Rules G-30 and G-18-1

Hi,

I have asked this in the Official Q&A and have gotten the response of “We do not comment on hypothetical situations here.” We have gotten equally vague answers during matches. I am hoping that some referees can help me out because we deal with these scenarios in virtually every match.

G-30 states that if a robot is in its protected zone and comes into contact with an opposing robot, that the opposing robot is penalized, no matter who initiations contact.

G-18-1 states that a robot intentionally employing a strategy to get an opposing robot to commit a foul will be charged with a technica.

We are a tall full-court shooter. Our favorite activity is shooting 3’s from the protected loading zone. A 60" robot can block us by stationing itself very close to us - inches away. If we push it back from us so as to clear a shot, are we called for the foul or is the other robot?

Likewise, if a 80" tall robot stations itself in front of us and we push it across its autoline en route to our pyramid (to shoot), are we called with a technical? Or is it?

We’ve had the first called different ways. In one game, we were told that the first two times we pushed the other robot away, it would be penalized. HOwever, if we did it a third, we’d be called with a technical. (So, it was illegal for them to do it twice, but okay after that?!) We have not tried the second scenario, fearing that we’d be nailed with a technical.

We truly do not understand how the rules apply to these scenarios. Any thoughts?

There are a few ambiguities/things open for interpretation in the rules this year. The best I can suggest would be to pose these questions to your event’s head referee at the driver’s meeting. This way it will be clear to your team and other teams at the event how the game will be called from the beginning. Personally I think the rules written with the “consequential” and “inconsequential” distinction are a bit vague and what is “consequential” can vary from person to person. If you are touching the pyramid and lined up to shoot, but not actively shooting at the time of contact which throws off your aim, is that “consequential”? Is contact in the loading zone that causes you to drop a frisbee as the human player is loading it consequential? These are all examples of questions to ask and get clarified at the driver’s meeting with the head ref.

I’m no referee, so someone else with more insight can come in and clear it up, but here is how I’ve generally seen it play out.

If you are in your loading zone, and drive up and tap the defending robot whilst you are still in the loading zone, it is a foul on them (you can see a similar circumstance from last year, where team’s shooting from their alliance key would drive and tap defenders who got too close to get a foul on them). Even if you repeat it many times, you are not forcing them to get the penalty. They are repeatedly putting themselves in harm’s way. Now, if you have one of your alliance partners hold them in place while you do it, the referees would probably call you for forcing the opponent to be penalized. But in the scenario you described, the opposing robot should receive a foul.

As for pushing a >60" robot into its zone to try and get it a foul for being too tall, I haven’t seen this happen, so I can’t tell you definitively how it would be called. I will say that the intent of the rule is most likely to prevent robots from using height to their advantage in their own zone. As such, I would bet that, were you to do this, the referees would either not penalize it, because you forced them all the way across the field, or even penalize you if you try it too many times. Pushing robots across the field every now and again can be used as a display of strength. If you do if often to an opposing robot, the referees will probably not be to keen on it.

That’s just my take.

Last year… when the moved out of the safe lane and tapped for a penalty it was rarely given any penalty points more than the first time. last year we also did not have G 18-1

Strategies aimed solely at forcing the opposing ALLIANCE to violate a rule are not in the spirit of FRC and are not allowed. Rule violations forced in this manner will not result in assessment of a penalty on the target ALLIANCE .

Violation: TECHNICAL FOUL

I am not sure how this rule is to be used… If a long shooter sits in the corner and drives out to pick up a penalty… is that not a strategy?
It would force an opposing robot who is NOT in violation to be in violation…

I know it is annoying for the full field shooters… but if a robot sits in a position that is legal and the shooter does the movement… I don’t see how moving out to cause a penalty on the other robot is not a strategy…

I think the best bet is to ask the Head referee how they are going to call it.
I can see it go either way…

I do believe that the 60/84" height rules were put in for a reason…I would think that they are there so a robot shooting into their own goal could always shoot from a height above a blocking robot in their own area.

Perhaps they are also there to impede a robot from doing full field shooting?? from the opponents home field…

We don’t know the intent of the height restrictions…

My personal opinion is that the rules would not be created to allow for a single answer to the game… and the rules committee must have considered the issue of a full field shooter.

It is an interesting dilemma…

I think I will ask the head referee at Seattle… I’m not looking at giving the other robot a “tap” - rather I want to push it out of the way, to open a shot. It also seems strange that we’d have a “protected zone” if the opposing robot could stand right in front of it and we’d be forced to try do dodge it… Before 18-1, I figured the rule was in place to make sure that the opposing robot kept a respectable distance.

