[moderated] Brainstorm: Aggressive play rule

Ok…take two…

One of the hottest issues coming out of Atlanta was the question “What is legitimate intense play, and where is the line that gets us to Battlebots?” Many thought the game was fine as is, others were upset.

All of the play-by-play and Monday-morning reffing has already taken place in other threads… now its time to put some creative energy forth and maybe solve the dilemma for once and for all… or maybe it is not solvable… lets find out.

**This moderated thread is a place for folks to put forth the exact proposed wording of a rule that would have addressed overly aggressive play in FIRST Frenzy: Raising the Bar… lets call it <G101>. **

Usual brainstorming rules apply – moderators will not allow any thread discussing another’s post, or not proposing exact text that could have appeared in the 2005 manual. If you think of more than one way to solve the problem, post multiple times.

This thread will be closed at 10pm on April 28th. After that, let the discussions begin!

(The thread will also be submitted to the 2005 Game Committee for their informational use. In no way is their any implication that these suggestions will even be appropriate to the 2005 game or used by the 2005 Game Committee. In no way am I implying an association with the 2005 Game Committee)

<G101a> Standard Rules

  1. No flipping
  2. No entanglement
  3. No damaging another robot.

<G101b> Card System

  1. Yellow – a warning that the red card could come out. Play is getting a little aggressive and the referee is concerned a violation of the rules may occur.
  2. Red – an accidental violation of the rules occurred. The violator will be disabled for 10 seconds.
  3. Black – a robot has intentionally violated the rules. The violator will be disabled for the remainder of the match.

The idea behind the card system is to promote competitive play and good sportsmanship. Defensive play is only minorly penalized if an accidental violation occurs or majorly if the violation is intentional. This creates a healthy environment for offensive play to flourish, while keeping defense a viable option. Many would argue offense should be promoted more than defense as it is more exciting and challenging.

It is very difficult to determine the intentions of a driver. One person has noted the parallels to the justice system and how difficult it is to get a premeditated murder conviction. I believe in FIRST we should allow for a manslaughter type conviction; a robot committed a violation of the rule but did so accidentally. Restitution for the affected team comes in the form of a minimal period of time when the violator is disabled. This gives enough time for a robot to recover or at least is a form of rough justice by the referees.

My system allows for the proper action be taken by the referees if violations become intentional. It also offers some restitution for those who have been the victims of accidental violations of the rules.

Credits: Nelson Green for the card system, myself for the period of disablement idea.

ok here goes…I am borrowing alot from the other threads because I like alot of the ideas.

Rule <101>…

If a team entangles another team or damages another team in any way, even if it is unintentional, that team will recieve a green “warning” card.

That team will be immediately re-inspected by a designated inspector with extensive knowlege of the rules, parts, and dynamics of the game. The team must comply to the changes asked for by this re-inspector before they may continue in the copetition.

If a team entangles another team or damages in another team in any way, even if it is unintentional, for a secon time, they will recieve a yellow warning card and visit with the re-inspector again before they can compete further.

If a team has a third offense, even if it is unintentional, they will recieve another yellow card and must visit with the re-inspector before they can continue.

If a team has a blatant violation that is deemed particularly offensive by the refs, they will recieve a yellow card if they have no warnings yet, or recieve a red card if they have recieved a previous warning (green or yellow cards). The team must visit the re-inspector immediately.

If at any time a team has 2 yellow cards or 1 red card, they may not participate in any elimination matches. If they recieve these cards with qualifying matches left to play, they may participate in thos matches provided they have passed their re-inspection. If a team recieves these cards in the elimination rounds, they may not play in any more elimination rounds, and their partners must field an empty spot in any matches where the offending machine should be present.

The last part is added so that teams do not get screwed by having a partner not allowed to play in the qualifying rounds, but so that a team will be screwed if their partner violates the rules in elimination matches.

