Outside the box defense

while i was at BAE i noticed during one match a very interesting occurance, the blue alliance had gone into the red home zone to retrieve a ringer and in doing so had knocked all of the others to the ground, during the end game the pink ramp-bot [a very good one] tried to deploy their ramps, but the ramps landed partialy on ringers and were unable to be deployed fully. Even after moving around to dislodge one ringer the alliance was unable to get a robot off the ground in the remaining time. while this was done unintentionaly it presented an interesting sort of passive defensive strategy.

while watching matches i also came up with this idea: if your alliance has a strong rampbot [190 or the like] that can stand up to a beating, and a good scorer, would it be worth taking the 10 point penalty to deploy the ramps on the enemy side of one of the alleyways beside the rack?

i talked to the head ref at BAE and he told me that the penalty would only be 10 points provided the ramp-bot did not move around and tip over the opposing team’s robots. so basicaly, you have one side of the rack blocked, leaving your robot to score freely on that side. if your other alliance partner can play some defense on the other alley it leaves the opposing team with about a fourth of the rack to score on.

any thoughts on this? do you think this would not be GP?
or has anyone seen any other outside the box thinking defensive strategys?


As per Update 15, the head ref may give you a yellow flag for excessively breaking rules in order to gain an advantage. At NJ, the refs seemed to be *very *generous in such cases.

I like the idea of knocking down the opponent’s tubes in order to get in their way when they try to get up a ramp. At St. Louis, I saw several teams have trouble with a tube getting in their way when they try to get up a ramp.

In order to block one alley well, it’s not necessary to incur a 10-point penalty, so long as your robot can extend to less than 72 inches, but close to it.

In my humble opinion, purposely breaking the rules to gain an advantage, even if you’re willing to take the penalty, is not good sportsmanship. In this case especially, it’s possible to defend without breaking the rules.

I don’t think it’s ‘thinking outside the box’ to break the rules, it’s ‘thinking outside the bounds’

I don’t agree with it either, nor find it GP to break rules…

I think his “out of the box” was in reference to exceeding 72 by 72 not because it was a bright idea to break rules.

Actually, you’d be knocking down your OWN tubes leaning against the far side of the field. So what consitutes herding in this situation? I heard a few herding penalties given out. If you just knock them all down intentionally without pushing the bulk of them in a specific direction, is that ok?

Outside the box:

Drop a ring on another teams ramp once they’ve deployed but before the 15s penalties start. You’ll find it’s really hard to get on a ramp with something else on it.

i certainly dont intend to try that ramp deployinjg idea, it seems unfair anyway. but the tube one is good, even if unintentional

i dont think any penalty can be incurred for knocking down the tubes, most robots can pick up off the floor better anyway.

putting a ringer on top of a robot is not as good, cause its active defense, if you can have the area clogged with tubes you dont have to be there to prevent ramping: aka you can be scoring more. also ringers are really light so the robot could just push it away.

Herding would be the intent to gather more than one of your color’s tubes into a certain area. If memory serves me right, a team at the BAE regional started their practice matches by driving to the opposite side of the field, lined their robot against the wall, and pushed the tubes to one corner. That is the only example of herding that I’ve seen or heard of so far.
To answer your other question, If you were to go down the line, knocking down one ringer at a time, it shouldn’t be considered herding.

At the start of match #49 at VCU, in autonomous mode, our robot got clotheslined by a spider and we were hung up on the rear bar on our frame with all 4 wheels off the ground. Before we could resolve this issue, we were tipped so that our ramp and chassis blocked 4 scoring positions, and we could lower and raise our ramp to slap the spider arm, making it harder to score.

Watch match #49 at VCU on soap.circuitrunners.com. The clip starts with us already halfway to the rack.

We call it “jumping to hyperspace”.:wink:

It’s true, several teams had trouble getting onto a ramp with a tube on it.
My theory was, if you can knock down your own tubes at their end of the field, there will be tubes in the way at the end of the match.

You folks are right, though, it’d be difficult to knock them all down without looking like you’re herding them, and any team whose ramp faces the rack, rather than the side walls, wouldn’t be affected as much by this.

