G20/G25 Scale Scoring Grey Area?

After some discussion with some other mentors and coworkers I think there may exist an issue in the game. I have some suspicions on how it could be called but without an official ruling it could be a massive grey area. The two game rules that most closely address this situation as is are G20 and G25. **If you feel others could apply please add them.
The most basic question that shows this: How long can a robot take to place a Power Cube on the scale?

This seems innocent enough but there are exemptions to the rules that open an interesting situation.

**Now for hypothetical: **
Red alliance has control of the scale. Red Robot (R1) is in the act of placing a cube and thus is positioned holding the power cube over the lowered scale. R1 is careful in their placement and it takes some time. During this time, Blue Robot (B1) places a cube on their raised side of the scale. The scale moves downward slightly but now becomes stopped under the Power cube that R1 is placing. R1 is now effectively holding the scale in a scoring position for itself (though if they release the cube it may, or may not maintain their control of the scale).

Is this a violation of G25?
R1 is in the process of placing a cube and while it may be affecting the movement of the scale, it is NOT resulting in the changing of scoring state. It has also been placed in this position by the actions of the opposing alliance adding a cube to their side and shifting the scale. The blue box also specifically calls out “propping up the scale in a balanced orientation” or “holding a plate up” with robot shown under the scale.

Is this a violation of G20?:
This again exempts the placement of power cubes on plates, so the original question of “How long can a robot take to place a Power Cube on the scale?” again comes up.

**Exploitation: **
If Power Cube placement time is unlimited then, once acquiring scale control could a robot on the controlling alliance take 2 minutes to place their next cube? If a time limit on Cube placement is added, could several robots not see the same effective results? R1 places for N seconds while R2 and R3 grab cubes, R2 starts placing while R1 finishes placing, and so on until R1 is back placing a cube.

I think you’re overthinking things.

The only legal way to affect the movement of Plates is to place a Power Cube on them.

If while placing a Power Cube on a plate, it is forced to affect the position of the Plate by the opponent, it’s not a violation. Likely this is “incidental contact” as well.

Once the opponent places their Cube on the plate, it would be wise for your robot to drop the Cube it’s holding, or it will be affecting the position of the Plate in a way no longer forced by the opponent.

It’s not a matter of some sort of time limit “to place a cube”, in some sense robots are working on placing cubes for the entire match. It’s that placing Cubes onto the Plates is the only legal way to affect the movement of the Plates.

Holding a Cube on top of the plates for longer than “incidental contact” doesn’t sound like a “placement of Power Cubes” to me. It’s much like Example 2, as Robots can’t hold a Plate down, just like they aren’t allowed to hold a Plate up, even transitively through possession of a Cube.

As for G20, that’s talking about using Power Cubes in other ways besides placing them onto Plates. I suppose you might be violating that rule as well if you’re using Cubes to hold Plates in certain positions as opposed to trying to place them onto the Plates.

I think the OP is asking how something like that would be called by the referees.
Say, for example, Robot A is trying to place a cube, but their rollers are stalling, so they spend 30 seconds trying to place this cube. As a side-effect of this, the robot’s cube being placed is holding the scale down because it’s still in their gripper.

I honestly don’t know how I’d call this if I were a referee, but I think I would be forced to call it as if the placing robot was holding the scale down intentionally, even if they weren’t.

So if I follow correctly, by this, are you suggesting that placement of a cube on the plate is some instantaneous action of the cubes first contact with the plate, and after that we are allowed a grace period of “incidental length” before we should release the cube? And then this incidental length is based on a referees assessment that the current placement of the cubes on the scale would otherwise cause the scale to move and change scoring state? Because if their cube placement would not have resulted in the scale moving, then there can be no possible infraction, but if, in the referee’s assessment, it might cause scale movement, and the proper placement of my cube might prevent that movement, how long does a robot have?

Also, as a slight aside, G25 Example 2 currently says nothing about holding the plate down (though certain ways of this happening might be considered to fall under G19) However, due to the specific exemptions listed in G25 and G20, there does not appear to be a rule that disallows a robot from holding the scale down during cube placement.

