[moderated] You write <G34> and <G35>

From numerous posts in the last two days, it is clear that emotions are high on two particular topics: entanglement and aggressive play. I’d like to guide that emotion into something positive… so lets try this:

Lets wind the clock back – it is now the Monday after the first week of regionals… you are on the Game Committee… you decide that two new rules are needed for Tuesday’s team update:

<G34> needs to be written to address what should occur in cases of accidental entanglement

<G35> needs to be written to address overly agressive play

Take a shot at one or both! What would you write?

(Please give some thought before you post and make your rules something that can actually be called by refs – don’t consult a lawyer to come up with your wording – and for the sake of this exercise, assume that all the information that came in all of this season’s updates is already in place at the time you write these rules)




<G35> If a team exercises the the use of overly aggressive play (refer to rule <G32> for examples), the ref may, at his or her discretion, present the offending team with a yellow card. It the offending team continues this action or he will be presented a red card which will disqualify their robot for that match. Recieving two yellow cards in one match will result in the issueing of a red card in the disqualification for that match. Teams that have recieved a yellow or red card in a match will carry the “first” yellow card for their next two matches. If they recieve a yellow card in one of the following two matches they will be disqualified for that match. Two red cards will result in disqualification from the tournament.

A little rough but I like it. A think it would work real good too.

While I feel that this idea is hopefully an “unwritten but commonly known rule,” one thought for a rule to prevent overly aggressive contact to a disabled team would be the following:

In the event that a robot becomes disabled by any means, said robot should no longer be aggressively contacted by any other robot. Aggressive contact shall be defined as any forceful, apparently intentional contact made when the disabled robot is not in a position to prevent an opponent from scoring. If the disabled robot is preventing the opponent from scoring, the opposing team may attempt to move the robot only as far as necessary and only in a manner deemed by the FIRST officials as non-threatening to the welfare of the disabled team.

Again, I hope that this rule is completely unnecessary and is commonly understood without being expressed in writing. The words may not be completely concise, but the intention is hopefully clear.

I wouldn’t change anything but would note that for next years rules I might add something. It is my belief that rules should not be made or altered after the start of competition as build rules should not be changed after building has started. Sorry for using this as a soapbox but it needs to be stated.

As for the rules on aggressive play : Any robot ramming or pushing another robot, deamed by the ref to be unable to retreat to prevent damage, that continues after a refs warning will be shut down for the remainder of the match and that robot will recieve a DQ for that match.

As for entanglement I believe that there is already a rule that addresses this to my satisfaction.

pushing and pinning vs ramming. Robots may push, shove or be pinned only if contact is confined to the bumper zone that extends from 2" to 8" above the playfield on all sides. If a robot pushes against another above/ below or under this area and damage results, or the other robot is toppled, the offending robot will be disqualified for that match.

Ramming is defined as driving into another robot from a starting position of more than 5 feet away. Drivers that intend to push or pin an opponent must first stop within 5 feet of the other machine, then proceed. Any robot that backs away more than 5 feet and then accelerates into another machine will be called for ramming. If any damage or tipping results from ramming, the offending robot will be disqualified for that match.

Tipping. A robot is in a defensive postion when it is physically between an opponent and the opponents intended scoring objects or a goal. A robot is in a offensive position when another robot is blocking its path to desired scoring objects or a goal. If a pushing/ shoving or pinning match ensues with two opponents in defensive/ offensive positions, and the rules listed above are not violated, and one or both robots are toppled, then no penalites will be called.

However, if a robot attacks another machine from the side or back, when they are not in offensive/defensive postions, and causes it to be toppled, the offending robot will be disqualified for that match.

example. Red bot is between Blue bot and its stationary goal. Blue bot is attempting to place the 2X ball on the goal. These machines are in defensive and offensive positions. If one or both fall over as a result of the enusing pushing match, no penalties apply.

Blue bot is directly infront of its stationary goal and is attempting to place the 2X ball. Red bot pushes it from the side, attempting to push it away from the goal, or Red bot gets behind it and attempts to latch on and pull it away, and in either case the Blue bot is toppled. Red bot shall be disqualified for tipping, even if no contact outside the bumper zone occurs.

