Repair Timeouts in Playoffs

At the UNC Asheville district event this past week, the #1 alliance was carded for a G20 (damaging, not deliberate) in the finals that broke 1533’s robot. Even with the existing field timeout they did not have enough time to fix everything, making it almost impossible for their alliance with 3196 and 6894 to win the next match. The #1 alliance won that match and then the next one. Who knows what would have happened if 1533 had actually had time to fix their robot. It may or may not have changed the outcome, but it would have been much more entertaining to watch and also fairer if they had additional time to fix since the damage was due to an opponent’s card. Whether warranted or not, there was a feeling among some in the crowd that the #1 alliance won because of that red card in the first match.

Proposal for a solution to situations like this for future years (or possibly this year):

For playoffs, an alliance has the right (but can choose to waive it) to an extra 10 minutes of repair time before QF Tiebreakers, Semifinals, and Finals matches if in their previous match, their opponents were yellow-carded or red-carded for any of a set of rules that fall under a category of “possible damage to robots” (i.e. not for illegal communication with drive team type cards, but for G20 type cards).

Taking this year as an example for this proposal, these robot to robot interaction rules would result in extra repair time:
G17: Covered if card issued
G18: Not covered
G19: Covered
G20: Covered

What does everyone else think about this?


The #1 alliance lost the first one, thanks to the red card, and then won the second match. im fairly certain 1533 had it fixed by the last one, and they lost that one as well. I think it was played fairly


Everything was played fairly. My point was that 1533 did not have extra time to fix for the second match, something that I feel should be allowed when opponents are carded for robot-to-robot interaction rules in the previous match.

Considering a general timeout card already exists, i dont think its needed. Sometimes, fixes just cant happen quick enough.

A general timeout card only gives an extra 2 minutes and can only be used once. Teams should not have to use that tiny bit of time to fix something caused by an opponents card. The argument of “you should have built it stronger so you wouldn’t need to fix it” applies to most cases of needing repair, but should not apply to repairs from certain opponent cards that fall under the category of “damaging.”

Given how rare yellow and red cards are in playoffs and the game in general, especially those that fall under the category of robot to robot interaction, the extra 10 minutes (arbitrary number, feel free to suggest a different amount) for fixing damage caused by a violation of one of those few rules would rarely be used and therefore a minor setback from this at an event would rarely occur.

If I remember correctly, the card was not issued for damage done to 1533, but on 2655 for (accidentally) entering Iced Java’s frame while trying to push them out of the way to score a hatch panel on the rocket, as evidenced by the referee’s reaction with a tech foul (which is also part of the penalty for G20). It was 2655 that was awarded the initial yellow card in quarters, and I advised the drive coaches on all teams on the alliance that we could not play defense because it was too risky given in total we were given 3 yellow cards for this offense on our team over the course of the event.

Video of the incident here: Immediate and necessary rule change!


As @ImAnEngiNERD said, the card was not for damage done to us (1533).


Well, I guess I was wrong about that. Thanks for correcting me.

My point about damage-inducing cards and the need for extra time doesn’t specifically relate to this event, then. But it is still a point that I think needs to be considered because there is always a chance of a card-inducing damaging hit knocking out a team and leaving them without enough time to repair for the next two matches.

Thats what backup teams are for and 6-minute vouchers, if we indefinately give a lot of extra time thats a disincenive for backup teams agreeing to “be ready”

In finals, the 6 minute time out voucher only adds to minutes to the timeout between F1 and F2 for a total of 8 minutes between the end of F1 and robots needing to be on the field for F2. I think the voucher should be an automatic extra 6 minutes, regardless of any currently running timeout. And if it happens to be the highest scouring robot on the alliance that breaks, calling in a backup robot is usually an automatic loss.


Yes. Thats true, sometimes that may happen.
If they made the finals they probably “get in” with a WC if they were high scoring and ranked high anyhow as almost every event has one or more WC slots.

On the flip side of that, how long do you want the event to run?

