Cutting the tabs off of the edges of the tiles is one of my pet peeves.
A) Leaving the tabs on the edges and resting the filed walls on them is an excellent way to protect the floor the field is resting on. Many venues do not want the screw heads or any other part of the heavy field walls in contact with their floors.
B) Once the tiles are cut, those tiles are no longer able to used in the middles tile patterns different from the 12x12 competition field. I have created many different layouts for demos and non-VRC tournaments. Cutting the tiles reduces their usefulness and adds expense when I have to buy replacements to use making the alternate configurations.
C) The last time I read the field specifications, variances of up to 1" in field dimensions were allowed, and constructing field walls out of just about anything that was the right size (close enough to meet the 1" tolerances) was explicitly permitted. That last part means that tiles don’t have to be cut to make an official field.
So, anything saying that the edges of the tiles have to be cut, that the protrusions of a wall bought from VEX have to rest on a floor, and that the annual game pieces should only fit in/on a field constructed that way, has always seemed very schizophrenic, and has always annoyed me.
Cut tiles increase the risk of damaging floors, create a more complex list of materials needed to prep to build a field (instead of just grabbing 36 tiles, I now have to check and double-check that I have 16 uncut, 4 corners, and 16 sides for every field)(I’m ignoring color - That is easy to deal with), and reduce the tiles value for use in any configuration of than a 6x6 square.
The positive method for eliminating the contradictions would be to revise the specifications of an official field by adding all of the actual field requirements; AND to revise the descriptions of the low-cost field options, etc. to satisfy those requirements.
What I personally would VERY much like to see happen is for the revisions to not simply impose constraints that in effect mandate the current, typical, expensive, heavy, field’s construction; but instead preserve the simplicity, low-cost and flexibility of the low-cost field options.
So I would love for the revised specification to urge organizations to stop trimming their tiles (but not require them to stop immediately (1" tolerances leave plenty of room for this)), for the revised spec to say that the next several annual game element sets won’t require either cut or uncut tiles, and for the RECF to announce that 5-7 years from now uncut tiles will be the standard (maybe required?) tiles to use in an “official” field.
Why include that last desire? Because of all of the advantages I listed above. Why wait 5-7 years? Because the RECF has a strong commitment to its Event Partners and teams to not make any part of the EPs’/Teams’ investments obsolete overnight.
At the end of the transition period, we have (VRC has) an easier to build, more flexible field, that has shed unnecessary constraints… A better field (in my opinion).