New rule about robot latching to game elements

In light of last season’s games where some robots latch to the game elements (fence) in order to balance themselves, a new rule is instituted. **<G10> ***Robots *may not grasp, grapple, or attach to any Field Elements. Strategies with mechanisms that react against multiple sides of a *Field Element *in an effort to latch onto said *Field Element *are prohibited.
However, the REC seems to relax the rule on robot size limitation (13"X 20"). it will make it even harder to enforce in my opinion. **<G3> **During the Match, *Robots *may not expand beyond the 13"x20" area they were limited to at the start of the Match. However, *Robots *are permitted to expand beyond the 15" height restriction they were limited to at the start of the *Match. *Violations of this rule will result in a warning for minor offenses that do not affect the match. Egregious (score affecting) offenses will result in a Disqualification. Teams who receive multiple warnings may also receive a *Disqualification, *at the head referee’s discretion.

Sounds like lt’s NOT a DQ offence to go beyond 13"X20" briefly in a match as long as the robot is NOT about to score. Not sure how this is going to be enforced. what if the robot is in the process of expanding in order to reach higher goal to score and go beyond the size limit. But the robot is not yet scoring yet. will this cause a DQ or just a slap on the hand (warning).

I had the pleasure of being a ref at Worlds this year and we were watching closely all the robots that appear to extend beyond the 20" limit. We did have some robots that grew from the time they were checked in at inspection to the time they made it to the field. The black lines on the field are a good indication of the size when the robot is in the starting position, if it is even with the fence and hangs over the black line in front of the robot it is past 20". We did DQ several bots for breaking the sizing rules. It is not that hard to see when they are on the field.

The issue with <G10> that I saw in Bankshot was exactly what you referenced. The teams that grabbed the fence would pull it up and cause the field reset to take longer.

And the sizing rule <R2> is identical between Bankshot and Crossover. I don’t see where RECF has relaxed on the rule.

Aloha CRC,
You bring up a few points in your description that I hope to shed some light on.

In reference to “Latching On”, in my opinion at the 2017 Worlds there were no robots which fit into this description that used this strategy. The popular strategy used by many teams were to back into the fence with two beams protruding outward. This was used as a brace. However, these parts did not “grab” onto the fence or “latch” as bots could be easily removed. In my opinion VEX IQ is preparing themselves if a team’s strategy were to use a claw type device to grab tightly onto a field element for bracing.

Secondly, the size requirements did not change much. The nice change which happened was that no longer do robots need to touch only a 13"x13" area at start. As an inspector this was difficult to constantly look under the bots. Now, as long as the robot fits within a 13"x20" area and the robot only touches the floor in that area and not touch the outer wall it is good. That will allow inspectors to just inspect around the exterior o the bot. Awesome move VEX IQ!!!

Thirdly height restriction at the start has been 15" since the first official season (minus the pilot year which I am not sure of). This has been quite consistent.

Lastly, in regarding teams expanding outside the 13"x20". I would go out on a limb to say the majority of teams at worlds did a great job at maintaining this. The inspectors also did a great job. And the REC did a great job by even re-inspecting robots at the competition fields. Most teams that I observed going outside the measurements seem to do this because when creating a Dumper style robot they did not figure in the arch that the arm of their robot was traveling. This in my opinion was innocent and not malicious. The teams did need to fix it. Some were not happy. But most seemed to understand the rule and adjusted their design.

When referees watched teams that may have been exceeding the 13"x20" size constraint it was largely Dumper bots that incorporated a tilt in their game strategy. When tilting, robots do have the potential of exceeding the measurement. But, as you can probably guess, this is a split second move. This makes the job very difficult for referees. I give them credit. So in my opinion, this is where the sizing was exceeded if any.

I hope that helps explain things a little better. I feel pretty good about this year and look forward to exciting robot builds.


Ditto Bailey from ipanavigator.

I was a coach of one of the teams with a dumping style robot that also relied on rocking back to properly score balls.

Personally, I didn’t feel the rock back was a violation of the size limitation rule. That size limitation rule was connected to a disclaimer that said the robot’s measurement is based on when the wheels are on level ground.

When the team’s robot was rocking back, the robot was basically popping a wheelie…the very definition of “wheels not on level ground”.

I will say, that had I known Vex IQ would frown on that, then there’s no way I would have let my team come to World’s like that. I would have told them about it months ago and had them fix it. But didn’t find out about that interpretation until the inspection table at World’s. I’m not a fan of having a team do major experimental redesigns at a competition …we rise or fall on what we brought. So we kept it “as-is”.

