Why did 694 get a red card at Finger Lakes?

If only there was some opportunity near the beginning of a competition where people knowledgeable in robot construction might have the chance to Inspect each robot before it takes to the field and maybe even occasionally suggest to a team that their breaker might be poorly situated…

But that’s just crazy talk.


Also this example from FLR Qual 17:


At 1:32, see 1511’s intake touch inside 639’s frame perimeter. 639 sits stationary for the rest of the match, and 1511 is shown to have received a red card at the end.

(I am fairly certain this is the cause of the card, given G205-B, and the head ref’s flag at the time)


Thanks for the clarification

It’s not. 205(a) discusses explicitly aiming to go inside and trip the breaker. 205(b) removes the attempt. Unless you believe the robots are intentionally going in to do so, “able” isn’t a discussion of intent but potential. It’s similar to pointing out the disabled robots you’re suggesting should design themselves so it cannot happen aren’t designing hoping it DOES happen.

I’m curious if you saw the long thread where people were upset precisely because they get advice during said inspections.


I was filming right in front of this and have a pretty close up shot of this action and happened to be in the right place at the right time: I’ll let you all be the judge.


Considering the lead inspectors at every New York event is always willing to point out thinks and recommendations to help out. It’s not like they don’t.

Obviously no one can guess what may happen, but inspectors are there to say it’s legal or not. Not to say if you made the most optimal design or they have a better idea for your electronics layout. They will only interfere if it is seen as a problem.

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Yes, that thread is the sole reason why I didn’t ultimately volunteer as an RI this year.

Having had a night to sleep on it, and being able to see this angle of this moment, it seems like the refs made the call that is correct by the letter of the rules. Though I do think this type of play is not the spirit of this rule, and I’m confident that many refs would call it differently, this will not be the last time this type of play happens in this game and I hope a team update cleans this up or makes some effort to deal with it. I don’t think anyone wants matches decided this way, especially referees.
This type of play is the nature of a rough game where robots will shoot mostly from unprotected zones, pickup from similar areas of the field, and share a goal. This play didn’t even involve a defending robot, just a high speed robot going across the field.
In my opinion, there are two things to do that would deal with this rule.

  1. The rule needs to exclude parts that are very exposed to damage, there will be contact between robots, robots will pop up onto each other. Yellow and Red cards should not be random.
  2. Inspectors need to push teams to put some sort of protector around their breakers and any other critical components that could fail from this kind of contact. If a team chooses not to protect these components they open themselves up to the exception above.
    There were some posts in here about how to properly protect your breaker and still give easy access to it so that you can safely and quickly turn the robot off. I don’t think this is a hard thing to do, and there are tons of ways to do it. We 3d printed the 120 AMP breaker shield whose CAD andymark provides on their site for free which can be found here, I think having this on all bots would prevent 95% of these incidents.

The lead robot inspector is a mentor on our team and 3015. At no point before this happened did we think it was a possibility. As I said above, 1in a million chance this could happen.


Intent is hard to determine. Action is plainly visible to all. So when creating rules, it is less ambiguous to focus on actions instead of intents.


Wow, watching that, almost the exact same situation happened between 1787 and 2228 @ 9-10 seconds. 1787 hit the fender, and popped up onto the corner of 2228 almost the same way 3015 and 340 interacted. I did have to rewatch quite a few times and even dropped the speed. It looked to me like 3015 was trying to thread the gap between 340 and the wall.

I agree with this, but by changing the strict interpretation of the current rule would refs now have to decide on the fly if the damaging contact was due to an aggressive play or poor protection and would that lead to more seemingly random cards?

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The new defensive meta is putting all CAN wires and main breakers at intake level on the third bot in your alliance and watch the red cards flow.

3128 received a red card in Hueneme Port Qual for accidentally yanking one of our foolishly exposed CAN lines. We should have known better and are taking many mitigation steps for our next event. We also advocated in the question box that 3128 should not receive a red card because it’s our fault for the exposed CAN line, but we were not successful.

It’s way too easy for robots to draw fouls (and red cards) in this game. The rules need to change.



What’s different about this game for you versus past years? Given these rules are neither new nor increased penalties, something must have changed and I’m curious to hear your thoughts.

Can confirm. I’ve heard many a referee lament calls like these. I’ll point out the red cards I’ve seen over the years seem to either be this exact thing (disabling a robot either through tipping or tripping their breaker) or not sending a human player to a match.

