Answered: Clarification: Intentional Flipping, Damage or Entanglement in Autonomous

<G11> Strategies aimed solely at the destruction, damage, tipping over, or entanglement of robots are not in the spirit of the VEX Competition and are not allowed. However, VEX Round Up is an interactive game. Some incidental tipping, entanglement, and damage may occur as a part of normal game play. If the tipping, entanglement, or damage is ruled to be intentional, the offending team may be disqualified from that match. Repeated offenses could result in a team being disqualified from the remainder of the competition.

At the Pan Pacific tournament, many teams did not have scoring autonomous code. Such teams often wrote code that simply drove straight forward, pointing their robots at the movable goals in the hope of interfering with other robots’ autonomous operations.

However, some teams felt that this wasn’t always effective and aimed for other robots instead. In particular, robots with autonomous hanging capabilities were often subject to being rammed in the autonomous period, sometimes with the effect of tipping these robots. In some cases, teams talked with other teams before matches about implementing such a strategy with the ideal result being another robot tipping over or damaged. These teams were not called for intentional tipping, because the robot-robot interaction occurred during the autonomous period.

However, in the elimination matches, some calls were made on the subject of intentional tipping that were perceived as too harsh. In one quarterfinal match, a team’s robot bumped into another team’s robot while trying to score, then backed away. Unfortunately, the robot that was bumped into toppled and fell. This was ruled as intentional tipping, despite being much less egregious that what had happened in some autonomous periods.

For the sake of all teams, I would like a clarification on what exactly constitutes “intentional” flipping, damage, or entanglement. Can flipping or entanglement in autonomous be ruled as intentional? Where is the line drawn between intentionally moving a goal with the knowledge that its movement might damage a robot and intentionally damaging the robot?


Whether or not tipping, damage or entanglement is intentional will be determined by the event referees. There are too many factors that come into play to provide an exact definition. To help clarify here are some examples of would and wouldn’t be considered legal game play.

  • Pushing low on a robot briefly and causing them to tip over. – Legal
  • Pushing low on a robot who begins to tip and then continuing the push until the opposing robot has tipped over. – **Illegal
    **- Accidentally pushing high on a robot and causing them to tip over. (Pushing robot is in the process of of scoring, and their arm hits an opposing robot) – **Legal
  • **Intentionally pushing high on a robot and causing them to tip over. – Illegal

In most cases of tipping it takes a prolonged push to get a robot to tip over. If a team begins tipping a robot, it is their responsibility to back off. If a team does not back off and continues the tip, this will be ruled as an intentional tip.

Referees should only be punishing teams for tipping if they are positive it was an intentional and avoidable action.

Remember, all teams are responsible for the actions of their robots. This goes for teams who are driving recklessly and potentially causing damage, but also goes for teams who drive around with a small wheel base and arm extended. Teams should design their robots such that they are not tipped over by minor contact. Remember <G11>: “VEX Round Up is an interactive game. Some incidental tipping, entanglement, and damage may occur as a part of normal game play.”

Yes, if a referee has determined that a team has designed an autonomous mode with the purpose of intentionally tipping, entangling or damaging an opposing robot. That being said, it would be very difficult for a referee to positive that this was the team’s intent.

Thank you for the clarification, but I would still like an answer to the below questions.