Starting Placement for the Robots

In looking of the rules, it seems that the placement of the robots is favored for one side over the other. I know that this is an alliance, but it seems as though the orange side has a slight time advantage with the middle hexballs. After talking with my other coach we think that the initial placement should be staggered, so that both teams are nearest their center color. Did anyone else feel this way too?

If you look at the field diagram the robots both start on the same side because the driver station has rotated from the end of the field to the side of the field for this new challenge. From what I am seeing with how the field is laid out it is to provide a better stage presence not a scoring advantage.


Yes, I agree with Tony, this was chosen for its proximity of the starting position to where the drivers are standing. This will make for some interesting strategy for which robot starts on which side for teamwork alliances. It may also make programming skills a bit more difficult.

I like that it encourages teams to communicate before their matches, something which is always a good idea. Overall I like how next year’s challenge seems to be a lot more teamwork oriented, I think strategy will play a much bigger role than it did this year.

I’d say the placing is actually beneficial to the alliance. Even if they actually have a very same strategy for scoring, the different length of the initial robot trip will create a nice time offset so they won’t hit each other in the middle of the ramp while trying to cross over with all their collected hexballs :wink:

I like the set up as it provides teams with two unique situations for them to consider when running skills. I do like how zachansel figured out that one of the positions has a further travel distance than the other. Great observation.


I am wondering if Tournament Manager will choose Orange or Blue starting positions for teamwork matches.

TM only chooses the alliance. Starting position choice is normally up to teamwork. I did not check yet if new rules mention TM as making that choice. In the past each team was listed under a color (blue/red) but the teams can switch positions.

Not sure if I should start a new thread. but what is going to be the starting position for the bridge? in a balanced position, where robot has to bring it down in order to cross it?

It was mentioned in the game manual:

Bridge – The 14” x 24” structure of VEX IQ plates that sits 3.25” high off the ground when level. The Bridge is mounted on a double hinge that allows the Bridge to tip towards either end of the field. Teams may elect to start the Bridge tipped in either direction or to leave it Balanced. If the Teams don’t make a decision, it will start the Match Balanced.

New rules do not mention TM choosing it. Maybe RECF can clarify during the Event Partner Summit in June. (1.36 KB)

Got it. Just curious. What prompted that question about TM. For the past three years, it has been the same and the alliance decide which starting position they prefer. It has not been an issue. Was there any discussion (rumor) on enforcing the pre-selected color? For example, our first time kids went to a position as listed and then found out that they could switch.

Edit: (fyi only) Here is where it was officially asked previously… * [FONT=inherit]Originally posted by surgeon View Post
Question: How is the driver side chosen? (ie, can the 2 teams decide on which side of the field they would like to start on?).


Karthik: Yes, the two teams on the alliance can decide together.

No rumors. Just thinking outside the box hoping to catch a moderator who has some pull… :wink:

Not only that it just seems to reason if there are now predefined positions by color that it could make things a little more clear for newer teams if TM did the placement. It would also remove any advantages to specific teams.:eek:

Choosing starting positions has always been an important part of the teamwork aspect. Having a noticeable difference in layout for each starting position makes it a much more interesting choice, I like it.

Orange only has a time advantage if they want to collect the middle hexballs first. If a robot focused on collecting hexballs off the back row first, and then collected from the middle…it would actually give blue a time advantage.

It really comes down to the capabilities and strategy of each robot. The layout is very balanced.

Aloha All,
After thinking about this further I really like the two unique starting positions. I would like to see VEX IQ do more field set ups like this. This will definitely push my kids toward designing a robot and strategy that works from both areas. In past years, it was quite easy to strategize as one starting area just mirrored the other one. I really really like this different set up. It will be great to see the robots that have “The Whole Package” verses those that only work with specific situations. Just my two cents.


Not sure I understand your suggestion. Are you wanting to remove potential strategies from teams? I believe you’re thinking about this in the wrong way. Remember, the teams are trying to work together.

I personally know several of the coaches in this forum, and I’m willing to bet if any of our teams were paired with a team that wasn’t very good, our students would select the “more difficult” path, and allow the other team to take the “easy” one so the alliance could perform better overall.

Two years ago with Highrise, the fields were not balanced because of the placement of the colored cubes. Some teams would do better starting on one side or the other. The best teams had strategies to start on either.

I’m not sure if I actually have any pull, (I may) but I would strongly encourage the challenge to remain as it is.


I am not wanting to remove any strategies from the teams. My thought was to simplify the staging process for teams entering the matches. Also the idea was to promote a rotation of Blue and Orange so you don’t have a team always on one side or the other. (And that was to have the teams plan for diversity)…

From the standpoint you mention about taking the more difficult path… Since the field is a mirror image is there really a more difficult side?

You did make me really think harder about where the teams start the challenge… After rethinking my previous statement, I think you are correct and it should be left to the teams to decide where they start.


I also had the same understanding as Steve, which is why it prompted me to ask about how this came about. Better way would have been to just ask if teams can decide on starting position or not. Also if TM chooses, it is supposed to be random as well, which means there can be more of one color than other. The rotation logic would also have to be very detailed. Plus, if there is no choosing then teamwork means strictly “go do it” vs “lets work on a strategy together” (or something like that).

The more difficult side would be the one where there is no advantage that the thread speaks of. If they were exactly the same then this issue would have not come up. Difficult side would also be the one a team prefers not to be on. Hence, decision at alliance. This challenge, though different in every aspect, has an imbalance aspect just like in highrise. Some teams preferred to start on one side vs other. In all, if you follow the strategy, it was almost symmetrical in the sense that there was always more travel for one color depending on starting position.

Agree that the best teams do think about either side. Letting the teams choose also makes it fun for the kids.

There will be teams that are challenged to accomplish anything on the “easy” side. There’s no reason to force them to do more. (Like force them to work on either side)