[FRC Blog] G20

In our most recent events, we saw an increase in the issuance of cards at some events as a result of G20, the “Stay out of other robots” rule, being called. We do not want the issuance of cards to be a common occurrence at events. The intent of the cards in FIRST Robotics Competition is to assign serious consequences for certain behaviors, and when we ask our Head Referees to issue cards, it is one of the most difficult things for them to do.

I sincerely apologize to all the teams who had a poor experience because of this issue. Our Head Referees were provided additional guidance last week about G20, in the hope of seeing reduced robot damage. However, we made a mistake in this guidance, and the pendulum swung too far in the other direction. After we realized what was happening, we formulated and released new guidance Saturday at approximately Noon Eastern. While we dislike making changes like this mid-event, we did not want to enter playoffs operating under guidance that made cards, which in playoffs apply to entire alliances rather than individual teams, easier to receive than intended.

As in any other contact sport, rules about how much contact is too much will never be completely black and white. While we want to allow for a robust defensive strategy this season, if teams wish to take that approach, we don’t want to see robots damaged as a result. Finding the right balance has been a challenge.

We have carefully reviewed G20 and will be including a change to the rule’s blue box in today’s Team Update. We believe the update appropriately reflects where we stand on this issue and provides more useful information to the community. For additional information, teams may search the official Q&A system. Several questions have been answered recently about G20. All are consistent with the guidance that Head Referees are being provided. Longer term, we will also be reviewing our communication process with referees to help ensure clarity and consistency.

I’m very sorry again for this issue. We are working hard not to let this happen again.



I’m glad they issued a statement on G20, but they didn’t address the root issue at all. It wasn’t just that a rule interpretation was provided to referees - it was that the interpretation was not provided to teams, and that there were even some reports that the referees were not allowed to discuss this change with teams. I’m disappointed that the blog post does not address this issue at all.


An apology doesn’t do justice in my mind. How about teams get their registration money back for being robbed.


Darn, scrap the corner bumpers I guess.

In all seriousness the G20 situation was unfortunate, but kudos to Frank and team for addressing it quickly and transparently. I look forward to see the updated wording and the additional improvement in communication and transparency with head referees. It is very difficult to play a game when you do not know the rules.


Looks like FIRST has acknowledged the issue…


very nuanced take, well done


If this change happened at noon on Saturday, why did PCH Forsyth finals on Sunday end up as they did??


Also nice to see that some head refs didn’t receive the the “additional guidance” or chose not to follow it.

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This was my problem with what happened, I felt we couldn’t get a clear idea on how the rule was “different” then in the past and what we could do to mitigate the cards other then just don’t touch other robots. I don’t know, maybe we just weren’t asking the right questions?


My exact thoughts. Why weren’t the teams at any event notified? Once again left in the dark, just like the initial change up. Time for the “customers” to get their money back.

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I agree, Alex. Being there in person, and witnessing the G20s being distributed at Buckeye was ridiculous. Teams who played great defense at FLR, such as 1126, did the same thing two weeks later and were crushed by the G20. I cost them dearly in the rankings, and consequently, Elims.


That, in my mind, is the problem. Teams are not informed. It would take 15 minutes to have a meeting when things like this occur, but I feel the Regional leads are to worried about everything running on time, to stop and address these types of situations.

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Exactly. The trip cost $20k total. How can we let FIRST just wipe away a $20k trip for a team? Unacceptable.

I was under the impression that this was gone over with the alliance captains. Changing interpretations after alliance selections is the WORST time to do so imo. It was like saying lets play tennis for quals, pick your team, guess what we are playing football now.


I wouldn’t want to pay $5K for that type of experience! Oh wait… we did!


I fully agree that the lack of information to teams is the heart of the issue and that Frank’s blog post completely missed addressing this issue. I suspect that some alliances would have chosen different second picks if this guidance was shared with teams. Not knowing that the calls would be different almost certainly changed the chosen strategy of alliance captains during selection.

I believe that this is a good-faith effort from HQ to address this situation but they have missed the mark. In fact, I’d say they missed the mark around noon on Saturday.


If the only thing you view as getting out of a $20K trip is the action on the field during the roughly 30 minutes your robot is competing, you’re doing it wrong. Unfortunate calls shouldn’t be celebrated, but you seriously need to take a step back and evaluate why you are in this program.


The thing is, they still aren’t being completely transparent. We still do not know what the interpretation was.


I’m talking about the original change that created more cards which started (at least for us) at SBPLI 1 and lasted until the alliance captains were notified after selections at SBPLI 2.

Were alliance captains notified at all events?