New VEX U 1v1 Format

To the powers that be,

My VEX U career started during the Sack Attack game season and while I have seen great strides in growing the VEX U program, I feel that the new 1 v 1 format is regressive and almost stagnating of growth and progress. I would also like to state that this letter is not an attack on anyone but is a request for discussion before the rule becomes a permanent addition to the VEX U program.	

In the past when a change was proposed it was discussed with the teams before it was implemented. For example, during the Toss Up season there was discussion of switching the VEX U program to a completely autonomous competition. Most of the teams present rejected the idea for various reasons and as a result of the discussion the operator controlled time was extended.

The new format seems to exclusively limit teams instead of offering them something in exchange for the robot that was taken. As of July 2nd the rules for the 24” robot are identical to those of last year (aside from the lack of expansion of course). This, to me, feels like a punishment similar to taking something away from a misbehaving child. Also, the new rules only allow 3 team members to be present on the field which effectively halves the amount of people that are actively participating during matches which appears to be in stark contrast of “growing the program.”

While volunteering at local tournaments I spoke to high school and middle school students about the VEX U program over the years and the thing that excited them the most was that they were able to build their own alliance. One thing I am grateful for is that the alliance selection and random pairing system was not introduced into the program, as many teams had voiced their opposition to that during previous open forum discussions. 

The removal of the second robot also removes a lot of the challenge and strategy that comes with building your own alliance. Teams no longer are required to program coordinated autonomous programs between their two robots to avoid collision, something that would have been great to showcase this season as physical interference from the opposing alliance is highly unlikely.

I look forward to hearing the opinions of other VEX U teams and those of the REC Foundation/VEX that decided to implement the change.


I think there was some discussion about this earlier and if I remember right, many teams weren’t happy about it. Hopefully the RECF listens and they reverse their position on this next year.

I agree. Making VEXU 1v1 will make matches more boring both for competitors and spectators. The ability to specialize your robots is gone and now VEXU teams are pushed more towards just making slightly larger/better equipped high school robots.

The best reason that I can think of/have heard why RECF would do this is because it theoretically makes it easier for new VEXU teams to get started because they need to buy less equipment, recruit fewer members, spend less time to build half as many working robots, etc.

If that is their intention then hopefully many teams will find it easy to get started this year and we can go back to 2v2 next season.

Alternatively it also encourages established teams to register a second team so that their members that previously worked on two robots have something to work on. Call me cynical but this would provide more in registration fees and artificially boosts VEX U numbers. I much prefer the 2v2 format and this (along with many other reasons) has encouraged my own team to look for alternative competitions. Anyone want to join a FTC U league?

I was just planning on recommending everyone I know to make a second team.

Certainly would not help the drama started this past year with teams registering multiple times in order to compete multiple times and teams competing at worlds with other teams robots.

We are considering starting a second team depending on how many new members we gain in the fall and if any of the alternative competitions we look into are realistic for us to participate in this year.

I think that this was probably a necessary change. It makes it easier for new VEX U teams to form, as there is a lower budget and time requirement to compete at a decent level. Some teams are funded by their universities, but many others are not, and it can be difficult to get funding. I expect this to improve the “pipeline” from VRC to VEX U as many VRC graduates who intended to start VEX U teams gave up due to lack of time/money/interest.

Building two robots is a fairly high barrier to entry, along with programming for 45s autonomous creates a huge time commitment which along with a high budget requirement is something that is short supply for college students. If high school VRC had a requirement that each organization must have at least two teams, then I would expect the growth rate to drop substantially. (In my experience schools might have one team their first year, and then add more from there).

I do see how this could affect the strategy and gameplay, but the VEX U program needs to grow to be successful. The change is a strike against mixed composition teams like BNS, since members in different geographic locations can no longer effectively contribute, but these types of teams are at a disadvantage anyway, and are not really the focus of the program. Perhaps the new 1v1 rule could last just for a year or two, and then return to 2v2 once there are more teams competing in VEX U.

I agree with Owen.

The 1v1 ruling makes it easier to start up newer vex U team by reducing the spending on parts. Additionally, it gives more time for vex U teams to focus on a single robot to perfect so they stop embarrassing themselves in front of high schoolers.

Though there is a point in 1v1 matches being less strategic, I would say the solution isn’t a single college vs a single college 2v2, but rather the same high school/middle school 2v2.

Once college grows to the point that there’s at least 150 teams that do robot skills and programming skills, that’s when I think we should return the traditional college format