Penalty Points at Regionals?

To those watching the VCU/Portland regionals online today:

Does anyone know what the deal is with the penalty points being assesed after each round? Did I just not get the memo on that part of the game? How does a team get these points, and more importantly, how do we avoid them? Any one who can enlighten me, please chime in.

Matt Sorgenfrei
Mechanical Engineering Student, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Mentor, Team 973

Read the updated Section 4 of the manual - The Game

You get 10 Pt penalties for various things, such as goaltending, pinning robots, robots assisting balls into goals, touching the controls before auto mode ends, driving part of your robot into the ball corral, players touching a mobile goal - I think that’s it.

Avoiding them is simple - don’t do any of the above things.

Try reading the game rules - section 4.4.3 discusses penalty flags and points all through it.

Reaching into the “field” area from the ball corall constitutes a penalty as well.
That happened here in NJ once that I saw.

we all know where to find the rules - WHICH rules are being broken ???

WHY are so many teams getting penalty points?

we cant tell from watching the webcasts - we only get to see one small part of the field at a time - we cant see everything that is going on

My best guess would be that robots are protruding into the ball corral when pushing balls through, only because our bot did this when we first ran it, and we had to make special mods to make sure it didnt drive into the opening.

Watching the VCU regional, 90% of the penalties are from robots entering the ball corrals.

I watched a bunch of matches and it looks like even if they don’t enter the corrals but it kinda looks like they might, they throw a flag. Seems like there’s at least one in every match. They are being very strict.

I think that we’ll be seeing less penalties soon, for one of two reasons…
1.) The referees loosen up slightly
2.) Drivers learn what, exactly, they need to avoid doing. :slight_smile:

Forget #1, but count on #2.

Do not count on the referees loosening up on the rules/penalties concerning robots entering the ball corrals. This rule is related to the physical safety of the team members, and is designed to prevent the potential for robot-human contact. FIRST will not lighten up on this.

However, every year we see noticeable improvements in driver skill and abilities from week to week. They drivers (and all other team members) will be improving as they get more practical experience with the game and with driving in a realistic game environment. That experience will result in fewer penalties, as they make fewer mistakes.


hopefully the word will get out after this weekend - if your bot is designed to push or deliver balls into the corral, you need to make sure that side of the bot is high enough so you CANT drive it through the opening

expecting the driver to see that well over the edge of the wall is unreasonable

expecting the driver to get right up to the edge of the corral opening and not nudge over the line is asking too much

the dimensions of the corral opening are in the field description - hopefull this will not be an issue after these 1st round of games.

Everything that has been said above is true.

We competed at Portland (PNW) and Andy Baker led a fine team of refs. Though I did not watch every match, it seemed like 1 in 10 (matches) had a penalty. It also seemed that those matches which had one flag, normally had multiple flags.

Yep… most of the penalties in Portland were due to robots entering the corral area.

Many teams added vertical parts to their “wings” or front of their robots in order to keep their robots from breaking the plane.

As head ref in Portland, we were strict with all teams on this issue. I would guess that about 4-5 matches were close enough to be decided by just one of these penalties.

As the weekend progressed, we threw less flags for this, as teams drove better and added parts.

Believe it or not, we did not see one case of goal tending.

Andy B.

At BAE, one team got 4 penalties while trying to herd ONE BALL. Even if it would have gone in that is still a 35 point loss. almost all of the ones at BAE came from robot in ball corral.

Durring one match one team was using the big ball to assis the balls into their goals. I don’t know if that was caught by the refs, but I know many teams still don’t know the rules.

That one was caught by the refs, and the team penalized.

If I recall correctly, like Portland, I don’t think that there was one case of goaltending called during the VCU regional. Either everyone has decided that capping the opposing goals just isn’t worth the effort, or everyone has become so paranoid about goaltending after all the discussions that they are scared off. Either way, it doesn’t appear to be a problem.


I’m pretty sure ball popping is issue to a penalty. I know I rolled on a ball and ended up popping it and got 10-20 points deducted. Also I saw a 2X ball get popped by another team too.

Team 836 got a penelty 5 matches after our match. we were sitting in our pit celebrating a victory and an official comes to our pit. It seems that our human player bounced a 5 pt ball off the 2X ball and made a goal three times. However since the judge didn’t tell us about it they docked us ten pts instead of 30 pts which was very nice but it was just enough to lose the win and get a tie. Now I don’t think that is fair what so ever do you?

I am thinking there are a few reasons why teams have not gaoltended.

1.Human player are scoring there 6 balls so fast you do not want to give them 2x

  1. there robot can not pick up the x2 ball well, so if they do pick up a ball they not going to score for other team

  2. games are soooooo close in points you can not take -10 points

Truthfully, I think yours was the one I was thinking about. It’s totally fair. You broke a rule. You actually got let off easy!

One issue that I still fail to see why a penalty flag was thrown was this.
During the finals match at vcu our robot #388 goal capper was tipped to the side and our arm came to rest on the railing around the field, we dident touch anything outside the field at any time, and a penalty flag wasent thrown then, however after looking at the robot for a few seconds while determining how to stand it back up we lowered our arm, wich pulled it back into the field and began extending our grippers also inside the field in an attempt to raise us, still dident touch anything outside the field, well the grippers dident have the power to stand us back up so we begin to retract our gripper and lower our arm completely in so as to get it out of the way, and we called our alliance partner (team 33 )over to try and help us stand back up, then and only then does a ref decide to throw a 25pt penalty flag and have us disabled :confused: no part of our robot ever touched anything outside of the field evean without this peanilty we wouldent have won that match, however we may have been able to stand up and win it. it just worries me that they disabled a robot that was still in bounds and had done nothing illegeal.

True and we won’t do it again but still wouldn’t you like to know about it then. I think if my human player was told not to do that when it happened it wouldn’t have been done three times. But on most infractions you are told right then and there but in this case was not.