An outside the box defense that was used against us twice at PNW in week 1 happened at the end of the match with a 0-0 and with the other alliance up 4-0 in these situations the other team took 30 points of penalties to stop us from getting a robot on our ramp. The team did this because their alliance had no ramp. I thought this was a flagrant breaking of the rules but neither time was the team yellow flagged or disabled. I really disliked this because we would have had two more wins for this and neither time did the Ref stop the other team. I implored the ref after the first match to make sure that team didn’t do that again because we had them against us in another match and the second time they still didn’t get a yellow card even after knocking a robot off us in the last 5 sec of one match. An interesting strategy nut one I don’t like…

I think it would be better, if say you were a strong ramp bot to just drive into the alleyway and block people, I mean why sit there and take the warning/yellow card, when you could just block people by driving in front of them couldn’t you? I mena there isn’t a large amount of space there from what I can see, just turn length wise and drive back and forth between the rack and the wall lol.

A quite brilliant defense, given the situation. Whoever thought of that is pretty good.


Thanks Don!

One of the best parts about driving is improvising. In another match, we took our arm off to reweld it, so we drove around using our ramp (in upright position, occasionally bringing it down a bit) to stop robots from lifting tubes up to score. This move is now known on the team as “Shaq-attack”.

The weird thing about improvising on-field is that you don’t realize you’re doing it until your teammates tell you about it later.

you have possibly the fastest robot i have ever seen!

another neat idea! i’ve seen this work: your oponent is about to score, instead of ramming them, ram the rack… then go pick up a tube while they wait for it to stop shaking… or go take their tube from them…


this is basically a list of the strategies that we were considering using in the semi-finals … so weird!!

basically what we decided was:

knocking the ringers on the opposite side down to obstruct the opposing teams ramps i probably legal … we’d seen other teams do it before without being called and the rules say “Inadvertent bulldozing of GAME PIECES while the ROBOT moves around the field is allowed.” … this strategy is essentially bulldozing since your object isn’t to get ringers in a specific area but just to make a mess :slight_smile:

placing a ringer on another bots ramp is technically illegal, but there are no penalties for it, since they assumed the only reason you would do this would be to cause an opposing robot to be in possession of multiple ringers “GAME PIECES may not be intentionally placed on opposing ROBOTS for the purpose of causing a violation of [rule <G09>]. Any such GAME PIECE placements will not be considered in POSSESSION of the affected ROBOT, and will be ignored.”

deploying ramps on the field to block an avenue probably isn’t a great idea. however, we had a unique situation where we had 2 bots with ramps, but could only fit one bot up either of them. we considered deploying ramps in front of the other alliances’ ramp bot (which we had fondly nicknamed “the parking-lot bot” because of it’s massive ramps) in order to prevent them from scoring with ramps. the other coaches convinced me that we would be penalized per-second for deploying on the field but i’m very sure that this isn’t the case. suffering a 10 point penalty to prevent a 60 point bonus is probably the best possible defensive move to make. i want some feedback on this as it seems a little unsportsmanlike to use this strategy, although it would definitely be effective and (probably) legal.

we used the “bang the rack” strategy alot and it is extremely effective :slight_smile:

see rule G35
10 points for every 5 seconds in opponents home zone. so a max of 30…most ramp bots will head back and deploy 10-20 before the START of end play soo the last ~30 seconds of the match

I think they are talking about deploying the ramps outside of the opponents homezone, meaning they get the 10 point penalty for being larger than 72x72 outside of the homezone. I believe this penalty is not cumulative but i could be wrong.

yep i’m talking about outside the home zone, which is a one-time 10 pointer … inside the home zone it’s obviously a cumulative penalty. but if you look at some of the ramps that are out there, particularly the really large ones that take up most of the lateral room in the home zone and are “front end loaders”, it would be ultra-easy to block from outside.

also, i’m unaware of whether you can be penalized the full 30 for being pushed into your opponents home zone. i don’t believe you can but i’d like something definite.

while some of these strategys are “unconventional” i have a feeling we’ll be seeing them before the end of the season…
ex: your ramps [that cannot be retracted once down] fall accidentaly on the opposing side of the rack, youre essentialy stuck there so why not make the best of it.

296’s robot has no ramps [we do but theyre not installed] so this wouldnt apply to us but im sure it will or has happened to someone, somewhere.

anyone observed this?