[moderated]: A Challenge: YOU Rewrite G25

Obviously, there has been some controversy lately about issues surrounding rule G25. Most of this has been needless arguing and flaming of other users. I have seen many ideas on how individuals would like to change this situation, but I have yet to see a solid proposal.

Here’s G25 as is stands:

Strategies aimed solely at the destruction, damage, tipping over, or entanglement of ROBOTS are not in the spirit of FIRST Robotics Competition and are not allowed. However, Triple Play is a highly interactive contact game. Some tipping, entanglement, and damage may occur as a part of normal game play. If the tipping, entanglement, or damage occurs where it is not a part of normal game play, at the referee’s discretion,a 10-point penalty will be assessed, and the offending team/ROBOT may be disqualified from that match. Repeated offenses could result in a team/ROBOT being disqualified from the remainder of the Regional or Championship competition.
Examples of normal game play interaction include:
• Pushing low on another ROBOT.
• Blocking or pushing on a TETRA that is in possession of an opposing ROBOT.
• Establishing ROBOT position to block access to a GOAL by an opposing ROBOT.
• Using an arm or gripper to prevent an opposing ROBOT from placing a TETRA on a GOAL.
Examples of inappropriate robot interaction include:
• Pushing high on a robot and tipping it over.
• Using an arm or gripper to repeatedly strike an opposing ROBOT that is not in the process of
placing a TETRA on a GOAL.
• Placing any part of your ROBOT under an opposing ROBOT, and then lifting to flip it over.
• Using an arm and gripper to pull a ROBOT by grabbing electrical cables, hoses, etc. or disabling a
ROBOT by tearing out wires or hoses.
• Grasping or attaching to a TETRA that is in the possession of an opposing ROBOT, and using it to
pull over the opposing ROBOT.
• Ramming another ROBOT at high speed.
If you were given the chance by FIRST to rewrite and present this ruling in a well worded, concise, professional manner, what would you write? Remember, some of the main arguments have been that the rule as it stands leaves too much up to judgment by particular referees. Can you think of a way to clear up the wording so that calls may be made more consistently from event to event?

By no means am I saying that I don’t agree with G25 as it stands, I am just looking for users who have talked down upon this to back up their previous arguments with a solid, professional proposal.

Please people, lets not have this turn into another flame war. Only post if you have something you feel is worthy of discussion. And when you decide that what you have written is worthwhile, please re-look and rethink it. You can never take enough precautions to prevent personal embarrassment. Just remember, thousands of people look at these forums and you are not only representing yourself, but your team.

Moderators: Please feel free to turn this thread into a moderated discussion if you feel it is needed.

Edit: I knew it was here somewhere, and I just found it. This thread is a spin off of this thread discussing agressive play ruling from last year.

Actually, G25 was rewritten in Team Update 15 to add the following text (emphasis theirs):

If the tipping, entanglement, or damage occurs where it is not a part of normal game play, at the referee’s discretion, a 10-point penalty will be assessed***, and*** the offending team/ROBOT may be disqualified from that match.

Personally, I would change “where it is not a part of normal game play, at the referee’s discretion” to “where the action violates any of the following conditions [the list at the end of G25], is obviously malicious, or beyond the spirit of Gracious Professionalism.”

I know, I know, people argue daily about what GP really is–but if you stick to Woodie’s basic definition of making your grandmother proud, you’ve got yourself a standard. Maybe I’m just naive, but I’m willing to bet that most drivers know what kind of driving would make their grandmother proud.

Man, I wish I’d thought of this thread–good question!

I agree with the intent of G25: preventing intentionally rough play aimed at disabling an opposing robot in some way.

Calling G25 ought to require an affirmative determination of intent to disable an opposing robot.

So here it is:

*Strategies aimed solely at the destruction, damage, tipping over, or entanglement of ROBOTS are not
in the spirit of FIRST Robotics Competition and are not allowed. However, Triple Play is a highly interactive
contact game. Some tipping, entanglement, and damage may occur as a part of normal game play. If the referee determines by an overwhelming preponderance of evidence that tipping, entanglement, or damage occured as a result of an intentional effort by one team to disable any functions of another robot,
the offending team/ROBOT may be disqualified from that match. Repeated offenses could result in a
team/ROBOT being disqualified from the remainder of the Regional or Championship competition.

If the referee determines that team engages in excessively rough play that risks causing entaglement, damage, or tipping, he must warn the team immediately and he may assess a ten point penalty. Upon further infractions, he may assess ten or thirty point penalties at his discretion.*

G26 should be modified to cover not just incidental but routine entanglement, but also incidental but routine tipping and damage caused during normal game play.

In English…

The purpose of my rewording to reflect what I think the original intention of the rule was: Robots will push and shove and flip when good defense is being played. Robots that bang for no reason need to stay in the pits. When the Head ref at Philly said that he DQ’d a team when he knew they didn’t intend to flip, I think that the orgininal meaning needs to be clarifed.

