A Rule Change Rumor

Hi All, I hate to sound negative (I’d like to think I am a nice guy) but something came to our attention the other day that I thought was worth sharing and hopefully getting an answer on ASAP. Recently our team attended an event and was told of a startling “rumor”. The rumor was that come April 1[SUP]st[/SUP], the GDC could rule that the “dump” bots (bots that extend past the fence) could be ruled illegal. We were told to “expect” this ruling from someone who apparently has connections with the GDC (again just what was told to us).

First off, those who mentioned this did so with respect and professionalism and ran a GREAT event so I in no way am criticizing them. They were first class to us all the way and we appreciated them sharing this with us. I know there has been MUCH debate over this type of bot on the forums all year. We even asked a few questions ourselves. When our initial design process began, the teams and I scoured the forums for the “transformation” and “extension” rulings and each time something was posted (by us or someone else), it was ruled that as long as it never goes outside the 13x20, it’s legal. Someone even posted a diagram of this type of bot that again was ruled legal. When my teams saw this, they immediately printed it out, put in their notebook, and kept with them for inspections in case they were called out on it.

What concerns me is if this rumor is true, and I would have to tell my team that they have to start over at this point, that would be unbelievable demeaning and demoralizing to them and their efforts. They have played by the rules, as stated in the forums and rulebook, up to this point. For a drastic rule like this to be made so late would also mean that have pretty much no time to rebuild and be competitive at Worlds. We can score about 75 points at best-not the 100+ that others can. I am no mathematician. I can’t explain arcs, tangents, etc. as debated in this forum. I also don’t expect the average 5[SUP]th[/SUP] grader to explain it either. Given the two assumptions, I didn’t teach my kids this. What I did teach them is how to problem solve, work as a team, and maximize their potential. When the design process began, they built an arm that BEGAN at 20 inches. When they raised up, they quickly discovered it went way outside the legal limit. Through many trials and errors, they final figured out a design that would work for them. Likewise, when they measured after the arm stopped, they knew, based on their frame, they couldn’t be any closer than 3.5 inches from the goal. Again, with much testing, failure, and reattempts, they discovered a solution. THAT is what Robotics is about: learning.

Anyone who looks at our team’s bot can tell 2 things: 1) it was built by kids. There are oddities about it that even a non-engineer like myself scratch my head at, and still do. 2) the scoop and dump idea is quite simple if you think about it. The initial idea came from the Add it Up game but they had to perfect it given size restrictions. I agree in the debate that we need to figure out how to remove the adult involvement in bots but calling into question a simple scoop and dump is absurd considering the same could be said for other designs out there now. If the GDC’s intention was to make this a pure shooter game, then a rule should have been made where teams could not break the plane (as in NBN) from the onset. Because they didn’t, and officials ruled on here that it was expected that teams would break the plane and hang over, we took full advantage of that. There is no rule stating teams have to shoot and I believe many teams simply tried to maximize their efforts given the existing rules this year. To change such an important legality at this point wouldn’t be fair to the teams who have abided by the rules, have gone through numerous events where it was never in question, already qualified for Worlds, and most importantly, the kids who have learned and grown in this process and taught true life lessons through Robotics.

I sincerely hope this was a rumor but if it is being seriously considered, I would implore the GDC to take these things, mainly the kids and their attention to the rules they have played by all year, into consideration before making a harsh decision and the ramifications for those who did this the right way. I don’t want to have to tell my hard working kids they have to start over. It wouldn’t shock me if the frustration and disappointment of being worked over by adults would drive them away from this learning arena and VEX in general. I let my kids fail-it’s a life lesson they need to learn. But to “fail” in the regards of a sudden rule change by adults would be hard for them to get over. I would also urge the GDC to consider these issues when making rules for future games so there isn’t as much debate over what’s legal and what isn’t. Again I hope this was just a rumor.

Thanks and good luck to all!

As the coach of two teams with high-dumping bots that both qualified for Worlds yesterday, I’m very comfortable they will be allowed at Worlds.

I don’t think there’s any way to justify changing the rules at this point in the season.

And, it’s almost impossible to make one specific design illegal.

I’m exactly 0% worried this rule change will happen.


These types of robots will be highly scrutinized for sure, but I doubt they will be outright banned. If your students’ robot maximizes the full twenty inches when it dumps then they need to be sure it doesn’t tip at all when scoring. The referees at worlds will probably be keeping a closer eye on it than most volunteers at local events.




Agreed-another point a parent brought up to me: what about teams that dont get on the forums to see a potential change and bring a bot like this to Worlds. How on earth could they be told, after spending thousands of dollars to travel, etc. that they cant compete? I think that would be wrong on so many levels. Again it comes down to clarity of rules from the beginning. If the intent was for teams to hang over a couple of inches vs 10-12 inches, then say “no hanging over the fence” from the beginning. Penalizing teams for being smart and using the hangover rule to their advantage and maximizing their potential within the stated rules isnt right.

