Key Violation G17

Just read the Q102 answer:

It prompted my follow-up question:

Is this a potential fuel shot killer? Five seconds in the key may stop a proficient shooter from making 25 fuel = 8.33kPa & 8MP, and only cost them a 5MP foul.

BUT, G17 says there is an additional foul for an additional 5 second violation. So a defender can spend 9.99s in the key, prevent 50 fuel (16.66kPa/16MP) and only give up 5MP?

Seems like someone didn’t think that penalty through.

PLEASE, let me know if I’m being an idiot here. I hope I am.

The key is not a “safe zone” as such the best you can hope for is a >5sec “no parking zone”… they will get a foul . The ref with their arm will start a countdown each second they are in your key (to warn the driver visually) . That defender can exit the key before 5 sec and then enter the key again or hit you while you are shooting so don’t expect protection at all… apart from the 5 second countdown for them to leave the key. Once they leave they certainly can re-enter for another up to 5 sec…rinse repeat

The retrieval zone is a no-touch zone so expect protection there.

G17 Opponent’s KEY: a no parking zone. “Foul every 5s” <—resets timer once the leave the key. So yes you can be significantly harassed in key all teleop long.

Remember these G17 fouls have to be seen by the ref AND counted by the ref, so expect some initial delay , once they start counting you know their foul timer started. They have to visibly count to 5 to enter the foul (and visually back it up) if they only get to 4 no foul. Its not by stopwatch its by ref starting their count.

I always figured there was a big chance for harassment. Will be especially challenging in the elims when there is more likely to be a chosen defensive robot.
But when I first read G17 I didn’t do the math. Seems the FOUL cost is super low considering the potential kPa prevention… and thereby potential RP loss.

Keep in mind you have entire Launchpad to shoot from

G23. Shoot FUEL from your own LAUNCHPAD. A ROBOT may only LAUNCH FUEL while in their
LAUNCHPAD (i.e. at least breaking the plane of the line with BUMPERS).

I’m curious how it would be called if an scoring robot doesn’t allow the defending robot to leave the key. Will they rule a foul on the defender for being in the key for longer than 5 seconds or on the scoring robot for forcing an opponent into a penalty? If it is the later, it becomes significantly easier to completely shut down a scorer that needs to score from the key: sit in key for 4.5 seconds, inch outside of the key and then quickly return before the scoring robot can get behind you.

There’s more protection in your key than in the launchpad area the way I see it

Perhaps but nothing solid, its not a safe zone at all just a no-parking for more than 4.5 sec zone. Meanwhile a bot can ram you anytime while in the key I don’t call that “protection”

If you prevent a defender from leaving for their timer reset you are drawing a foul, and can be called on it. And you might be considered to be pinning them too.

Shooting from the airship was something I considered.
Shooting a wiffle ball over 12 ft with your back against a wall, or shoot from 2 feet with someone slamming into you. Tough choice.

C08. Don’t expect to gain by doing others harm. Strategies aimed solely at forcing the opposing ALLIANCE to violate a rule are not in the spirit of FIRST Robotics Competition and not allowed.Rule violations forced in this manner will not result in an assignment of a penalty to the targeted

G11. There’s a 5-count on pins. ROBOTS may not pin an opponent’s ROBOT for more than five (5) seconds. A ROBOT will be considered pinned until the ROBOTS have separated by at least six (6) feet. The pinning ROBOT(s) must then wait for at least three (3) seconds before attempting to pin the same ROBOT again.

Basically its up to the ref and how they see it, IMO if it appears the offending counted key parking bot is trying to leave the key to avoid the 5-count foul then it would be the pinner bot doing negative “forcing a foul” and risking a C08 most likely as at that point the ref is looking right at the action.

Ah, yes, the old “Ref’s judgement” Q&A answer.

Could be a key violation, could be a pin call, could be a C08, could be some other penalty… probably depend on the exact situation. Might be all of them–I’ve seen something like that crop up before.

Not letting a robot leave a certain position IS a pin. They use the example of trapping someone between the guards on the lift. You do not have to be touching to be pinning. Now, that’s if they hold you for 5+ seconds.

It will be hard to get a pin call and even a drawing foul call. The key is not a small slot that a robot can get pinned. You are going in there with the expectation that someone else will be there too that may hinder your exit. Unless they purposely pin you in (or push you in from outside) a draw foul will be unlikely.


Hopefully we can get the GDC thinking a little more into these details!

The punishment (a foul for each 5s) is pretty light for the key… perhaps by design. But the added dimension of what happens if a defender is “stuck” (intentionally, or not) by a scoring robot is unclear… Some past safe zones have been clear that intention or being “trapped” in a penalized position is irrelevant, which further deters infractions. The blue box after C08 makes it sound like ANY type of counter-pin in a key could be warrant for C08… which has a violation of a FOUL or a Yellow Card if “egregious or repeated”, which could be particularly subjective in this case.

