Another loophole?

Reading this post on the Q&A got me thinking:

A team could move one of the blue/red cubes closer to the tall platform and place a green cube on top of the other cube so that it’s touching the platform or its support structures and it would meet all of the criteria:
i. The Cube is contacting the Platform (including its supporting structures).
ii. The Cube is not contacting the Floor.
iii. The Cube is not contacting the Field Perimeter.
iv. The Cube matches the color of the Platform (i.e. is a green Cube).

What’s missing is a requirement for the cube to be supported by the platform. Or is that implied by “…scored on a Platform”? But the manual has a pic of a green hanging from a platform so it doesn’t have to be on a platform.


It is not a loophole, it is a perfectly legimate way to meet all the requirements for “scored.” No “implied” is necessary, the four criteria listed in the manual (in addition to “not touching a robot” are very straightforward, and we should not add any of our own criteria to that which is listed.


If the green cube is on a color cube and is mashed into the green goal, it would count as scored. That’s what the rules say, so I’m in agreement with @kmmohn.

But if there is a gap that I can see looking down at the cubes, it won’t count.

1 Like

This is a place that I, as a referee, would use the “paper test” (even if I could see the gap), for the sake of the teams and more for the spectators, so they can see that I am carefully applying the rules in scoring.


Anyone care to post this on the official Q&A? I am not a “primary” contact…

My daughter came up with this opportunity the other day while we were discussing RSC5 at the St. Robert’s Tournament in Omaha. She hasn’t had time to try programming it yet. This assumes that a green cube on top of a blue/red cube is considered being legitimately returned to the field. But lacking any direction that it isn’t, she plans to work on it for the US Open.

I admittedly find her reasoning hard to follow. She absolutely insists on NOT hand placing the red/blue cubes into position to score by pushing. Instead she is working on a program carrying them the length of the field, but the above she thinks is great. :man_shrugging:

1 Like

There is no reason why it wouldn’t be scored, but it is detrimental to the team to use this strategy since you can’t then score the red and blue cubes as well. Because scoring the green cubes on the low platforms is already a gift (i.e. lined up with the two starting positions) then it seems like more work to score this way. But if teams can find a way to use it to their advantage, then go for it!

I think OP specified the TALL platform, that’s not lined up with the starting positions. I know that is what my daughter was targeting to use this solution for. Also, I think the short platforms are only 5" high, so a green cube on top of a red or blue cube, pressed up against a short platform wouldn’t be in contact, because it would be 7" in the air

1 Like

Yes, my bad. Useful strategy then!

Can we agree these are all scoring strategies and not loopholes?


I think solutions… strategies… opportunities… all good words :wink:

1 Like

agree. this is nothing different than previous years. if you absolutely are not allowed to do anything while playing in the challenge, the rulebook will state it specifically. if you are scoring objects based off of the definition provided in the rules, it is a strategy. the word “loophole” keeps getting thrown around.


The rules tell you how the field is set up, how points are counted, limits on actions you can’t do, and limits on parts.

The rest, how you build, drive the robot with your strategy is all you. We are telling roboteers to think outside the box. So it’s only a loophole if you didn’t think about it. It’s an opportunity for other teams that took the time to read the rules and build a strategy.

So be done publicly shaming people smarter than you, you can be smarter to. Think outside the box, read the words and figure out your strategy and build a robot to do that.


Who is the “you” that you are addressing? As best I can tell it’s all coaches in this thread, the other threads in this forum and the posts on FB around this topic. Its the students who should be building. strategizing, programming, etc. I’d love to know the original story around this rule interpretation. It may well have been an exceptional 3rd grader who read the rules and figured this application out. I’d love to get my students talking to her or him for inspiration.

I’ve been up front that after reading about this, I guess it was back in November, we told the students in our program about it. Not one of them had figured this out on their own. I’d love to hear the stories from all the coaches who’s elementary or middle school students figured this out absent ANY prompting/hints/explanation from an adult. But as part of Student Centered, we admittedly should not have been telling the students this.

So there is no need to talk about who is smarter than who. It’s not our, (the coaches here), strategy to figure out, it’s not our, (the coaches here), robot to build). It’s the students. And I don’t think we should be telling students they weren’t as smart as another team unless we know absolutely for sure that team figured it out without ANY adult help.

On top to GBR’s observation that this whole thing is just poor game design, the next big issue is that it’s not Student Centered.

Then what’s the point of having an official Q&A system if we should not be sharing those answers with the students?

1 Like

I’d say, to be Student Centered, that if they were to initiate the conversation by asking, then we, as adults, can look to the Q&A to see if there is an clarification and if not, initiate the ask.

It would be hard to argue that @Foster does not run a student centered program. The use of the word “you” isn’t clear. I would be shocked if middle school students were spending any time of facebook or this forum as well, so these are inherently coach centered conversations. We all know that coaches devising strategy or coaches building bots is wrong, wrong, wrong…

You could say the same about the starting position… How would kids know where to start the bot other than to look at the instructions? Do we, at the beginning of the year, just give the kids the manual, watch them do it wrong for weeks and let them have a negative experience at the tournament because they practiced in the wrong position? If basketball changed the shot clock to 12 seconds I am sure the coaches would tell their kids about it before their first game.

When they start in the wrong place, or set the field up incorrectly, I correct them. Maybe a better approach would be to just tell them that they are wrong, and they need to look at the manual. Maybe a better approach would be to weekly remind the kids that they should check the official Q&A for any updates.

But if you are arguing that there is -0- role for the coach here I don’t think that’s true either. If you look down the yellow in the student centered document there a lot that coaches can do. We want them to get to green, and if they aren’t there after 2 or 3 years we are doing something very wrong, but they have to start at yellow to have any hope of becoming the green teams that they can be.

The new kids don’t know what to do, and it is our job, in some way, to help them.


I typed out a longer response, but realize that it will just perpetuate this circular argument that in the end, won’t change your already established biases.

Our kids build, test, adapt and strategize at their own free will. It is up to us to provide guidance and guardrails when necessary.

1 Like

I greatly admire and appreciate @Foster for all he does to promote and support robotics.

I agree with everything you said. I find coaching robotics is particularly unique and harder than coaching sports. No peewee football team is calling their own plays, or deciding amongst themselves who will be the QB.

So yes there are lots of areas in robotics that make a coach have to determine how to remain student centered… starting position… the ability to reset during programming skills, the use of a driver assist in driving, etc.

In this instance, Foster was either saying that 99+% of the students were not smart enough or (in the other thread) hadn’t been working at it hard enough to figure this out. Or he’s saying it about the coaches. I really don’t believe he was directing it at the students, not because they aren’t here, but because he’s a good person and a great coach and wouldn’t do that. So if directed at the coaches, how many coaches think it is within a student centered approach to find this nuance and point it out to students and under what circumstances?

Can we agree that there isn’t a single boilerplate we all need to follow, that different teams can operate and communicate in different ways within the scope of the organization?