Will There Ever Be Negative Scores?

So, do you?

considering it seems FIRST hasn’t quite recognized their error, I think update 4 will have a clause so there won’t be negatives. This thread is kind of pointless until FIRST gives a yay/nay on whether or not they intend to allow negatives

Originally posted by dlavery
**You guys are 90% there. Now finish the thought.

Joe’s original point was spot-on. One alliance can directly affect the score of the opposing alliance by playing with the opponent stack height (to be complete, you should also assume that the opposing alliance is doing the same to your stacks). A robot could lift a container up to be equivalent to a 10-high stack (hmm, 4.8lb container at 14.75*10=12feet above the base of a 130 lb robot, plus a little “robust physical contact”, yields a CG rapidly moving outside the conservative support polygon…), and it is possible to create a negative score.

At this point it is worth pointing out that this potential is exactly why no teams should start any game with a strategy that has them plunking down on top of the ramp and just sitting tight with the expectation that they have a lock on a win with 50 points in the bank…

A little more analysis is then done, with a broader view. Yes, negative scores are possible. But then there are those pesky QP and EP calculations. If your opponent gets a negative score, which means you will probably win, then your alliance gets twice as many negative QPs! You better be REALLY FRIENDLY with your alliance partner if you cause this! Sure, you won the game, but - through your own actions - you actually DROP in the QP standings. By giving your opponent a negative score, you may actually cause them to move ahead of you in the overall tournament standings as you drop down the QP ladder. And because the scoring systems are the same in the qualifiers and finals, this is also true in the finals!

So it quickly becomes obvious that while negative scores are possible, they are generally a bad idea. So their potential use becomes self-limiting. There are a very few particular circumstances where you might be willing to take the QP/EP hit, just to ensure that your opponent moves to a certain position in the QP/EP standings (think about this and you can identify those few circumstances). “Sacrifices” could become an element of the competition! It works in baseball and chess, so why not?

What does this mean? It means that there is a potential whole new level of strategy in the tournament (notice I said “tournament” and not “game”). It means that teams need to start thinking beyond the effects of the current match, and start thinking about multi-match strategies.

Don’t automatically assume that this is a “loophole!” This is not an accident that wasn’t thought through. It is actually an opening onto a new level of the competition that requires a little more thought and offers more complexity to the players.



Considering that he created the game and said that tis is not a loophole, and was planned on by FIRST, don’t expect this to change

Personally I think FIRST might have slipped when it said what it did in Update #3. I find it hard to beleive that they would put in negative scoring.

BUT, if it does really happen, I don’t think that it will happen too often…There are LOTS of boxes out there, so it is unlikely that there will be more boxes in the tallest stack than boxes on the floor.

We shall see.

well if a very underhanded team creates a “virtual stack” of 30 (which would be possible mind you) then there is a VERY slim chance you could get above a negative score.

that’s the whole discrepancy…virtual stacks are just…wrong. it’s ok to get MORE QP’s…but to give a team a negative score is totally not in the spirit of FIRST, and shouldn’t be within any team’s ethics.

i should hope if they don’t change it that the teams will atleast say “hey…that’s wrong guys (and gals).”


now im no physicist or anything but lets take your 30 stack arm thats 60 feet long right? if anyone can raise a 5 pound box 60 feet in the air and they are able from being tipped by their opponents which would not only disable them but most likely mangle their precious lifting arm that is if it doesnt hit someone in the audience on the head. I think we are talking virtual stacks of 10-15 maybe from the truly dedicated robots. it will all be ok im sure.

that was purely theoretical…but then again many people said you couldn’t get 3 goals and hold them last year…two teams i know of proved them wrong…


So do I? Nope.

*Originally posted by Jeremy_Mc *
**that was purely theoretical…but then again many people said you couldn’t get 3 goals and hold them last year…two teams i know of proved them wrong…

*jeremy **


You mean 3 teams, right?

It’s possible but I highly doubt we’ll see many (if any) negative scores. First, a robot will have to raise a box in the air high enough to get a possible negative score. Second, it’ll be hard to have just 3-5 boxes on one side and like 40 on the other. Third, the opposing team is not stupid enough to give them negative points because it’ll lower their final score (or even make it negative).

You can’t because it would screw up the averages for the qp. One negative score and your dead. First wouldn’t allow that. Btw how would you get a negative score.

I get it…

There is no way you can get negitive scores. The rule is unclear but after reading it and crumbling up papers for severals minutes, I get it

The height of the tallest stack located in the scoring zone (the “multiplier stack”),
measured in whole Stack Height Units (as defined in SC9) is subtracted from the total
number of containers to establish the “base score.” Containers in additional stacks of the
same height will be scored normally

I can see where you get the idea thinking that you subtract the stack score and get a negitive number, but this is not really the case so if you have 4 tubs stacked up and no additional tubs, you (in theory) would get a score of -4 (0 tubs - 4 (for the stack). BUT thats not the case. FIRST IS counting all the totes, so if you have the 4 in a stack and no other totes on the floor, you count the 4 total tubs in your first subtraction number. In the end you subtract 4 (total tubs) - 4 (stack size) and you get a score of 0.

Read the rules again. Thats how I understood and Im not the only one believing this.

Not a wrong rule, just horribly worded

DJ, I believe that you are correct. You just need to read over the rules SEVERAL times. Exactly what FIRST said at the kickoff numerous times and in the rule books.


Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

These guys are trying to cause a commotion over this… it’s all a big distraction. We know the intent… now, get back to your electrical area and finish the wiring for that hovercraft.

