I like it when rule changes stop people from assuming questionable ethics.
I want to lead off by stating very clearly that I like Update 18 and the changes to G9 and G10. It take much of the subjectivity out of deciding G9, G10 or C8. I think it is a good update. I wish that it had happened 3 weeks earlier as these foul points swung a number of matches. I think it strike a great balance between defensive actions and offensive, and derisks activity around the center lines.
However, I absolutely disagree with the folks that are calling out "questionable ethics’. It is like the disclaimer says in the front of the manual:
“The intent of this manual is that the text means exactly, and only, what it says. Please avoid interpreting the text based on assumptions about intent, implementation of past rules, or how a situation might be in “real life.” There are no hidden requirements or restrictions. If you’ve read everything, you know everything.”
This applies to game play within the rules. Playing within the rules is not questionable or unethical. If your team did not consider all the ramifications of the rules, as written, then it is on you if another team uses said rules against you. Pushing someone, who is trying to score on the 3rd ship bay, across the line while trying to prevent them from scoring is an issue for the offensive robot, not the defensive robot. Under the pre Update 18 rules, the offensive robot gets a G9 or G10 penalty. If the defensive robot keeps pushing them deeper into the zone I would argue that it should switch to a C8 on the defensive robot.
Using the rules against another team is NOT unethical or non GP. I would even go as far as saying taking an non damaging foul if the result is a net gain in points is also ok. Attempting to win does not violate the core tenants of Gracious Professionalism. Deliberately trying to break robots does. However, if you robot dies from a bumper on bumper high speed contact, while this certainly is upsetting it is not a non GP action on the part of the other team.
If your teams decides to hold to some other standard, like never initiating high speed contact on robots, or playing defense, then all the more power to you. Nothing stops you from making this decision, but nothing in the rules requires similar decisions from other teams.
The problem is that the rules allowed, in my and other poster’s minds, violations of C8 where C8 was never called.
There was a clear problem with the rules and how they allowed defense to score points at the highest rate possible in this game.
The defenders saying that you should have built your bot differently or
you should have reacted differently to avoid being pushed or
you should retract within your frame quicker or
your alliance partner should have reacted quicker
all failed to see that C8 was being violated.
I will say that since a bot trying to place cargo in the third bay is dangerously close to crossing the cargo line that there is a very small margin for error, but in all the ways that defense can be played the only one that is at issue is the one that pin/pushes the offensive bot into repeated fouls.
I could argue that a defender could of instead rammed the offensive bot at high speed or
The defender could have tried to spin the offensive bot or
The defender could have repeatedly hit and backed off
(I don’t have a problem with any of these)
but what I saw pretty consistently was pushing the offensive bot over the line and continuing to push/pin the bot to generate points from fouls.
Whenever I see a bot that generates points from causing a foul on the opponent, or when I see a team take a foul to achieve a strategic advantage, I will question the ethics of the action.
or to clear the opposing defender from their side.
Until yesterday, I didn’t even know exactly WHAT the foul point value was until someone mentioned it in a thread. I didn’t care cause it wasn’t my goal.
My goal is to take out two birds with one stone.
Keep their offensive bot from scoring
Keep their defender from playing defense by forcing the 1 robot rule
That turns the scoring game into a 2 against 1 provided their defender isn’t very good at scoring.
The other issue this has caused is that week 1-2 events were under one interpretation, week 3 was a mix, and weeks 4-9 will be under a different interpretation.
But I think that going forward with the new rule is the correct interpretation.
And that is the sticky point for me. While I completely agree with the change being a good one, that both improves the game and makes it more “fair” for offensive vs defense, the old rules and how people were playing was not unethical. It was completely within the rules. Debating whether the rules were good or bad rules is one issue and I tend to agree with the vocal majority that they were bad rules. That does not make the people taking advantage of the rules bad or unethical people.
The rules are just that, the rules of the game. They are not a moral imperative like “thou shall not kill”, with an implicit moral and ethical standard wrapped up and delivered on a stone tablet. They are the rules of this years game. The requirement is to stay within them or accept the consequences (foul points or cards).
The much sadder outcome of this change is that most teams have already played at least one match and some teams have already played two, which means their points towards district champs are fixed, and now other teams will play under a fairly different point generating situation. That is unfortunate and quite frankly unfair.
I have spot watched matches throughout the the first 3 weeks, and watched every match of the first event my team was in and there were a number of matches that were totally won or lost by the foul points, that would have had different outcomes under the new rules.
The plead I make to the GDC for next year game is to really really think the rules around protected zones, and trigger points out, and nail them out of the gate rather than changing them part way through the season. Most seasons have rules like G9, G10, G13, and something like C8. Getting the interaction of these rules right is critical to how the game is going to be played.
The only other thing I didn’t consider, which was pointed out, was that there is the possibility that a team just didn’t know the rules.
