Rule Discussion: Possession

<G09> POSSESSION - ROBOTS may only have 1 (one) GAME PIECE in their POSSESSION at
any time during the match. Inadvertent bulldozing of GAME PIECES while the ROBOT
moves around the field is allowed. Controlled “herding” of a single GAME PIECE lying on
the floor is permitted as long as no other GAME PIECE is in the POSSESSION of the
ROBOT. Herding of multiple GAME PIECES, or herding of a GAME PIECE on the floor
while in POSSESSION of another GAME PIECE is not permitted (as this would be
considered POSSESSION of more than one GAME PIECE).

Stated above is the rule on possession and its definition. My question to you guys is why when a HP or another robot accidentally drops a tube on your flag, and it gets caught, why you are now penalized when you try to score? I have been very puzzled as to the nature of this rule and would like some help clearing this up. I understand they do not want us to gather tubes than score, but if you have a ringer caught on your flag and cannot effectively complete the task because a mishap is it really possession?

Is it really possession if you are not in control of the ringer?

I’m pretty sure that it still counts as possesion because any tube you have on your robot is on tube that another team cant have. I think the point of the rule is to keep people from building robots that will gather and take away tubes from others.

our team had to adjust our robot several times for this rule

i think that that rule needs to be modified. yes, the tube is “in possesion” meaning connected to the robot, but, it is not in control of the robot. a couple of teams at vcu got penalized for this because they got caught with a tube on the flag and proceeded to score thinking that the rule wouldn’t apply because they weren’t in control of the tube.

i personally think that needs to be modified, b/c teams will “accidentally” try to put tube on the robot’s flags.

Let’s say you are the blue alliance. IF the blue human player throws a ringer, and it lands on your robot, you are in possession of the ringer and once you drop the ringer you currently have in possession, you cannot pick up another until you drop the one you have (almost impossible if its on the flag), or you will get a penalty.

IF the red human player throws a ringer on your robot, you would *not *be in possession of the ringer, nor would you receive a penalty. The red alliance would receive a penalty (but I don’t remember why it would be called, just that it would be).

The whole thing of defining possesion based on it getting stuck on the flag is kinda stupid.

If herding, which also defines possesion is ruled this way - what is the big deal to clarify the same for tubes caught on flags?

Here is the ‘official’ answer as found in the FIRST Q&A:

“HERDING” implies that you are attempting to direct multiple Game Pieces to a particular location. Merely driving into an area occupied by multiple Game Pieces in an attempt to clear the area and letting them randomly scatter would not be considered herding.

Clearly, the words “attempting to direct” & “particular location”, imply intent.

As with flag ringers - intent is extremely doubtful. Accidental is more like it, even when attempting to get one on an opponent, it takes alot of luck.

Isn’t the fact that the team has to deal with the obstruction of having a tube stuck on the flag pole enough of a penalty?

Sorry - but this is one rule that is really unneccessary (especially when everyone isn’t mounting the flags per the required specifications).

glr-robot ready to score- human player throws— tube lands on tube—i think they got called on it.

I am going by memory but I believe that the rules are clear. IF you have a tube in your possession and another tube is dropped on your robot you may score that tube but MUST remove the other one before before attempting to aquire another. The rules (right or wrong) are that you may only have one in your possession and the Q&A clarified that. Our team tossed one on themselves and had to wait for help or change their playing style. It is part of the game challenge and was clearly defined a long time ago.

I think having the tube interrupt a bot from capping is not a part of the game challenge. It seems more like an unnecessary nuisance. Unless - seeing a bot drive back and forth, crashing into things to get the flag off is amusing.