Andy B.

ps… “these are not the negative points you are looking for”

If a robot lifts a box up, say 4 box units and there are no other boxes on the side, wouldn’t the score be…4 box units times (1 container - 4 container for stack) which means…-12 points? Also, since the minus points is measured by box height, if all 3 of your boxes are on its side and you have no other boxes, couldn’t you technically have a box height of 4 and a total of 3 - 4 boxes, which leaves you with -4 points?

*Originally posted by HolyMasamune *
**If a robot lifts a box up, say 4 box units and there are no other boxes on the side, wouldn’t the score be…4 box units times (1 container - 4 container for stack) which means…-12 points? Also, since the minus points is measured by box height, if all 3 of your boxes are on its side and you have no other boxes, couldn’t you technically have a box height of 4 and a total of 3 - 4 boxes, which leaves you with -4 points? **

Again, bad wording. Even though it says its one tote, it will still count as 4 totes becuase the SHU of 4 will be subtracted. 4 - 4 = 0. The wording is horrible but im 90% sure thats how its supposed to be read. Thats the only way possible…Dony worry there WILL NOT be any negitive scoring. The answer is NOT official, but Im sure the rulling will be what I said, or similar

Fluck, that makes sense, so long as there are no “virtual stacks”.

Everyone is getting all in a lather because they are realizing that it is theoretically possible to receive a negative score. This possibility has always been true - this is not just an effect of Update #3. But just because something CAN happen doesn’t mean that it WILL happen. Why? Think this through all the way.

All the arguments seen so far are based on the fear that an opposing alliance will do something that will cause your alliance to get a negative score. But no one has provided an analysis of this potential situation from the standpoint of the opposing alliance. Look at the situation from the opposite position, and you will understand why negative scores won’t happen.

Lets say you are the RED alliance. During the qualifier matches, the thing that determines your standing in the tournament is your Qualifier Points (QP, which is your score plus 2x the BLUE alliance score). You always want to have your resulting QP score as high as possible, because the higher your QP score the better - that is the thing that will cause you to advance in the seedings. During any individual match the thing that is really important is the resulting QP score, and not the raw score of the match. The thing that you have to get your mind around is the idea that during a match YOU ARE NOT PLAYING AGAINST THE OPPOSING ALLIANCE - YOU ARE PLAYING AGAINST THE ENTIRE FIELD OF TEAMS. You don’t want to crush the opposing alliance in a particular match - to do well you need to focus on advancing your position relative to the entire set of teams in the competition. This is a fundamental strategic outlook on the game that you have to understand to be successful. The concept of helping your opponent get a good, but not winning, score in order to improve your own position has been a repeating aspect of the FIRST competition for the past few years, but some people still don’t get it.

For any given raw score, the VERY BEST QP score your alliance can receive is when the BLUE alliance score is exactly one point less than your RED alliance score (which is why winning 50-49 is always better than winning 70-29 or 10-9). Everything that your alliance does during the match should be designed to move toward that goal. Assume that you have complete control of the game. You ALWAYS come out better off when you use that position to increase the opposing BLUE score up to your own score minus one point. If you have the opportunity to use the nuances of Rule SC8 to control the BLUE alliance score, the smartest thing you can do is INCREASE their score (see other threads for discussions on how to maximize a score for a given number of bins in the scoring area). Decreasing their score would be a very dumb move on your part - making your opponent’s score go negative would border on flat out stupid. As the RED alliance, you never want to give the BLUE alliance a negative score.

What it comes down to, folks, is understanding the difference between strategy and tactics.

Some people are concerned that the potential for negative scores will affect the “viewer friendliness” of the game. I don’t see this as a concern. For the reasons outlined above, I just don’t see negative scores happening (at least not more than once - if by accident a team causes a negative score to the opposing alliance and thereby cause their own alliance to lose QPs, their own partner will probably pummel them with large lumps of head cheese just to make sure they never do it again! :slight_smile: ). Since it won’t be happening, there is no need to spend a lot of time explaining a tiny, esoteric nuance of the rules that is theoretically possible but highly improbable. So I am not going to sweat this one too much.


I wouldn’t worry too much about it since I’m sure FIRST will fix the wording in the next update.

**I highly doubt a team will give up 25 king of the hill points, just to get negative QP!!! **

A more likely situation is that a team will be a team getting less then 3 boxes in their scoring zone. lemme breake it down.

3 box = 2-1 = 1
2 box = 1-1 = 0
1box = 0-1 = -1
0 box = 0-0 = 0

my sugestion - very easy

the stack* with the most boxes in it is multiplied by the TOTAL number of boxes in the scoring zone. PERIOD, NO MATER WHAT!

*definition of stack

dictionary.com “An orderly pile, especially one arranged in layers.”

Legalese / Mattsk=peak
"A group of boxes supported by 1 and only 1 box, or any nonbox item. each box can only directly support 1other box.

any stack not fitting this description is not elegible for the high stack.THATS IT; The boxes in it are just regular boxes!!!

**high points (pun intended;)) in this plan **

  • tallest stack possable = good!!
  • why shouldnt I get points i my bot is holding a stack?
  • Why should i rais my oponents score if my bot cant steal a stack in time?
  • did i say NO NEGATIVES!?! :wink:

ps. this exact same message will be posted in all negative point threads, and in its own poll thread in the rules forum. any updates/replies should be posted in poll thread, so please make sticky. goto the poll thread and lets make it a petitition!!!

pps. sorry bout the speling, gammer, too many !'s and bouts of RAGE; its 3:45 AM!!

-Matt Stearn