I think that it’s also critical to understand that this rule in it’s original form clearly spells out that it can only legally be enforced when a team performs a strategies with the SOLE INTENTION of:

  1. destruction
  2. damage
  3. tipping over
  4. entanglement

I’m looking forward to seeing what others come up with to help the refs be as consistant as we all know they can with clear rules.



  1. ram Repeatedly from a distance greater than 3 feet at high speed.
  2. use a mechanism/method in a visibly damaging method to an opponents robot while having the ability/circumstance to avoid causing the damage.
  3. use a mechanism/method to flip another robot while having the ability/circumstance to avoid flipping the opponent robot.

I like the above but would remove the word Repeatedly.

The rule says that “Strategies aimed solely at the destruction, damage, tipping over, or entanglement of ROBOTS are not in the spirit of FIRST Robotics Competition and are not allowed.” It does not say that you can’t push shove or defend. Basically they are saying NO ROBOT WARS. When a team is pushing on another and the opposition robot starts to tip, 1 do you push harder or 2 do you back off? This is the difference between intentional and not. Set Guidelines like above and it would be so much easier.

Hey Tom - great idea!

I’ve thought about this for a bit. Regardless of which path we choose to go down in revising this rule, we must absolutely, positively get rid of that arbitrarily-levied 10-point penalty that was wedged into G25 during one of the Team Updates. Basically, try to restore G25 to its original, kickoff-era glory. The overagressiveness penalty is a bane to well-meaning teams who like to play legal defense (79 comes to mind, and YES, 48), and it’s a free pass for truly mischievous teams that lets them continue to execute their damaging strategies without any true punishment. It’s a cop out for the refs, who must be required to deliver a swift, severe decision in such malicious intent cases to bring these teams to justice and quickly teach them never to do it again (unless they are truly off their rocker).

So, we’ve removed the “gray area” that the 10-point penalty brought to the table. The next question is to define the boundary line between black and white for the refs. I believe a question everyone asks when talking about writing such rules as G25 is, “Should we punish the **action **or the intent?” Well, as I’ve said all along, I truly believe that G25, in its original wording, did a good job of separating and specifying which actions were legal and which were not. Intent is inherently implied by the actions teams choose to follow. Most refs don’t have psychology degrees - they should not be asked to judge the intent of a student driving the robot, as the majority of the psychology professionals in the world probably couldn’t figure out just what’s going on inside a typical FIRST kid’s mind. The question a ref must ask him/herself is not “What is that kid thinking?” but “What did that kid just do?” If he/she just engaged in a “normal game play”, then that nets zero penalty. If he/she just engaged in “inappropriate robot interaction”, that gets their team a warning or a DQ - that is the only area in which the ref’s discretion should be called upon. All other decisions should already be made for them.

Here’s the final version:

Before this thread goes too much further, I would like to make a recommendation.

Before anyone posts a suggested re-write of <G25>, they should be required to fully read through this thread and this thread. These threads address related discussions from last year. They contain numerous insights, suggestions, thoughts, and recommendations that were all considered when this years’ version of <G25> was written.

These pages are all worth reviewing before we enter in to another discussion on this topic, for several reasons. First off, a lot of ideas have already been posted; we don’t need to repeat information that is already out there. Second, it will be discovered that, based on events from this year, some ideas just will not work; we can skip over them and move on. But third, as many discovered last year, it will be seen that writing an effective, complete, acceptable, all-inclusive, and understandable rule that covers all possibilties and all situations without any possibility of misinterpretation is extrodinarily difficult.

In no way do I want to restrict discussion on this topic. But I do want to ask that as suggested rewrites are made, that the authors thoroughly read their rewrites before pressing the “Submit Reply” button. As you go through the submission, ask yourself “does this really improve the situation for ALL teams in ALL instances?” Too often, there is a temptation to modify a rule to fix one specific incident. But in the effort to correct that one situation, other unexpected problems are created. Those conditions are the ones against which we must be on the lookout. While everyone wants to improve the situation and create a better set of rules, you will find that it is very easy to accidently make things worse if the full set of implications of the new rule are not thought out carefully, thoroughly, and completely.


And just as an illustration of how it is possible to make things worse through the application of the best of intentions, I offer the following tale. Yes, <G25> could be improved. But it could also be a whole lot worse…

Bureaucracy strikes again.

I thought you would like to see the notice that British Airways sent to its pilots explaining what we in the US refer to as the “monitored approach” method where on an approach to very low visibility and ceiling one pilot flies the approach and when the other pilots sees the runway he takes the plane and lands.

This removes the problem of the pilot having to make the transition from flying instruments and at the last minute looking outside and “getting his bearings” as the other pilot is already “outside”. If the pilot not flying says nothing by the time they reach "minimumsb, the pilot flying automatically starts the “go-around” procedure as he is still on the instruments.