Regarding the tall robot, if we are driving for our own pyramid, unless we go completely around the opposing one, there is a strong chance that we’d push a tall defender out of its autozone (which is pretty small) in the process - even inadvertantly…

I agree about the ambiguous nature of a couple of rules. I think my biggest struggle is that the refs did not seem to agree on some interpreations and my kids were frustrated.

No, we had a G44-45, which was even more confusing.

2013: [G18-1] Strategies aimed solely at forcing the opposing ALLIANCE to violate a rule are not in the spirit of FRC and are not allowed. Rule violations forced in this manner will not result in assessment of a penalty on the target ALLIANCE .

2012: [G44] Generally, a rule violation by an Alliance that was directly caused by actions of the opposing Alliance will not be penalized. Rule [G28] is an exception to this rule.
2012: [G45] Strategies exploiting Rule [G44] are not in the spirit of the FRC and are not allowed.
2012: [G28] Robots may not touch an opponent Robot in contact with its Key, Alley, or Bridge.

Just something to remember when attempting to compare across years. Also, I never witnessed a limit on legitimate G28s. We got like 6 in a row trying to triple balance at MAR. It generally seems to be called the same way this year, at least in these parts.

I won’t offer a referee opinion, but consider this:
What is the purpose of the clause, “Regardless of who initiates the contact” in [G30’s] “…a ROBOT may not contact an opponent ROBOT contacting its PYRAMID or touching the carpet in its LOADING ZONE”, if not to open the possibility of penalizing Blue for getting to close to Red + Red Protected Zone (within pushing distance), at least in some instances?

Asking your head ref is a good method of determining these instances.

I have only reffed 1 FRC competition this year, but have reffed many FTC and FLL tournaments where FIRST’s rule of “intent” is at play. I don’t usually comment on these rule threads, but I’ve seen so many g-30 threads this year it warranted a post.

1st a foremost, ask your head referee before it happens and make sure you have a rule book on hand. Avoid posing hypothetical if statements whenever possible by giving a detailed situations that can easily be interpreted (what you wrote up is fairly clear and is easily shown during a practice round Thursday).

Given the training that I’ve received, you should not be penalized for bumping them to open up a clear shot. You are not pushing them to receive the penalty and are obviously in the act of attempting to score as a full court shooter. Furthermore, the protected zones are a calculated risk for teams defending near them and failure to do so correctly is to be punished. No matter how many times this happens, as long as you are clearly going for position rather than constantly tapping them for penalty after penalty, you should not receive the technical. G18 is more focused at stopping teams from forcing teams into penalty situations usually involving 2 or more robots where intent is obvious.

For your second question, I like to compare intent in this situation as the difference between bulldozing game pieces and herding them. It is very obvious when a team is driving to dodge a robot and driving to shove a robot. This question then breaks down into too much of a hypothetical and comes down to referee’s judgement. Play it safe and aim for outmaneuvering rather than pushing matches.

Strategies aimed solely at forcing the opposing ALLIANCE to violate a rule are not in the spirit of FRC and are not allowed. Rule violations forced in this manner will not result in assessment of a penalty on the target ALLIANCE .

Violation: TECHNICAL FOUL

Emphasis mine. I don’t think you should ever be called for a technical foul if you are pushing a robot out of your way, regardless if it causes a foul; and I think it can be argued pretty effectively with a reasonable person. If you are pushing the opponent away from you, your goal is to get clearance to shoot (or to get to the other side of the field). If the referee chooses not to penalize your opponent that is understandable, but you should not be penalized if you have strategic intentions beyond causing foul points against your opponent.

If you repeatedly tap your opponent to score foul points as a deterrent, that is one thing, but if you are pushing them hard and physically getting them out of the way, then I don’t think G18-1 should apply.

This.

If the event is already in progress, send a student to the question box immediately after the match ends [T13].

I’m not a referee, but I’ll state my opinion anyway. The defender should get called for the 3 point penalty by default. The referee should only call a technical for G18 if it’s obvious that the full court shooter is trying to abuse the G30 penalty. In this case, I don’t think it would be obvious which of the following the full court shooter is trying to do:
A) Push the defender off of their position to get a clear shot
B) Get out of the feeder station to switch strategies
C) Force a G30 penalty

Choices A and B are legal strategies that certainly would not warrant a G18 penalty. From the perspective of the referee, there’s significant uncertainty as to the shooter team’s strategy, and I think one has to go out on a limb somewhat to call the G18 technical.

Let’s say the shooting robot has no discs in its hopper, and the defensive robot is not moving. The shooting robot repeatedly drives forward and back to “tap” the defending robot a bunch of times in a row. That seems like a good time to call a G18.

