Pinning, definition and question.

At the Vex Elevation competition hosted at our school the ref spent a long time talking about pinning. He said is was, and I quote “trapping another robot against a field element” is this correct? But if you just drive in front of another robot in the field that is nowhere near a “field element” is it legal? Or is there a ‘no blocking’ rule also? And what about robot-robot, that happened at a recent competition. Our robots arm got stuck on another, twice. So after being stuck twice which amounted for 40 seconds of gameplay, we lost.
Can someone help me with the the rules/definition for each of those 3 blocks.
(note, this is just a repeat of the question in the general forum. Can a mod please lock/delete as it has been answered and i was told to post the question here instead.)

I am not the game design committee, and this is not the Official Questions forum.

Pinning is holding another robot against a field element so that they cannot move. The platform is the exception – there are no rules against pinning against the platform.

Having said that, blocking is not pinning. I’ve never seen it called as a penalty in any VRC/FIRST game. High speed robots blocking scoring is a good defensive strategy.

Entangling another robot on purpose is illegal. An entanglement that results from incidental contact is a part of the game. Devices that have a high potential for entanglement can be cause for disqualification at the referee’s discretion.

so…you can’t make a robot that expands and blocks another robot from moving anywhere? that would be very cool to consume and box in another bot so it can’t do anything, and i wouldn’t think “entanglement”, as the robots aren’t stuck together.

Rick didn’t say that

As an acting head ref at a number of pre-regional comps l have given a lesson on pinning.
My definition was the same as your ref. Pinning was described as when the robot that was pinned could not move around your robot because it was trapped by the wall of the field and the other robot. Pinning is not legal.

I explained blocking as a robot being in your path but you could drive around it. It may have been that you had to reverse and take a different path to where you wanted to get to but you could still get your robot out of the situation. Blocking is legal.

Entanglement is up to the ref to call case by case. For instance if two robots are trying to put a cube in the same goal and get entangled then that would be just part of normal game play and unlikely to get penalised. But if you pushed your arm into the middle of another robot as they went by just to stop them this would probably be considered deliberate entanglement. If you did this multiple times the ref may disqualify you for going against the spirit of the game.

Here is an offical explanation on blocking / pinning.

Here’s a good post about how pushing the rules to far may back fire on a team.

BrentJ - I think you may have misinterpreted the pinning rule, and part of the first Q&A answer you cited.

Everyone - I want to say I know the correct answer to these questions, but… I think we need to involve the Game Design Committee and/or someone from IFI.

When they explain the rule, the explanation needs to be clear about the difference between inhibiting a robot’s movement by being in its way and either forcing it to try to go around you or forcing it to stay in one section of the field; and inhibiting its movement by being the reason it is actively being pressed against a field element (wall or tall goal).


For a robot to be considered pinned, the pinned robot must be in contact with one or more field elements. To make things clearer, here are all the criteria that must exist for a robot to be considered pinned in Elevation.

  • The pinned robot is in contact with a field element that is not the platform.
  • The pinned robot’s movement is being inhibited by an opposing robot.
  • The pinned robot must be on the foam playing surface.

See the following new FAQ entry.

In a regional we went to, only one of the other teams bots worked. So our partner and us got the lead then trapped the opponents working bot in the corner. The bot could still move, but it couldnt get past us. It was completely legal.

if you could get some unsuspecting robot inside a cage with it’s wheels off the ground ;D.

Apart from that, due to the layout of the arena, you can trap a robot in a corner without pinning them (21" goals). Just want to get some clarification

And I thank you for that, if I am correctly interpreting your post.