I just want to bring your first point into question here:
Aren’t all the rules eventually abused because of <G1> being used as a scapegoat? If you want the rules to not be abused, they should be well written and descriptive, not lenient. I find that many game rules are broken, and are often broken with intent but due to the vagueness of some of them and the difficult job that the referees face (shout out to all the referees), sometimes it can become frustrating. Another example of this is pinnings/trappings/blockings. I knew last year some teams which has robots that wouldn’t be even able to take one sack. They came on the field for the sole purpose of ramming and blocking other robots. There needs to be a harder focus on the actual task at hand, rather than blocking, or even the re positioning. If you didn’t place your robot perfectly, its your fault. That’s life, and you can only sometimes have one shot at things.
I’m curious which game rules you believe to be broken, and your reasoning.
The GDC (who takes a careful look at every rule) does not believe anything is broken. I’m curious for the other side of the argument.
The gameplay rules that are often broken with intent are:
<G6>, <G11>, <R3>(The entire design of the robot itself).
As you can see, all of these have to do with dirty play on the field. Although some strategic pinning should be allowed, I witnessed some blatant intentional ramming, attempt to damage other robots, etc to the other alliance’s robots.
I think that these rules are clearly written, however many teams are not aware of them and their severe consequences. In my opinion, stating these rules and enforcing them heavily would be a good way to prevent this. Now, obviously it isn’t a rampant issue, as most teams have good intentions, but there is always the handful who can ruin a game for some teams.
Other rules that are broken but comply with <G1> is the sizing. In the sizing rule, it states the robot cannot touch the sizing box. However, I witnessed a notable amount of teams passing inspection. From my VEX experience, the parts are manufactured to be 17.5" (The 35x5 C channel is 17.5" long). Thus, there shouldn’t be much of an excuse for this.
With G6, I’ve never seen it abused before… and only once instance that it’s ever come in play it was given a DQ
With G11, I feel teams want “too much protection” from the ref’s concerning this. While anything clearly intentional needs to be called, aggressive gameplay is always more exciting to drive and more interesting to watch. Just design accordingly, test for things that could go wrong(particularly tipping…), etc. If you have some examples of this rule being broken I’d be interested to see it.
R3 I’ve never really seen that at a comp, but that’s up to the ref’s understanding what could be dangerous or not… a solution if you feel this is violated is to go up to the head ref and ask for him/her to check it him/her self.
We do NOT need more protection on G11. Referees already have a problem with identifying legal shoving and pinning. Making the rules more stringent is a bad idea.
And teams need to learn what pinning actually IS. Read the rules a couple of times. We get yelled at a LOT for completely legal gameplay. The line “XXXXXXXXXX is meant to be an offensive game” is really annoying if you like defensive strategies. Some teams that run competitions insist that means that all defensive conduct is meant to be illegal. I would be very grateful if that clause were removed from the rulebook.
Pinning isn’t hard to enforce because it’s strict, it’s hard to enforce because VEX game states are complex and things happen quickly. The rule requires refs to consider a lot of criteria in a short space of time and to make judgments with a high degree of accuracy. There’s also a need to ensure a consistent standard with other regions.
A stricter rule could be easier to enforce if it were simpler than the current one. The current rule works, but if there were a reason to make it stricter that could be done without compromising enforcement.
There’s also the Q+A, and the referee training videos, and the referee’s guide, and previous seasons’ Q+A. Most of it is just context, but occasionally you find things that aren’t spelled out in the manual.
I’ve had referees not even count for pinning, and threaten to DQ us if we ever pushed someone against a wall or trough. I’ve had them yell at us for just making contact with other robots. I’ve been told I can’t shove opponents when they’re picking up game objects or scoring. That’s just wrong. And if they would just read the rules, they would know that. I’m not trying to break your robot. I’m not even trying to tip you (but let’s get real here. If you’re driving around with your arm up and I hit you and you fall over, build a better robot). I just want to stop you from scoring.
I just want people to follow the rules as they’re printed, not the way they want the rules to be.
I use the Q&A a LOT. I watch the reffing videos and read everything I can on the rules to make sure we aren’t breaking any. Some teams don’t know that those exist, though. I’ve been to competitions where I’ve referenced things from the Q&A and no one knows what I’m talking about.
Until you can give examples of these (without accusing specific team numbers or organizations), it sounds like a “hand-waving”-style argument. (I’m not accusing you of just asserting this without reason, but I’m just pointing out how it sounds.)
As previously noted, <G6> being broken is not a problem with the rules (you can’t get much more specific than “no touchie!”), but just with humans (i.e. refs) not being able to see everything at once.
