monitors how the regionals are going and may update the rules to update/clarify rules of the game, very rarely do they ever change them entirely.

Q&A would be where to go for an interpretation of the rules.

Someone posted a request for a rule change on Q&A a while back. They were denied, with a partial explanation for the rule.

If a rule change is accepted during competition season, especially after Week 2 events, the initiator may need a deep hole to hide in, as teams from the early events will not be happy at all.

As mentioned before, the best thing to do would probably be to post the problem you have with the rule on these forums and let others see what they think. Maybe your problem could be solved from delphi feedback. If not, you can always post the issue on the FIRST forums, see what they say, and at the very least the problem will be known by the GDC.

Just curious but what rule do you think should be changed?

Here’s one I propose be changed:

Robots should be allowed to expand when in contact with EITHER TOWER
This would allow the looping exploit at the ball return drop, so effectively done by team 469 to be more **FAIRLY ** defendable. I see no good reason to allow one team FULL ACCESS to such a ball control sensitive zone as the ramp drop point is, while effectively excluding ALL OPPONENT BOTS from reaching into this zone. What harm would this rule change cause?

-Dick Ledford

It would harm the team(s) that successfully identified this rule as presenting an opportunity to play the game more effectively by denying them the opportunity to play the game according to the rules. More significantly, however, it would harm the collective belief of FRC teams that good design will be rewarded with good results. We need to trust that if WE find a way to make a legal robot that can dominate the game that we will be allowed to dominate the game.

Its not like the strategy wasn’t openly discussed here on Chief Delphi during build season, or that their design required resources that were beyond the reach of any of the rest of us. Any of us *could *have done this.

It’s just that so far only one team… out of the several hundred to compete so far… has managed to find the will and the way to make it work with devastating effectiveness.

Let’s celebrate their success, and find a way… within the rules… to deal with it.


P.S. In our first year (2004) 1241 – then a rookie team – came up with a complete game-beater robot. They would open a big net on top of their robot, and capture all the small balls as they fell on to the playing field in one fell swoop. After trouncing many more experienced teams, one clever opponent grabbed a big ball, and stuffed it in to the opening of their ball hopper, completely jamming the mechanism. Brilliant robots will generate brilliant responses. Just wait and see what the collective ingenuity of 1800 FRC teams will do given a month to contemplate this idea.

I was asking how allowing expansion at either tower would hurt the GAME PLAY, not how it would affect any specific teams. Would it cause problems or increase damage possibilities? Obviously the loopers would be upset, since their exploit primarily depends on ONLY them having exclusive expanded access to this zone. It is also time for loopers to consider how their game exploit scheme might be having a detrimental effect on the quality of the competition. We will all deal with their scheme in whatever best ways we can come up with over the next few weeks. It just that, without a looper fairness rule change, it will no no longer be the same Breakaway game that it was earlier in the season.
-Dick Ledford

-Dick Ledford

OK wait, you want the rules changed because one team is doing too well? So by your thinking, should the Olympic committee have made Shawn White wear lead pants because he was having a “detrimental effect on the quality of the competition”? He had the gold medal locked up before he made his last run, how could that be fair? And of course Usain Bolt should have to wear lead shoes when he runs, it’s not fair that he can’t be beat. Did Michael Jordon hurt basketball? Jimmie Johnson seems to always win in NASCAR…

In 2008 (my first year in FIRST) 1114 made a machine that pretty much sewed up the match for their alliance by the end of hybrid, should the rules have been changed then? My advice to all who don’t like the fact that a team is doing really well, is that you should come up with a way to beat them. Look at the rules that exist, devise a counter strategy, make a super scorer. Don’t ask for a rule change or complain that they made a better bot than you did.

Give me a fair analogy PLEASE!
I’ll give you one. The NBA implements a new rule that, in the 3-seconds crease, ONLY THE OFFENSE CAN JUMP FOR REBOUNDS. The DEFENSE MUST KEEP THEIR FEET ON THE GROUND.
This is the best analogy to the situation with loopers, and it points out why a rule change that allows expansion at either tower is clearly best solution.
Loopers will still be able to compete effectively, but they will have learn how to defend their turf too.
End of story.

-Dick Ledford

Fair enough… I can’t see how allowing expansion at either end of the field would hurt game play.

But, I think you’ll agree, it would hurt at least one team whose robot is designed to benefit from that aspect of the rules and game play.

What you’re seeing here, I think, is that many of us… one day… want to **be **the team that has sufficient insight into the rules and the game that we are able to devise a unique solution that gives us a unique advantage. To us the game isn’t just what happens on the field… it is what happens in the shop for six weeks and what happens in the school and community for a year. We are vigourously protecting 469’s right to be dominant because we all want to be 469 one day, and have such a stunningly successful design that we cause a complete paradigm shift in how the game is to be played.

In some posts related to this topic I think some people have been a little more… vigorous… in their defense of 469’s right to use the rules to their advantage than they need to be, but I hope you can understand why. Changing the rules to the disadvantage of a dominant team, for whatever reason, threatens the ability of any of us to dominate.

