What should a new team expect at the competition?

My team just started Vex this year and we have our first competition this Saturday. We used to do FTC, so we know the general idea of how the competition will work. Are there any major differences we should be aware of? Is anything we should be prepared for?

Uhhh In my experience between the two, there will be a lot less crowd cheers and enthusiasm coming from the crowd… We match it with the fact that there are usually more kids on a first team than a Vex team

You’re going to have people (a lot of people) come up and ask you scouting questions, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. A smaller pit area will make organization hard, and finally, there will be a lot more awards given out.

Hopefully, you guys can expect a warm welcome from the other teams at the competition! I like VEX Competitions because everyone is typically nice to one another, and everyone helps each other. Say someone needs to borrow your dremel or angle grinder (speaking from experience). You help them because you know that they would return the favor. It is a nice community and rarely ever do you see a fight.

I guess FIRST has more “cheerleaders”. I say that as a statement noting that less of the FIRST kids are in the back busily working on the robot, more of them are in the stands, not as a derogatory or misogynistic statement having anything to do with gender. The fact that I have to spell this out makes me sad.

FIRST does focus on the other things surrounding the robot, and many of their awards reflect that.

VEX competitions tend to run a little more mechanically. Having said that, I think VEX brings plenty of energy, but also a little more skepticism. The crowd wants a good show, from well designed robots.

VEX games are better designed IMHO, and generally speaking I feel like VEX in general is less politicized.

It’s funny you ask this, I was thinking just yesterday on doing a video comparing and contrasting VEX and FIRST. I’ve been thinking about FIRST because my college is hosting an FLL competition for the first time and I’ve become very involved.

I’m doing at least all the AV, maybe some emceeing, and probably my usual jack-of-all-trades stuff. I become the volunteer needed for the situation f(t).

IMHO, I dislike the VEX tournament manager but wow the FLL tournament software sucks. I’ve hacked together a monstrosity of cameras, capture cards and OBS filters to a semi-working solution, but I’ll be holding my breath just waiting for it to break. Hopefully all goes well.

Good luck!

This is a really old guide (for instance, you most definitely don’t have to worry about using crystals at the competition anymore, Vexnet 2.0 is used to communicate to the Cortex instead), but most of the rules have stayed the same since then.


Additionally, I’ve always found this guide: http://www.vexrobotics.com/wiki/images/2/24/101_Things_You_Should_Know_Before_Your_FIRST_VRC_Tournament.pdf to be a very good checklist to run through before going to a competition. This is a more of a generic guide on how to be prepared for any robotics competition, but these details end up having way more effect on the way that a tournament will go for a team than one would think.

Make sure to be friendly with everyone you meet. We’ve become good friends with teams in the past and as far as the competition goes it will help you out in the long run. You wouldn’t happen to be going to the Indiana Crown Point competition, would you?

To get destroyed

Based on experience, at least at the tournaments I have gone to, Vex refs seem to be just a tad bit more strict when it comes to inspection, especially size. So just make sure your robot is fully with 18^3 and you should be good.

Depends on the tournament and the team. Our very first competition was at one of the easiest competitions in the state so we ended up ranking in the top 10.

Not always. At my old team’s first competition, we got carried through qualifications, picked by the #1 alliance and won the tournament. Of course, we just as easily could have gotten last place, but hey, it happened.