(G35) Ramming, smashing, and overly agressive driving shall not be permitted. Defensive manuevering is allowed in the form of obstructing the path and reacting against another robot for no more than 10 seconds. This defensive tactic may not be employed more than twice per match. Robots must not initiate the interaction with another robot by continuously driving from a distance greater than 5 feet away. Continous repetitive interactions will result in a warning to cease the action. Either time, distance, or number of interaction violations will result in 1 warning, and disqualification of the match if a 2nd warning occurs. 2 disqualifications during the seeding rounds will result in disqualification from competing in the elimination tournament.

Boy Aidan, that’s a toughie. I really don’t think you can write a band-aid rule very well without the rule being too subjective to officiate. I see it causing more controversy rather than less. What one official sees as acceptable, another will see as overly aggressive. It’s easy to see when a robot tips, but it’s difficult to say “that ramming was just too strong.” Ken had some good ideas to add some quantification, but I still say it would be difficult to officiate.

I really think any non-aggression rule needs to be designed into the game. Therefore, I would like to suggest two potential new game features to cut down aggressive play.

Idea #1: non-contact zone
Some areas on the field (perhaps near the goals or near the scoring objects) have a different color of carpet. The area of the field with the colored carpet is the non-contact zone. It is illegal to contact a robot that is attempting to score or collect scoring objects in the non-contact zone. Each instance of contact will result in a X point penalty assessed to the non-scoring (or non-collecting) team.

Idea #2: Contact allowance
Each team has a total of N seconds worth of contact/defense time (the actual time can be better determined at a later date). One official is assigned to each team and they carry an electronic stopwatch that is tied to the official scoring system. When contact is initiated, the official starts the timer, when the robot backs away, the official stops the timer. Everyone would know how much contact/defense time is left for each robot by the “Defense Remaining” bar (like a bar graph) underneath their team number at the driver station. Once the bar shrinks to zero, the team is no longer allowed to play defense. The penalty is Y points per extra second of defense that is played (the extra defense time is kept track of by the official scoring system and by the official starting and stopping the official timer).

this thread is getting interesting. In other contact sports the rules were created and evolved over the years because players were being injured and some sense of fair-play had to be explicitly spelled out. In this years games Im seeing posts from several people who went home from events very upset after their bots were damaged or toppled during play, and they were not able to complete their matches.

In terms of other sports, there are many parallels that can be drawn with a FIRST game: illegal use of hands => illegal use of arm/hook/claw…

late hit => bashing into a bot when it is not in the process of attempting to score points

hitting a player in the end zone or when they are out of bounds => non-contact zone ideas in Chris’ post

unsportsmanlike conduct => doing a victory spin at the end of a match?! :ahh:

I don’t think new rules need to be written I think FIRST needs to demonstrate violations of the rule. What does intentional entanglement look like? What does intentional tipping look like? What is malicious damage? Most people would agree it would be very difficult to quantify what a violation to those rules would be.

FIRST should put together a video of what violations of the “standard rules” look like. Standard rules are tipping, entanglement, damage, destruction, etc. which are included in the game rules every year.

The standard rule set is currently enforced by using personal judgment on the part of the referees. This very easily lends itself to inconsistent calls between referees. Very respected people on this forum disagree as to when a certain rule has been broken. It’s obvious that the current system doesn’t work.

If referees had an example of what to look for it would make their calls much more consistent. Currently, a referee makes a personal judgment on whether a rule was broken. The video will give them leverage in being impartial, in their minds, as to when it’s appropriate to flag a team.

Teams would see the video of violations to the standard rules and have a better understanding why the referees made a certain call. There wouldn’t be as much debate as to whether a team was wronged by a referee because it would be less of a personal judgment call and more of a “did this action meet the example” judgment call.

In baseball, it would be tough for an Umpire to call a balk, if he had never seen prior examples of when a pitcher does balk. It’s rules where personal judgment is used that need examples in order for them to be enforced consistently.