C08. Don’t expect to gain by doing others harm. Strategies aimed solely at forcing the opposing ALLIANCE to violate a rule are not in the spirit of FIRST Robotics Competition and not allowed. Rule violations forced in this manner will not result in an assignment of a penalty to the targeted ALLIANCE.

Violation: FOUL. If egregious or repeated, YELLOW CARD.

C08 does not apply for strategies consistent with standard gameplay, e.g. contacting an opponent while in your RETRIEVAL ZONE to retrieve GAME PIECES. C08 requires an intentional act with limited or no opportunity for the TEAM being acted on to avoid the penalty, e.g. pinning an opponent in your KEY such that they cannot help but violate G17.


Do you KNOW that this is how refs are going to be instructed to call G17’s or is this conjecture?

Given that a defender may often try to go into the key, there may often be a pin beginning (and a counter-pin could ensue where the offensive robot or a partner begins to pin the defender). This could make it extremely unclear if the ref is doing the “tomahawk countdown” for a G17 (key) or G11 (pin)… and who the countdown is being made on.

The protection isn’t in the rules, it’s in being able to ram your bumper into the wall and have an aligned shot that is much harder for a defender to disrupt. The key rule basically exists to allow you to do this.

Just for clarification, here is my Q&A question:

I was more concerned about the time AFTER the initial foul call.

Hypothetical situation:
Blue robot #1 (B1) drives to the edge of opponent launchpad in AUTO. At beginning of TELEOP, B1 drives into KEY, drives back and forth in the KEY for 9.x seconds, and leaves KEY for 0.x seconds. This would be a 5MP FOUL since an “additional 5s” was not met.
B1 then goes right back into the KEY for another 9.x seconds. Repeat for 130 or so seconds. ~13 FOULS = 65MP to opponent while severely restricting their ability to score kPa, which are what earn the RP.

As it stands this is very legal, and something my team are considering a counter strategy against.

What I don’t understand is why 130s parking in the key “severely restricting” kPa and RP in any match?

Just like basketball many shots are outside the key so I don’t see where parking and drawing fouls equates to restricted kPa stockpiling towards a RP. Plus I highly doubt that strategy will be employed anyhow with regularity , as Gear bots early point thresholds can potentially stockpile 40–>80–>120+RP points in telop (2, 4, 6) you need to win also not just prevent a single (40+) + RP tfrom Boiler success which is 3x less potential allince match points assumming RP thesholds max( Fuel can go higher , gears stop at 200+RP MAX with 3 auto) . Driver’s Vision to key is likely terrible too, I highly doubt effective defense will be empoyed and played on that end/key corner much.

When you are defendiing that does not help your own alliance score accumulation plus the more likely FOUL scenario being on their end messing sround trying to defend in the key might earn points fot the other allince…does not add up to me from strategy standpoint. For defense …I would worry much more about gears being placed 2-12 in defense than defending the Boiler all game and swithing defense wastes time, plus you have a climb.

2 RP win should be the main focus of teams before all-game Boiler key defense, and thats based on points…gears is easist way to gain points…it would be net -1RP strategy if employing a Boiler points/RP prevent plan and losing the game to the other alliance based on gear/climb points.

I would say that the following rule applies, but obviously FIRST’s answer to your Q&A (And your event’s HR) would have the final word.

T03. Egregious or repeated violations of any rule or procedure is prohibited.
Violation: The Head REFEREE may assign a YELLOW CARD as a warning, or a RED CARD for DISQUALIFICATION in MATCH.

Your question has been answered:

Most notably, no mention of taking Fouls for strategic purposes. In general I would expect as part of the rule “if repeated or strategic, tech foul” or something of the like. Typically repeatedly taking Fouls as part of your strategy isn’t encouraged like this…

I never said “parking”, that is just how they worded the rule.

Foul points do not earn kPa, correct? So an **active **defender can disrupt shooters anywhere and hurt their ability to score MP and kPa. And if they do it in the KEY, they don’t risk much. 5MP foul = 15 high goal shots made, but without the kPa.

Yes, I realize most quals matches will be two of three robots trying to function, but higher performance teams will be asking their lower performing teams to play defense. And unlike past years, there is no protected zone for those defenders to mess up with.

There are three “protected zones” all bots should avoid:

In auto the opponents Launchpad area, in tele-op their “Retrival Zone” and end of game “Rope touch” is protected no touch zone. Boiler Key is a simple no parking more than 4.5sec zone if seen by a ref…a ref emphasis zone most likely.

One thing to keep in mind is in the playoffs, the red alliance’s third robot will have a good view of the boilers and a bad view of the feeder stations, and the blue alliance third bot will have the opposite.