If I’m the defensive driver, I don’t want to park so close to the shooter that I get a penalty if they drive three inches forward. The defensive robot driver should be aware of the risk of sitting there, and park a few inches farther away if that risk is unacceptable.

The conundrum that the GDC won’t officially acknowledge with this combination of rules is that it’s impossible for referees to judge intent. If intent could be captured, no penalty points should be assigned to either alliance in MrJohnston’s scenario.

Yet let’s take that a step further. In the end, 948 still loses since it’s neither getting its full-court shots in nor is the other alliance gaining 948 any points via assigned penalties. Perhaps that’s the most compelling reason the GDC won’t address it directly: a ruling could further confuse things while the outcomes of matches would mostly remain the same.

Solution: If a FCS doesn’t want to be blocked, it needs to find a different strategy. However, it’s been noted around these forums that a FCS can easily tie up a defender that would otherwise be on a pyramid-cycling robot. So YMMV depending on the alliance.

Jesse,

I disagree: G30 clearly states that any contact in the protected zone is a foul - regardless of who initiaties it or why. This is the purpose of a “protected zone.” G18-1 is what confuses the situation for us - saying that we cannot employ a strategy with the sole purpose of causing the other team to foul us.

One thing that happened in Central Washington is that robots not quite tall enough to block us would get extremely close to us. Then, as we were trying to find that “magic spot” where we could feed Frisbees into the hopper and shoot them immediately, we’d bump the other robot - making it very difficult to get into position. Fouls were not called in these cases after the few qualifications.

We simply want to understand the rules… It’s a bit frustrating because we deal with them every match. Our kids built an extraordinary robot around the concept of full court shooting and we’d rather not have abandon our primary purpose over confusion about the rules. (A legal, stout defense is another matter entirely.)

We went to Lubbock in week 1 as a defensive robot that can hang and made it to finals. The ref crew was great, and did a good job of explaining ambiguities in the rules at the drivers meeting at the beginning of the regional, provided my drivers with some scenarios and explained how certain situations would be ruled. I can’t sing their praises highly enough.

The next week we went to Houston, fresh off of going to finals and thinking we understood the rules, but the ref crew there interpreted the rules differently and we racked up some fouls early on. We had to drop half of our defensive strategies, but in the end, things still worked out for us.

This week we are heading to San Antonio for the Alamo regional, and we decided to make a play book with questions for the ref on how certain situations may play out. We’ve keyed out 7 primary defensive zones and have written down questions for the head ref on how specific rules will play out based on robot interactions we’ve seen. Our plan is we will ask these questions right off the bat and decide then which strategies are viable, and which are too risky. You might want to consider doing the same.

I get what you’re saying, but I think you’re missing the point. The referee still has to make a judgement call as to whether or not your bumping of the other robot is intended to get the other robot a foul, which in turn would give you a technical foul if that’s the case. The confusing part would be the repeated nature of your bumping the other robot. It’s 100% subjective (IMO) and difficult for the GDC to resolve without further confusion or ambiguity. The only reprieve is to tell the refs about your intent ahead of time, supposing they have the bandwidth to listen.

We’re going to find out this week how much of a bid deal it is (waiting for a Week 5 event is … nerve racking to say the least)

I seems like we’ve been playing Q&A tag with team 948 all season long!

I know you have seen all these already, and it was 948 who posed some of these questions, but here some of the Q&As that have been asked regarding these rules.

Q183:
Q. Rule G18-1 says that forcing the opposing ALLIANCE into a penalty is “not in the spirit of FRC and [is] not allowed” whereas G30 dictates: “regardless of who initiates the contact, a ROBOT may not contact an opponent ROBOT touching the carpet in its LOADING ZONE." Which rule will predominate?

A. If the Team is employing a strategy that tries to take advantage of [G30], [G18-1] takes precedence.

Q255:
Q. If our robot is in our protected loading zone and an opposing robot places itself directly in front of us such that we cannot leave the protected area without intentially striking the other robot (causing a penality), which robot is penalized?

A. The purpose of this forum is to answer specific questions about specific Rules. We cannot comment absolutely on hypothetical situations. With that said, if a ROBOT is perceived as trying to leave a protected area to play the game, this will not be considered a violation of [G18-1]. Conversely, if a ROBOT repeatedly rams an opponent ROBOT, drawing penalties on that ROBOT, even though there’s a clear egress from the area, that would be considered a violation of [G18-1].

Q256:
Q. If we are actively shooting full-court shots from our protected loading zone and another robot attempts to defend against us and we push the other robot away to create space to shoot either with our robot’s body or an extension, which robot will be penalized?

