"Turtling" Strategy

Oh yeah. One thing. The people saying “just double park lol” don’t consider that the alliance doing turtling can very well do the same. With a 1 mogo disadvantage, there’s nothing that can be done (unless you somehow manage to get rings on the tall goal without getting descored). The alliance with the 4 mogos don’t have to just AFK there for the rest of the match. Especially with the new hoarding rules, one robot can just drop one of their mogos off in a corner where the other would just hoard it, and play defense on the potential tall goal scoring system or just to screw with the other alliance.

The only way I see turtling losing is if they massively screw up their park or accidentally descore rings or get dq’d in some way.

And I think the problem that we are trying to address is not the fact that this strategy is overpowered, but more of the game ends within 15 seconds of auton. I’m sure I would have no problem with a strategy that at least made the match a little more interesting.

1 Like


I really hope you will take a pause, read through some of our explanations and then think through.

Currently it feels like (at least to me) you are overwhelmed by this self-perceived sense of injustice.

The crucial way of overcoming this strategy is by outscoring the opponents with the rings.
Once the “turtled” alliance notice that the other alliance is going to outscore them in rings, they will have no choice but to unturtle.
And the other alliance would have a headststart in terms of grabbing the rings.

The rings are the key to get teams to unturtle. And once the teams are unturtled, then it will depends on how the other alliance play their game, eg. Defense? Snatch? Outscore by rings, etc?

And as i have tried explaining many times, if the opponents is winning the goal rush and also in the scoring of rings, then i would seriously have no complains about my teams losing the match. Simply because they lost to a better robot, and/or better drivers and/or better gameplay.

It just feels fair and square to me.


Sure, it’s fair under the rules. I just think it’s boring. That’s all I’m going to say here.

1 Like

Once the turtled alliance are forced to unturtle, there will be actions right?

As mentioned by some posters - it will only be boring when the skills gaps are too big or the other alliance can’t do anything with the goals or rings, etc.

But then again, if we have an alliance that can’t score rings or pick up goals or park, it will be boring even without this turtle strategy.


I’m not sure teams will have to unturtle in matches. I think it’s very realistic for teams to grab a neutral goal and fill up an alliance goal with rings all in auton, meaning they don’t ever have to leave their platform because they’ve already scored all the point that they can.

Unless opponent gets tall goal in which case they have to either stop them, or go for a risky double park maneuver.

But I can see matches where the goal rush isn’t won or lost in auton, but rather a neutral goal is latched on to by both alliances and it becomes a tug of war to see who gets the advantage. And while that happens there are opportunities for their partners to potentially steal an alliance goal which is left behind, or help their partner in their fight.

So agreed, it isn’t as simple as goal majority wins every match. But it’s undeniably a huge advantage.


I am not so optimistic about this.

Ok… i am looking at worlds standard type of matches (as usual).

it will be goal rush - i can’t see any other way about it.
And for high level goal rush, i foresee one of the following:

  1. Both robots clamped on to the same neutral goal and get stuck there for the entire autonomous period
  2. One robot managed to drag or pull it back (after some tug of war with the opponent)
  3. One robot lost the tug of war

For (2) and (3) - there is a high chance that the robot will be misaligned. So might have problem in picking up the rings during autonomous.

But for all (1) to (3), most of the autonomous period will be used up with all these tug of war?

So yes - technically, and I am also sure that many high level teams will be coding their robots to pick up neutral goal(s) and score rings on it during autonomous, but realistically i am not sure if it will be happening regularly.


I do really wonder what the GDC’s thought process on point values was. I’d love a post-season “Making of the Game” video.

To it’s credit, I think the early change for Auton to go from 20 to 6 points was necessary to prevent a chokehold strategy. At this point, any changes to scoring is a non-starter, though.

I’m really curious why they decided that branch rings are 3 points, and high-branch 10. Given the obvious chokehold strategy presented partly by the fact that Rings are useless without Goals, and how high of a point value they place on Goals.

One scenario I’ve anchored on is a hypothetical match where:

  • Red controls 4 Goals (which are then Elevated), and cannot do Rings
  • Blue controls 3 Goals (which are then Elevated) and places 14 Rings on them (low Branches)

Current scoring, assuming Red wins Auton would see Red with 166-162. Arguably, one could say that Blue performed a more “skillful match” in the sense that scoring 14 Rings requires a robot with more diverse set of capabilities.

Had the GDC decided that Rings on Low Branches were worth 5 points, now Blue wins the match 190-170, which seems like a more reasonable outcome that rewards Blue for a more diverse skillset.

Why the High Branch Rings are only worth 10 points each under any scenario that correlates difficulty to reward is beyond me. Putting even the 3 pre-load Rings on a High Branch is far more difficult than parking a Robot on the Platform, yet they are equivalent point-wise.


good point, I wonder how many goals will be contested by two robots instead of captured by one before the other. I think it could be decently high, unless teams start opting to rush at the center before the side goals which could change things a bit.

