Skills Challenges - Pre-Load and Match-Load Quantities

We actually know the answer to the question, as we feel they are quite clear in the rules. We are asking because it seems to be a surprisingly common misconception among some teams (including members of our own team at one time). Having them answered directly here will provide a useful point of clarification for us to pass along, and to protect the integrity of teams qualifying for the World Championship via Skills Challenges.

The question relates to the following definitions in both the Robot and Programming Skills Challenge rules:

Sequence of events:
*]A Skills Challenge participant begins in a Red Starting Alliance Tile
*]They human load and score 5 sacks for Match Loads on the Red Alliance side
*]The robot crosses over to the Blue side of the field and drives into a Blue Alliance Starting Tile
*]The participant claims they can now Match Load an additional 5 sacks because they are “on both the Red and Blue alliance” during the Skills Challenge, and should have access to a 2nd set of Match Loads on the Blue Alliance side

Does a Skills Challenge participant have access to two (2) sets of Match-Loads, a set for each of the Red and Blue alliance sides of the field?

I figured this question would be in the Q&A, but I might be able to answer.

There are 5 match loads, one of which is a preload. “Of these Robot/Programming Skills Match Loads, only one (1) Sack may be used as a Robot/Programming Skills Preload.” So basically, it’s only 4+1 sacks.

From what I understand, all of the square are of your “alliance”, because you are counted as both red and blue or whatever reason - we could realign on any square last year, and I don’t think that’s changed. So, you can load the 5 match loads on any tile if you want. However, each team gets the 5 match loads. There is only one team, so there are 5 match loads in total, but they can be introduced in any order on any tile.

The thread was moved out of Q&A because it is not a question.

The question is stated at the end:

I’ve edited the sequence of events to reflect the “4+1” correction by Totally Generic Name above. I’ve edited the question to try and make it more clear.

The question still stands, and I’d still like an official answer.

I have bumped into teams who thought that there are 5 sacks available on BOTH alliance sides of the field. They would human load 5 on the starting side, score them, cross the field to the other side, and human load 5 more. Thus human loading a total of 10 sacks into the robot.

Their rationale being that you are both Red and Blue alliance members during skills challenge, and should get a complete set of match-loads and pre-loads on each side of the field as well.

I know this is definitely not the case, but would like to see a Q&A response to quash this mis-interpretation of the rules quickly.

You are not both red and blue alliances. You cannot park on the colour you did not start on and you cannot reposition on the colour you did not start on. Nowhere in the robot skills rules or the programming skills rules does it say that you are “both alliances”. The colour of tiles and goals is ignored only for the purposes of scoring sacks and driver control loading.

The purpose of the Q+A is to answer questions that don’t yet have clear answers, not to reiterate things that are spelled out in the rules. Questions that can be answered by reading the manual clutter the Q+A and make it difficult for people who need to keep up with rules changes to do so.

Okay, no offense, but all I wanted was a simple, OFFICIAL “No” response on the Q&A.

It would’ve taken less time than it did to mysteriously move the thread out of the Q&A to here.

That way I could’ve e-mailed teams a clear response from an official source. I’m not an authoritative figure, and they aren’t going to listen to me. I’m getting some feedback from participants at my event who thought the Skills Challenges were poorly run due to a misunderstanding of this rule, and I’m trying to say we actually got it right. We denied someone a World qualifying spot because of this, and it’s making me, my event and VEX as a whole look bad.

Yes, the rules are clear, but people make up, misinterpret or selectively read rules all the time, and this is an issue that I’ve overheard teams misinterpret more than once.

What I didn’t want was people replying, adding their own two cents, sidetracking the original question with irrelevant information, and selectively reading the original post.

Now we’re cluttering the rest of the VEX forums with noise, while the ACTUAL Q&A remains populated with questions even more asinine than this one.

Look, what I don’t want is anyone’s team knocked out by another team who shows up at an event where the Skills Challenge person doesn’t have the best handle on the rules. Let’s say the field is setup with match loads on both sides, so teams have a choice on which side they start on, Red or Blue. The next thing you know, a team ends up loading 5 sacks on each side of the field, puts up a Worlds qualifying score with those extra illegal sacks and you don’t catch it until after the event is over… or you don’t catch it at all.

What do you do then?

I almost saw it happen at my own event, but thankfully someone caught it. The team wasn’t being malicious, they just misinterpreted the rules. We told the team, DQ’ed their big score, and they begrudgingly and unsuccessfully continued to try to qualify without using the illegal extra sacks.

My event was two days ago, and I’m trying to wrap everything up so I can get back to teaching and catch up on the marking that’s piled up from organizing and running a VEX event. I want to close the book on this ASAP.

In addition, maybe I can save some other VEX teams and event partners some potential grief, and all it takes is a simple “No.”

Instead, I get trolled.


The inquiry ends with a “?”, ergo it is a question.

I think the best thing to do here would have been to leave the question in the Q&A and let it have an official answer. This rule:

This rule makes the Q&A a great tool for event organizers to use when clarifying and arguing the interpretation of rules to teams, and applying the rules. Teams will not go against the ruling of the people who wrote the rules.

There was a question which received an official reply from Karthik, what’s the problem?

It was moved out of the Q&A originally because it was deemed “not a question.”

A day later, a copy was made, and put back in to the Q&A.

It was answered, and all is well again.

This may well be true, but it’s not the intended purpose of the Q+A and it’s contrary to the Q+A usage guidelines.