Even when rocking back…it might not have been breaking the size violation. It was so small fast and subtle, but still nerve racking for us a a team / coach that at any refs discretion, we could get DQ’d.

This year, I’m paying much closer attention to the rules so the team doesn’t accidently run afoul of the rules.

If you read further in to the rule it actually says “The intent of this rule is to prevent teams from both unintentionally damaging the field, and from anchoring themselves to the field.”
During Worlds we did see some robots actually pull the fence up when they attached. Those teams received warnings and I did not see them dislodge the fence again.

Those dumping style robots were not all bad. I think the intent behind <G10> stems from the amount of pieces and time it takes to put Crossover together. When you open the box it feels like you are unpacking a truck load of parts. And now hours after painstakingly going through the assembly process for just one field, I chose not to take it apart when I dismantle the field. So now I have these large components that I need to store, but it is better than hours of assembly and disassembly for one night of robotics a week.

As the tournaments start rolling out this coming season I can imagine that Event Partners will not be hand assembling each field over and over. I think most of them will do as I plan to do and find a large plastic tub to store the large pieces that are assembled only once per season. (That is if teams adhere to the Robots may not grasp, grapple, or attach to any Field Elements rule.)


Thanks for the feedback, Tony. I love the insight.

I’d love to know your thoughts on my team’s desire to walk/climb/drive over the walls as a design strategy for “Crossover”. I’m trying to find out if this plan of theirs will be legal, or deemed illegal due to rule G6 or G10. I started a forum post asking this exact question.


It would be nice if it were more clear as to what constitutes “grasp, grapple, or attach”. An L-shaped piece resting on a field element will react against multiple sides but isn’t grasping, grappling, or attached to it. There was a diagram in the VRC tossup manual that illustrates it well.


I think as long as you are not grabbing or gripping the wall when crossing over I think you will be OK. The wall is only 6" tall and your max starting height is 15". Robots are permitted to expand as much as they want beyond the 15" height after the match starts.

I agree that there is some confusion as to what grasp, grapple, or attach means for this game. Since the rules stated intent in the Game Manual calls out that it is there to prevent damage to the field, or field elements. This prevents a robot from grabbing the ramp to keep from sliding off as many teams did during BankShot. It also prevents teams from grabbing the goals to deposit a hexball.

As far as the Game Elements I think the VRC diagram may be a little more strict than what should be permitted here. I don’t think an L-shaped arm would be an issue for grabbing the hexballs ( Game Elements ) but at no time should any portion of the field ever be latched on, or connected to a robot in any way.

Based on your post in the Official Q&A forum, I think you have misunderstood the rule R6:

Drivers are prohibited from making intentional contact with any Field Element or Robots during a Match.

Driving / Walking over the wall will definitely involve contact with the wall. Will the team get disqualified?

It’s the drivers, that is, students touching the field with their hands. Driving into/over the wall would be legal as long as it won’t be damaging the field. Many teams actually use the strategy to “ride the wall” to gain driving/position precision. (186 KB)

Yes! I see your point. That makes so much more sense now. Thank you.

Aloha xgl2002,
I agree. The season did start with “rocking” as a legal move because measurements were based on all of the bots wheels on the floor. However, throughout the season and especially at worlds the rule changed. It stated that the robot must maintain the size constraints during the entire 1 minute competition. And if their was any robot that used rocking or falling backwards as a strategy to score and the robot exceeded the 13" x 20" measurement than it would be illegal and repeated offenses could result in a disqualification of the offending team. This was also inspected as carefully as possible at worlds during inspection and at times in between matches.

If robots were to fall unintentionally causing the robot to exceed the 13"x20" then the robot could be reset following VEX IQ rules. No offenses.

The key at worlds was “Intentional” verses “Unintentional”.


As Tony stated, the rules that you are quoting are in reference to drivers reaching in and touching parts of the field during the match and not the robot.

A strategy involving going over the wall is worth looking into. My one concern in looking at the construction of the wall is that I believe that the spikes on the top of the wall which allow the hex balls to rest on are made out of a single-double or double-double connector pin. The part that sticks above the fence has two black spacers slid over it. A “crossing over the fence” strategy may cause these spikes to be hit and broken or knocked out. This could be deemed by referees as “Damaging the Field”

I don’t have my kit yet. Could someone that has a kit test how fragile these spikes on the wall are?


The spikes are 1P stand-offs. They will pop off if you put pressure on them from any side.

Aloha Tony,
Thanks for checking for us. Much appreciated.


Thanks for the heads up about the fragility of the pins. Definitely good to know.