Aidan, the rule you are asking for is impossible to write. You can’t qualify or quantify the spirit of FIRST, you need to see it by example.

but if you can put together a collection of video of examples of rule violations, then those videos become the written rules

can you explain what is happening in those videos to a person who can not see? ok - write down what you are seeing and you now have written rules.

I think one of the biggest problems this year is the word ‘intentional’ in the rules. Its very much like the word ‘premeditated’ in the laws for 1st degree murder - its much harder to prove that someone planned or intended to do something ahead of time than it is to prove that they actually DID the thing.

Ive seen lots of posts this year where one team says their bot was tipped or slammed or damaged, and another team comes back and apologizes and says we didnt intend to do that

ok - I accept that at face value, but it reminds me of the sport in the Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy, where two opponents are placed in an arena, you attack your opponent, then retreat to a neutral corner and apologize. You are scored both on the viscousness of your attack AND the sincerety of your apology.

(im not saying the apologies on CD are not sincere)

but this is why ‘intend’ needs to be removed from the rules and replaced with ‘result’. If you are not able to control your robot very well, then keep away from your opponent. Why should you be allowed to topple or damage another teams machine, and win a match - you have in effect disqualified their robot by taking it out of the game, why should you not also be penalized?

if I hold a sharp stick right next to your face, and someone hits my hand and I poke your eye out, do you care if I indented to poke your eye out? no. that would be a careless and irresponsible act on my part. If you are going to play in a wild, uncontrollable or rough manner, and you cause the other team to not be able to play the whole match as a result, then you should be penalized, not them.

thats whats missing from the current rules - what would it take for a ref to know what a driver intended to do? would he have to hear him say ‘Im gonna knock that bot over’ before the match?

in the end results are what matters - you bean a batter with the baseball then he walks to first base, ALWAYS - it doenst matter where you intended to throw the ball - if you cant throw the ball over the plate, you are going to lose.

if you cant drive your bot around the playfield with out reeking havock on the other machines and the field itself, you SHOULD lose!

Honestly, I think this issue is pretty clear cut.

If agressive maneuvers achieve any game objective, including preventing an opponent scoring, such maneuvers should be allowed. In the “real world” our designs have to be robust! It is the environment that constrains the design space, not the reverse.

If aggressive maneuvers are deemed to achieve no game objective short of disabling / damaging an opponent, then they shall be handled according to the rules already in place.

My opinion.

As for entanglement, I think that there needs to be a mechanism for identifying trends.

An example
If a robot entangles an opponent during a match, they should be warned, and perhaps a sticker could be placed on their robot.

If a robot with said sticker engangles an opponent during a match, they should be required to remove / correct the offending mechanism / feature. They should also get another sticker.

If a robot with two stickers engangles an opponent during a match they should be disqualified.

That’s how it would work in Joel-land.

My understanding of the “strategy solely aimed at damaging” rule is to prevent saws, spikes, blow torches, etc. Not to prevent aggressive pushing. Likewise, the intentional flipping rule is designed to prevent “scoop bots” who can go out and up-end a robot with some kind of pneumatic flipper.

So, <G34> is OK as written and as enforced.

The intentional entanglement rule is also there to keep teams from throwing a lasso around another robot and immobilizing them due to entanglement.

So, <G35> is OK as written and as enforced.

What many people seem to want is a couple of new rules to influence style of play.

<G50> If two or more robots become entangled with each other, the referees will disable all entangled robots until the end of the match.

<G51> Charging. If an offensive robot drives through a defensive robot on the way to a scoring object (while in the scoring zone as defined by a different color of carpet), a “charge” will be called on the offensive robot. 5 point penalty.

<G52> Blocking. If a defensive robot drives into an offensive robot on its way to a scoring object, a “block” will be called on the defensive robot. 5 point penalty.

<G53> Late hit. If a robot intentionally runs into a disabled or immobilized robot, a late hit will be called. 5 point penalty per offense. Repeated offenses may result in the robot being disabled at the discretion of the referee.