Value of the rings would be more clear if it was one for base, 3 for alliance stem, 6 for low neutral, 12 for high. Rewards solving the problem if lifting rings to and orienting all neutral goals, not just high branch scoring.

edit: 1 -2 - 5 -10 would make more sense for pairing with goal scores of 20 and 40


well, if you think about it, increasing the value of rings really wouldn’t benefit an alliance that has fewer goals in any way because fewer goals means less places to score rings. in fact, the only way in this entire game to score points independently of goals is by winning auton (which is closely tied to who has the most goals) and parking (which is something both alliances have unopposed access to)

I think this game could have benefited from a method of scoring not dependent on goals, say from a red and a blue stationary goal on the field perimeter. I also think that there is a flaw with the short neutral goal branches, they’re virtually useless because they’re very difficult to score rings on, and because the only time you’d ever want to (when you’re at a goal defecit) you’d only be able to score 8, which is not enough points to make up that goal defecit. I think perhaps the short neutral goals should have been identical in shape to the alliance goals (simply a vertical post) to encourage scoring rings on them. This is getting far from the point of the topic, but it’s an interesting thing to discuss.


Without gaming through the point scenarios, I’d agree that a distinction between Alliance Stem and low-neutral is otherwise warranted. My understanding is that originally the Alliance Goals had Branches, that the GDC eliminated later in the game design process. Why that decision wasn’t coupled with a point change is interesting, any may have come from other constraints (e.g. Tournament Manager code already being written, etc.)

You said this much better than what I was dancing around. I agree some way for Rings to score without a Goal would be a fantastic way for the game to avoid these sorts of chokeholds.

On the upside, the game creates considerable strategic decisions at the start of the match. Will see if the game evolves to include strategic choices in the mid-game…


Another interesting change could have been if there were two tall goals, so that it would be possible to split the goals 4 and 4. making it viable to score rings everywhere possible, which could have been really interesting if there were also perhaps 2 stationary goals per alliance on the sides of the field so that robots would be incentivized to be able to score rings in all sorts of ways. could have led to some very interesting lift and ring handling designs.


The easy solution is remove the motor limit.

This would cause a much bigger issue than the turtling strategy


Actually, you bring up a very good point. Putting a ring on a low branch is significantly harder than putting a ring on an alliance branch and requires much more creativity (due to the challenge of it being slightly above height limit for a starting position robot). So logically, it should be worth more points, and this would probably combat the turtling strategies, at least a little.


The new Turtling, Hoarding, and lack of pinning rules have made the game boring. You go to a competition when a team has far more resources than other teams; they build these robots that pick up goals and keep in the air from 1:30 to 30 seconds left then move… the game has become boring and VEX needs to change the rules. Furthermore, It should be illegal for a team to carry or pick up an opposing teams colored goal. The only way an opponent can move another teams goal is by pushing. That is extremely unfair. If Vex wanted the game to involve the rings more, then they should have made them worth more points.

how is it unfair for a team to take an opposing teams home goal?? It is completely fair because if they pick up the others teams home goals they cant even score them for themselves and they are sacrificing a spot on their robot for the neutral goals so instead of scoring your own alliance goal take a neutral one and most robots have a capacity of 2 goals there are robots that can hold 3-4 goals but they are very rare. as for banning the turtling strategy I feel that it is just part of the game. if it is really a big problem then there will be robots that are designed that can counter it. Also as I think was mentioned above if you can score rings on both of your alliance goals and on the yellow goals either high or low and in the base you can still win the match even with the goals disadvantage because the teams who turtle will NOT load their yellow goals as they are just placing them on the platform in the last 30 seconds to keep them locked in place. also as for vex making the rings worth more I can agree on that for face value and if they wanted to see more ring play at least in lower levels they should have made them worth more. BUT in higher level competition like state level and worlds and larger competition rings become more important because it can allow you to win a match even with a goal disadvantage for example if you only get one of the yellow goals then you know that the only way to win is by scoring rings so by necessity you make a robot that can also do rings so that you can ensure a win Or if you know that the opponent can do rings to ensure win despite a goal disadvantage then you also do rings to even out the field and keep that point advantage of having an extra goal. so even thought each individual rings isn’t worth a ton of points they add up and allow you to win the match even if you don’t get a goal advantage which is why I think that the turtle strategy is perfectly beatable. Even if you only have access to 8 motors and no pneumatics you can still set up a bot that would allow you to do rings and goals

Sorry for the long response


There are multiple ways to defeat the turtling strategy, as has been explained by multiple people so I won’t repeat. Instead, I’ll bring up a comparision to last year’s game. In Change Up, speed was the only main factor. If your robot was even 20 rpm less than the opponents the game was over in the first 15 seconds, no matter how hard you tried to reverse it. That’s what I would call a boring match.


@gcfky has a point. Pneumatics are in high demand because teams need additional actuators. With an 8 motor limit they have to build a strategy from the chassis up and make sacrifices on the lesser point field elements. No Cortex are being used so why not make the limit 12? I think you would see more creative solutions.

Most seasons the GDC has multiple design strategies to score the same number of points. This year the game is heavily weighted by the goal values. The only high value for the rings is the high branch which easily falls over. A team would have to dedicate their design to that one goal which is risky and still falls short at about 100 points compared to a 150 point turtle.

In hindsight to make the rings viable all three neutral goals should have been tall and the neutral branch values doubled.


I think you would see a lot of 8-10 motor drives. not sure if the field elements and vex parts in general can handle 10 motor drives repeatedly crashing in to things at Mach 5.

have they really? last 2 games (change up and tt) there was only one main viable strategy. I would argue that for turning point, there was a similar point imbalance between caps and flags that incentivized flags a lot more than caps. Not that this is how the games should be, but I don’t think the gdc designs these games with the intent of allowing any strategy to be viable. Should they? maybe. But if any strategy is viable, teams will almost always chose the easiest one, making the others less viable so getting the balancing right in these games seems quite difficult to do before people start playing them.