Why can't I ask a question in the official Q&A?

I have a question for the official Q&A but when I try, it says I cannot post there. What gives?

Did you try to start a new thread or post in an existing one?

It’s not open yet

It is open. There is already one thread in it. Here is the link to the one thread in that channel. But you are right. For some reason, it isn’t letting anyone else post in that channel.

Seems like this thread got into the Official Q&A channel while @Karthik was tweaking permissions.

In any case, while we wait for Q&A to open, who wants to find a loophole in the current rules that would allow you to deny up to a 165 points from you opponent’s score?

As always, mention a puzzle and I’m hooked.

165 points is an awful lot. Disregarding the rules, here are some theoretical combinations of scored objects/bonuses that amount to 165 points.

20 point goal, 3 10 point goals, 3 bonuses, and 50 (!) cones
1 bonus and 80 (!!) cones

I was going to come up with more, but I noticed something interesting. It’s not possible to come up with 165 points without using cones. Thus, this strategy prevents the opponents from using at least some of their cones. Also, 165 ends in 5, which means that this loophole has the capability to, at most, prevent the opponents from getting either 1 or 3 high stack bonuses, but not 2 or 4. Without looking at the rules, I’ll guess that it’s a loophole in the definition of possession or <SG9>. The bot @technik3k is envisioning is a bot that gathers all 4 of the opposing mobile bases and a bunch of cones and places them around the opposing stationary goal, then envelops the whole mess. This blocks the mobile goals from being scored, the stationary goal bonus, and all the cones in the center.

Enough metatesting, to the rulebook!

How do we go about having multiple cones in our robot without actually Possessing of them? We can’t carry or hold them; these conditions are fairly simplistic. We also can’t control their movement. Therein lies at least one loophole. Imagine that we have a robot that consists only of an 18" hollow steel box, with no bottom. Any cones inside this box are out of play, yet if none of the cones touch the robot, the robot is clearly not carrying or holding any of the cones. Moreover, as the box is not moving, the robot is not controlling the movement of any of the cones. Thus, none of these cones are possessed. Without stacking, you could fit 64 cones inside a 48"x48" area. Obviously, a robot would take up some of this area, but that’s a pretty significant loophole.

Any loophole here would occur in the definition of Stacked.

I don’t see anything earth-shattering here, so I’ll guess that the loophole was the one I discussed earlier in the definition of Possessing.

How’d I do?

@puzzler7 Wow! That analysis was fast and with lots of very interesting ideas!

Let me dial back 165 claim a little bit: 165 is a pure theoretical maximum that assumes opponents have an incredibly good robot(s) but choose to do really stupid things throughout the game.

Denying the 25-30 points from the final score is more realistic and you should be able to do it with a really simple (2 motor) robot. That is, if I am reading game manual correctly. :slight_smile:

Compared to the initial drafts of the Nothing But Net and Starstruck, the April draft of the game manualIn The Zone is very tight. It is almost impossible to find a way to “cheat” without, obviously, it being planned by the Game Design Committee. For example, carrying mobile goals to accumulate the stack of cones from around the field.

Also, there is virtually no way to descore opponents’ points other than tiny -5 pts by pushing their mobile goal out of 5 point zone. <SG6> prevents you from grappling mobile goals but says nothing about pushing them around:

At first, I thought that definition of Stacked would let you “descore” tall stacks by touching the bottom cone, according to Note 2:

However, GDC thought about that too because it has the language spelling out the alliance color of the robot. Also <SG5> is pretty strict about being around opponents’ goals:

You can try to argue that, since Stacked is defined, but Stack is not, you could push stacked cones to the point that they are no longer fully nested, but are still not removed from the stack and that you stop pushing them at the very moment that they are no longer scored, therefore you have not controlled non-stacked cones…


But good luck arguing about singularities with @Karthik - you lose by default, according to the definition of the common sense. :slight_smile:

There simply must be another way to cause opposing alliance to lose some of the already scored points without violating any of the game rules!

And since, unlike actually realistic game strategies that @puzzler7 listed above, we are talking about far fetched scenarios, lets assume that for whatever strange reason, opposing alliance built a stack of 80 cones on a single mobile goal in their 5 point zone.

Some of you may have guessed it by now, that to “descore” you need to trick or force an opposing alliance robot to touch a cone on the bottom of their stack.

According to the definition of <G13>:

The first loophole, in my understanding, is that forcing opponents to touch the cone is not causing them to “violate” any rule - it is perfectly legal for them to touch the cone on their mobile goal.

The “easiest” way to do that would be to push or lift them gently in the last 5 seconds of the game (to stay legal within <SG4> pin and trap count) and make sure that they are touching bottom cone when the game ends. As long as they are not protected by <SG10> and you are not entangling their robot (<G12>) it should be fine.

However, if they are protected by <SG10>, the second loophole is that there is nothing preventing you from pushing their mobile goals outside of 10pt zone.

If you believed earlier, that it is possible for one robot to build an 80 cone stack, then it should be perfectly doable for another robot to firmly grab bottom cone on the opposing alliance stack and push the mobile goal along. If you are not removing cones from the stack, you are not in violation of <SG5>. And, as long as the cones are stacked, you are not possessing them. Now all you have to do is to chase opposing alliance with their fully stacked mobile goal and make sure the bottom cone will touch one of their robots when the game ends.

If you manage not to touch more than one cone yourself, as they become “unstacked” then you have successfully hacked the game!

Of course, this is not a serious game strategy and is intended only as an entertainment and a fun way to study ITZ game manual while we wait for the Official Q&A to open.

As stated in another post, as soon as they touch the bottom cone it is no longer stacked and they would therefore be in possession of all the cones on top, thus they would be in violation of SG9. This would likely result in you being dqed as a result of “trying” to get them to break a rule. Please correct me if I’m wrong but that was my interpretation of the rules.

I don’t see what rule you are breaking by touching your stack…

If you touch the bottom cone it is no longer stacked, if that cone is no longer stacked then anything above it is no longer stacked, therefore you are possessing all of the cones?

Look at the definition of stacked -
Note 2: By these definitions, if a Robot is touching a Cone on a Mobile Goal, that Cone and
any above it will not count as being Stacked

So by touching cones on the stack, you may become in possession of more than one cone.

If you have a stack of 5 cones on a base, and you are touching the bottom cone, you are technically possessing all 5 cones since touching that one makes it and any above it no longer count as stacked. I thought this was mayby just an endgame scoring rule, but it reads like it means at any time.

But are you controlling their movement? If you do this on a stationary goal you certainly aren’t controlling their movement, thereby voiding the violation of the possession rule. You are allowed to touch multiple cones (I mean come on there’s no way this won’t happen in matches), but you can’t control their movement.

There is also carrying and holding that can count for possession. The part I just noticed was if it is doing these things “in the robot”. So making an opposing alliance merely touch their stack won’t get them in trouble, but would void them for scoring.

What I’m worried about now are internal stackers, since your whole stack would be “inside” your robot. You would just have to be very careful not to touch your stack you built.

That would be my fault. The Q&A should now be open.

I thought it was a secret plot to have people read the game manual more thoroughly :slight_smile:

I mean, that’s also a viable option. Definitely couldn’t hurt.

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