I’d worry about your two suggested changes. Your first is a mention of wanting less random carding. But, you’re introducing a subjective idea in “parts that are (very) exposed to damage.” Once you introduce that, you’re getting much deeper into “confident that many refs would call it differently.” When you’re trying to eliminate randomness, your best path is towards the most objective rule you can find.

The second change has a number of issues. The first is now you’ve added subjectivity to robot inspection. What the RI, and potentially LRI, sees as adequate protection now becomes part of the rule and adds further angst to a situation that’s already causing flareups in the community. You’re also introducing an element of “if a team chooses” to this as well. Referees don’t tend to get into the weeds for inspections so now you’re adding a random factor to determine if the referee has a different interpretation of protected from the RIs.

I’d argue the rule changes you’re posing make the rule far, far worse as you’ve introduced far more “randomness” into the process with both of the ideas. Even with your last sentence, you show that you believe you’d still see a number of these situations occur which would result in the same call.

A red card is a terrible feeling for all involved. Though, so is sitting lifeless on the carpet in your match. There isn’t going to be an easy rule change here that accounts for safety AND leaves everyone feeling happy.

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About to put a giant version of an easy button in front of our main breaker and then drive around playing defense.


This is the first year we’ve had significant number of fouls called against us for playing offense.

This year has few safe zones and robots are all interacting all match.

Robots are going to get beat up more often than normal, we should not incentivize fragile robots as a shortcut to victory.



Intakes are right above bumper height this year. In 2020 the intakes were right below bumper height and in 2019 defenders can’t be extended which made it very hard to draw these fouls. Compare it to this year, and intakes are right above the bumper and bots can be anywhere on the field and its much easier to reach inside other bots.


Agreed. Seems like a disadvantage to have our pneumatics facing inwards to prevent fittings from getting decapitated. Should we also just make huge tubing loops on the frame perimeter that will easily get snagged?

At a certain point I think the quality of construction and placement of components needs to be considered. If I put my main breaker in a spot your robot can breathe on and disable us, that’s our own fault. I don’t want to win a match that way.


There were a number of these calls in 2020 as well. Intakes near the ground often ride up the bumpers in collisions.

In 2019, you could extend and we saw some pretty nasty penalties with this. This was the year of the dreaded yellow card weekend that led to the rules being split apart giving fouls for contact and YCs for damage.

I think Michael’s response has more to do with it. With his thoughts, I also add on the location of collection of game pieces. In past games, there have been very protected zones to sneak into limiting interaction to some extent. In this game, those zones virtually don’t exist. We also see less of a prescribed way to collect game pieces. In both 2020 and 2019, there were places you were more likely to find game pieces and when doing so, you were more likely to face away from defensive bots to avoid the calls.

This seems to be a prevalent thought in this thread and worded in a variety of ways.

It’s often shared by teams I’ve worked with enough to KNOW align with this mentality.

There seems to be either a belief that teams are doing this on purpose or that teams might start doing it on purpose. The examples of calls happening in the thread seem more aligned to teams with less resources (both knowledge and budget). They’re trying to play defense with the hand they’ve been dealt.

If we look at the impact of these fouls, it seems we’re overstating them a bit. Michael is one of the strongest voices here. His team went 17-1-0 at their event. Their sole loss had zero foul points for either side. Their margin of victory in playoffs were: 94, 96, 59, 98, 45, and 17. That’s an average of 68.2. In week two, that average margin of victory is greater than the average playoff score by nearly 10 points.

Other than being frustrating, are there data points showing these fouls are regularly changing the outcome of matches?

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This was a no win situation all around. Refs didn’t like calling it. Winning alliance didn’t want to win that way and we certainly didn’t want to lose that way.

Further, 340 is our closest friends and they should enjoy every bit of this win. When you play enough matches weird stuff happens, and sometimes it benefits you and sometimes it doesn’t. I can say that some of the best robots at the event were showing off their best in the finals and that’s all you can ask for.

We loved playing with 694, they were prepared, fun, and a team we’ve respected for a long time. Being behind the glass with my friend Joe Blay was awesome, he’s a phenomenal drive coach. 3799 was our dream pick in our scouting meeting and we were so happy to have a chance to pick them. They played some great defense for us and an awesome addition to our alliance.

We’re looking forward to Tech Valley this week, then Buckeye and on to Houston!


If the foul happens in Finals it’s game over man. It seems like during elims defensive play ramps up but the scrutiny by referees increases too in my experience.