New G19 rule invalidates all dumping robots?

My team just noticed that a new rule was added pretty late in the game (8/31) that essentially invalidates all dumping robots. Our team has been working on such a robot that will capture many balls and climb/dump the balls into high goals. Now we have to start over?

Ball control is limited while Hanging. Robots which are not contacting the Floor may control a
maximum of two (2) Balls.

yep, you read the rule correctly. Crack down on a game-breaking design.


I am really disappointed that REC would pull a stunt like this. My team has been working on this robot since early summer and worked out many kinks to make it work. Now they just artificially change the rules of the game (in the middle of the season)? Is there any official channel that we can file a complaint?
We even confirmed that dumping robot doesn’t break any rule before we start on that path. This is not right!

Sorry you are disappointed. It is clearly stated early season game play during summer would result in rule changes. Fall is still considered early season. Look at the schedule of updates in the Game Manual and pay attention to those releases.

VRC had a big change in August in terms of autonomous bonus points.



Don’t throw your hands up like you’re a victim in this, @lacsap has already worded the GDC’s purpose perfectly. The rules have changed many times throughout many years, just as the scheduled manual updates might just suggest. In fact, if this mattered so much to you, you would have already been aware of this change over a month ago.

The GDC is never trying to through you over the edge of the boat, all efforts and decisions are made in the best interest of the competitors, to keep the boat floating. I understand why you might be upset but that is no reason to throw this fit.


Hmm, don’t know how to respond to people like you. Victim? keep the boat floating? Best interest of the competitors? What on earth …?

  • True, REC does update rules from time to time. Usually just to clarify some existing rules that are causing confusions among teams. But a brand new rule like this 5 month after publishing the game manual? Best interest of the competitors? hmm … (maybe your team’s interest. certainly not mine.)
  • True, it’s team’s responsibility to keep tracking of rules. But I don’t know about your team. We don’t read the manual every week. We refer to it maybe once a month to clarify some points. Well, if anything, this will be a life lesson to the team.
  • Even if we did pay attention to the rule update at the end of August, that is still 3 months of work down in the drain. Besides robot, girls on the team did a fabulous job documenting all the design challenges and our solutions in the engineering notebook. We thought that’s what Vex competition is all about. Looks like we will have to start over with only a month left to the first competition.
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Even if this is the case, you and your team should be cognizant of when the Game Manual updates and should read up on the rule changes when they come out. Not knowing of any rule changes/additions is ignorance on your part, and is not the fault of the GDC or anyone else.

The GDC isn’t remotely interested in the interests of a singular team, they’re interested in what’s good for the competition. This is similar to Change Up, when they changed the skills aspect of the competition since the skills at the time were maxed out really early (2 weeks I think?) The only difference here is that instead of changing the entire competition, they are opting to tweak the rules to ensure that it’s much more difficult to max out the game, like Change Up skills.

That’s great. Leave that in the notebook, and document your process of designing the next iteration of your robot, and document the struggles you overcome as a result of this new rule. Look at this as an opportunity to grow, and design a new robot capable of completing the objective with an added restriction, rather than kicking dirt around and complaining when there’s no chance that this rule is getting reversed.

I wish you and your team the best of luck designing and building your new robot.


True: However, the flip side is that GDC should be very careful making this kind of game-changing new rules. I am sure we are not the only team affected. Kids on my team put their hard work, heart and soul into designing/making this robot. When they faced challenges that don’t seem solvable, they were really down. But they cheered hysterically when they found solutions. Now they have to accept the fact that this robot is no longer valid, not to their fault. You are right. We probably won’t change GDC’s mind about this new rule. We will pull through and do our best making our next great robot (with only a month left to our first regional competition). But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t let GDC know how their decisions affect many kids participating in this program. BTW, our team has been with Vex IQ since 2015. This is the first time we have seen a game-changing new rule in the middle of the season.

I gotta say, just suck it up buttercup. My team has also been building since the night of the reveal and we have gone through 18 designs. Two of them were fully functional dumper bots that could clear the field. We had to change these designs, and we did not complain about it. When the recf makes rule changes, they know some teams will have to redesign, but they are not doing it to inconvenience teams like yours and mine, they are doing it to level the playing field for new teams or teams that only get to start when their school year starts.