Let’s do some math. Let’s say that all TOs are 6 minutes, AFTER any field timeout. Each alliance has 1 TO; there are 2 guaranteed and 2 possible Field TOs (1 Finals, 1 semis-finals, and the other two are for back-to-back tiebreakers, one in QFs and 1 in SFs). Let’s assume that they all happen. 4x 6=24 minutes already. Now, each alliance uses their TO for 6 minutes and it starts after the field TO. So we get another 4x 6 = 24 minutes.

48 minutes burned by timeouts. 3/4 of that–36 minutes–is burned around the last three matches of the tournament. With 7 minutes of match time, that’s 1 hour.

Folks weren’t terribly thrilled when the L.A. Regional finals took 1:20 to finish last week… and that included 5 matches (1 field fault was replayed, and there was a significant delay for field checks before Overtime 1).

How many events have happened where every single tie breaker has been played and every timeout called? In my 4 years of FRC (8 regionals, 2016 champs, 2018 champs) I’ve seen two timeouts and maybe 10 tie breaker matches across all of those events.

I get where you’re coming from - long breaks for spectators certainly suck - but given that your described scenario is maybe a once a year occurrence, if that, then I’m ok with making the audience sit a little longer. Because it might mean the difference between an upset team going home with a broken robot, feeling like they never got the chance to really compete and fight for their place at champs, and a team going home filled with joy and excitement because they just saw their robot compete to its fullest potential. Losing sucks. Losing because you didn’t have time to fix your robot for the most important match of an event sucks way more.

I’ve had to make major fixes to my robot during a timeout. They were issues that probably wouldn’t have crippled us, but would’ve affected our performance and possibly the outcome of the match we were about to play. If those issues were much worse, the 8 minute timeout wouldn’t have been enough. I don’t think potentially adding half an hour onto the end of an event (still way out of the norm, more realistically less than 10 minutes) is that big of an issue if it means more teams get to feel like they were successful. Even if they lose, knowing that their robot did what it was supposed to do is a thrilling and amazing feeling.

This is true, I hadn’t considered the wild card. However, what if the highest scoring robot is the 1st pick and not the captain? At earlier events the number of wild cards is usually much lower so the chance for that team to qualify still drops. What if having the extra 4 minutes of timeout means that that team doesn’t need to call in a backup and wins the event? Qualifying through wildcard is great, but it feels much better to win the event. Playoffs is stressful and I think every team should have every opportunity to ensure that their robot is working and competitive in each match they play.

One could argue that proper settlement for the robot damage was already given in the foul that caused the red card, and that further settlement in the form of a longer timeout would be more advantageous for the broken robot.


Something I haven’t seen much of this year is protective paneling to keep contact inside the frame perimeter from becoming game-altering or game-losing damage. We put otherwise-unnecessary superstructure on our robot this year for no purpose but to attach thin Lexan shielding to it, which in turn served no purpose but to keep other robo-bits out of our guts.

While contact inside the frame perimeter isn’t legal, its very reasonable to assume that it can and probably will happen, and teams should be designing their robots with this anticipated but unwelcome contact in mind–especially given how hard it can be to fix some things in six-ish minutes.

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Ive seen a ton of timeouts here, but i couldnt tell you the number.

Tiebreakers though is something i can look up. In the past 6 years (12 district events, 3 DCMP’s, 2 worlds), ive seen 31 tiebreaker matches, with one event having all of semis and finals in them.

Would full 6 minute timeouts be nice? Yes, we may of won our first event in 2017 if we had that. I dont think it would be worth the time it would take out, as Eric showed. The volunteers still need to take the field down after you guys go home…

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On one hand, the rules need to prevent the incentive to damage other robots. On the other hand, teams also need to take into account repairability and durability when designing their robots. And teams that make it to finals and World Champs on a regular basis already make design tradeoffs because they know their robot will compete in so many, highly contested matches.

As it stands right now, I think the rules fairly punish teams for the damage they do. Things tend to break at the worst possible time – part of building a great robot is building for that.

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