Immediate and necessary rule change!


I’ll start off by saying that the Israeli districts to this point have been a virtual blood bath, which is generated mainly because of the way defensive rules are written this year, and an emphasis that is being put in the wrong places IMO.

The rules of the game are supposed to create a healthy balance between offense and defense which allows for defenders to be effective but does not enable them to run wild without any fear of consequences.
There are a few points that are related to the way Zone Specific Restrictions are written - like the fact a team can recieve countless fouls for having a ziptie’s edge outside their frame perimiter in the opposing alliances’ side (a 2-3 inch grace distance could be given upto the edge of their bumpers), but I would like to focus on one point that has to change - the way G9 and G13 are enforced:
G9 - One (1) defender at a time. No more than one ROBOT may be positioned such that its BUMPERS break the plane defined by or are completely beyond the opponent’s CARGO SHIP LINE.
G13 - Opponents in their HAB ZONE are off-limits. A ROBOT may not contact an opponent ROBOT if that opponent ROBOT’S BUMPERS are fully in their HAB ZONE.

The way the rules are at the moment allow for two things to occur:

  1. A robot deep inside the opposing alliance’s half is allowed to carelessly colide and disturb all offensive robots at full speed with almost no risk of receiving a foul for it’s precarious behavior, it does produce really close and tense matches but at a cost that is unacceptable - it deteriorates to battlebots like extreme violance that is both destractive for all robots involved and is also unpleasant to watch.
  2. The fact that an alliance is being penalized for having more than 1 robot with their bumpers crossing the other alliances cargo ship line creates a problematic situation in which the cargo bay closest to the center becomes a hunting ground for defending robots to try and push opponents to their half - as if it’s for defensive purposes, and force them to commit a foul, and then try to trap them in that position for as long as possible - it has been done countless times over the last 2 Israeli districts.

These two rules combined create a situation where it’s worthwhile to drive in a violant and wreckless way while committing unsportsmanlike actions in order to recieve significant advantages and win matches.
I suggest the following rule switch:
G9 - One (1) defender at a time. No more than one ROBOT may be positioned such that they are completely beyond the opponent’s CARGO SHIP LINE.
G13 - Opponents in their HAB ZONE are off-limits. A ROBOT may not contact an opponent ROBOT if that opponent ROBOT’S BUMPERS break the plane defined by or is completely beyond their HAB ZONE.

Watch Israel #3 and #4 playoff matches to see exactly what I’m talking about - specifically ISR #4 final 3 for the problem with G9 (
Israeli defense tends to be more violant than what you see in other places, but some lines have been crossed and no punishment has been given so far by our local referees, and things could escalate by the time the district championship comes…

I’ll be sending an email to FIRST directly regarding this issue, but would like for others to say what they think and help apply some pressure for things to be changed in this regard in case they’re in agreement with these thoughts.

C8, G9, G10 - Rule change request letter to FIRST
There is no "Defense Agreement"


I personally like the current mix of defense and offense in this game.

I disagree that this is a problem by itself. Part of the tradeoff of sending a bot to the other side for defense is that incidental incursions of your offensive bots to the other side cause penalties. This often makes it harder to score on the back side of the rocket or the third cargo bay, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Some of these do seem like over the top C8 violations. I would suggest talking to head refs or other people with influence about calling C8 more often. Trapping someone on the opposite side of the field is a clear C8 violation to me.


Maybe this is just me not reading your proposed rule changes closely enough, but how would your changes to G9 and G13 limit robots playing defense by colliding with offensive robots at high speeds (the first problem that you identified with the current rules)


Honestly, this looks pretty tame compared to some of the defense already seen this year. The only thing im concerned about is how often red is pushing blue to its side without any real penalty to them, which the rule in question has its own discussion here. (this also has harsher defense than seen here from 5012, which is also the bot in question in that thread.)


it will be 2 to 3" longer than specs, zip tie could potentially damage opponent robots. Few years back in Michigan district event, a robot was placed on field in elimination match with camera that was mounted to frame and extending about 1/2" on bumper and ref gave them few minutes to correct the situation. When they couldn’t yank the camera out or change its position, robot was disabled. The rules related to dimensions are not hard to follow.


From an event I have seen, I do know that forcing a robot scoring on the cargo bay closest to the centre line into the opponents zone would result in a C8 foul. So yes you are correct in saying that!


I completely agree , the finals of the Israeli district 4 event were completely ruined by forced fouls ( by pushing another robot across the half)


I may have missed this, but where do the rules allow that? That is completely baseless and untrue.