I personally Think that this rule is stupid because the flags are required by FIRST not the teams. If it was not for FIRST these flags would not be on the robot to begin with, therefore not having to worry about this problem. I also understand this rule, that some of you might not be realizing why it might be here. I think that some teams may have built their robot to get tubes of of their flag pole (“the innocent way of herding”) and all of a sudden be able to get this tube off when it pays off the most. If there is a row of 7 and they allow a robot to pick up tubes that has a tube on the flag pole and they are scoring them then they already have # 8 on them, and all of a sudden they are able to get it off and score a 256 when they could have gotten it off to begin with. Now if I am blue and red throws a tube on me I should be able to score blue tubes even if red gets the penalty. This rule is just like teams going into the wrong zone at the wrong time geting the 30 pt penalty(if they are there the whole time) because they have nothing to lose if they have 0 and you have 0 they are just stopping you from beating them, I think that the 30 pt penalty should be added to the opposing alliances score because this rule sucks and it is not right for teams to do this just because:)

I think good alliance teamwork can overcome the problem this rule presents. Perhaps thats what FIRST was thinking.


Simple - if one of the alliance partners has a “claw” manipulator, it simply grabs the ringer and lifts it off its partner.
EDIT: I would love to see a robot on an opposing alliance do that, especially if it “accidentally” dropped the tube in the first place. Very GP. Kind of like the robot picking up the other one in the Hangin-A-Round animation.

That’s a very big “if”. Consider a team that has a grabber mounted to an elevator that doesn’t have the ability to reach into their partners robot. Or an alliance made up of three ramp bots or a combination of ramps and low scorers.

The rule has some serious implications for some teams (we dealt with the issue of a tube over our flag in one match and spent about 40 seconds dislodging it) and can impact the results of the match. Perhaps this is one of those instances where referees can be allowed to interpret intention. If a team’s robot has a tube inadvertently thrown over their flag (either by their own alliance or their opponents), they can continue to score with other tubes but can’t ever score with the tube on their flag. I know it isn’t the most ideal solution but it would be a workable one. From a refereeing standpoint you don’t want to have to judge intention but this may be one of those situations where it would be pretty clear.


It indeed is a very big IF. The only match that happen to us was when we had two ramp bots in our alliance.

I think this one of the areas that refs can easily tell when a robot is storing tubes and when a tube has been accidently placed on the robot. For my two cents, an accident should not cause a robot to fail it’s mission. Common sense should prevail.

This has been clearly laid out as a possible situation since build season, and teams should have anticipated the possibility of this happening. More importantly, it isn’t an incredibly common occasion. It shouldn’t happen more than once or twice to a team per event, and most teams will avoid it completely.

It happened to our team twice… once an alliance robot dropped it over our flag when we were trying to score, the second time an alliance partner threw it onto our flagpole while attempting to hit the field/rack. We also saw it happen at least 10 other times at FLR.

IMO I wish the rule were “in control of” not “in possession of”. The way our team interpreted this rule we thought it meant we couldnt stack tubes on our robot and carry them to the rack to score repeatedly. To be honest(and I know this is our own fault), the flag was an afterthought for us. Our mechanical lead for the arm design this year is new, and he missed where the location of the flagpole had to be. We ended up able to mount it at the top of our mast, but unless our arm is all the way up(which is HIGHLY dangerous and stopped in software control), a tube can ring our flagpole. Our arm can easily dislodge a tube without the flag there, but once the flag is in, we cant dislodge it ourselves.

I guess I get the rule, and we will deal with it as is, but its frustrating to have a robot that can score that gets ringed in the first 20 seconds and has to just drive around on defense for the rest of the match, not even because something is broken.

I just have to wonder if the GDC really expected flags to catch ringers as much as they are.

i dont actually mind the rule. it has been there since the game was reveiled. i just hope the refs can stay consitent with it. at NJ, i saw one team get penalized twice in their match, but another team was not penalized when the same thing happened to them.

I hope everyone realizes this rule applies ONLY to tubes placed by their own alliance. If an opponent places a ringer on your robot, it is ignored. And the opponent will be penalized if it is done on purpose.

One of the things I like to emphasize to the other teams we are matched up with is to not throw ringers onto the field unless there is a robot that needs to pick one up. Littering the field with tubes only causes problems especially with ringing a alliance robot or littering the home zone.

Once the ramp bot is in the home zone and the other bots are on their way then fire away at the rack. But until then it’s a no-no.