12/17 In the Zone. I would appreciate a clarification on hoarding. This past tournament, there was a mobile lifting ONLY robot that would quickly stack its mobiles in its scoring zones and then use its V’d front to push its opponents mobile into the neutral corner, then use the V’d front to push numerous yellow cones around it, and then push their robot either into the piles of cones pinning them in the corner so that their opponents robot would have to physically bulldoze them away from the cones to get to the mobile or they would move back and forth within an inch of the cones preventing any access to the cones, eventually turning into a physical battle to attempt to push them out of the way. Chapter 9 of the refs training video, minute 2:48 states pushing numerous cones into a corner and then blocking, actively preventing alliances from using the cones is not allowed. There clearly was blocking and intentionally preventing the alliance from accessing yellow or mobile cones. They would spend the last 45 seconds of most every match holding/possessing/trapping the cones in this way, sometimes winning matches by less than 5 points difference, deffinetly game changing. In the refs training video, chapter 9, it seems clear that this should have resulted in a DQ. Minute 3:00 of the video clearly illustrates what was occurring, usually with the opponents mobile in the midst of the yellow cones.
“If the hypothetical alliance in your question is just moving the Cones into this corner and not protecting them or otherwise restricting access to the opposing alliance, then yes, this would be legal”. (They clearly were restricting access of other robots with other teams pointing this out to officials. We were told this was legal as a defense strategy).
Robots may not Possess more than one (1) Cone at a time. Minor violations of this rule that do not affect the Match will result in a warning. Match Affecting offenses will result in a Disqualification. Teams that receive multiple warnings may also receive a Disqualification at the Head Referee's discretion. Note: The intent of this rule is not to punish Robots for pushing Cones that are in their way; that is, Robots are free to incidentally drive through Cones on the field while Possessing a Cone. However, Teams are not allowed to employ Cone hoarding strategies. Cone “hoarding” refers to the act of intentionally plowing multiple Cones to a specific location of the field, even with a flat/convex portion of a Robot, such that they are kept away from the opposing Alliance.
I am asking for clarification as this was a very effective way of winning. If it is legal, we most likely will be changing our robot for future tournaments. Im sure it wont change the results of the past tournament, but I would like to know if this is acceptable for future tournaments.