Let's talk more about H9

I am curious how H9 is going to play out. Fuel Cells can be located:

  • In the racks (14)
  • In the CORRAL (several)
  • In HP’s hands on the way to the LOADING BAY

I can imagine a lot of audience yelling once an alliance’s audience counts more than 15 in in their opposing alliance’s possession. There is no indicator light for this state, and it may be hard for a referee to realize how many fuel cells are in an alliance’s possession. The corral looks like it will be hard to see from a ref’s perspective.

If the racks are full, and the CORRAL has several more, and an HP is moving one fuel cell at a time to the LOADING BAY…ugh.

Seems like it will take the referees a week or two to get in tune with how and when to call fouls on slow reload to the field.



See this thread Stage 3 Ranking Point Hack for very relevant discussion.

Ninja edit: that thread is 250+ posts at this point, so be ready for that.

My guess is that this won’t be something the referees will watch for too often until it becomes a problem. The second half of that rule states “An ALLIANCE making a concerted, good-will effort to transport POWER CELLS from the CORRAL to a rack or Chute is not in violation of this rule.”

I imagine referees will give people the benefit of the doubt that they are making a good-will effort, but as soon as it becomes obvious there is a problem they will watch more, and I think this is correct way to address this rule. It would be too difficult for the referees otherwise. All human players just need to be making a “good-will effort” and all will be fine.


This is my single biggest concern about the game right now.


Referees won’t need to be enforcing this rule if human players are not making a concentrated effort to break this rule.


I’ve thought a little about how a team might be judged to be purposefully slowing down on the reload. I think it would be fair to compare recycle speed to how fast they load their own bots. If they are recycling just as fast as they load their own bots, no penalty. If they are sandbagging so recycling is slower, hit them for a penalty.

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Until the blue box no longer says “immediately”, I’ll be in the Question Box every single match that the opposing alliance reaches 20 power cells and doesn’t receive a penalty. (I say 20 because there is a bit of leeway there for 5 scored balls at once)


I understand why they do not want to take the 2010 approach, in large part because of huge complexity and implementation problems with DOGMA, but more and more I am thinking it would be good to do something like this in 2020 using the sensors.

Some of the problems are fixable (e.g. don’t make the penalty compound over time like in 2010!), but other issues get trickier than 2010. The 2020 wide loading bay can allow more than one ball through at a time. The 2010 sensors had problems detecting multiple balls simultaneously entering even with an aperture that only allowed one ball in at once.

I guess we’ll see how it goes. Events will enforce it a little differently each time, which will have a drastic effect on overflow strategy.

Compounding the difficulty in observing this is that penalties aren’t even announced anymore, so you have to guess if the penalty points were related to the scoring system or not…


Just posted this Q&A: https://frc-qa.firstinspires.org/qa/176

I think this is another problem with H9 and H10.


The fix for this is in the 2017 boiler design. That would of course take up a bunch of space and delay scoring, but it would make the approach you mention more feasible.

On a different note:
If an alliance allows all the game pieces to be held in their robots and the alliance station, then that’s a whole bunch of fouls and a more than likely a red card. But, it also could make it impossible for the other alliance to achieve the Stage 3 ranking point.

Interfering with climbing/hanging or leveling gives the other alliance a ranking point through the endgame points awarded. There is not a similar awarding of a ranking point if an alliance is impeded/prevented from activating Stage 3 through opponents’ violation of H9.

I’m all for assuming the good intent of teams. But this seems to be a glaring hole allowing an alliance to “tear others down” and impact ranking.

I don’t think that anyone would risk a red card and very hard loss, besides the fact that nobody would pick them, to lower anther team slightly in the rankings

IIRC the problem also existed in the 2017 boilers to a lesser extent - multiple balls passing through the sensor with no gap would sometimes result in missed counts. It’s just that subtracting 1/3rd of 1 point from the final score is a lot less noticeable than adding a huge penalty.

Great question! Thanks for posting!

My recollection from 2016 is the similar rule went like this:

  1. If the game was flowing “normally” the rule was more or less not checked
  2. If there was a lull because of a lack of boulders a referee would check
  3. At that point any alliance that was over was significantly over and got a bunch of penalties
  4. Usually the referee would verbally notify the human player to get rid of a bunch of boulders.

As long as the game flowed it really didn’t get called.
If the game didn’t flow, the specific actions being done by the human players was irrelevant.

That was what I remember from 2016.

In 2016 there was supposed to always be free boulders on the field. That isn’t true this year so the lulls should pop up quicker.

I think the loading bay rack will help keep human players aware of where they stand. I question how useful it will be for the referees since some of the human players will presumably always have power cells in hand. The big challenge is going to be getting that feedback to the drivers since usually the human players are reacting to the drivers and not vice versa. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens when 6 robots get drawn into one small area on the field to get power cells.

Except H10 says the Power Cells are to be stored on the rack, except for HP’s making a concerted, good-will effort to move the Power Cells from the Corral to the rack or Chute.

And it specifically makes a provision for only one human player to be holding a power cell (unless moving the cells from the rack to the FIELD or from the CORRAL to the rack)

I’m curious if there’s a clear sight line for any ref to see how many power cells are in the corral.

This is the thing for me: I’m ~80% confident this will be a mostly non-issue during comps (with some teams missing the message, whatever it is). But this game feels polished from a rules perspective, so now this is the biggest issue.

I would say that there will be a line of sight, but the ref may have to move to it.

Where are you getting this?

15 per corral + 5 per robot * 3 robots = 30 balls per alliance. So there are always at least 18 balls between the opposing robots, their corral, and the floor. Even if the opponents have 15 in their corral, that’s still 3 balls that have to be on the floor or in someone’s robot ready to shoot.