Opponents: Win the match or crush their spirit

You are undefeated, last qualification match of the day, and you are on the blue alliance. You win the auto-bonus. At the start of driver control, one of the red robots doesn’t move. A glance right and your partner isn’t moving either. No problem you got this match.

Both sides score, but you are ahead. A defensive scuffle occurs and the red robot falls over.

What do you do?
– Count the sacks, you have the win 80-60, go park.
– Score some more to seal the deal 120-60, go park.
– Score everything in sight, go park.
– Descore all the red sacks, score them all for the blue alliance, back to your starting square and spin in a victory dance.

Does your answer change if the red alliance are top ranked teams?

Does your answer change if the red alliance is middle school teams currently in the middle of the pack?

Use it as practice for whatever you need to do. If it’s descoring, descore. If it’s driving around robots, drive. If it’s scoring on the high goal, do that.

Just don’t screw up the math and lose.

Out of the 4 options, I would choose the first one since it ensures the win, gives you some SP points, but it does not crush the opponents spirits.

However, I would rather try to score more on my side, and then score for the opponents in order to ensure the maximum amount of SP’s to help my rankings.

Help the red robot get back on its wheels, get a cheer from the spectators and feel great.

Treat the match as a skills challenge and score everything in sight for both teams, just make sure you have more. If your robot is efficient this should get you enough SPs to be in first place unless someone else already had way more. This is also the best case scenario besides winning for your opponents, as it raises their SPs significantly.

This, if it’s possible without damaging your own robot (rebuilding lifts in a hurry is a pain >.<). Sadly it rarely is, most competition robots this year are really heavy and when they go down they stay down…

Otherwise I would just score as many points as possible for both teams, while making sure my team is ahead. It’s not about “crushing their spirits”, remember the losing team also gets the losing teams score as SP. By continuing to score you might just help them rank higher (as well as of course ensuring you rank as high as possible).

I was watching US nationals on Friday, there were a number of simple robots (even a clawbot). One fell backwards and tried several times to right itself but the drive was too light and it kept falling backwards. It’s alliance partner was scoring well and was a good evolved design, I kept hoping that it would go and help it’s weak partner, just hold the drive down so it could get back on its wheels, it never did. I do believe there is more to life than wining, you will be remembered for behavior that goes above and beyond.

I feel is the best option and something that I hope my team would do

This is exactly what I would do.

In the situation of a “defensive scuffle” I would feel guilty (quite honestly) so I would feel bad and rather selfish if I didn’t go over and help the opponents.

Sure, it is a competition. Sure, I want to win. BUT, I want it to be fun for everyone. If I am in a match against an opponent that has fallen over, unless I can see that I need to continue scoring, I will go out of my way to do everything to get my opposition back on their feet. Free Range Robotics has a history for this in New Zealand, as does some other teams (2915A Lynfield College come to mind with NZ Nationals 2013 finals). And whats more, when you put an opponent back up, after the match, even if they still lose, generally they will come up to you and say “hey, thanks for helping us” with a genuine smile.

It is no fun being in an alliance with no hope whatsoever watching your opposition crush you (not thinking of any particular match(es) of course… ;)). Been there, done that. Being on the alliance with no hope is no fun at all, even though it is a competition and someone has to lose.

tl;dr: Gracious Professionalism for the win.


Definitely, theres no fun in winning when theres no chance you could lose :frowning: I would almost rather lose honestly than win with tipped robots…

But that being said… I’m not sure any of the lucky people who make it to world finals would risk it by un-tipping their opponents (maybe I would if i ever make it that far… idk) :stuck_out_tongue: but it would be an amazing sight if it happened in such a high up game :open_mouth:

I’m just going to comment on this from personal experience, last year one of the offshoot teams that we helped to create and was competing with us at a regional was the captain of the 8th seeded alliance. They admitted going into it that they had no chance to win but that they would play anyways. Due to some poor luck (unplugged wires) their robot was the only one working in the second match where they were being beaten by enough points that they had no chance of coming back (They had 1 tube in the goal in their protected zone, the other alliance had the large goal and two of the small goals entirely filled). Regardless of the clear margin of points that they were losing by, the other Alliance used the negater barrel to take away their only points in the match. I do realize that it is just a game and the difference of a few points made no difference but the members of that team were extremely disheartened by the fact that the only points that they had scored in that match had been taken away from them just to make the defeat even more clear.