The multiple warnings should work, because even if the entanglement/damage was unintentional, the offending team should adjust their playing style to avoid entanglement or damage.

The only things that I am not too sure on with this system are what to do when teams accidentaly damage a machine that is built in a way that is too fragile to handle the normal rigors of the game. Maybe someone else can help me out and elaborate on this.

Thanks for taking the time to read my raMBLINGS :wink:


<G35> If a team exercises the the use of overly aggressive play as defined in <G32>, the ref, at his or her discretion, may present the offending team with a yellow card. It the offending team continues or the ref determine the action requires a disqualification the ref may then present a red card. A red card will disqualify the offending robot for the match. A yellow card issued in one match will carry over to that team’s next match. A team receiving two yellow cards in two consective match will result in a red card and the disqualification for that match. Any team receiving two red cards during the tournament will be disqualified from completing in the tournament.

Here is my official view for a rule using the card system. I tried to work out the ruling to the best of my ability. If you see a word that may be easily manipulated or phrasing that is confusing please let me know and I will look over it some more. I left a couple phrases off that I used in my first version of the rule to save as much space as possible. If you look at the moderated G34 G35 thread you can see my original phrasing. Give me any thoughts how to make it better. Remember this is only about how to better implement rule G32. If you have issues with the wording of G32 take that up somewhere else.

[Edit:] Thanks dave. I took it as this. I’m am merely offering my suggestions additions to the rules for any off-season competition based off the 2004 FIRST game. Any consideration for future game is not an issue but these are meant for the 2004 game only and consideration for 2005 game if the game has a similiar interaction level. That’s all.[edit]

Whoa there, Slim! Let’s be VERY CAREFUL about any explicit or implicit promises made as this thread is started.

If everyone wants to discuss how an “Aggressive Play Rule” might have been worded for the 2004 game, that is fine. It is worth a constructive discussion to identify ways in which the game (and rules) could have been improved even more. Introspection is almost always good, and can lead to worthwhile lessons.

HOWEVER, everyone needs to be very clear on the following:

  • there is absolutely NO guarantee that any of this material will be incorporated into the 2005 game, or appear anywhere in the 2005 manual
  • there is absolutely NO guarantee that any of this material will even be relevant for the 2005 game
  • there is absolutely NO guarantee that any of this material will be reviewed or considered by the 2005 Game Design Committee. Aiden does not speak for the GDC, and can not make any commitments for them.

I don’t mean to be harsh about this, but I don’t want anyone to have any unrealistic expectations about the directions of this thread. Having this type of discussion in the context of trying to learn from the 2004 game is great. But it is very premature to imply that it will feed forward into the 2005 game.


<G101> See rules G27, G30, and G32.

I know some of you will be saying…ok, that doesn’t help at all but…

<G101> Any strategy that is viewed by the referees as malicious or intended to destroy, tip, or disable another robot will be subject to disablement or disqualification. Any mechanism on a robot that has been viewed as causing destruction in a regular basis may be asked to be removed or altered to fit the referee’s liking.

Basically…its kinda the same rule as what we currently are looking at in FIRST. I dont think FIRST is becomming Battlebots, and I dont think we need to go overboard to make this a “passive” game. Defense is fun, it adds variation in strategy, and it helps teams who may have robots that can drive, but not do much else, evening up the field a little bit. If you take away defense, the offensive powerhouses of FIRST will start to run away with trophies year after year.

Andy Grady

(I’m borrowing from others, of course)
If a robot is rendered inoperable by another robot, whether intentionally or not, the referee shall display a red card to the offending team. That robot is then disabled for 15 seconds. Inoperablility of a robot is defined as anything that prevents the robot from continuing to compete for the remainder of the match.

If any component of a robot is rendered inoperable by another robot, whether intentionally or not, the referee shall display a yellow card to the offending team. That robot is then disabled for 10 seconds. Inoperability of a component is defined as anything that prevents the use (functionality) of any rigid (non-pliable) component for the remainder of the match.

