Game Piece Herding

So, rule G403 says, “1 GAME PIECE at a time (except in LOADING ZONE and COMMUNITY). ROBOTS completely
outside their LOADING ZONE or COMMUNITY may not have CONTROL of more than 1 GAME
PIECE, either directly or transitively through other objects.
A. the GAME PIECE is fully supported by the ROBOT, or
B. the ROBOT is intentionally moving a GAME PIECE to a desired location or in a preferred

The next rule, G404’s blue box explains what isn’t considered launching, and it says “A ROBOT pushing a GAME PIECE a short distance away in the process of
herding it across the FIELD” is fine.

My question is: does this means you can bring multiple pieces across the field by juggling them forward so you’re never touching more than one, or does G403 B stop that too. The word herding in G404 seems to suggest it is talking about a group of game pieces, but I do not know if G403 considers an object rolling a short distance in a direction you pushed it to still be in your control.


Like this?

We were discussing a couple ways to do it. Almost none of them practical. Even if you could pull off the design, it’s hugely susceptible to defense in a very high traffic region.


I would assume that switching between pushing multiple different game pieces is moving them to a desired location despite not having contact with them the whole time, so illegal per G403 B.

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This is definitely a question for Q&A.

I would say that the control lasts while the game piece is moving. Predicated that the herding of all game pieces is intentional, G403 would not be broken if only one game piece is in motion at a time. This would almost certainly require a small amount of backing up and reorienting between game pieces.

An equally valid interpretation would consider this illegal, interpreting that “intentionally moving” applies to the entire journey of the game piece.

You also have to make sure the game piece doesn’t leave contact with your robot with any significant forward speed, or else it might be considered “launching”. So this hypothetical bucket-brigade machine would have to whip game pieces around to the front of the line, and then bring them to a complete stop before picking up the next one.

Also if you get pushed sideways into your “dropped” gamepiece(s), you might be vulnerable to a G403 foul call, depending on how generous the Ref is (and I feel like they would not be generous).

I had assumed that the herding took place more-or-less entirely by the use of a robots bumpers. The sort of “leapfrogging” of cones shown in the video appears to be the most likely version of this motion to be legal (unambiguous to refs).

However, under the second interpretation I gave it would still be illegal.

Perhaps a question should be posed like:

G403-B allows a ROBOT to have only one GAME PIECE under its CONTROL at a time, where CONTROL requires “intentionally moving a GAME PIECE to a desired location…”. Suppose a ROBOT “controlled” (non-FRC defn) two GAME PIECES at once while driving across the FIELD, by quickly and repeatedly picking up the one in back and placing it in front. During this “leapfrogging” of GAME PIECES, only one is in motion at any moment. Does this ROBOT therefore only CONTROL a single GAME PIECE?

Someone is free to ask that QA. If I were answering it I’d say it’s legal in theory. How are you controlling a game piece without controlling it?

That said, it’s a difficult strategy to pull off, and do it quickly enough to make the extra game pieces worth it.

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My opinion (fwiw) is that G404 says that if you are herding a single game piece across the floor, it’s not a foul for “launching” if the piece isn’t in continuous contact with the robot. Exceptions in G404 can only apply to G404.

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Wow. That looks like a new exercise craze. Think you’re on to something!

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Thanks, that is exactly what I was trying to ask but worded much better.

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yeah that would be a big problem

I think the idea behind that specification is bots which only push game pieces into the hybrid nodes. Doing something like that would still be considered “in control” of the piece, thus it would count towards the control limit, but not be penalized for under G404.

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