Answered: Robot blocking of tube

**As my teams are preparing for State, we are concerned about blocking of robots attempting to score (specifically into the tube). We have encountered two different versions of this issue:

In one tournament the team we were facing parked their robots (both of them) in front of the tubes and blocked the top of the tube. Our interpretation of this maneuver is that they have now essentially become a “wallbot” and can be acted upon as stated in the rules below. In SG9 below, when a robot straddles the tube and then caps the tube with another part of the robot, they have grasped the tube as they are touching three of the sides.

In a subsequent tournament, when we attempted to block (as was done to us), we were discouraged against doing such by the threat of DQ.

Can we get specific clarification about defensively blocking the tube and what can be done against this defensive strategy? See rules below.**

<G11> Strategies aimed solely at the destruction, damage, tipping over, or Entanglement of Robots are not part of the ethos of the VEX Robotics Competition and are not allowed. However, VEX Toss 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 or egregious, the offending team may be disqualified from that Match. Repeated offenses could result in a team being Disqualified from the remainder of the competition. VEX Toss Up is intended to be an offensive game. Teams that partake in solely defensive strategies will undergo extra scrutiny in regards to <G11>. In the case where referees are forced to make a judgment call on interaction between a defensive and offensive Robot, the referees will err on the side of the offensive Robot.
a. Robots which have expanded horizontally in an effort to obstruct the field will undergo even more scrutiny under <G11>, and will not be protected under <G11>. e.g. If you choose to undertake this type of strategy, your robot should be built to withstand vigorous interaction. Furthermore, teams that undertake this type of obstructive strategy would not be protected by <SG3>. e.g. There is no penalty for pinning a “wall-bot”.

<SG9> Robots may not intentionally grasp, grapple or attach to any Field Elements with the exception of the Bar. Strategies with mechanisms that react against multiple sides of a field element in an effort to latch onto said field element are prohibited. (See figures 14-16) The intent of this rule is to prevent teams from both unintentionally damaging the field, and from anchoring themselves to the field. Special attention will be paid to any teams interacting with the Hanging Structure. Violations of this rule will result in a
Disqualification.

Blocking the Goals is a legal strategy. There are no specific rules against it, provided that Robots do not physically attach themselves to the Goal. Surrounding the Goal with a Robot drivetrain as described above is legal. Teams should be prepared for this type of strategy.

In our match in question, the opposing team had won the autonomous and had a 20 point lead with 1 min remaining. They were two similar bots from the same school that both parked in front of both goals. No more bucky balls could be scored and all large balls were in the goal zone. There was no chance to score higher than them with the tube blocked.

We now have the capability to pull them away from the tube if that is allowed by your posy “be prepared for that strategy”. Would that DQ our teams?

Thanks

This is a legal and viable strategy.

Yes, provided you do not violate any other rules in the process. Specifically you should pay attention to <G11> and intentional Entanglement. When “pulling” the opposing Robot, if you intentionally grasp/grab them, you would be in violation of <G11>.