Possibility of a rule change to address cage bots?

I think everybody, myself included, will be very much surprised of the ways this is going to be played out by the time of the Worlds. We should never underestimate the creativity of the young minds…

Actually, nearly all head to head games have the objective of scoring more points. In American football, the objective is to score more points by scoring touchdowns, field goals, PATs, and safeties. In basketball, the objective is to score more points by throwing a ball through a hoop that is twice the diameter of the ball. Defense, with the exception of the safety, is all about shutting down the other team from scoring.

In soccer, there are players who exclusively or almost exclusively play defense and others who exclusively or almost exclusively play offense. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world.

Hockey is the same way. It is the most popular sport here is Canada. There are times that a team will empty the goal and have everyone play offense but that is a desperation strategy.

If you cannot handle the defense of a cage bot or someone knocking over the mogos, redesign your robot and git gud.

Just so you know, mogo tipping is pretty much a useless strategy as any robot with an arm can re-tip it upright in about 2 seconds. If you didn’t know that, I think you need to “git gud” before telling someone else to.

I also understand where you’re coming from as an adult with experience, but please do keep in mind that these traits are not exclusive to your age group.

I’m 16 (probably what you would consider a ‘young mind’) and I’ve been working with PID loops and such for a long time now. While most teams may not even know what PID is, or how to implement it, that’s where the entire concept of robotics steps in.

Robotics is supposed to encourage kids of all ages to further their own knowledge on topics they haven’t even thought of exploring yet. I remember when I programmed my first PID loop, it was extremely complicated, but the most I understood it, the more my knowledge of building, mechanics, teamwork, etc. advanced with my programming. But how did I even get into such advanced programming? Well, my team initially wasn’t doing as great as I wished (because we were relatively new to robotics as a whole), so I took it upon myself to ask one of the top teams in my state (FL) what exactly made their robots so much better than everybody else’s. I thank that person for most of my more advanced understanding of mechanics and programming, and I would never have even walked up to him at the state championship had I not wanted to better myself, and my team because his robot was very clearly better than mine.

With the introduction of cage bot legality, sure, the metagame shifts from being very advanced towards more basic builds. But now, those relatively new teams will never have an incentive to better themselves. Why try to become better than you are when you can just take the easy way out and build a cage bot? They’re just as competitive as the experienced teams’ robots, and they take virtually no skill to build or drive.

I guess my point is, yes you are right that now all teams are on a much more equal playing field. However, now no team will ever want to become better than they are, because there is no “better” anymore.

I get your analogy, but sports are slightly different in that soccer, football, basketball, and others have more than two players per team. In VEX, we do not get that luxury. So, while in sports, defense can play a minor role by attributing a certain percentage of players to stop the opposing team from scoring, defense in VEX consists of 0%, 50%, or 100% defense. Only one of those percentages makes sense in the “offensive” game that In the Zone is supposed to be.

I agree with what @Mystellianne said, with cagebots there is no point in having a good robot that takes skill to build and operate when you can do the same or better with a robot you could make in an hour.

Sounds like some would rather this be a Rube Goldberg contest.



VRC’s primary goal is education as well as discovery of STEM talent and it is great that it works this way for you!

Everytime I see it, I am still amazed how students like you are taking on to learn advanced topics, that they otherwise wouldn’t see until 3rd year in college, and succeed!

I am sure you will do great this year. You may need to redesign your robot to be able to stack on captured MoGos as well as be able to untip them. But at the end, I am sure, you will be even more proud of your achievement.


Thank you for the civilized words, I appreciate it deeply, I really do. We need more people in this world (and on these forums) like you that can calmly discuss a topic without flaming other people or spouting random insults in the hopes of receiving attention.

Until the game is rebalanced (if ever, unfortunately), I will be doing my best to adjust to these changes. I hope it doesn’t last for the entirety of the season’s remainder, but I will certainly do what I can for the time being.

When comes to cagebot (or any other defensive robots), I do agree a lot with @technik3k .

Granted that in any sports or games, defensive strategy is never well-received, nor can it hype up the crowds, etc. But a good defensive robot takes a lot of planning and technical ability as well.

But I want to make a distinction between a simple pushbot that just pushes mobile goals or opponents around and a well-thought through defensive robot.

Well-thought through defensive robot is one that thinks through and analyses the game thoroughly and figure out a gameplay that will almost guarantee a win. A good classic example will be 2W in Gateway.
There was really nothing that you can do about it. But it took lots of meta-gaming and technical know-hows to get that robot up.

So let’s not paint all defensive robots in the same brushstroke.

And I truly believe that defensive robots will add so much more to the variety of robot designs and gameplays and make the end results of matches so much more unpredictable.
It is more fun and exciting.

@Mystellianne - I am not sure of your personal experience with defensive robot, but from my many years of experience as a robotics teacher/mentor, what I notice is that generally, it is the more experience, more astute, more strategy-savvy and technically stronger students that will think of ways to “hack” the game. And normally “hacking” the game will always involve certain amount of defensive play, simply because “hacking” the game means you need to either “lock-up” the points that you scored or deny the opponents from scoring.

In any case, much earlier in the season, there was already a discussion about pure defensive robot - and basically the common agreement is that for this season, a pure defensive robot will not cut it. Similarly, for a cagebot, we have done an analysis (before singvex), and the conclusion is that you can only guarantee a win if you can capture 3 of your opponent’s mobile goals (which I think what happened in APAC semi-finals more or less confirmed our analysis).

Another point is that, just like pushbots during Starstruck, it was only effective during the regionals. It was quite useless even from States onwards. I believe the same thing can be said about the current cagebot - it will only be effective up to a certain level. Anything beyond regionals, think the cagebot teams will need to up their game :slight_smile:

I’ve never seen a cage bot be a “must pick” for the elimination rounds and actually make it to finals. Maybe in the first 2 events here they had some success but after that they kinda get rekt. So even in your situation the cage bots may seem to be breaking the game right now but it will only be a little bit until they die out and can’t do much as other teams get better.

I thought Mobile goal bots would go away, but they make good second picks for Elim rounds, But I guess we’ll see what happens.

Yea the mobile goal bots are probably gonna be here a lot longer than the cage bots since they are so good in skills. Also since its up to the ref to give out warnings and DQ’s based on purely defensive strategies I think it will eventually discourage teams from using cage bots

Can someone explain to me, due to utter ignorance, what a cagebot does? I have seen pics where they wrap some extension around a mogo, do they drag them as well?

Yes. So far the max capacity of a cagebot is 2 mobile goals. And the cagebot simply drag them around so that it is very difficult for the opponent to stack.

On what basis would refs be giving them warning for being a purely defensive bot? There are no rules against being purely defensive. Additionally, the cage bots I have seen both in person and on video mostly had some offensive ability, but even if they did not, that does not make them illegal.

At our last tournament, there were two cage bots (they were from two different organizations). One was erroneously given a warning for entanglement because while he had two mogos trapped, a team on the opposing alliance tried to lift one of the mogos and was not able to do it, but did get the cage bot partially off the ground.

It was on that basis that the question linked below was asked and it turns out, the ref was wrong to give the warning.


The rules do not disallow defensive only robots. So far, all the the Q&A questions about them dating back to May have gone in favor of them. I think the GDC likes them and maybe even anticipated them when they wrote the rules.

Who said anything about 2?

Thanks @meng , I guess we can all wait and see how well dragging works out once you spray the field with ESD spray for State and World’s?


This is from the videos that i can see so far.
But realistically, most of the time it is also going to be 2 - unless the opponents are going to give up their mobile goals during auton for you to pick up… which is very unlikely.