Defensive Autonomous

I know that defense is a part of all Vex competitions, but in my opinion an autonomous program that is only defensive is unfair. For example, a team could just program a straight forward driving robot that did nothing else but drive forward and block an actual, functioning, scoring autonomous program. The spirit of Vex games is to score points, not to be solely defensive. Furthermore, a program that scores points is more impressive and shows off the skill of your team better than a robot that just drives forward. I am hoping that in the future purely defensive autonomous programs are banned, not just because they don’t make sense and are not the point of an autonomous, but also because they can harm robots by burning out drivetrain motors when they trap the opposing robot.

Im sorry but i’m going to strongly disagree, defense in my opinion is a vital aspect of the game. Let me explain why. Vex is a great equalizer, you can take teams from all expirience levels and put them together and the weakest can still manage to beat the strongest by strategy. Defense is just a strategy. It forces teams to adapt and overcome it and innovate new solutions to the problems. Teams should not just have one auton that always works, they should have the ability to adapt and react to the new problems. Plus they should have a decent idea of what the other team may do based upon ability. Yes that’s not a hard fast rule but it is still a general rule. If you remove defense from what is arguably the most strategic part of the game, you remove a key learning point from the game. Yes defense can be irritating but it allows other teams to learn and grow. No I wouldn’t build a solely defensive bot, but I could possible use defensive strategies. Its a key part of the game and I think vex would suffer from it not being there. Take starstruck, the fence made the game pretty straightforward. The matches all looked pretty similar and there wasn’t a lot of change between them. This turned it into a chance game instead of allowing the competitors from coming up with clever inventive strategies that game them an advantage.

Yes, but if you are not allowed to pin a robot during the driver controlled period of the match, why should it be allowed during the Autonomous? I totally agree that defense is a part of the game, and our team has used good defense to win matches before, but especially in this year’s game, where just about everybody’s autonomous went and obtained a mobile goal, it would be hard to make many different programs to avoid a defensive robot that parked itself in front of your goal.

<SG4> Loves Autonomous Period Defense…

^I was looking for that in order to finish my post. But the rest of it stays the same.

First off, you are allowed to pin a robot in the driver controlled period for 5 seconds. Secondly, there are clear established rules for the autonomous programs and defensive robots, such as the clause in <G12>, where in the case of illegal contact, the refs should err to the offensive robot, and <G10>, which states that infractions during the autonomous period that are match affecting would rule to the other team. If a team is driving straightforward as an autonomous, and if it is obvious that the other team is trying to score a mobile goal, if the defensive robot gets shoved in the 10 point zone as part of the interaction, then that would be considered match effecting, and the team with the blocked auton should get the points.

Including the passage above, defense is part of this year’s game, even in autonomous. However, there are rules against how a defensive autonomous could be used.

I know it stinks to be on the other end of it, but this is a good strategy. A simple drive forward is an actual, functioning program. If they didn’t want defense they would have put up a fence and they would have put all your mobile goals on your side. The game is laid out so that it’s arguably easier for the other team to get to your goals that it is for you to get to your own.

Our team has our autonomous drive towards the opposing mogo to push cones in front of it to interrupt the opposing bot’s autonomous mainly so we can have our allied bot get the points, and so we can access the other mogo in the middle easier. Our bot is trash while others are good, so we do our best.

If you want to avoid being interrupted, place after the opponents if you are red in order to avoid the one who is running. If you are blue, just go for the stationary goal and avoid the defense entirely. You need options. Besides, it makes the game interesting.

There is no rule against pinning or trapping in autonomous because there is no way of predicting where an opponent will be to avoid doing it on accident sometimes. Besides, initial contact will already disrupt an autonomous routine, and auton is only 15 seconds. So there is no large benefit from pinning or trapping.

I look at the autonomous as a version of “rock, paper, scissors” since the better teams will have multiple autons, both offensive and defensive.

At higher level competitions, during eliminations, being the higher seed may end up being a big advantage.

If your team can have multiple autons with the robot being set the same way, that will make it more difficult for the other alliance to guess which one you are going to use.