BTW, for those offensive minded teams, if FIRST limits or eliminates “vigorous interaction,” it becomes much easier to play defense. There was more contact initiated by robots trying to get to the scoring objects then by robots attempting to prevent them. If contact is limited, the defensive bot just has to get to the scoring zone and drop a flimsy wall around it. The offensive bot would have to “stand off” in order to avoid penalty, resulting in a very boring match indeed.

Ramming…how do you decide whether a robot was driving across the field and encountered another robot in its path (due to limited vision, driver reactions, etc.) or a robot built up speed in order to hit another robot?

If a ramming rule were put into place, teams may put themselves into harm’s way, just to get another robot disqualified. In order to defend a position, a robot just has to get into the vicinity first. Any other robot would have to slow down and inch around the defending bot, in order to avoid a ramming call.

defensive play is a part of the game. it is and always will be part of the game. it is only when that defensive play starts to damage other robots that it crosses the line. if a team is habitually tipping or damaging other robots, then action needs to be taken. I really like the idea of the yellow card/red card notion

This was raised in another thread, but…

A rule which bans tipping based on result will encourage teams to design tippledy-toppledy robots which run into other teams and fall over. In basketball, occasionally players “do the flop” in order to draw a charge. If the rule states that “two robots run into each other, one falls over, the other is disqualified,” then robots and teams will “draw the foul.”

If you’re holding a stick and I put my face next to it and bump your hand and get my eye poked out and then sue you and win $1M, maybe it is worth it. In other words, I can use the rules to prevent you from even holding a stick.

The batter also has to make an effort to get out of the way and is not supposed to lean over the plate. However, this does not always happen.

The thing that makes this rule work is that the benefit to the batter (taking first base) is usually not worth the punishment to the batter (broken ribs, concussion, etc).

If the penalty for tipping is disable or DQ, then it is worth my while to design a robot that tips and to design a self-righting mechanism. I can disable one robot by bumping into them and tipping, then right myself, then bump into the other opponent, tip, disable them, right myself and continue the game.

Even a five point penalty to the tipping robot would encourage me to do this. Thus, the word “intentional.”

Another example (from a real match).
We were defending the steps, an opponent attempted to drive up the steps, rode up onto our robot and tipped over. Should we have been penalized?

According to your definition, we should have been. However, we did not initiate contact, we were not driving around wreaking havoc, we were holding a defensive position.

The point is, you cannot ever write a rule which covers every situation. You need referees. They need to interpret and apply the rules. Perhaps there needs to be an evolving training as the contest proceeds (such as the video-tapes).

This is a very interesting subject. If FIRST does go down this path (I hope it doesn’t…see later in my post), then I suggest looking at professional sports like otheres here have mentioned.

Rules in these sports cover all aspects of what seems to be bothering people here. But you have to pick and choose rules from which sports for what. For example, picks (where your teammate blocks your opponent from following you) are allowed in basketball, but not in football. You could have the charging rule from hockey. Maybe impliment the 3 second rule from basketball where an offensive robot is only allowed in certain areas for 3 seconds. No holding…that’s a pretty standard rule in all sports. Tripping? That’s kind’ve like flipping in the robot world. Maybe FIRST can supply shock sensors (like those used in airbags on cars) and we place these on our robot and if another robot hits us and it causes the shock sensor to go off, a big light goes on or something and the attacking robot is assessed an “aggressive play” penalty.

But, I thought FIRST didn’t want to be like professional sports.

What I would really like is for the FIRST community to work on this ourselves and not need all these rules stating every little thing. This is a rough game. When you are trying to score through another robot, you better expect they are going to fight back. And if you want to stop another team from scoring, expect the same. If your robot can’t handle it, then you better figure out another way to score. That was the beauty of this game. The stationary goal being blocked all the time? Work on a strategy to get the mobile goal into play. Or go hang…

I know most of this is starting from the agressive play from 469 and 494…both great teams which I admire greatly. Both had awesome robots, but really the only way I could see 469 get defeated was by playing very strong defence. So, that is what 494 had to do…and they did a great job. There was nothing wrong. They played 469 EXTREMELY hard and aggressive and guess what…469’s robot didn’t break. It was robust. Very robust.