Technically yes , but unfortunately an argument could be made that it is the responsibility of the alliance to send back their defense bot the second they see another alliance partner is being pushed across the middle,this is ridiculous and should be changed.


Theres no rules disallowing that. If you somehow had the room, i could easily go cross court and ram you.

Now, theres 2 narrow lanes instead of a wide open field. It is full of bots, both your alliance and the other alliance, trying to score. Good luck getting to top speed.


So there’s no rules disallowing playing defense to prevent an opposing robot from scoring? I don’t see your point.


You actually have me convinced with this statement and I think some rethinking needs to be done by our team in order to deal with this risk in a smarter way.

Blockquote[quote=“zucker42, post:2, topic:350410”]
Some of these do seem like over the top C8 violations. I would suggest talking to head refs or other people with influence about calling C8 more often. Trapping someone on the opposite side of the field is a clear C8 violation to me.

I wish it felt like there’s someone willing to listen.

The responses convinced me to not send an email for the time being and I may have went over the top with the dramatic title, but I stand behind the premise that - at least for Israel, the only thing that can prevent these G9 violations specifically from becoming a viable every match strategy might be to change the rules, because the refs choose to interpret the rules in the most robotic way possible with what feels like zero discretion some times…


I see what you mean about C8 not being called here, it seems like strategic violations of C8 were rampant and the referees didn’t seem to realize the difference. A discussion with the Head Referee is definitely in order; if the Head Referee agrees with you, they can huddle with the referees and explain it and make sure it doesn’t happen any more. Don’t ever hesitate to talk to the Head Ref in these cases.

I see where you’re going with this, but all you’re doing is moving the problem just a little farther down the field. And, you’re shortening the amount of space that the alliance has of “only one defender” and increasing a bully alliance’s range on the field. Remember, the robots have a 30 inch reach - I bet the Red Alliance could almost put a HATCH PANEL on the middle CARGO SHIP bay with their extension - without violating the rule (sorry, didn’t do the math). But my point here is that while this might allow for one good outcome in a bad corner case, it makes for a really bad outcome in many more matches.

And now this just went the entire opposite direction. I remember Rebound Rumble when we had the Key, and how robots would constantly “lure” robots near the Key so that they could touch them (because an alliance robot couldn’t be touched while any part of their robot was in the key - or something like that). Anyway, it made for some really poor matches where robots would play tag all the time near the Key while racking up “stupid penalties.” I was so happy FIRST didn’t put in protected zones this year like a Key, because a defender on the opposing side has a hard time enough moving around back there without being penalty-lured (especially by robots with a 30-inch extension); protected zones would kill defense completely.

At least, that’s my opinion.


So for those of you that think it is a C8 violation to push an offensive robot over the centerline while they are trying to score, then you would be incorrect.

We got confirmation from the head ref at Amarillo that this specific situation has been determined by HQ to not be a violation of C8. So what this means is an offensive robot being pushed into their defensive end while scoring will violate either the too many robots in the defensive end or the protrusion outside the frame perimeter rule. Watch Final 2 in Amarillo. 3310 got flagged for it while playing offense.

Violations of C8 unnoticed and rewarded by Referees
Violations of C8 unnoticed and rewarded by Referees

Understood, plans to make the other alliance foul are now allowed.

:crab:C8 IS DEAD:crab:


Really? Does this also apply to being pushed into the Hab zone as a defensive robot? Furthermore, is preventing a team from crossing back over a violation of C8?


It was blatantly obvious to me watching ISR #4 Finals that one alliance’s strategy was to try to force as many fouls as possible by pushing robots across the center line.

It was super effective. The refs consistently called the forced fouls without any C8 consequences. In Finals 3, the red alliance scored more points from forced fouls than they did from any other part of the game: sandstorm, hatch panels, cargo, or HAB points.

If nothing changes, this is now the blueprint for how to win matches of Destination: Deep Space.

Violations of C8 unnoticed and rewarded by Referees

I think teams have shot themselves in the foot on this one. The antics from 2013’s Q&A about being pushed into the safe zone while blocking FCS’s led to a specific ruling akin to “it doesn’t matter how you got there, it is a foul”. Since then, the Q&A and the refs have very consistently ruled zone violations like this exactly how ISR#4 (and OCR) were called.


Preventing MORE than 1 robot from crossing back to their side would be a C8 violation. They would have to let the others come back, but that does not mean your best scorer has to be one of them.


That is unacceptable, and every Woody Flowers Award winner should be questioning FIRST on how exactly this is graciously professional. Since the teams have basically no direct line to FIRST, you guys are really our only hope. FRANK FIX THIS.