If a robot displays behavior that the observing referee deems as overly “agressive”, then the referee shall display a black card to the offending team. That robot is then disabled for 5 seconds.

If a team receives three black cards, then that robot is disabled for the remainder of the match.
If a team receives two yellow cards, then that robot is disabled for the remainder of the match.
If a team receives two red cards, then that robot is disabled for the remainder of the match.
If a team receives any combination of red, yellow, and/or black cards, then that robot is disabled for the remainder of the match.

After the match, any team that received a yellow and/or red card must be reinspected by a knowledgeable inspector. The team must comply with all appropriate requests from the inspector, or that team will be forbidden from further participation in the elimination rounds.

If a robot must be reinspected 3 or more times, then that robot is forbidden from further participation in the elimination rounds.

In the event that a robot is forbidden from further participation in the elimination rounds, the remaining teams of the alliance may pick a new third partner. However, the new partner may only play up to (but no more than) 3 matches.

OK, the comments:
The card system seems to be a pretty popular idea, so let’s run with it. A serious offense results in a serious disablement period, or 1/8 of the match. A medium offense results in a medium disablement period, or 1/12 of the match. A minor offense results in a minor disablement period, or 1/24 of the match.

Robots that show an “aptitude” for trouble need to be reinspected. That makes sense.

I think it also makes sense for a shafted alliance to pick a new partner, but limitations must be placed on the new partner, since they would be entering the elimination rounds half way through.

OK, thanks for reading! :smiley:


[EDIT]4-23-04: Fixed a spelling mistake, clarified new partner choosing, and defined inoperability :D[/EDIT]

G101 Overly Aggressive Play Overly aggressive play is defined as ungracious and unfair play designed to damage or disable an opponent’s robot outside the scope of the rules.

  1. Deliberate Tipping
  2. Excessive Pinning (see pinning)
  3. Grabbing and Holding (see entanglement)
  4. Deliberate Entanglement (see entanglement)
  5. Late Hits

G101a Deliberate Tipping
Deliberate tipping occurs when a robot extends a surface below an “upright” robot and raises that surface until the second robot assumes a “non-upright” position. “Upright” is defined as the condition in which the primary drive mechanism is in contact with the playing field surface such that controlled robot mobility is enabled. “Non-upright” is the negation of “Upright.”

A 50 point penalty will be assessed against the tipping robot for each occurrence.

G101b Late Hits
A late hit occurs when a robot makes contact with another robot which has been immobilized or disabled. Examples of immobilization include being caught on the playing field border, being pinned by another robot, having a drive system or software malfunction which prevents mobility, being disabled by the referees for another offence.

The first late hit in a match will be penalized by a 20 point penalty. The second late hit will result in disabling of the offending robot.

G101c Last Resort due to Excessive Damage
A team which feels that it has been damaged due to overly aggressive play in a match may issue a written complaint immediately after the match. [Note: a specific form and very specific guidelines for complaints would be established.] The complaintant robot will be inspected for damage immediately. The team against whom the complaint is registered will be interviewed to determine their intent. The head referee in consultation with the other field referees will make a judgement to uphold or deny the complaint.

The team which registers the complaint will have a pink dot attached to its on field badges (regardless of the determination of the complaint).

If the complaint is upheld, the offending team will have a penalty dot attached to its on field badges. The first offense will have a yellow dot, the second offense a red dot, and the final offense a black dot. A “black-dotted” team will not be allowed to compete further in the competition.

Most of the problems with “overly aggressive play” are cumulative and perceptional. If a team feels that they have been “wronged,” they need a formal mechanism to resolve this. If a team is serious enough about a complaint to write it down, then some form of resolution needs to be undertaken. In some cases, they just need their complaint to be heard. In others, a real correction to the offending team needs to be applied. It is worth the stoppage in play to resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of all parties, rather than to continue to have bad feelings build up.