Our robot this year worked fairly well, but it broke very easily upon contact with others. And I know if we went to hang and another robot wanted to stop us, they could easily move us… So, we are using the experience and observations from the Championship to try and design and build something that won’t have those issues next year. Some strong, easily repairable, and robust. Will it look as pretty as ours did this year…probably not. Will it have all the fancy gadgets and stuff to do whatever we need to do…probably…but they will be basic, robust things.

So, I think these gaming rules shouldn’t be changed at all because it will always come down to the refs judgement, which differs from ref to ref, Regional to Regional, and at the Championship. And that’s not really fair to any of us. It’s not their fault and they do a great job, but it comes down to peoples perceptions of things and that is very hard to qualify. I do like the idea of a video or something on the FIRST site explaining where each rule comes from so we all understand what they are trying to accomplish with each particular rule.

Besides, there are other material rules that should be reworked instead.

The only time aggresive behavior should be stopped and penalized is when that behavior goes from defense to destruction. If a team can get in your way to prevent you from scoring thats great.

Aggressive robot behavior has to do with 2 things: the drivers and the robot. The driver makes a concious decision to do the things they do. The robot can only follow commands. But sometimes a sharp edge or other dangerous device passes inspection and gets to be on the field. The robots need to be inspected by experienced people to deem a device destructive or not. I don’t know what can be done but a warning like that explained above (cards) is cool.

When defense takes away from the game for everyone, we all lose and that offending team or alliance should be warned.

Take a look at the video of Quarter-Final 4.3 on Archimedes. Coincidentally, the play happened right in front of Aidan :smiley:

With 23 seconds left in the match 56 drove into 45. The result was 45 flipped. With your reasoning 56 should have been assesed a penaly. Correct?

I thought I did cover that situation - if you are already on the steps then you are in a defensive postions and any tipping that results is fair play

for other comments on ramming… I stated a bot is only disqualified if the other bot is damaged or toppled - If you think you can run across the field at 5mph and bump another bot, and no damage results, and they are not knocked to the ground, then that is your judgement call - no harm, no foul

but if you can clearly see that your opponents is a wobbly goblen, or they have a 2X ball 9 feet up in the air and out to one side, and your drive into in while it is not in a defensive postion, and it goes over - that was your decision to take that risk - if you dont think you can push it away without knocking it over, then havent you really made a conscience decision to push it over ? think about this for a while - Ive seen so many bots get knocked over while trying to place 2X balls this year, did the driver REALLY think they could push that bot away from the goal - sideways - without knocking it over?

also as I defined the suggested rules, you cant run into someone else and fall over yourself and cry foul - there must be agressive action on the other teams part against you

and if you deliberately build a top heavy bot then it will be useless in the legitament defensive/offensive situations I defined, in which toppling is not cause for a DQ

also (preemptive answer) if you build your bot out of glass, and someone hits you within the bumber zone (2 to 8" high) and your bot shatters - too bad for you, the other team can push you around

if detroit can build effective 5mph bumpers on 3000 pound cars, FIRST teams can build them on 130 pound robots.

To remove defence or offence from the game will kill the game. Intent to injure is another matter. If you watch this game on Friday of any regional you fell asleep. If I hadn’t known that things might change on Saturday then I would have gone home and not come back, BORING!!! As the offence and defence built during Saturday the games became better and more exciting. More pushing and shoving is good. Violence and distructive behavior is not. I am not into touchy feely type of robotics. Build it strong and efficient. I don’t want Battlebots but competition is good. Yes there is a fine line that gets crossed. It doesn’t matter what you do you will always have someone who crosses the line. To win you must ride the line without going over. It tweeks interest and hones the senses. Keep the game lively but stop the intentional attempt to damage. It is easy to see and totally unnecesary to have a good game.