You Make the Call (YMTC) - G201 vs G207 at Week Zero

In Playoffs match 11 (Upper bracket finals) of the official Week 0, 3467 (red) was defended by 1729 (blue) for about 20 seconds. Clip

During those 20 seconds:

  • 3467 got close enough to the blue (opponent’s) feeder zone that when 1729 played defense, they were pushed into the blue’s feeder zone and a penalty was assessed.
  • 3467 relocated closer to center field and then was pushed again from there back into 1729’s feeder zone

The relevant rules are:

G207 Right of way. A ROBOT with any part of itself in their opponent’s LOADING ZONE or COMMUNITY may not contact an opponent ROBOT, regardless of who initiates contact.

and

G201 Don’t expect to gain by doing others harm. Strategies clearly aimed at forcing the opponent ALLIANCE to violate a rule are not in the spirit of FIRST Robotics Competition and not allowed.
Rule violations forced in this manner will not result in an assignment of a penalty to the targeted ALLIANCE.

How should this interaction be called per the rules? Is there a rule I’m missing?

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the first time 3467 was pushed into the loading zone I would say it is definitely called on whether or not the ref would consider defense as “standard gameplay” but the second time was very clearly G201 based on the blue box

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This is my interpretation as well, but not how it was called.

This was just a Week 0 event, and this event is for figuring these kinds of things out - how should FIRST be calling interactions like this?

Is there a clear delineation we can draw between a G207 call and a G201 call, or a rule of thumb we can follow to prevent getting these fouls in the future?

Something like this also happened in the last finals matches where 1153 was pushed by 1729 into their (reds) community zone. I don’t know what the official call to that is, but the refs were all over it. But it seemed like if you were obviously getting pushed, you shouldnt be penalized, but :man_shrugging:.
(And yes, i am a little biased, for obvious reasons)

https://youtu.be/aYLpfbnLJPQ

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Video of most of Week 0 Eliminations is up here: https://www.youtube.com/@frcvideoarchive3434/videos

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For the first incident, I see 3467 driving in the gap between a robot and its loading zone, then the 1729 bot tries to pin them so that 3467 can’t get to the grid and score. No G201 violation.

Second time, I see 1729 playing D in the center of the field, trying to block 3467 as the bot drove away from the loading zone. After some evasive movements, 1729 goes back to pushing 3467 to stop their motion. Again pushing them into the loading zone.

This is my interpretation, but part of “standard gameplay” is to play defense. A defender needs to either get in a robots path, or push them off of their path. It just happens to be that 3467 decided, given two halves of the field to drive on, to go between a blue robot and the blue loading zone… twice. So 1729 played defense in that direction both times.

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I just want to clarify that even though this match resulted in a loss we are not discussing this openly with the community disappointed with the outcome. After this match and the event we were quite stumped as to what intentions these rules will have on standard game play before the season starts. :slight_smile: Looking back this one was a headscratcher and lots of “What do we do next time” discussions before our next match.

Both teams start by cycling leaving their Loading Zones. We make the mistake of not breaking left across the field and instead end up on the inside lane to 1729, closer to their Loading Zone, but end up getting pushed in by them reacting to both robots colliding and continuing the push into their Loading Zone. This is a scenario where I think we are at fault for getting too close, but very subjective for a referee to call. Both teams are playing independent of each other, but both make an active change in their path that results in a wedge in the start of the Loading Zone.

In the second half 1729 plays some excellent cross field defense to cut us off from the left side of our community and knowing this we break right hoping to outpace their fast drivebase. Our DT is quite slow right here as we were having some mechanical issues with our swerves on top of limiting the top speed for a test event.

Our path as a cycling robot following normal game play is driving straight for our Community. 1729 is also following normal game play as a defender following us, but catches up and we end up getting pushed into their Loading Zone and making contact with another Blue Robot. All really quick calls to follow and 1729 is using red and blue bumpers for a scrimmage so I’m sure that added to confusion following teams. We weren’t using red or blue bumpers either.

This does pose a strategy on both ends of the field with defending robots parking at the Charging Station ready to make a defensive run and push them into their Loading Zone to make contact with their partners.

It’s a very interesting scenario for sure!

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And it’s tough because any rule change that might try to limit this strategy could also have the side effect of limiting counterplay of a defender just sitting next to the charge station to slow the flow of gameplay. The layout of this field is definitely an issue regarding this.

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To also be clear, I am not aware that anyone on our team felt that we were treated unfairly on the field, either by the referees or by our opponents. We had a great time competing and seeing some amazing robots. This is a nuanced game and I think we’ll see strategies evolving over the entire season.

The Finals 4 match (linked above) is an interesting situation. We (1153) were pushed into the red grid, and the ref seems more interested in counting the pin than anything else. Before we exit the red community we again get pushed by another robot and again the ref starts counting a pin. The match ended with 4 foul against blue and 5 against red, but it’s not clear to me which of those were from that encounter.

That was a very exciting match. (Congratulations to 1729, 4909, and 1073 for the win, and a big thank you to our alliance partners 1768 and 58!)

At the risk of drifting slightly off-topic, we also had (at least) one other brush with the new rules. During playoffs we were furiously repairing our intake and were delayed moving toward the gate at the buzzer. We got a verbal warning the first time and a tech foul the second time. As jarring as it was to hear our team number called out like that, it was a much better outcome than what happened to many teams last year - getting shut off the field. The new rule change meant we had a full alliance and were allowed to compete, albeit with a point deficit to make up.

