The New Clarification On Pinning Rules

If you look at the text of G18 pin rules this year, it looks to be just like previous years with the 5 count, and 6 foot back up rules. However the blue box below adds something that I believe is new.

There is no FIRST Robotics Competition specific definition of pin, so a general definition
applies; “to prevent or stop something from moving.” As a result, contact is not required
for pinning to occur.
For example, a Red ROBOT parked such that a Blue ROBOT is against its Blue
ROCKET and the Red CARGO SHIP LINE (while the opponent’s partner is already on
defense per G9) could be considered pinning because the opponent ROBOT cannot
cross the Red CARGO SHIP LINE without violating G9. <

This means that strategies common last year like parking sideways between the wall and switch to block someone in could be considered a pin now under some circumstances. This seems to be FIRST’s solution to removing the barricading rules from previous years, but it is something that drive teams will definitely need to watch out for.


I’m not sure that this is all that new. In the past blocking a path the way you describe was often referred to as a blockade, some times consisting of multiple robots. This has been in the rules for years, I just think that this year the writers have tried to make it easier to read and undersrand.

No, it is at least somewhat new. A Blockade was fundamentally different from a Pin.
Pins required:

  • 1 robot preventing another one from moving
  • 5 seconds of pinning before a Foul, then a Foul every 5 seconds

Blockades required:

  • A minimum of 2 robots
  • Blocking the opposing alliance from playing a significant part of the game
  • Instantaneous calls could happen
  • Yellow Card to the entire alliance (in quals, issued as one per team, in playoffs as one per alliance)

This year, blockades appear to be lumped in with pins, and pins are 3 points on the spot PLUS 3 points per 5 seconds (or 10 points per 5 seconds if G9 or G10 is also in effect).

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This exact version of the wording of the rule has been in the manual since 2016. It’s super vague, and could be interpreted that any “effective” defense that prevents a robot from getting to where it wants to go is pinning.

It’s super vague and it did nothing to stop teams in 2016 from using the exact defense strategies outlined in the example.