Simplified rules: good or bad?

Ok, so i have a question for everyone: Do you like the simplified set of rule this year?

Personally i have mixed feelings about them. I like that they give more freedom in some things, but i also feel that they are often not specific enough in others. I felt that last year’s rules were way too complicated and restrictive, but feel like this year’s are the opposite extreme. And next year even more simplified rules! :ahh:

I think this an excelent idea.
I have had to take som much time in previous years to understand the super complicted wordings of a single simple question. It puts more common sense-(Woody F.)- into the game along with almost an honors system typ feelin. For me anyway. I also think it puts much less emphasis on the die hard competitors who look for loop holes in the game to get a leg up. Thats not what first is about. Its about the learning experience you, I, and everyone else gets from building the bot. The game is just an after thought to see what students can do withtheir minds in 6 weeks.

The rules aren’t necessarily “simplified”, just more flexible in hopes that FIRST-ers will use common sense to interpret the rules instead of stretching them.

The intention of this question had nothing to do with cheating or finding loopholes. I just feel that the new rules leave way too much to individual interpretation and don’t cover many important issues. In many ways i find them more confusing that last year’s rules. Its seems to me that there is a happy midpoint betwen overspevification, and underspecification. Last year things were way overspecified, and this year way underspecified. I don’t mind using common sense, and thats not what i’m complaining about. I agree that last year there were way too many rules covering a single issue, that FIRST could have just replaced with a single rule and said “use common sense. The intent is obvious.” My gripe is about grey areas this year, which are covered by NO rules and where common sense and GP tell you nothing.

Now that cheating has ben mentioned however, i am worried that people will take advantage of the rules. I am also worried that different inspectors will interpret the rules differently and there will be issues with that. It was bad enough last year.

Can you cite a few specific examples so I might better understand this question?

Personally, I feel that the new rules are a sigh of relief. Yes, you’re right… there are grey areas… but I think the Q&A section on the website help clarify them, and if not… you can add it to the section and have it answered. Last year, I thought I was reading an encyclopedia, we had to keep a book with all of the rules/regulations and every time we had a question we’d refer to it. This year, it’s pretty easy to understand the rules. It allows you to just look at a problem and say “Ok, well, using common sense, I probably shouldn’t put a screwdriver up to the side of the platform to lower the bar.” From what I’ve seen, common sense has answered pretty much all questions I’ve wondered about, and if it hasn’t… the updates and Q&A section fill in those “grey” areas you talk about. But, I think the simplified rules make it much easier to get everyone on the team to understand them, and when it comes down to specifics… you’ve got the Q&A section. I think it’s a great system. If it was more complicated, it would be more of a pain for everyone to understand.

I am curious to see what an official NBA or NFL manual looks like. I would imagine that even though everyone knows how to play basketball - and the game is much simpler than FIRST FRENZY - the NBA’s manual is at least twice as thick.

I like that the rules are a little more open ended. As long as someone doesn’t clarify a point and suddenly at competition FIRST rules on the spot that their clever design isn’t legal its okay with me. I really like that the scholarship list is a little longer than the rest of the manual put together.

FIRST saw that last year alot of teams mainly rookies and some vets had trouble understanding some rules. So what FIRST did was liquidated the manual and use like how Dean put it “Words that mean what Words mean (e.g. Straddle the White Line)” In the past few years I have had to put the manual down to pick up a dictionary. But between This and last year since I’m just alumni rep for the team i used to be on I doubt I will need that dictionary to figure out some words.

All in all I find that the simple set of rules given to teams this year is a good thing and if in fact teams forget the rules some way or some how I request that each of them remember at least The biggest rule of all. Play the Game with Gracious Professionalism. :wink:

One observation: we have seen many times in past years that the team’s opinions regarding elements of the competitions can change significantly over the course of the build season and into the competition season. As we all get more experience with the new elements and the benefits and limitations of such, we get a better understanding of how well they fit our needs.

Let me suggest that exactly the same thing is going to happen with the simiplified rules. The intent of the rule-writers was to make all our lives a lot easier in both the definition and understanding of the rules, and their implementation. Right now it is still way too early to know, with real experiential knowledge and hard data, if this effort is going to be successful or not. The simplified rules are out there. They are not going to be re-written for this year. We all have to work with them, and the stated intent behind them, and do our best. I would urge everyone to just hang on and see how things work out.

Note that I am NOT saying that this is an unreasonable question to ask. The simplified rules are one of the specific “experiments” being monitored this year. You will see formal requests for feedback on this (and other topics) later this year from FIRST. I have a sneaking suspicion that the answers some people give now may change over the next several weeks (in both directions). This question will, and should, be asked. My only point is that right now it is too early to know the answer.


I’m in charge of keeping track of the rules for my team (this year and last year). My job is a lot easier this year thanks to the simplified rules. Last year, i constantly had to look up the exact wording of the rules whereas this year, I just use common sense (and read the stuff about what we can and can’t use on the robot). As for at the competition, my opinion may change if people are trying to get around the rules, but so far I like this system much better.


even though the rules were much stricter last year, it did not prevent teams that want to take advantage from taking advantage. what FIRST wants is for all the teams to be on a more level playing field, and if teams are going to find loopholes, that’s their problem. FIRST is supposed to be more of a learning experience than a “let’s take advantage of other teams to win” kind of game. live through the experience and don’t get too caught up with the details of rules and regulations