Also a big thing I always like to bring up is from In the Zone for VRC. Literally every bot was the same and if you did not have that one design you were absolutely screwed and could not win. Or even Change Up last season for skills, while teams did max out skills in the end, it was a much needed change.

Plus in life you’ll get thrown changes and stuff that will result in a design change. So you can complain about it as much as you want, but nothing will happen. Just need to take a sigh and start changing that design because maybe there’s something that you can use that design for.


Thanks for sharing your team’s experience! Our team will be fine. We are not a rookie team. We enjoyed this program for many years. And kids on my team give back to the Vex community by coaching a Vex robotics club at a local library for almost 4 years now. We shared our experience/expertise on Vex with hundreds of kids. Like I said, this is the first time we see a game-changing new rule in the middle of the season. I understand the need to level the playing field. Just wish GDC could be more mindful of the impact of their decisions. For a moment, we thought we were pretty much done with robot design, engineering notebook, driving and programming. Now we have to scramble to restart with everything. We will take the new rule in stride. GDC should know this is not a prudent thing to do though. I wish they will manage such a dramatic change in rules much better in the future. Maybe when they design the new game, they should leave a much wider margin such that it’s not possible for one team to clear the field.

Not sure who this is directed at, but since I got flagged for deleting my own post as being off topic, I will take a bite.

I am going to assume you are a coach/mentor of an experienced team based on your profile info. I would recommend responding as an adult on this one. We all get caught up in emotional responses, it happens. The GDC is clear that the August update is a big one that can factor in game play over the summer. This happens more often than is realized. Sometimes in little ways, and sometimes in dramatic ways. So August release by definition is a MAJOR release of the game manual with a specific release date. As a middle school VRC coach and EP I always have these dates in my calendar because I need to make sure 1) my teams are ready to absorb the changes and adapt the designs, and 2) so all my volunteers are ready with this new knowledge before competition. I also review every Q&A topic before competitions as they are an extension of the Game Manual. If we are competing weekly or hosting an event, it does happen that reviewing Game Manual and Q&A becomes a weekly matter, if not more frequent.

This season in VRC autonomous bonus points and hyper protecting platforms were a big changes that impacts team’s game strategy and as a result their robot design. In this case for VIQC this change impacts game strategy of clearing the field with one robot was one that was shown to be effective on Youtube video reveals this summer. As been mentioned, the game is no fun if you all robot designs and strategy are the same.

As for specifically your team, sounds like they know design process and apply it well. This is one third of the way into the season (hence the notion of “early season” in Game Manual release schedule). The judges will be delighted to see the design process applied and documented multiple times in a season.

The remarks/responses to your original post and followup may lack finesse but really do bring up core issues about expectations of changes in Game Manual from season to season and program to program. The GDC during Change Up never anticipated how quickly teams would max out Skills, kudos to those early season teams that spend months working on the game and coming with high performing robots and strategies. For Change Up the GDC came up with modifications to the game that both challenged experienced teams, and still provided entry paths for novice team. The GDC probably observed the tactic of mass ball possession in the VIQC game and came to a similar conclusion and came up with a similar approach to level the playing field somewhat to keep teams engaged in the game. The GDC decisions with regards to the August and April major rule changes decisions are not made lightly, and have been made in April right before Worlds. GDC absolutely understands the impact to teams and that is to be resilient to changes of conditions and take an engineering approach to problem solving. This is what makes VEX competitions very real world skill building experience.

VEXforum is a great place to share ideas - I am always amazed by the contributions by teams, coaches, EPs, … all sharing a common journey.

Best wishes to you and your team this season. Time to prep for parent meeting for the season - 32 students in club.


The dumping robots kinda ruins the purpose of the game. Won’t be fun and everyone will hate other teams for that. I am talking from experience not just random words. I understand your team worked hard and put 200% effort but GDC is not makeing the rules for you they are making it for everyone. Guess what, the GDC creates a game and see what people can make. This season its about launching balls not dumping them.


You must mean:
Like I said, this is the first time we see a game-changing new rule before the season even began.

So you think it’s a good thing that it’s early October and you have nothing left to do with your bot?