Last year at worlds i stopped scoring picked up my fallen comrade (404) and pulled off the win as both of us scored for the remainder of the match.

Honestly, teams, everyone reading this… this thread is purely rhetorical. Unless you’re answering something controversial (something not option one), then why answer at all? Yes, we’re all good people, pat on the back, hooray for us, but really, what is this sort of thing bringing to the forum? :mad:


Robotics isn’t just about the cold, hard aspects of engineering. Whenever you’re in a competitive setting you’ll be faced by such issues of ethics, gamesmanship and professionalism. How you conduct yourself on and off the field regarding these issues can really show character.

As the original poster I was after three things, two of which were not choices on the list.

  1. Stand the other robot up. A good move if it’s your team-mate, a huge crowd and other team moral builder if you stand the opposition robot up. Think of the buzz that starts. “Hey did you see team 23A in that last match picked the other robot up!!”

  2. Wack the SP up, score for the other team. Strategy, strategy, strategy. Always thinking ahead, always planning. When you are watching great teams play they do this. Fans wonder why they are doing that, coaches and mentors go “ummm, so they are paying attention”

  3. Show the options, get people to think about it some. I’m willing to bet a pair of omni-wheels more that more than 10 viewers of this thread (out of 1000) made choice 3 or 4. In match play I’ve seen this happen on the field.

So SweetMochi got in before me, but that post sums up the third part pretty well.

In real life, there is often a gap between what we know we ought to do and what we really do. In the heat of the moment, we act on instinct, and instinct is often governed by what we’ve repeatedly been trained to think and do by habit.

A Yad Vashem study of people who risked their lives to save others during the Holocaust revealed that those saving actions were no accident. They were unequivocally done by people who had repeatedly acted sacrificially, generously, and courageously in small and large ways prior to the Holocaust, and they trained their children to do the same.

When we discuss and detail ways to be people of conscience, we strengthen those desires and habits that drive us in the right direction. While me may not agree about what is “right”, to engage with others and explore the depth and nuance of doing right will help us to think better and do better than we would have otherwise.

A couple months ago, I was part of a discussion of adults and students about what we would do if we were in a dangerous situation like Newtown. This discussion, which was intended to be purely “theoretical” actually came into play – my daughter’s school was on lockdown 2 weeks ago when a criminal evading the police ran onto campus, the first lockdown in the school’s history. There were no casualties or injuries, but this "theoretical’ discussion became very real, and my daughter (who had been part of the earlier discussion) was able to experience that episode without fear as a result of prior preparation. If she had been in a position to act, I believe that it would have been easier for her to do the right thing.

Edit: I’m a slow thinker, and Sweet Mochi & Foster both got in between the time I started and the time I posted. Sorry if this sounds redundant.

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At my competition over the weekend I had a long string of bad luck all originating from my flight to New England and in one of my matches I took out all my frustration just destroying the other team. My coaches yelled at me to stop descoring the other teams trough but I just didn’t care. I had 1 tie so I was the only team with my amount of WPs so SP didn’t matter.

You did have a good bit of bad luck at that competition haha. And I thought we had a long trip coming from Connecticut…

How I didn’t get design award the world may never know.

@SweetMochi, Foster, ManicMechanic: I agree with you completely, the purpose of this thread is legitimately a good one, my only annoyance was with posters who were simply reminding the rest of the forum just how kind and sportsmanlike they were.
I worded my reply poorly, and for that I apologize.