I don’t think it should be against the rules. However I know my teams and several other talented teams refuse to engage in such tactics and will not partner willingly with teams that do. This tactic is usually employed by teams that aren’t well situated on the bell curve and enemies isn’t the best method of progressing.

I was talking to another mentor a few weeks ago and he said it best, when he said he encourages his teams to win, not to “not lose”.

I have a freshman team and they had alliance captain pressuring them to write a code that purposely rammed a opponent they couldn’t hope to beat conventionally. They refused and by doing so gained more respect from that team. The Vex community isn’t that large in our state, and you don’t become the best by aggravating the most talented teams. I tell my students it’s better to lose with some dignity than go down fighting dirty, they didn’t have any reasonable chance to win anyway.

Also doing this in qualifying rounds to the really good teams is the #1 way to end up on the bottom of their scouting pile. Enough stupid things go wrong in auton routines without some pile of bolts ramming into you because that’s all they can manage. If one of the top three teams can pin their loss of AP points on you, you can bet they aren’t going to think kindly of you during alliance selections.

Yes i agree that defensive is very annoying but it is a big part of the game. One of the ways teams here in Nebraska are beating out the defense bots are fake out autons. these allow the opposing alliances to position their robot is position that looks as if it will preform well known autons. but instead turn and do something else. i suggest trying this strat. also many teams are making (including mine) drive base that allow us to drift around from being pushed.

This is very much different from how we view things in Arizona. Lots of people with ramming autonomous routines when it is beneficial, and lots of strategy involved in placement and auton selection. But, there aren’t a lot of hurt feelings. We all understand it is part of fair play. Fair play is playing within the rules. There’s nothing illegal about defensive strategies. I have played auton defense and had it played on me. I’m not upset by it.

In general, people base their alliance selection on who is the best pick, not who didn’t hurt their feelings. I have never let enmity or hostility prevent me from picking who I think is the best team (anyone from Arizona can attest to that).

I disagree. If I can code 5 lines of code that strategically work just as good as your 1000 lines of code, that’s more impressive in my opinion.

The problem is people’s subjective definition of “work just as good”. In the eyes of the team that spent the time to make that 1000 line auton consistent, it is a great injustice that such a brutish and crude intentionally destructive strategy be allowed and so widespread. I am all for fair play and actually developing worthwhile programs, and trying to combat these stupid defenses with skill and “fake out” autons, but if that’s my only option to win, then I will be forced to use it. I don’t like it one bit, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Just don’t use it often. Actually put forth effort and make something.

Yeah, once we could we switched to an offense autonomous. But whenever the time comes, we’re ready to cause some serious smashing…

Coming from a very defensive state in VA, I see defense as a natural part of the game. The old adage, “defenses wins championships” reigns supreme here. You have to be able to deal with the defense, and we don’t get mad when we see it. We’ve definitely worked on ways to out maneuver defensive robots, and improve our autonomous programs to counter them.

We also know that when we have to, causing disruption is gonna be key.

Are the teams just supposed to let the other team score? Heck no.

You play to (legally) win the game. And thus far, defense is legal.

Defense is the strategic part of the game. It’s what VEX gives teams that can’t win offensively so they have a small chance and can have some fun even if they suck. It also, in the end, results in stronger offense as bots are pushed to overcome defensive barriers.

@TheColdedge how is a defensive autonomous “fighting dirty”? Defense is a real thing. Obviously, if you set out to do damage to someone’s robot, that would be wrong, but simply blocking or bumping off course is not that. I have seen some really good teams with several auton options. Like @blatwell said, it is a lot like “rock, paper, scissors” and trying to figure out which strategy will give you the best chance to win.

Frankly, if I were an alliance captain you your team refused to do (within the rules) what gave us the best chance of winning, I would never pick your team again. That comes very close to throwing a match.

If my alliance is resorting to ramming another team. We don’t have any buisness winning. I’d rather lose with some dignity.

@TheColdedge you are probably a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They had the fewest sack in American football last year. They would rather lose with some dignity rather than fight dirty by going after the the quarterback.