A. The purpose of this forum is to answer specific questions about specific Rules. We cannot comment absolutely on hypothetical situations. If contact in a protected area is made as an attempt to play the game, it will not be a violation of [G18-1]. Conversely, if a ROBOT repeatedly rams an opponent ROBOT, drawing penalties on that ROBOT, even though there’s a clear egress from the area, that would be considered a violation of [G18-1].

Q347:
Q. With reference to Q255: “With that said, if a ROBOT is perceived as trying to leave a protected area to play the game, this will not be considered a violation of [G18-1].” In this case, can you confirm that the opposing alliance will still be penalized per [G30]?

A. The purpose of this forum is to answer specific questions about specific rules. We cannot comment absolutely on hypothetical situations. Generally, if [G18-1] is not violated during a violation of another Game Rule (e.g. [G30]), the violation of that Game Rule (i.e. [G30]) will be enforced.

Q348:
Q. With reference to Q256: “If contact in a protected area is made as an attempt to play the game, it will not be a violation of [G18-1].” Where a referee has determined that contact to create space to shoot satisfies the above condition, will the opposing alliance be penalized per [G30]?

A. The purpose of this forum is to answer specific questions about specific rules. We cannot comment absolutely on hypothetical situations. Generally, if [G18-1] is not violated during a violation of another Game Rule (e.g. [G30]), the violation of that Game Rule (i.e. [G30]) will be enforced.

I have my interpretation, but I am also not the ref who will be calling our matches, so YMMV:

  1. If there is contact while you are protected, a penalty will be called one way or the other no matter what (either from G18-1 or G30). There should be no unpenalized contact - so someone will be getting points every time a protected robot and an opponent touch.

  2. If your robot was “perceived as trying to leave a protected area to play the game” or the contact was otherwise “made as an attempt to play the game” the penalty will go against your opponent. This is where the ambiguity lies. Is pushing an opponent away to clear space for your full court shot “an attempt to play the game?” I’d like to say so…but again YMMV.

  3. If the same situation happens over and over again, the penalties should be assessed the same way… over and over again. I don’t see anything in the rules or Q&A which say “for the first X incidents it will be called one way, then automatically after that, it will be called differently.” If you legitimately try and push an opponent back to clear space 30 times a match, and it’s called a penalty on the opponent the first time, I would expect it to be called that way the 2nd-30th time as well.

We had several conversations with the Head Referee at Seattle in order to get clarification. He was fantastic - and acknowledged the “gray areas” in the rules. We did not get a final answer until he had at least two long conversations with the other officials.

Here is what theycame up with:

  • If we are in our protected feeder zone, all contact between us and an opponent would be called as a foul on the opponent - unless it was clearly obvious that we were only trying to draw fouls. He understood that we needed to line up perfectly with the feeder so that we could hit our three’s as fast as we could load and that we, therefore, would wiggle about a bit. He also understood that if a taller robot was in front of us that we would need to clear it out in order to open our a shot - again, not trying to draw fouls, just shoot Frisbees.

  • If we push a tall robot over the autoline, it would be its responsibility to drop beneath 60" unless, again, we are clearly looking to draw a foul. I instructed our drive team to only push forward (possibily pushing a tall defender across the line) if they had a full hopper and were going to line up for a shot.

It worked out quite well as the rules were clear. I do hope that such clarity is continued at other events.

I think it is a bit faulty to assume that G-30 was put in place to keep robots a respectable distance away. I believe the main point of this rule is to keep robots who are loading from being physically jostled which would impact the loading of the discs. Even if I am incorrect in my assumptions, if the intent was to keep robots a respectable distance away, they probably would have made the protected zone quite a bit bigger.

Regardless of why the rule is written, it should be enforced on how it is written. The quote Seattle Referee’s interpretation sound very reasonable. (Especially since I agree with it :slight_smile: )

For an interesting interpretation of how these rules interact, check out Quals Match 53 from Alamo this weekend. An opponent pushed and pinned us under their pyramid, and we were then knocked into one of their alliance members, and couldn’t get out because we kept being pushed by our opponent and the ref gave them a technical foul because of 18-1, and then gave us two technical fouls for contacting both of the opponents robots AND awarded them BOTH FULL CLIMB POINTS because one of them had their hooks up…it gave them a total of 100 points for this interaction…they beat us by 16 points…I sent my driver to the question box immediately, but the ref stood by the call. Needless to say, we then went and apologized to our alliance members for that match.

I remember that match, I don’t believe you should’ve been awarded that many foul points nor the climb points as stated before, you were forced into the pyramid, so the opponent was “clearly looking to draw a foul.” This year has been a pretty crazy season for fouls…