Hey Guys,
I just had a thought, and am curious to hear some opinions.

It seems like every year we see more teams breaking game rules. There currently exists a system of “minor penalties” and “flags” that… don’t seem to really mean anything.

There are also certain rules that are written, but just not enforced.

Should teams be further penalized for breaking game rules?

If you think they should…

Should some system be put in place that is cumulative (i.e. if you get 3 DQs, you cannot be chosen in the draft)?

I’m hoping that everyone puts some SERIOUS thought into this. I’m curious to see your responces.


Do you mean break rules as in hollow out a battery, or just being obivious to a rule?

Im not understanding what rules you are thinking of…maybe some examples?

I think what John is refering to is penalties on the field and how some rules are enforced on the field and some rules arent, but i think that many of the rules are enforced, but that its a matter of discretion on the part of the referees involved, when FIRST puts in the rule book, wording like (from memory may be wrong) Damage with malicous Intent" or somthign along that line, there is no Malicous-Meter that the refs have they have to judge it on their own, which means that each ref is gonna look at it differently from comeptition to competition

I perosnally dont think that anyone should be witheld from the draft(except for when declining an alliance) because even though i do belive in the spirit of the comeptition, but well stuff happens, there are new or old memebers on teams that just mess up and during the rush of the build season, finding time for everyone to learn the rules to the point where they could compete is quite hard.

Thats just my $00.25 though

Having been ref the past year, I believe that the flag, or minor penalty system is way too lose. Three minor penalties
before any consequences is too many. After one warning I believe the infringing team should be penalized.

*Originally posted by JVN *
**There are also certain rules that are written, but just not enforced.

Do you have any examples of this? I can’t think of any, regarding the gameplay, that aren’t enforced. I can think of some that were enforced differently in different places, but none that were ignored.

Last year the penalty system was crazy. In some instances they were meaningless, however, in the eliminations, if the human stepped into the gray zone and dumped a bin, the entire alliance was DQ’d and it usually resulted in elimination from the competition.

I would call that pretty severe for such a minor infraction!

I definitely agree that the current penalty system is messed up. I think the best way to fix it is to institute some form of score-based penalties, to deter teams from breaking rules, and give a meaningful penalty. I’m not sure how that would work, without knowing next year’s game, but some form of point deductions for minor penalties would be my solution.

My proposal:

  • Each penalty would have a different point value, either 5, 10, or 15 points based on the severity of the violation.
  • At the end of the match, each team’s penalty points are subtracted from the alliance’s match score
  • 20 penalty points by one team results in a disqualification for the team
  • 30 penalty points by an alliance results in the disqualification of that alliance.
  • Any team who has racked up 100 total penalty points would face further sanctions, such as a reduction in seeding, or ineligibility for the alliance draft, depending on how many penalties and DQs they incurred.

While my system obviously needs work and refinement, I think a score-based system would be an effective deterrent, as well as less confusing and more meaningful. As it stands, the rules either give out meaningless flags, or a DQ. We need something in between to even things out, and make the rules mean something without always ending in a disqualification. If anyone has any comments on my point system, I’m prepared for quite a few discussions…

how about something similar to football, only instead of pushing someone back 5, 10, or 15 yards, they are deactivated for the first 5, 10, or 15 seconds (or some other pre-determined amount) at the begining of the next match.

*Originally posted by RogerR *
**how about something similar to football, only instead of pushing someone back 5, 10, or 15 yards, they are deactivated for the first 5, 10, or 15 seconds (or some other pre-determined amount) at the begining of the next match. **

Interesting idea,
but then we are penalizing their partner for that “next match”.

We need to be able to penalize the offending team, without punishing their partner. (except in finals/alliance scenarios).

*Originally posted by RogerR *
**how about something similar to football, only instead of pushing someone back 5, 10, or 15 yards, they are deactivated for the first 5, 10, or 15 seconds (or some other pre-determined amount) at the begining of the next match. **

Why should their alliance partners in the following match also be penalized for something they had no control over?

Immediately disabling a robot for a period of 5 or 10 seconds in response to a rule violation seems, on the surface, like it could be effective. Of course, then there must be a way to communicate a penalty to the field control person much faster than there seems to be now.

On some level, though, I prefer the good sportsmanship that used to be commonplace among teams – so that even if a rule went unenforced or something equally bad happened with respect to penalties and disqualifications, everyone realized that it wasn’t that important and moved on.

Disabling the violator’s robot may be effective in some situations, but if the robot was stopped in a spot where they want it, then it could benefit their strategy. For example, if they were blocking the driver’s view, and the robot was shut down, it would be hurting the victim too. But this is only one case where this could occur, so it can still work. Personally, I favor the deduction of points, but this too can vary depending on the game.


I think that how the rules are enforced is different for each regional. I know at VCU, we usually don’t have many rule breakers. A few DQ’s now and then, but nothing 100% intentional. I think that Rule breaking affecting your score is an ok method…
What first should do is design a game where something will happen to the opposing team’s advantage if rules are broken :slight_smile: Cept then everyone would be trying to make the other team cheat…


My brain hurts at the thought of not only how complicated the penalities have been in the past sometimes but also at the idea of making them more complicated. I guess most sports have a few complicated rules and penalties, but they are games that have been played for hundreds of years in some cases. These FIRST games get created from scratch (sorta) every year. My sympathies to those who have to put their brain to work to come up with a “fair” system. I certainly can’t do it and it appears that we’re having trouble too.

The rules should be enforced uniformly, and no one should be able to claim ignorance to the rules, since they are availible to all, and systems exist for questions to be asked if the team has any doubts.

I think this is going in the same basic direction as the recent thread on referees and rule enforcement - the rules aren’t enforced uniformly, or at all in some cases. Obviously, this could present a problem.

I really don’t see a need to make the penalty system more complicated; rather, FIRST needs their referees to fully understand the rules and enforce them.

Maybe FIRST should have all of the referees and field workers go through a standardized orientation/training program. If the program was online, it would be easily accessible, relatively low-cost, and simple to update if the need arises.

I know that this has probably been suggested hundreds of times by others, but it still seems like a good idea to me. :slight_smile:

Or simply re-write some of the rules to be more specific.

Or have official FIRST people at every regional who have been trained with regards to the rules TOGETHER - every head ref has the same info and same clarifications as the others.

To be honest, having rules and regulations not uniform really looks bad, and is fustrating for teams that could have simply gone to a different regional to avoid more stringent referees.

My personall feeling is that a ref is the the equivelant to a umpire in Baseball. In baseball you cannot question a judgement call. But you can question the rules and i guess under certian circumstances you can double check the scoring itself (ie. is the box in the scoring zone or not). But in my opinion the ref has the same responsibility as an umpire. I feel FIRST has done an excellent job with their referees.

Back to the question, however, I feel that the robot should be checked more stringently by more of a random checking process. As for violations on the field i think by getting DQ’d you really wouldn’t be helping your alliance partner so why would that help in getting picked. The rules should def. be enforced as they already are.

Just my opinion