The answer to Q178

I’m annoyed by the answer to Q178.

In combination with the text of the H10 blue box, it means that only one HUMAN PLAYER may hold a POWER CELL during the match, and only if the LOADING BAY racks are full. (unless they are actively moving the POWER CELLS) That suggests that HUMAN PLAYERS holding POWER CELLS over the Chutes in preparation to drop them once a ROBOT returns to the LOADING BAY may be penalized per H10 if the time before releasing the POWER CELLS is perceived to be long.

From a strategy perspective, this makes it a lot harder to ensure that ALLIANCE partners don’t violate HUMAN PLAYER rules, and invalidates the standard HUMAN PLAYER procedures that most teams use.

How often do you think will that be called? What kind of timespan should we expect before it becomes penalty worthy?


I’d say that it’s a perfectly fair ruling and that we simply need to have our human players adapt to the rules this year (as they must every year.) This is about practice and training, so do that and if you don’t trust your alliance partner to do it right, insist that it’s your human player who runs the chutes.


I agree, if each human player has a ball or two in their hand in addition to the 14 on racks then suddenly you could hold 17-20 power cells. FIRST doesn’t ever want someone to be able to restrict the field of play so they don’t want you to hold on to that many power cells.

If you get more power cells in your corral while you are waiting to put some in the chute, then you just have to drop them or risk a penalty. It’s the game we’re playing this year so you just need be ready to adapt to the rules.


This answer is helpful, I think. It gives teams a good idea about how PC-hoarding will be policed and it gives Head Refs a good idea of what they should instruct referees to look for. I expect this will be covered in Referee training.


I agree with Richard.
Referees aren’t looking to penalize teams, they are looking to promote fair play.


If the loading station isn’t full and the HP isn’t sure just when to feed the next PC, the HP will likely stand with one hand (or possibly both) on a racked PC.

Anyone going to ask Q&A about juggling? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I could see a set of three HPs slowly doing a bucket brigade style passing of PCs from the corral to a single chute as “concerted, good-will effort”. But that would allow them to hold up to 6 PCs in their hands while more enter the corral. As long as the PCs are moving toward the chute the referees might not call the foul. But three HPs holding two or three PCs, standing still, waiting for their alliance to come fetch the PCs is more likely to get called… if a ref is looking.


If it looks to the HR like your alliance is hoarding PCs (i.e., not making it “clear to REFEREES that H10 is not violated,” then I would expect fouls to be called. The number of fouls called may not accurately reflect the number of PCs that were hoarded, but that error is the alliance’s fault for not making it clear.



I 100% agree as well. They aren’t going to give out penalties unless it clearly becomes a problem. FIRST just wants people to play the game fairly and give it an honest effort.

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Note: I drafted most of this before most of the discussion happened and just got back to it. It seems like most people are thinking along the same lines.

Not a ref, but if I were, I would only call this as an H10 if there wasn’t a clear reason that the PC/s could be used immediately. I.e., if there was a robot trying to align with the LOADING STATION chutes, and the HP was waiting for the robot to align, knock yourself out. If the robot is driving at full speed, unobstructed, towards the LOADING STATION, you’re probably fine. But if there’s no robot trying to get to the chutes? Then you’re obstructing my ability to monitor for H9, and that’s an H10.

My rules-based reasoning for this is:

  1. “a concerted, good-will effort”: If you’re just waiting for the robot to get into position, that’s a “good-will” effort to get the PC to the chute by my counts. Others may reasonably disagree on this one.
  2. “Teams are encouraged to make it clear to REFEREES that H10 is not violated”: If there’s no immediately obvious good-will reason for you to be holding the PCs, that’s when we have a problem.

The key is always how many PC are in the racks. I have stated elsewhere I believe if the racks are full and enough balls enter the corral to go over 15, then the “concerted,good-will effort” is to take enough balls from the rack and enter them on the field to get below 15. Anything else by it’s nature has to be a slower way to relieve the H9 situation.

I think the ideal way to use all 3 HP is to have one at the rack to enter PC on to the field as needed, one at the corral signaling by hand or voice how many PC are there, and one player to ferry PC between the corral and the rack. If the Alliance gets into a potential H9 violation situation, then the HP at the corral can begin ferrying PC to the rack as well.


I’m all for juggling being an exception to H10!


Extra points if your robot juggles.


Robots may only juggle five PCs. Humans may juggle 15.


I jokingly mentioned this to another student earlier as a potential way to bypass the controlling 5 PCs rule. If they’re up in the air, they wouldn’t be affected by your changing direction!

This is definitely something that you will want to ask the refs during the driver’s meeting (if they don’t provide you a clear direction).

It is clear that the rack is designed to give the refs visual way to determine the number of PCs behind the alliance wall from their normal reffing positions (i.e. not needing to continually step back behind the wall to check). So, if the HPs are holding them, that sort of defeats the game designers intent of making it very visible to the refs. Holding the PCs in your hand within clear sight through the glass is better, but it is harder for the refs to count if they are in a random orientation than if they are in a known configuration. With the racks, they can simply look at the open slots remaining and don’t actually need to count the PCs to know whether there are too many PCs behind the wall.

To get to the specific scenario that was asked in the Q&A question, it seems to me that it is relatively easy for the HP to simply put their hands on the PCs up in the racks and then just keep their hands there but not remove the PCs from the racks while they wait for their robot to line up with the loading station. Pulling the PCs off the rack and feeding them into the chutes should be very fast so you really should not need to hold them for any length of time at all to feed them through the chutes. Therefore, there really is no reason to do what was suggested in the Q&A question. It offers no advantage to the alliance and makes it harder for the Refs to assess whether the alliance is playing fair or hoarding.

So, I agree with the ruling in the Q&A. It seems reasonable to require teams to not remove the PCs from the rack until they are ready to load them into the chute.


Not directly on topic, but GDC can solve this problem by adding sensors on the output chutes, a status light somewhere on the field, and some software.

In theory yes, but I don’t expect them to make any hardware changes to the field. I can’t think of a single instance of the physical field having something new added to it after kickoff, and while annoying I don’t think it’s so catastrophic that it necessitates adding a new automated system with only a few weeks to test it.

Has there even been an automated foul before?

  1. Looks for references to Dogma.

There are other things to worry about with placing sensors on the output chutes. Where do you put them so they don’t give false positives from either human players or robots? What happens if a sensor dies during a match? etc.

Yeah… DOGMA, the penalty that would give itself even if the alliance fully complied with the rules. (At least once, the outbound sensor missed an outbound ball because said ball fell off into the field before it got there.)