I would not even limit it to a robot breakdown. What if a robot is nudging cubes on a plate to make room on a plate to optimally place a cube? How long can that be done?

Edit: Spellcheck

This issue came up in our discussion of rules/strategy as well. I think the key words are “Except via the placement of POWER CUBES”. So for example if you have a vertical Roller claw which ejects the Power Cube downwards as your “placement” mechanism is this a violation of G25? I think not.

And back to the original question: so how long can this placement process take? (2m15s? 05s?) If there is no time limit then a ROBOT staying (and placing) a Power Cube on the scale for a long time a valid defensive strategy for controlling a scale during a contested match?

I agree these rules need clarification soon.

I think I would call it every time. If the scale/switch is moving for any reason and you impede it while in control of your bot, you are at fault.

Same as protected areas, you must be in full control of your bot and aware of your surroundings at all times.

And same as protected areas, if you are forced into that position by the other team, no penalty.

I won’t be surprised if we see wording similar to this in a future update.

I expect this will be fixed by adding the word “transitively” to G25. While we aren’t supposed to infer intent behind the rules, I think it’s pretty clear in this case that the GDC doesn’t intend for an alliance to control the SCALE or SWITCH with one cube on it while sloooooooowly placing another, if the other alliance has managed to get 10 cubes on it.

Its certainly a grey area… you cannot force someone into breaking a rule. Then we have…

G20 excuses this in the case of placing cubes on plates… standing around holding a scale in a not free to balance position in my book is NOT “placing a cube” the way I read that rule

I would surmise the initial act is inadvertent due to what happened on other end, at that point seems legit. Continued holding scale at an unnatural balance point with a robot though seems to be altering scoring

I can see that being called myself under G20 pretty quickly for slow bot IMO

In this case I would say that as long as you weren’t touching the scale then it wouldn’t matter. But once the scale makes contact with the bottom of the cube and you are still holding on to the cube then you are no longer placing the cube you are holding down the scale.

Similar to what’s already been said about transitively being added to clarify this, I think that since you are in possession of the cube and the cube is holding down the scale you would be using the cube to amplify the challenge associated with the scale by making the other alliance place the cube higher than they would otherwise have to.

Keep in mind, referees usually remember bots a bit of a way into quals. A bot which suddenly takes an extra 10-20 seconds to do something it excels at is likely to draw a foul, broken mechanism or not.

If R1 lifted the elevator in order to avoid holding the scale during placement, then I’d likely consider it incidental under [G25] (subject to head ref discussion about length). Otherwise I’d give tech fouls first under [G25, example 1], and discuss with head ref after the match ended.

This is a clear G25 violation. As soon as the ref sees your CUBE while still in the robot’s possession preventing the PLATE from moving you are getting a FOUL, unless it is very short duration/incidental and in the refs judgement not an attempt to alter the scoring (by stopping CONTROL from passing to the other ALLIANCE). This is about as lightly as I would expect to get off. The only case where I think this will not be a FOUL is when you already have CONTROL of the PLATE, and end up holding down the PLATE during a slow placement of another CUBE, while the other ALLIANCE is not placing CUBES on their side (ie it is clear that you are in no way preventing a change of state, and there is no strategic intent). Even then you may get the foul called as they could rule that the other ALLIANCE was denied the opportunity of attempting to change the state of the PLATE, even though they did not actual attempt a placement.

In the case of the slow/poor operator choices/broken robot, you are getting a TECH FOUL every 5 seconds the situation is not corrected, and a YELLOW/RED CARD if if is deemed strategic or you repeat the process.

The blue box is showing some examples of violating actions. It is not an exhaustive list.

Bottom line, place CUBE quickly, and avoid actual contact between the robot and the PLATE. You are perfectly safe if you avoid contact between the CUBE and the PLATE, while the CUBE is in the robots possession.

