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Official Q&A: VRC 2022-2023: Spin Up

Usage Guidelines All Questions

G13 - Clarification of "Offensive" and "Defensive"


G13 gives the benefit of the doubt to the "offensive" robot. In games such as Spin-Up in which a common game element can score points for either alliance and whose state is contented over the course of the match, referees often run into situations where the line between "offense" and "defense" is blurred.

For example, in Spin-Up we have the rollers that can score for either Red or Blue (or neither). If a roller's current state shows Blue, is a Red robot that heads towards it with the (obvious) intent to change it (emphasis added) first to unscored state, and then to Red an "offensive" or "defensive" action? The argument for this being a "defensive" action is that the necessary sequence of events to "gain" points for Red is to first descore points for Blue. Is the act of descoring "offensive" or "defensive"?

If the answer above is that the Red robot is acting "defensively" when it descores an element, what then to make of a Blue robot that is preventing Red from descoring their roller? Is the Blue robot acting "defensively" up to the point where the roller becomes descored? Common sense would seem to dictate that a robot seeking to preserve current game-state is acting "defensively". But now we are left with 2 opposing robots potentially acting "defensively", giving neither the benefit of the doubt (which, fair enough). Does the Blue robot then become "offensive" (and, indeed too, the Red robot) when the roller is in a state that scores for neither team? Now we have 2 opposing robots both acting "offensively" and thus potentially giving both the benefit of the doubt.

If the answer that "descoring" is "offensive", then what to make of robots carrying/pushing discs in the opposing low-goal? Suppose a Blue robot (where Blue is carrying 1-3 discs) is in the Red low-goal. Since the disc carried by the Blue robot would currently score for Red, is Blue acting "offensively" when trying to exit the low-goal? Is Red acting "offensively" when it then pushes Blue back into the Red low-goal? What if Blue was trying to shoot when Red pushed Blue in? Are both robots in that moment "offensive"? Does Red "instantly" transition from "offensive" to "defensive" the moment the discs Blue carries fully enter the Red low-goal?

In summary, referees frequently encounter situations where opposing robots interacting with each-other do so in ways in which interactions between 2 opposing robots are not easy to identify (or explain post-match) which robot is "offensive" or "defensive".

Answered by committee

Generally speaking, Head Referees only need to consider whether a Robot is acting offensively or defensively in instances where a judgment call must be made regarding a destructive interaction or a questionable Violation (see rule <G13>). Most of the interactions you describe would be considered normal gameplay, including defending, blocking, pushing, and descoring (provided no other rules are broken, such as Trapping or intentional Entanglement). By definition, interactions in which a Head Referee must invoke rule <G13> will be highly context-based, and blanket rulings are impossible.

In most instances, moving to score something in your favor would be considered offensive even if you are also descoring. Switching a Roller to your color, or attempting to, is offensive.

Moving Discs in and out of the Low Goal is highly situational, and requires Head Referee judgment on a case-by-case basis. In general, if you are are actively picking up or herding Discs out of your opponent's Low Goal, that would be considered defensive. If you are just passing through their Low Goal with a Disc in your Robot, common sense would likely dictate that you're not acting either defensively or offensively, but just driving.

If a Robot is shooting Discs toward their High Goal and is pushed into the Low Goal by an opponent, the Robot doing the pushing would be defensive and the shooting Robot offensive.