So… I’m gonna probably sound like an idiot by the time this “question” (I put this in quotations because it’s most likely rhetorical). Why did this years rules turn out like they did with <SG9>? I feel like it would be a much cooler and better designs would come into play; also, I think a much cooler sentence would be “hey I can stack literally 7 cones in a fraction of a second and get 14 points” compared to “I can stack a cone on a goal and put it in a zone and get a higher score than that guy who did literally twice the work that I did”. Just from my experience with Nothing But Net and Starstruck you could say I’m fairly familiar with the “hoarding” aspect. Lightly salted but still not as salty as I was during the beginning of the season.
I think there are a few reasons for <SG9>'s existence.
As you hinted at, hoarding is one of them. It would make the game insanely unbalanced if a robot could literally just suck up all the cones on the field and prevent opponents from stacking, and, other than <SG9>, there isn’t really a way to eliminate this without saying “it’s up to the ref’s interpretation,” which has always been an issue. It’s ideal to lay down concrete rules on exactly what is legal or illegal than to say “you can’t hoard cones, it’s up to the ref to decide what counts and not.”
Additionally, I believe that this game was intended to be less about how tall your robot can reach (like Skyrise) and more about how fast you can stack a cone. Sure it would make it easier if you could stack 7 cones at once, but then it’s just a competition between who has the tallest lift. Plus stacks tend to be very unsteady at tall heights (22 cones is the max you can stack safely without a stack falling on its own IIRC), and limiting stacking to one cone at once effectively reduces the height of stacks as well, meaning that, for the most part, this is a non-issue.
I don’t think that the game would be better without <SG9>, just different, and it helps differentiate ITZ from past games such as Skyrise and Round Up.