This is a lovely corner case, and I think it’s important that we bring it to wider attention and get a ruling that will be applied consistently across all regions. So I’ve submitted it to the Q&A as questions 159 and 160.


Thanks for posting these and I look forward to the official answer, but my personal prediction on their answer…

In Team Update #1, it was stated that it will take one second before OWNERSHIP of switch or scale occurs, so… a team better not impede a switch/scale change in anyway for more than that second or else be at risk for G25 violations.

But again this is only a personal guess.

My personal prediction: “We cannot comment absolutely on hypothetical scenarios. The ultimate decision would be determined by the REFEREES at your event, with the final call made by the Head REFEREE.”

I would also predict a G20 call, with limited chance for a C07 (read C07 in its entirety to understand why I’d say it’s a limited chance). Also my personal guess.

I think we are all in a general agreement on the intent of these rules and that strategically preventing the plate from moving is something we shouldn’t be allowed to do. However, as some other threads have suggested, if it isn’t specifically said that we can’t do something then assume we can (One of the “height after start of match” threads). I was going to post to Q&A today but I saw someone already had. In the event that we get the standard hypothetical response, I’ll submit my original question with specific calls to the exemptions listed in G20 and G25 as well as the “not changing scoring state” aspect of G25.

G25 as of 1/16:
Except via the placement of POWER CUBES, ROBOTS may not affect the movement of PLATES. Incidental contact that does not result in PLATES changing scoring state is not a violation of this rule. A ROBOT forced to affect the position of a PLATE (e.g. a ROBOT wedged underneath the SCALE by the opposing ALLIANCE either intentionally or accidentally) is not a violation of this rule.

“Except via the placement of POWER CUBES, ROBOTS may not affect the movement of PLATES.”
I currently read this as, ROBOTS may not affect the movement of PLATES except via the placement of POWER CUBES. At its core, the question comes to “Officially, how long is the placement of POWER CUBES allowed to take?” Is this an instantaneous event? If it is an instantaneous event, then nudging would be pointless to define as it only applies when attempting to place a cube. I’m tempted to infer from this that if the plate is in a favorable scoring state for the placing robot, then nothing prevents them from taking 2 minutes to execute the placement of power cubes. Now I realize nudging throws the word “attempting” in there. So, is “cube placement” disconnected and a separate event from “attempted cube placement”? If we say they are separate events, then you can’t affect scale movement by attempted cube placement.

This brings us to the next part: “Incidental contact that does not result in PLATES changing scoring state is not a violation of this rule.” If the scale is already in the scoring state favorable to a placing robot, then is contact from “attempted cube placement” and “nudging” incidental? I think it would be, but now we are back to a slightly modified original question: Officially, how long is the *attempted *placement of POWER CUBES allowed to take?

Either way I’m curious on the Q&A response. I agree with BethMo and others, I would like to see a ruling that can be applied consistently across all regions.

Maybe modify G25 to include: “Strategies aimed at preventing the free movement of the scale in any way will be considered a violation”?

Edit: Curiously, the blue box for G25 only shows blue robots holding up the scale as violations implying that they are in Red’s null zone preventing red from scoring. They could have easily shown a robot holding a scale down. I recognize that blue boxes aren’t exhaustive but that would have been an easy addition.

Don’t worry, I agree that there’s something to be said about that being a gray-ish area. However, it is (currently) something of a hypothetical. There’s a couple of ways for it to be illegal, a couple of ways for illegality to go the other way… I don’t want to be the one making that sort of call.

That said, I would expect an answer, no idea the form. It might be a “Referees will be instructed” sort of answer, and then you don’t know for sure exactly what those instructions will be.

The fact that these haven’t been answered yet leads me to guess that they’re going to try to clarify things when Team Update 4 comes out later today.

I would like to see them address the use of nudging from the neutral state into your own in order to get them flat ownership points.

Clearly they are taking the time to draw another picture for the blue box :slight_smile:

I was hoping so… but no Team Update 4, either!

Well, at least we know we’re not getting a kneejerk response from them.