The pink dot is designed to keep teams from “excessively complaining.” If you have five pink dots on your badges, you are not going to be taken seriously.

The yellow, red, black dots follow the “carding” system already proposed. Mechanistically, it provides a visual badge to the world that this team has had complaints against it upheld. The referees, alliance partners, and opponents will know what they’re dealing with before they get into the match.

The reason for a written complaint system is that FIRST is not going to want to disqualify someone from competing in a tournament that they paid for without consistent written documentation. Since the referrees are generally volunteers and generally drawn from teams, a legal argument could be made by a disqualified team that “team bias” had been involved in defrauding a team of its entry fees and tarnishing its reputation. By providing consistent written documentation, if a team is going to be disqualified and thrown out of the tournament, the legal action that that team might undertake would be curtailed.

G<aggressive play>

Overly Aggressive Play is loosely defined as actions beyond strong defensive pushing and blocking interaction. Strategies aimed solely at the destruction, damage, tipping, or entanglement of robots are not allowed. Accidental tipping is allowed at the discretion of the head referees.
Head referees (with help of other refs judgement) have the right to issue yellow warning cards to any team deemed to have crossed the boundaries of aggressive play at any point in a match. These cards will be carried and tracked throughout the entire competition, including all qualification and elimination/final rounds. A team may receive a maximum of 3 yellow cards. Any warning beyond the 3rd will be a Red/DQ card for each additional occurrence of overly aggressive play.
Teams are encouraged to build their robots robust, using common sense meaning of the word and taking into account game objectives and possible strategies.

I borrowed the yellow card idea because I think it’s a great suggestion. It gives a tangible and visible warning to the teams who border on overly aggressive play. It also allows the referees some room to warn without having to immediately make the huge decision of DQing a team for questionable actions.

I feel the yellow cards should be carried throughout the entire event because if you only apply it to 2 or 3 consecutive matches, it gives more opportunities to take advantage of aggressive play. Since we didn’t see many calls or blatant aggressive situations this season, I don’t see any problem in having the warnings apply to an entire event - it *shouldn’t * become a huge issue. I think it would be sufficient to give a set limitation of warnings. Plus it would be easier to track - 3 yellow is all you get.

I also included parts of the existing rule because I think it’s worded well and makes the point of disallowing intentional “battlebot” behavior. And although I think it’s unnecessary, I included a statement about “robustness”, but it should be simply common sense.
Although “intention” will always be a tough judgement, this would give teams the notice that other people are seeing driving habits on the verge of unacceptable. If they want to discuss it with the ref, that’s fine, but at least they weren’t DQ’d on the spot, which is worse than a warning. I feel the warning is enough without any “enalty shutdown periods”.

Strong defense should be expected to be part of the game and there are plenty of ways to play it without becoming overly aggressive.

G101: Robots are expected to interact on the field. Vigorous and forceful interaction in the play of the game is allowed and expected. Robots should be built to survive these interactions. However, in the interest of gracious professionalism, the following standards will apply:

G101a. Intentional tipping or features which are used to tip other robots are not allowed.
G101b. Unneccessary ramming of other robots is not allowed. Ramming is defined as getting a running start over a distance of more than 24 inches followed by colliding with another robot. Ramming is unneccessary when the robot being rammed is not in the act of scoring or de-scoring. Ramming is unneccessary when the robot being rammed is traversing the field, even if it is on its way to a scoring zone.

Teams should exercise caution when deciding to apply kinetic energy to other robots who are not in the act of scoring.

G101 - Aggressive play will be defined as play, in the referees mind, that is meant to cause damage to another teams robot. This does not mean that a team who damages another robot did so intentionally. Any team who attempts to damage another teams robot will immediately be shut down and that team will recieve a DQ for that match. If this occurs during the elimination round the alliance will be DQ’d and will not be allowed to continue in the elimination rounds.