I feel like a lot of teams tend to think that <G11> means that “we shouldn’t worry about any sort of defensive play.” This is not what that rule means! Expect to be pushed around–sometimes considerably so–and expect to have other robots forcibly try to pry your arm away from a goal. It’s just the way a competition works.
I think a distinction must be made between “intentional actions that could break a robot under odd circumstances” and “intentional robot damage.” A lot of teams are intending to get you out of their way; not to take apart or break your robot.
And, how do you see <R1> broken? I’ve never seen this in all my years of VEX…
Contrary to popular opinion, intentional ramming is not illegal (this is not an attempt to damage; rather an attempt to get you out of the way). That aside, what sort of damage have you seen attempted?
This is one point on which I will agree. The most common infraction is to see teams size without the flag, and then have a flag that sticks out of the size constraint…
Anyway–I’ve got to run… I am interested in this issue–if there are rules being broken commonly, I’d like to know.
should NOT be in any part of the manual. The rest of the rule is great, but that line was actually used in a competition to tell us we can’t play defense of any kind. For example, we weren’t allowed to block the trough last year at one competition.
I really like that you added this bit to the bottom for this year’s game.
I’m sure that flag being out of the size box(a non functional decoration) gave them a HUGE advantage in a match
To be honest you think they would consider flags and number plates similar to bumpers in other robotics competitions.
Speaking of other competitions: why don’t we have a rule giving a 10 second grace period for teams who tip over before opponents can touch them?
I can assume it could be because sometimes in qualifications even I did go try to help my opponent right themselves.
One rule I really hate this year is the hanging last 30 second rules. It just seems odd that you can’t attempt to block another robot from hanging. Yes of course you can’t ram into them and try to “descore the hang” but we can’t just sit in the corner and block? It just seems like it would be the same as blocking a parking bonus.
I can’t give valid examples without being specific. But I will admit one of my alliance teammates were doing this.
I’m also not stating that the rules are bad. I’m stating that these rules are sometimes being broken and not enforced well at times. However, the refs are human, and its not a big sport that there’s an entire committee sitting in a big box watching the entire game, so its bound to happen.
Let’s all think the basics here. The main task of this game is to score more than the other team. I think its a common misconception that robotics is just the Robot Fighting League we all used to watch when were 10. In my opinion, robotics should be clean, where there can be some light pinning or blocking, but not ramming or shoving unless if they are attempting to go for the same goal/object. Now, this is only my opinion, and may differ from yours depending on your interests. This way however, with enforced rules, the teams who create robots solely for blocking or ramming can be easily avoided, and also prevent unfortunate events for teams with excellently designed robots which can efficiently do the task at hand.
In terms of being a victim of being shoved around, here’s where I think the line is set. A robot should be built to hold up more than what the game asks. If you can easily get tipped over, your fault. Also, if you are getting contact over a ball/goal/path, its ok. However, if it continues persistently throughout the match, then you have the right to call it out to the refs.
I think you’ve misunderstood when I said “broken rules”. I’m not saying the rules are bad. They are perfectly fine, concise, and open from community input, which is great. The issue at hand is that the way they are enforced is hard for refs to do. They have to look at 4 robots at the same time, which makes it difficult, since we all are humans.
TL;DR, the rules are fine, but since the refs are human, it can’t always be well enforced. When roughing, etc becomes so severe that it can cost you a well built functioning robot, or the match, its simply unfair to the robots who were designed well to do the main tasks at hand.
It is mean yes and I am sure 99.99999% of us in VRC would never do such a thing. But that small percentage might. I just think a lot of stuff should be outlined more clearly instead of just G1 and “at the head referees discretion”
You’d think so, right? But according to the rules:
This one is a pet peeve of mine because nearly no one (including some head refs at very high level competitions) pays attention when I mention it… Of course, I realize it’s splitting hairs, so I don’t press it or make a big deal about it. However, in some cases, it could mean the difference between a legal robot and an illegal robot. (e.g. The builders would have been hard pressed to find another place to put the flag without interfering with the robot’s mechanisms, because the robot is literally a millimeter under the size constraint on all 6 sides.)
As long as you realise that “the task at hand” is to win without breaking any rules, a robot designed purely for blocking and ramming might be excellently designed for the game.
I agree that sometimes the amount of contact permitted in the competition seems a little much, especially when beginner teams come up against those who are more experienced. But on the whole I think that allowing the contact is a good thing because it makes the matches more exciting and the fact that you might have to deal with other robots doing things you don’t like provides another design challenge to overcome.
I believe this would make the problem of enforcement even worse. Who’s to say where the boundary is before contact becomes “persistent”?