The moral problem I see is when a team knows the rules and is willing to accept the consequences for breaking a rule to gain a huge strategic advantage, like herding switch cubes last year. Sure it could be accidental or a problem in the autonomous routine but to those that know the rules and the strategies, it looks really bad.
This year I think the rules have been written/changed to prevent taking a foul to gain a strategic advantage.
Last year there was a discussion on CD on how to beat 254. One of the suggestions in the thread was to disrupt their autonomous routine by taking a foul by crossing the midline and getting in their way as they try to score on the scale. When combined with a partner that could put 3 cubes on the scale in autonomous, this could create an insurmountable lead that even 254 couldn’t overcome. First offense would be a talking to. Second offense would have been a yellow card. If this happened in Finals 1 and 2 there would have been different champs last year. Ethically this would be wrong, I guess we, and 254 are lucky that no team decided to “play by the rules.”
This was essentially what 25 did to 1640 in the division elims at Detroit, and the only reason it didn’t work was because the alliance got a second yellow card in match 2 for damaging contact inside the frame perimeter, thus giving a red card for match 2 instead of a win + yellow.
I’m generally on bjtheone’s side that anything within the rules is fair game, but edge cases like what you’re describing leave me feeling uneasy, essentially exploiting a flaw in the rules for benefit. It doesn’t feel ethical to me either, at least the specific situation of a penalty that gives a card, but not for the first offense.
My take is that anything within the rules is fair game. We, as a team, have decided that we will not deliberately take fouls, to stop teams or score points, even if the net points are in our favour. Holding to the higher standard if you will.
However, we are accepting that other teams may do the math, and accept the consequences. I would expect serious rule violations would escalate to cards pretty quickly. It also may tarnish your reputation with other teams, if it is known that you are knowing and deliberately fouling for strategic advantage. I still maintain that this is an action/consequence decision not a moral one. The only cases where I would side with you are actions that appear to be a deliberate attempt to damage other robots; such as deliberate contact inside frame perimeter, repeated hitting/pushing that tips robots, interfering when climbing, etc.
As a true Canadian, I turn to the best water sport for an analogy. Consider a hockey player getting fouled on a breakaway. The defensive player knows he is going to get a penalty. The offensive player might even get a penalty shot. The expectation is you do the math, consider how your goalie is playing, who the offensive player is, and either let him take the shot, or take the foul to try to prevent/interfere with the shot.
And for those in the U.S., same thing applies in basketball. Closing minute or so of a game, fouling opposing players isn’t uncommon to prevent a basket. But free-throws… but if you’ve got a bad free-throw shooter, could be worth it.
G8. GAME PIECES: use as directed. ROBOTS may not deliberately use GAME PIECES in an attempt
to ease or amplify the challenge associated with FIELD elements.
Violation: FOUL per GAME PIECE. Repeated at any point during the event or egregious violations
of this rule are likely to escalate rapidly to YELLOW or RED CARDS.
Examples include, but are not limited to:
a. stacking HATCH PANELS to decrease the rise of the HAB PLATFORM steps
b. corralling CARGO in front of an opponent’s LOADING STATION to make it harder for
them to retrieve GAME PIECES
This is a gray area that I thought of after seeing week 0 competitions. A defensive bot could “accidentally” hit cargo in the depot in such a way that cargo ends up in front of a loading station, which would make it extremely difficult for the opposition to load hatches. You could practice this enough to make it look more like an accident and argue that you were only trying to block the opponent from getting to the loading station and clipped one of the cargo en route to play defense, after all, you are 50 feet away.
The other thing that I can see is a bot that hits cargo that are outside the hab zone back into the hab zone and the cargo just happens to end up in front of the loading station. You obviously won’t want to push the cargo towards the platform because the cargo would just roll back so you’d want to hit them towards the corners, where they are less likely to roll back. You could argue that you were moving the cargo so that the opposition couldn’t have quick cycle times but that they accidentally ended up in front of the loading station.
While both actions are “within the rules”, it would take some time before this escalated to a red card.
- First occasion is “accidental”
- Second gets talking to
- Third is a foul
- Fourth is a yellow card
- Your team just won semis and finals so it never escalated to a red card…
Refs do watch and remember team behaviour over the course of the event and are fairly savvy individuals. I serious doubt you would get 5 shots at this. I suspect it would go more like warn, foul/game piece, yellow, red, or even foul/game piece, yellow, red.
There is also no requirement to escalate step by step. Could go warn, foul, red, or even foul, red, without even considering C1. Especially for behaviour in the elimination rounds that looks strategic, that you have not struggled with all the way through quals. Typically the second time through you trigger the “repeated or egregious” clause and collect at least a yellow, plus more serious scrutiny for the rest of your matches. You can even trigger the “repeated” clause the second time you do the action in the same match and I saw this at Ryerson, where a team ended up with foul points plus a yellow in a single match.
Not to mention that actions that are specifically called out in the manual as examples are going to be held to a higher standard (ie the bar for deciding accidental versus foul)and are going to get called. After all, the GDC specifically told you not to do it.