Now try this actual explanation of this procedure from the British Airways manual:

*** British Airways Flight Operations Department Notice ***

There appears to be some confusion over the new pilot role titles. This notice will hopefully clear up any misunderstandings. The titles P1, P2 and Co-Pilot will now cease to have any meaning, within the BA operations manuals. They are to be replaced by Handling Pilot, Non-handling Pilot, Handling Landing Pilot, Non-Handling Landing Pilot, Handling Non-Landing Pilot, and Non Handling Non-Landing Pilot. The Landing Pilot, is initially the Handling Pilot and will handle the take-off and landing except in role reversal when he is the Non-Handling Pilot for taxi until the Handling Non-Landing Pilot, hands the handling to the Landing Pilot at eighty knots. The Non-Landing (Non-Handling, since the Landing Pilot is handling) Pilot reads the checklist to the Handling Pilot until after Before Descent Checklist completion, when the Handling Landing Pilot hands the handling to the Non-Handling Non-Landing Pilot who then becomes the Handling Non-Landing Pilot.

The Landing Pilot is the Non-Handling Pilot until the “decision altitude” call, when the Handling Non-Landing Pilot hands the handling to the Non-Handling Landing Pilot, unless the latter calls “go-around”, in which case the Handling Non-Landing Pilot, continues Handling and the Non-Handling Landing Pilot continues non-handling until the next call of “land” or “go-around”, as appropriate.

In view of the recent confusion over these rules, it was deemed necessary to restate them clearly. end.


I’m of the opinion that the rule is well-written already, but is being enforced as though it concerns intentional action rather than any action outside of normal game play. The solution would be to remind referees of the intent of the rule.
(edit - forgot to address before)
I believe the 10 point penalty is approriate, provided it is always assigned without ambiguity. When you tip an opposing robot (or entangle it to the point it cannot move), you’re taking away it’s ability to score points. To balance it out, you get disabled also, taking away your abilitity to score points. However, not all robots were created equal, it’s possible that the offending bot can’t score points as well as the one it knocked down. For that possibility, you get the 10 point penalty. Without the point penalty, it’s a perfectly valid strategy to knock down any bot that’s better than, despite your own disable. How GP would it be to tell your third alliance partner in the finals to knock down the #1 seed on the opposing alliance?
Plucking some juicy ideas to support this from the threads Dave mentioned:

This idea applies very well to this years game. A lot of shoving occurs to keep bots away from loading zones - exactly what we’re trying to stop, especially when it results in robots being damaged or tipped. Making the rules rather strict but including a clause like this would be the easiest way to say we don’t want bots doing anything but playing the game.

And another quote from Ken,

Solution: clear off the word intentional but leave the same penalties to the ref’s discretion if he/she believes it due to overly aggressive play. Something along the lines of it being a penalty

That is, the rule is already well-writen, but does need better enforcing. I’m confident referees can make the decisions just fine, but it seems that the rules are being enforced as though they concerned intentional behavior.

As for any ambiguity:
This post suggests showing videos of what earns penalties. This is a great way to solve the ambiguity problems, and would also serve to show the crowd what causes penalties. A good part of the time, the crowd has no clue why a penalty was called. At the start of the competition, right after the kickoff game animation (perhaps even part of it) can be examples of what is illegal, narrated somewhat like this:
“Howver, this is not a war. Teams must be wary not to damage other robots in play. Contact in the loading zone is dangerous, and will result in a 30-point penalty. Pushing a robot high, causing it to fall will result in disqualification. Ramming other robots at high speeds is illegal. Accidental tipping during defensive play, however, does not result in penalties,” and so on, accomponied with short videos of the actions. The videos would show less obvious examples, such as tipping by pushing a tetra that as being held rather than the bot itself.

Dave, based upon your message, I’ll be sure to stay away from BA!!! I hope that’s not their current procedure.

Overall, the rules are very well written, and I clearly understand that rewriting rules can have unintended consequences, but due to the number of posts about this specific rule, I’d suggest it be clarified in some way.

Using a term like “normal game play” is too vague, as it leaves too much open to interpretation. Also, the whole “intent” thing is way to hard to actually enforce. I would like the rule to be more specific, like the 30 pt penalty for hitting someone in the loading zone.

Examples of what would be clearer (similar to the post by Swampdude) would be rules like the following…

30 point penalties:

  • Ramming from greater than 3 feet
  • Tipping another robot from contact higher than 3 feet, or by a flipping mechanism
  • Actuating a gripping mechanism solely to grab or damage any part of another robot

There should probably be a couple more, but hopefully I gotten the idea across. One thing that might need to be in the robot construction rules is something like “within 3 inches of the floor, robot side skirts should not have an angle less than 45 degrees”… to eliminate the robot design where the robot itself is made for tipping others.

As far as entanglement from 2 robots colliding, if a robot is designed with cables/tubing/etc exposed, then it’s a risk they take, not the issue of someone who happens to get entangled with them.

It wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong today, but I think this would make things much clearer, and make everyone more comfortable (including the ref’s, who have a very difficult job).