Intentional Mass Cone Tipping Strategy

So out of boredom I found myself skimming the rulebook, looking for loopholes, questioning life choices…

Anyways I got to thinking about how a lot of teams are making manipulators specifically for cones that are laying sideways. And I started to wonder if there was a way to use this to an advantage.

What if every cone was tipped over? I can almost guarantee most of us don’t have the ability to score tipped cones, not with any sort of ease at least. So, say for instance your robot was very good at tipping lots of cones very fast, could you sweep the field, then use a really good ‘tipped’ manipulator to be the only decently effective one on the field at scoring?

Just wondering what you guys had to say about my current crazy idea

This has always seemed like the most obvious strategy to me, yet no one I’ve talked to seems to be very concerned about it. I haven’t even bothered to make an upright cone intake because it will be obsolete outside of Match Loads by February IMO. It’s a lot faster to tip a cone than it is to right it, and there’s no reason picking them up tipped is going to score any slower than upright if implemented well. I think picking them up tipped may actually be easier than picking them up upright. Interested to see when this catches on.

This seems like a pretty effective use of 15 sec auton - if you can pick off the floor anyway.

Interesting. I’ve never thought of that…

Anyways, it seems like a good idea for auton or whatever. I’d say that you should be careful that you don’t prevent your alliance member from scoring; a tipped cone is difficult to score for BOTH sides, not just theirs.

Would work best with robots like 8059J or other robots that have similar aims:

I think a lot of people are going to have passive cone un-tipping mechanisms, like us. It would however, make it harder for opposing alliance to score, but it is also now harder for you to score. Also, your alliance wouldn’t make that many points because you’d be tipping over cones instead of scoring.

I think the idea is that a robot that takes time to untip and then pick up is going to be much slower than a robot that picks up already-tipped cones with ease.

Actually went to a tournament where someone employed this strategy - namely 3050C - and while it was somewhat effective, the main annoyance was them knocking over mobile goals and being an annoying pushbot.

Doing this with cones is one thing, and I don’t think that you’ll have much of a problem other then just making people with top grab claws sad :slight_smile:

However, be advised… knocking over mobile goals is a whole other story. One of our competitions had a robot designed around this and they definitely crossed the line a couple times that should’ve gotten them a warning or even dq from match. With a different set of refs, it may have been more serious.

Overall, I’d strongly suggest you stay clear from pure defense because it leaves a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth and makes it hard for people to figure out your intentions. The game is offensive, just keep it in mind. The way you described using this strategy is perfectly fine though, just putting this out there for anyone else getting crazy ideas :wink:

While I have to agree with Ashwin that the robot was a pain to play against (like breaking our chainbar during a match), their robot was, in fact, legal because they did only compete with defensive strategies, such as tipping over cones and mobile goals. Also, they did not tip over anyone’s stacks or purposely tried to damage or entangle others’ robots. The referees just had to pay closer attention to this defense-only bot to make sure that they didn’t break any rules.

Tim, thanks for bringing that up. Let me elaborate. To be clear: the design itself is perfectly legal. HOWEVER, because they were playing pure defense they did things that were blatantly illegal. For example, I watched footage of one match where the team in question drove into the opposing alliance’s loader during autonomous, and knocked the cone off. This directly violates the following:

While I doubt it was intentional or with any malice, this, among other violations are the kind of thing I’m talking about. Not to point fingers at this robot specifically (because I do respect their wit and smarts), I’m just illustrating the level of caution a team needs to take when considering defensive game play as a whole. Mobile goal defense is especially dangerous due to the very specific rules that seek to stop it. Like you cited, extra scrutiny is definitely needed if a team takes that route.

As you are aware I’m sure: there were certainly some teams who didn’t read the rules carefully at this competition. I mean… non-VEX parts :stuck_out_tongue:

The problem with this strategy is that by tipping mass amounts of cones you are technically manipulating multiple cones at once and thus violating SG9. I don’t know if the refs would call it or not, as it’s kind of in the hazy zone of the rules, but it’s probably not worth risking it. Defensive strategies have pretty much been shut down this year.

The best way to play defense is probably just to tip over opponents mobile goals and cones with your drivetrain while still having the main design of your bot rigged for offense. That way, if the refs are harsh you’ll be fine, and you can still get a high score.

I’m 99% sure you aren’t allowed to tip the opponents mobile goal…


I agree 100%. Our focus from the beginning has been to be able to pick up tipped cones. If you can get those, the upright ones are just as easy. I have heard discussion from a team (not one of mine) about the possibility of a passive tip bar extending from the robot that would tip upright cones, but go over tipped cones. If done right, could be legal and highly effective in annoying other teams.

Actually, it’s totally legal.

The Mobile Goals are weighted so that they naturally want to be upright. Knocking them over is a complete waste because they can be righted with relative ease and there are only four of them. In contrast, there are a lot more cones than goals, and a cone’s weight is much more evenly distributed. In the “upright” position, cones are taller than they are wide, I wouldn’t call them unstable, but they are MUCH easier to knock over than a mobile goal, and much harder to right.

A friend of mine has a “Golden Rule” of sorts when working with VEX games, you can’t think about intaking, it just has to happen. Drive in a direction, hold a button, and the intake does the rest of the work. This is a little vague and idealistic, so to put it a bit more succinctly, if your intake can’t manipulate an object from any angle and any orientation the same way, you are losing a lot of efficiency. At a high level of gameplay, a driver needs to be focused on their next target and overall game strategy, not the specifics of picking up the scoring objects. If you have to put any effort into getting an object into a specific orientation before you can manipulate it, you are on the wrong design.

The way I see it, if you can manipulate tipped cones well and spend the first 20 seconds destroying the initial field setup, you are going to dominate robots that primarily intake upright. Get good at playing a specific strategy, and then force everyone else to play your game or lose.

One major drawback to using autonomous mode to tip cones (or prepare for driver control in another way) is that you might be less likely to win Autonomous and get AP’s.

Of course, if you and your partner are sure that using this strategy would not change who wins autonomous, or if you would have difficulty winning the match without this strategy, then a strategy like this could be a good idea.