Your posts though…

And they are human beings. They screwed up. There is a basic question about sizing the robot from two months ago that hasn’t been answered yet. They will take their time because they really want to get it right. But to just expect them to be perfect… well… Iterations just have to be our way of life.


my bad. I thought the season started when the new game was released back in May. Can you please enlighten me when the season actually starts?

it’s a figure of speech. You pick on that. Good for you.

I am not expecting GDC to be perfect. Every year after new game is released, there are talks of clearing the field (max score). In past seasons, many teams did manage to accomplish just that. Maybe it’s part of the GDC’s design principle. I am merely suggesting that GDC rethink that approach. if they design games such that no one team can possibly score all the points, then both alliance bots will be able to play no matter what. For example, simply doubling the amount of the balls this year will accomplish that. On YouTube, there is a shooter bot cleared the field. Why punishing one strategy/bot (dumping bot) for clearing the field with a new rule?

In principle, I agree with everything you said. GDC does need the flexibility to update rules as the season progresses. I am not saying they can’t change rules. But GDC needs to realize the ramification of such actions. I am specially puzzled at the intent of this rule. Let’s see what G19 can actually accomplish by outlawing a class of very efficient strategy/robot.

  • Dumping bot is too efficient. It can clear the field all by itself. Well, there is a shooter bot on YouTube that cleared the field as well. hmm…
  • Such robots might inspire copycats and therefore dominate the competition. Ok. we ban dumping bots. Now everyone has to go with shooting bot. hmm… (BTW, dumping bot is a simple strategy, but very hard to implement. Our team is not able to clear the field. Balls are too heavy to be lifted in mass. )
  • Another commenter said this year’s game is supposed to be a launching game. Well, I totally missed that point. I thought the whole idea is to come up with whatever strategy that works the best within defined rules. Didn’t know there is actually a theme. 2015 Bankshot game has “shot” in the name. But the dominating bots are dumping bots.
  • Leveling the playing field so rookie teams can participate in the competition. This is true. GDC published the building instructions for “Fling”. It’s quite effective actually. That’s that.
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I think the biggest question/concern here is how GDC made the decision to outlaw a design based on which standard.

A foreign team built a robot that maxed out the score and was stupid enough to make it public on YouTube. Now the design is outlawed with a rule update.

So what about Ben Lipper’s design on YouTube? His bot is pretty darn efficient and was able to clear the floor pretty well back in July. Shouldn’t the GDC ban the flywheel launcher as well? How about double catapults?

Which factors are in play here? Robot efficiency? Social media etiquette? or simply GDC’s ego?

This is not the first time the VEX IQ GDC messed up in game manual updates. in 2019 they introduced a huge loophole (RSC5) that turned the autonomous drive into a joke. Players were running around the field manipulating their robots throughout the “autonomous” drive. Yet the GDC made no attempt to fix it despite repeated complains from the community.

(That’s right. I am still complaining about that update after 2 years :wink::wink::wink: )

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why is this even a thread.


Typically, the season isn’t considered “started” until after the August 31st update, since that’s when most of the big rule changes occur that massively alter how the game might be played, at least that’s how I view it.

Oh, I assure you they realize both sides of the coin when they make decisions, that’s evident in Q&A posts (at least I’m hoping that’s why it takes months to answer them.) I’m sure that the decision to outlaw a specific type of design was not taken lightly in the slightest, but they felt that it was necessary to ensure the longevity of the game.

All these arguments simply comparing a dumping bot to a flywheel bot is missing the key point: It doesn’t matter whether a flywheel bot can do something just as effective as a dumping bot or not. What matters is the GDC felt that dumping bots were not good for the health of the competition, and took action to remedy it. What specific reasons, I don’t know, you’d have to go ask them. However, this:

Is ridiculous. They aren’t going to ban a design because it doesn’t conform with their ideas for what they expect it to be. Out-of-the-box-thing is usually encouraged, and the GDC wouldn’t step in unless they felt it was absolutely necessary. The purpose of this year’s game is to score as many points as possible using game and field elements.

Or… health and longevity of the competition? Once, again, same reason Change Up Skills was changed.



What is the fun, and where is the learning in a game that there is 1 defined way to max the game that can be easily copied by anyone. Events won’t run if everyone has the same bot that can do the same stuff.

Would you like to go to an event where everyone is getting tied in all their matches?