We had a great time competing yesterday and helping to “test” the new game rules.

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I think this thread (and specifically my reply What is the optimal alliance? - #66 by brennan-macaig) is relevant here. While I agree in the assertion above (encounter 1 is g207 on 3467, encounter two should be g201) these rules have basically been around for several years, and have been called the way that was experienced here for several years. Generally I think g201 is written poorly, and relies too heavily on an opponents intent, which is impossible to judge.

The answer to the OPs question is going to make or break this game in my opinion.

  • If Refs tend to defer to offense when defenders get pushed into the safe zones, then I don’t think we’ll see a lot of defense play because the risk of fouls will be huge.
  • alternatively, if Refs tend to defer to defense, the game will be almost broken I think, because defenders can easily get themselves in the way of offense (who have to go to one spot) and cost them fouls of they try to push through.

I’m keeping a close eye on where this goes.

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I think the way I’d like this to be called is:

  • If a team is pushed into their opponent’s protected zone, there is no foul assessed.
  • If a team is in that zone prior to being touched, a foul is assessed.

This interpretation isn’t supported by the rules, I don’t think, but I think it would make for better gameplay than the other ways this interaction could be assessed.

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Do you feel the same way about offense and defense? Can a defense bot sit directly outside a safe zone and have no risk of getting a foul (and lots of benefit clogging up opponents scoring zone / loading area?

It seems bad policy to make rules that don’t apply equally to both

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Prior to reading this thread I was watching the twitch video and observed the interaction at 2:16:24 where 3467 (in black bumpers, playing as a red robot) is pushed by 1729 (with bumpers that are both red and blue) and playing as a blue robot, into the blue zone. The ref calls a penalty on red.

I about came out of my chair, because to me this is a clear violation of G201. The blue robot clearly forced the red robot to commit a penalty. My standard for who caused the penalty is that in the absence of the blue robot acting on the red robot, there would have been no penalty.

But, I did notice that the red side of the bumpers of 1729 was facing the ref. So, in my mind, he could easily have been calling a G201 penalty on 1729 rather than a G207 penalty on 3467. I’d agree with that call.

As other posters stated, and I would agree, allowing a defensive bot to camp in front of the ramp and pushing offensive robots into the zone to score points totally breaks this game. I actually like the solution of allowing the defensive bot to play defense in this zone, but just not calling any penalty at all if the offensive robot is pushed into the zone as a result. This allows the defensive robot to play defense, as should be their right. It does not penalize the offensive bot for being a victim of the defender. And since the offensive bot is not being penalized, the defensive bot can not be breaking G201. The rules should be updated to allow for this result.

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In 2019 there was a rule G9 that said only 1 robots on defense, and then an opponent robot could push another robot to his side of the field and make him do fouls by bringing a second robot to do defense.
that rule got changed in the middle of the season to include these exceptions:
If an additional robot:
“A. is forced to cross the opponent’s CARGO SHIP LINE by an opponent ROBOT (e.g. it is
pushed over the opponent’s CARGO SHIP LINE by an opponent in a defensive effort to
prevent them from scoring a CARGO in a ROCKET), and
B. makes a dedicated effort to cross back over the CARGO SHIP LINE until no more than
one ROBOT is positioned such that its BUMPERS break the plane defined by or are
completely beyond the opponent’s CARGO SHIP LINE.”

I think we need to see the same exceptions for this year as well, but until then you can’t say that the defender robot tried to push other robots to the safe zone on purpose as he can always claim that he just did standard defense by pushing another robot away.

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Blue box aside, G201 is inherently inconsistent because it depends on if the referee sees the defensive robot’s actions as a strategy “clearly aimed” at forcing a rule violation. Is pushing a robot away from their community and towards your loading zone clearly aimed at forcing a G207 violation? Or is it aimed at making that robot take the long way into their community? Imo “clearly aimed” is a very high bar to cross, but I do think that G207 in its current state causes too many violations for offensive robots.

A potential change that could maybe help alleviate some of the G207 issues for offensive robots without causing the problem that @jdaming brought up would be changing G207 from:

G207 Right of way. A ROBOT with any part of itself in their opponent’s LOADING ZONE or COMMUNITY may not contact an opponent ROBOT, regardless of who initiates contact.

to

G207 Right of way. A ROBOT may not contact an opponent ROBOT, regardless of who initiates contact, if
A. Any part of that ROBOT is in their opponent’s COMMUNITY or
B. The opponent ROBOT is fully contained within their LOADING ZONE

This would help to prevent fouls from defenders pushing offensive robots into their loading zone, but would make it easier to defend robots entering/leaving their loading zone.

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Fixed the field.

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But at the same time, if one is playing line defense right by my zone, is it my fault if I shove them into it when they get in my way? They choose to play that close to my defensive zone.

Definitely feels like there is more nuisance here, which makes it a sticky call.

This is definitely a complicated call. Not saying it will be the same for every situation, but we were not close to the zone and were obviously pushed in intentionally.
Not mad or angry at the call, or what happened, i just think that the rule needs to be defined on how this works, because intent is hard to determine as a ref.

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Absolutely. If you were not present, there would have been no foul. Therefore, the foul is your fault. Other organized sports use this same standard.

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