It is okay to be a cagebot in this year's game. I'm sure that people are already getting their fingers ready to give some responses against cagebots and will. This is a defensive strategy that is approved by the game committee, it has been talked about repeatedly in the forum and is legal. When ITZ started there was a 48" horizontal expansion limit. Then that went to 36". And finally 36" diagonal. All in an attempt to limit wall bots or bots that would block off sections of the field. There is also the rule that two robots cannot work together to block an area. At first you were allowed to push cones with a flat surface. Now you cannot move cones in a fashion to "hoard' them. Then came the first release of a cage bot. A purely defensive bot that will "cage" an opponent's mobile goal/s and not let the other alliance get them. Mind you cagebots can score mogos but are mostly for defense. When we started to build this robot other coaches, mentors, students and parents told us "you are not going to win many friends by doing this". I have been doing this for 10 years (elevation was my first) and these were people that I have known for that long telling me that a defensive strategy would not be welcomed by the VEX community in our region. It was and still is not.
Since our first competition and everyone since my team has been looked upon with a microscope. A nasty and really unfair one. They have to provide proof that a cagebot is legal at tournaments by showing referees forum links and other information, often times before the referees will let them put their robot on the field. It will get size checked on the field. (other bots that expand larger than ours are not checked unless somebody points them out). Fans, coaches, other competitors and officials will say that they are cheaters and that they are playing "dirty". We have had several teams and alliances not even shake our hands after matches. My students demonstrate sportsmanship no matter what the outcome of a match--win or lose. My team has had coaches from other schools tell them that what they are doing is wrong and they are going to find a way or loophole within the rules so we cannot have a cagebot. This is not a one tournament incident but will happen weekly at every tournament that we compete in with our cagebot. We chose to be a defensive bot in November and have not changed since.
IF you look back at the past there have been several great defensive bots: Sack Attack- a bot could expand 12' and literally cover both of the opposing alliances' troughs. By doing this the opposing team was not able to score sacks; Toss Up- a bot could expand over 60' and prevent teams from scoring in both of the bucky ball goals; Gateway-(one of my all-time favorites) Team 44. This bot would expand and block off 75% or more of the field from their opposing teams. This included all of the scoring objects that were within this area. This is exactly what a cage bot will do--prevent the other alliance from scoring their game objects. I am not sure where the trend to bash defensive bots this year has come from but it is not warranted and especially at the gross level that it is at. This years' game does not require you to have an elaborate bot to be a defensive bot. The rules above helped to limit this. All you have to do is to move your opponents' mogos and keep the alliance from them. Just like so many defensive bot of past games. To say this is the easy way out is like saying your skills only robot is not right because it only scores mogos and not cones. Both robots only have to do what is needed in both situations and do it well.
All of you cagebots out there stand up against this witch hunt and do what you do. What all vex members do when they play a vex game--Score the most points, play by the rules and continue (like all teams do) to innovate. It is okay to be a different bot and you do not have to be a DR4B with a 6 motor speed drive and a rubberband roller intake like the other 75% of robots today. Just be the best cagebot you can be despite the negativity that will come from others if you do.