Answered: Clarification on Inhibititing Movement via Vertical Load


We have a question regarding a robot restricting an opponent’s robot’s horizontal movement, through a vertically applied load. We observed a similar scenario at a recent event, and would appreciate some clarification on the appropriate way to rule this. Consider the following image for a simplified version of the situation:

In this case, the blue robot is pressing down on the red robot, with sufficient force to prevent the red robot from being able to drive away (regardless of how hard they struggle). Under our interpretation, inhibiting an opponent’s movement, at least for extensive periods of time, is not the intended game-play for VRC In The Zone. Rules that immediately pop to mind regarding restricting movement are pinning and trapping:

However, this situation doesn’t fit under the definition of pinning (no secondary field element involved), or trapping (whilst restricted to a very confined area, there are plenty of avenues of escape, albeit impossible). Hence, the only other rule we feel like this could be currently considered under would be entanglement:

This action isn’t really a “hook”, although could to some extent be considered a “grab” of the red robot between the horizontal plate at the end of the blue robot and the floor tiles below (but that could be a bit of a stretch of the intended interpretation of a grab). Furthermore, the action described essentially has the same effect as a pin (only vertically, not horizontally), yet for pinning it is permitted for up to 5 seconds, and is only a disqualification if the illegal pinning is then match affecting. Considering this action under entanglement has a much harsher approach – as soon as it’s deemed intentional or egregious it could become a disqualification.

Our questions:

  1. Is this action legal? (Maybe we’re overthinking this)
  2. If illegal, what rule would it fall under, and hence what would be the appropriate result?

Thank you very much for your time. We appreciate your responses to our questions, regardless of whether they are complicated situations or merely a clarification on semantics. As referees, it’s very useful to have concrete answers we can give to students when asked, or that we can use if the situation arises again.

First, thank you for the well-formatted question, including relevant quotes from the manual and an image to help clarify the situation.

While it is always difficult to issue blanket rulings, this is the key sentence from your description:

This would be considered Trapping. The definition of Trapping does not specify how an opposing robot is restricted to a small portion of the field, only that it is restricted, without an avenue for escape.

If it is impossible to break free, then there are no avenues for escape. Thus, this shuld be considered Trapping and SG4 should come into play (beginning a 5-count, backing away by one foam tile, etc).