Robot Defensive Strategies

Which do you guys think would be more effective… A defensive robot that is larger and has the ability to bring down the bridges or a smaller robot to try to fit the three robots but is unable to manipulate the bridge alone?

Why wouldn’t a smaller robot be able to bring down the bridges, small doesn’t necessarily need to mean lighter.

I think that a large robot would be better. I don’t think that a small robot would play very good defense. I also agree that smaller doesn’t mean lighter.
I was thinking that a good idea for defense would to spray one side of a square robot jet black so that drivers couldn’t see through it. Then just move back and forth in front of the opposing alliances drivers station as the drivers try to aim to score.

the opposing drivers wouldn’t like your strategy very much, but it sure would be effective!

See R08 B.

I feel offensive teams will be teams that have the capacity to build great shooters, which means they know a robot of considerable height to play offense and not tip over in a terrain game is unfeasible. I would recommend rookie teams to build a small kit-bot on steroids, and a big, max height wall on one side of it. I just can’t see offensive bots using that entire 5 feet to lift and shoot, and expect to go over the bump and bridge problem-free.

To those of us applying the build season philosophy of Championship Eliminations or bust, that kind of design wouldn’t fly. Rookies that build small and low to the ground bots with a big wall could be attractive at some regionals.

Defense this year is going to be a bit less prevalent in my opinion this year, largely due to the field set up.

For starters, the field is split in two, this inherently limits mobility. Then, within each zone, the key and alley are off limits, further limiting defense movement. Then there’s the fact that the fender takes up further more space, as well as the overhang from the bridges. In a nutshell, playing defense will require such careful positioning and caution to avoid the minefield of penalty risks, it almost seems not worth the trouble, or at the very least, highly risky.

EDIT: Possibly more viable will be hard pushing bots that have the ability to stop well placed wall bots from interfering with the scorers.

Most teams are expeccting very tall somewhat agile defense bots but if you can put some weight on a smaller and put some real power behind it you can create a pinning/pushing bot that can not only inteerupt manipulator aiming but prevent high scoring robots from getting into range or into the protected key. You just have to make sure your strategies incorporate all the rules of robot interaction.

Unfortunately, defensive robots can only extend up to 60" (max starting height) and offensive robots can extend up to ~74", so there’s an inherent disadvantage to making a purely defensive robot.

I dont think that defense will be very prevelent in this because of the hight restrictions. Byut if you are gonna be defensive then a large heavy robot able to push the other alliances robots out of the way would be better.

Defense this year will be basically trying to jam/block the opposite alliance from getting balls on the ground and/or from taking shots.
That is probably the best strategy to ensure the opposing alliance does not get get a high score during teleop.
It’s critical for teams to have a way to pick up the ball from the ground! Imagine all the missed shots!

Defense this year will be a ‘tight squeeze’ to avoid penalties.

See rule…

Robots in contact with the carpet on their Alliance Station end of the Court are limited to 60 in tall. Otherwise,
Robots are limited to 84 in tall.
Violation: Foul; or Technical-Foul for repeated or continuous violation.

When you are on the side of the field with your opponents goals(aka the closest side to your alliance wall), you are still limited to the 60in height.

…along with the key, alley, and bridge no touch penalties.


Robot parts shall not be made from hazardous materials, be unsafe, cause an unsafe condition, or interfere with the operation of other Robots.

underlined part

Also, personally I feel that a defensive robot that is solely for the purpose of blocking points is against the message of FIRST. They want teams to be able to score as much as possible. Along with that, it is more if a challenge to create a shooting robot, compared to one the drives around with a big wall. FIRST is all about a challenge and learning from it.

Many of the comments on defensive strategy mention the alley as a danger. But a defensive robot is on the half of the court with their alliance’s alley. That is, their safe zone. A defensive robot can “patrol” their alley and score points by touching robots that come too close.

In fact, the key and the alley are only 59 inches apart. In theory, a red robot in contact with the red key could touch a blue robot in contact with the blue alley. How is that scored?

No theory there at all. A robot can be 38" in length. Plus a robot can have an appendage that extends an additional 14" outside the frame perimeter. That would 52" alone. Multiplied by 2, could mean 104" of robots and appendages trying to occupy 59" of space!!! I would assume a foul or technical foul on each, so they would offset

Shoot, I forgot the lanes were opposite color to the nearest key. Good point.

Not too sure about the whole penalty tactic. I feel like there will be some sort of rule update to deal with that. Trying to intentionally penalize the enemy just isn’t in the spirit of the game, and even if it’s permitted under the current rules, I wouldn’t count on it staying that way.

One thing I noticed that will be a killer defensive move is to be the first robot to tip the middle bridge toward it’s side. All the balls that aren’t on the robots or on the other two bridges will be placed on this bridge… all your team has to do is scoop 'em and shoot 'em, while the other team has to cross the bridge, pick up the ball (or go to the feeder) and return to it’s side before it can shoot!! to me, that is a huge advantage!!!