They aren’t penalizing teams that adhere to the rules. If you can make a robot that dumps into the goal without expanding beyond 20x13 then by all means go with it. But if your robot expands beyond 20x13 at any time during the match then it’s breaking the rules and it wouldn’t be fair to the other teams not to penalize it. The rules are perfectly clear and have been from the beginning of the season, there hasn’t been a rule change. If your team’s robot wobbles outside of the twenty inch limit when scoring then it isn’t adhering to the rules, it doesn’t get any more cut and dry than that.

The rules are clear though. I believe the rules never restricted hang over. It just says no expansion beyond 20x13. Also no touching scoring zone or goal, with illustrations shown in quick ref guide. There is no need to be in the forum just to know the rules. The vex mobile app also has the rules and most coaches do or should check for the manual/rule updates via the main website.

Adding to above links: vexiqforum.com/forum/vex-iq-challenge-discussion/viqc-bank-shot/official-viqc-bank-shot-q-a/10450-robot-boundaries-for-bank-shot

Agreed-we all know the rules and that is not up for discussion. My point in posting was to ask: Why on earth would someone with ties to the GDC tell me and my team to “expect” a ruling come April 1st that would ban this type of bot? That’s what I want answered by the GDC.


As others have stated there is no chance that GDC will change the rules to make high dumpers illegal this late in the season, it would completely unfair.

However I feel that I should point this out to help your 3615X team: As seen in the snapshots from a youtube video, this version of the high dumper is most likely illegal, because it is violating the ‘no expansion beyond 20"x13"’ rule. It appears to be too large (almost the entire 19" inches) in the 1st image, which would make it beyond 20" in the 2nd image.

I am pointing this out to you in an effort to give you time to fix it, so that you don’t get to Vex Worlds and get denied by inspection, which would make for some very unhappy kids.




Sounds like a good day for such a ruling.

As far as size goes, at our state tournament they used a 13x20x15 box to measure the robots. They made then lift their lifts and moved the box as they did to ensure that they always met the 20" rule. Probably what is going to happen at worlds. Nearly every high dumper had to make a few mods to pass. But they eventually did.

Glad I’m not the only one with that thought :wink: (April Fool’s Day)

Check out this video from team #3333 - very helpful if you are worried about size issues.

@Paul_Meyers Thanks for the concern. I can attest to the fact it is legal (barely) but it is. They are modifying it slightly in hopes to hold more balls vertically instead of horizontally. It has passed 2 inspections and I had the head of our state event take a look too just to make sure. Just looking out for all teams in hopes that all can showcase the hard work they put in this year.

At first the kids made a shooter, it scored pretty well in their regional where they won the teamwork award working along side another shooter. The kids soon noticed that they could grab 20 balls in less than 20 seconds, the problem they had is that it took them basically the same amount of time to throw the balls.

They thought back on the Add-it up season where there where a couple of dumpsters, so they decided that was the way to go. We then saw that some Hawaii teams had already worked on some dumpsters, so we contacted them to get their insight on how could it be achieved. It was a pain to get the robot under specifications, taking into consideration the amount of balls we wanted, not to drop any while dumping and manage to be under 20" at ALL times (including while the arc of motion, and leaning), but it is doable.

Now regarding the rumor… It is just a rumor. Teams have qualified for worlds with those robots, they have spent a lot of time improving them. You can’t expect them to do good at world, if at last minute (18 days before worlds) you ask them to make a completely different robot.

I honestly think there could be a chance. See, after our state comp, our team swiftly began working on a better and more efficient high dumper. After several iterations, we can see a high possibility of many teams like ours perfecting a high dumper to the point where it can achieve a perfect score in DRIVER SKILLS. Of course, if this is the case at worlds, teams wouldn’t be competing to see who can create the best performing robot, they would be competing to see which teams’ drivers make the least mistakes. IMO, this would be a very bland and boring completion where every robot is low performing because every robot is high performing. I can see a see a rule that does not allow for robots to enter the scoring zone, but I strongly hope this does not take effect.

Yes, there will be perfect scores… but perfect scores can also be achieved with other kinds of robots as well, so the solution should not be to penalize the teams that choose this kind of robots 1 month before the worlds… if anything they should add more balls to the field.

Yes, this is just a rumour. We have never considered or discussed changing the rules to make robots that extend beyond the fence illegal. Making that sort of change at this juncture of the season would be both unfair and unreasonable.

Thanks! This was puzzling to hear but glad to know it was just a rumor. Thanks and we’ll see you at Worlds!