Toss Up: More than just a new game.

NOTE: This is mostly pure speculation only from attending the 1727 REX June competition!

Observing from the competition (although I can’t name specific matches), the most successful qualification teams had ONE robot in the end goal zone, and the other robot in the hanging/middle zone feeding pieces to the scoring robot, and playing defense. Having two robots in the end goal zone along with another enemy robot and all the beach balls would make the end zone crowded as hell, which makes for inefficient driving and scoring.

In Toss Up (unlike pretty much every other Vex game), teamwork will be extremely important. In Sack Attack, Round Up, and even Gateway, one well-build robot could single handedly beat two mediocre robots. Toss Up will not be the same. In the other games, there were at best two objectives in the games which required specific mechanics to achieve. In Gateway, all you had to do was be able to pick up the pieces (which wasn’t very difficult with the right device). In Sack Attack, all of the game pieces, sacks, are able to be manipulated using one type of device. Round Up was my favorite… there were two unique objectives, hanging and scoring the donuts. The similarity between all of these games is that ONE well designed and well build robot would be able to complete all of the objectives in the game, and single-handedly carry the game on their own.

Toss Up is different. There are three objectives: hanging, scoring buckeyballs, and scoring large balls. Not to mention that if you wanted to create a robot to do all of that, it would have to be under 12 inches (to go under the double bar), and it would have to be able to cross the bump. Teams would have to create a robot that can accomplish a specific task, rather than a robot that can do EVERYTHING (a jack of all trades is a master at none).

There would be two types of robots, one that specializes in the end zone and one that specializes in the hanging zone. Both would be able to access the middle zone, of course. The problem with this is in qualification matches. What if you have two robots who specialize in hanging zone paired up with each other? They already have a disadvantage. The rankings would probably not accurately portray how well the robot does its job. HOWEVER, this would very much emphasize scouting. Certain types of robots high in the rankings would have to do heavy scouting in order to find good synergy between the two robots. Think Gateway World Championships finals. One team scored a TON of pieces, while the other one played the role of blocking the center goal and playing great defense. Two high scoring robots does not always mean it’s the best team.

This is my opinion and what I think would happen in the coming months of Toss Up. Best game Vex has come up with imo (except for Round Up. Nothing beats Round Up). Thanks for reading, and please discuss!

I agree completely. Plus that would have the added benefit of a less crowded goal zone to move around in. I believe top level teams will be able to play in either middle or goal zones very well no matter who their teammate. i.e flexibility

For College teams I think this would be a no brainer of a strategy.


I agree that the 2 robots need to per-determine roles and use the strategy that you described, but a successful robot will need to do everything. I say this due to our experience, we seemed to get paired with every clawbot that attended the competitions we went to leaving us in a 2 against 1 type situation frequently. If you build a robot that specializes in just one or two tasks, you will find yourself at a tournament where every other alliance you get specializes in the very same tasks that you do and neither can complete the other tasks.

This will definitely be a game where communicating with your alliance is paramount to success. I think teams will discover that the “crowded” drivers station is a blessing when it comes to collaboration.

P.S., we don’t have enemy’s in VEX robotics, just opponents. You will figure this out when a team helps you fix your robot only minutes before competing against you.

Good point Vincent!

I’ve been trying to decide if a robot that can do everything will be successful in this type of game. It’s hard to just say “Oh, Let’s not have our robot score” or “…hang” because then you feel like your design has holes in it…

I guess a robot that has everything isn’t bad but if they try to do everything on their own then I can see some problems. Like in Sack Attack one robot could easily sweep the field clean of sacks and dump them into the troughs as well as descore and be successful. In this year’s game it’s going to be different like you said.

The key is to have a robot that can switch its position fast and easy. Let’s say you get matched up with a robot that is a good defensive player. Your robot has to be able to switch to offensive without any complications… Same as if you were matched up with an offensive robot; you have to be able to swich to defensive.

So the winning robot is going to have to be a robot that can do everything but can turn on and off certain qualities and advantages…

Maybe this year we’ll see someone utilize <R1> and make a robot with two scoring mechanisms that can be swapped out.

Hey, you found our strategy!

We don’t need to score if you can’t, either.

Wait! I didn’t see that rule!

What I meant was scoring in the stashed goals…

What does this zone specialization entail? It does not take much work to get a bot that can reach above the 24 inch goal to have and appendage that allows for hanging, and I have already seen several designs that can pick up both big balls and buckyballs efficiently. Are you suggesting that the bot in the goal zone forgoes big ball manipulation in favor of buckyball manipulation? I feel that to be truly competitive at worlds, teams will have to be able to pick up big balls in the goal zone in order to descore them. So, bots will already be able to score buckyballs and pick up big balls. At this point, how much of a sacrifice in performance must be made to add a hanging mechanism? I believe that it is not that hard to add a hanging mechanism, so there isn’t really any reason to build an 18 inch robot that cannot cross under the barrier. FMPOV, the extra 6 inches really only helps with hanging.

It’s a lot less about what you have on your robot. Having the capability of picking up bucky balls, large balls, and hanging in one robot is fine. What I think he’s talking about here is more the design of a robot based around play style. For example, there would be one robot designed to efficiently pick up and score bucky balls and large balls in the goals in the goal zone, while there would be another robot in the hanging/middle zone to grab and feed game objects to the scoring robot. I think the point he’s trying to make here is that specialization in one zone and cooperating with other teams is going to prove more effective rather than having both bots on one team running around to pick up and score objects.

well if u have two robots that can “do everything”
they can still play out what you described: one robot scores, one robot feeds

except now, those two robots will do well at quals because they can be defensive, OR offensive (or both, if they have a crap partner)

Well, if your robot isn’t under 12" tall at some point to get under the barrier, it might as well be 40" tall all time, no? In college, this is much easier to justify, because in order to utilize most of the 24" robot’s volume, it’d have to flatten out to something like 3-4’ wide to fit under the bridge, which is absurd to maneuver. I’m thinking of a 6’+ tall robot…

Hm, if each alliance typically assigns one robot to each end, then it’s going to be like 2 1v1 matches on the field. That’s not really true, but suppose it works like that. Then you’d be the only one that can block, and be blocked by, the opponent in your end, instead of being able to trade places with your alliance on a whim in any position on the field. I don’t know how significant that’ll be, but it’s worth mentioning.