I think our resistance to a rule change is also based on years of experience seeing how teams react to a dominant machine. FRC is not a “static” competition… strategies and robots change and evolve over the course of a season. We’ve seen, perhaps, less than half of this year’s robots. Lets wait and see how the game evolves… its quite possible that 469 isn’t actually as dominant as they might appear to be right now. They might have been wise to keep their “looping” mechanism under wraps until they got to Atlanta…

Personally, however, I want to thank you for presenting your argument in a calm and rational manner in the face of a fair bit of criticism. I might not agree with your argument, but I appreciate how you have presented it.

Stay tuned… and have faith in the teams… there is LOTS of exciting action to come without the need for any rule changes.



OK, I agree that the sports analogies I gave were not fair analogies to FIRST. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a fair sports analogy because none exist. There is no sport in the world (except FIRST) where a brand new game is created out of whole cloth, published to teams, and played for the first time six weeks later. Any rule change that changes game play after the first week of game release (by this I mean early January) could have a major impact on a team that has based a design or strategy on the rules as published. The game-play rules have to remain static throughout the build and play season.

I’ll try to give a FIRST analogy. Suppose in 2008, people complained that it wasn’t fair that 1114 could score over 30 points in hybrid, and asked the GDC to allow robots to block in hybrid mode. That way, other teams could have a chance to win. It is a simple rule change like the one you are proposing. As it was, 1114 won every regional they attended (three of them), won the Galileo division at championships, and won on Einstein. They deserved to win because they made a robot that played within the rules, and that was, for all intents and purposes, unbeatable.

I don’t understand why people are surprised at this tactic. I highly doubt the GDC is surprised. On Jan. 14th, this thread was started to discuss this exact strategy. Remember, the GDC is full of smart people. While it is possible that none of them foresaw this tactic as a possibility, it is highly unlikely. I might even venture a guess that they expected to see this, and wrote the rules to allow it.

Anaolgies are given to emphasize a point by comparing to a more commonly known situation. The point of an anaolgy in this case would be to show how ridiculous your rule change proposal is.

It seems that rule you are proposing is ridiculous and unecessary, and thus any analogy given would seem ridiculous as well…

No matter how you look at it, it is too late to make any major rule changes. Adding the 5 pts to the winning alliance wasn’t huge but it did change how people play the game. What it didn’t do was change how people designed their robots.

My sports analogy would be Yankee Stadium in 2009. The field just so happened to be designed to allow balls hit to right field to leave the ball park much more easily and resulted in many more home runs for the yankees than their opponents, based in large part on the heavy left-handed batting composition of the team. The field was probably not made like this deliberately and it couldn’t be anticipated that the Yankees would be so dominant, much like how in FIRST, while the game designers may have anticipated this strategy, they could not have possibly thought an alliance would score every 4-5 seconds. Now with Yankee stadium, they didn’t make the team change it during the season because that would just change a part of the game in the middle of the season; FIRST should treat this situation likewise. I think we could all agree that even though the Yankees may have gained a slight advantage because of the balls flying out of right field, they were also a very skilled team. And in comparison, a 469-looping-bot an advantage based on the rules (especially when paired with a good striker), but kudos to them for coming up with a great design, making it happen, thoroughly anticipating how to stop others from stopping them (border-line within the rules), and executing their strategy painstakingly well. All FIRST can do is learn from it and make the rules less one sided in the future, although in reality anybody could have done this. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it makes for a less exciting game.

A Team Update after that thread was posted confirmed it. And just in case you think no one on the GDC saw it, Dave Lavery posted in the thread.

One point that I don’t think has been made is that MANY teams thought outside the box and carefully examined the looper scheme early on. They then decided this design would be truely bad for the competition to the degree that it could and likely would end up either disallowed or weakened by a rule change. Many of these teams anticipated the GDC would not allow the looper advantage to remain in place once it was clearly demonstrated how massivly it could alter the game.

Ours was one of these teams, and we assessed it as both too dominating a game killer idea AND one that, as a rookie team, we considered too risky to pursue. We expected back then, and we still do feel that the GDC would at some point, and still should do something to reduce (NOT ELIMINATE) the looper advantage. We had lots of valid reasons for abandoning the looper idea, and in talking about it with our team Wed., despite knowing what 469 has accomplished, they still believe NOT doing a looper was the right decision. It is mainly a philosophical perspective with them that the looper scheme detracts from the game play. Even though we had considered loopers to be an ultimate strategy, and one we were capable of implementing effectively, we did not, and still don’t want to be, a team altering the game so dramaticly in the direction that 469 has done.

So as we view things now, the GDC, by allowing the looper advantage, has created a monster . The genie is out of the bottle and it’s too late to get it back in. We never expected it to be allowed out of the bottle, and we don’t like the way that it has impacted the game. Still, this is the way it has gone down, so we will deal with the situation. It’s not the end of the world , we will not wine or complain. If we see any new strategies emerge for equalizing the looper advantage, we will be encouraged, and we will share any that we come up with too.
All the Best.
-Dick Ledford