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The Q&A is closed for the 2021-2022 season. Any rule changes or clarifications pertaining to the 2022 VEX Robotics World Championship will be included in the April 5 Game Manual Update. Teams attending VEX Worlds who wish to pre-submit questions for the driver's meeting should have received a contact form via email; if not, please contact your REC Foundation Team Engagement Manager for more information.

Official Q&A: VRC 2021-2022: Tipping Point

Usage Guidelines All Questions

SG3-B - Questionably Ethical Strategic Decisions?


Jess Zarchi
30-Jan-2022

Hello,


SG3 - Platforms are “safe” during the endgame.

During the last thirty (30) seconds, Robots may not contact the opposing Alliance’s Platform. The intent of this rule is to prohibit Robots from directly inhibiting their opponents’ ability to utilize the Platform at the end of a Match.

Points “a”, “b”, and “c” apply to Robot actions during the last thirty (30) seconds of the Match:

. . .

b) For the purposes of this rule, <G13> supersedes rule <G14>. Any Robot which is contacting its own Platform, provided that no other rules are being violated, will automatically receive the “benefit of the doubt”. Therefore, any contact with this Robot will be considered a violation, regardless of intent.

. . .

Note 2: If points “a”, “b”, or “c” are being violated at the end of a Match (i.e. when the timer hits 0 and all Robots come to rest), then it will automatically be considered a violation which has interfered with gameplay, i.e. will result in a Disqualification.

Q&A 968

Q. Additionally, if a robot stopped working mid match, battery died, connector broke, whatever, and gets pushed or dragged into the opposing teams platform in the last 30 seconds , is that a penalty?

A. Under the strictest interpretation of SG3-b, yes, this would be considered a violation. However, we would caution the offensive Team in question to be mindful of other rules such as G12, S1, G1, etc. We would hope that an Alliance in this 2v1 situation would not feel that they must resort to a questionably ethical strategic decision in order to beat a single opponent Robot.


What should Referees look for in a forced SG3-B violation to determine when it becomes a questionably ethical strategic decision and violates G1? The below scenarios assume the forced SG3-B violation doesn't violate G12, S1, or any other rules. Some questions include:

  1. Forcing your opponent to contact your platform at the end of the match, causing a DQ.

  2. In the Q&A 968 scenario, it’s implied that the Alliance with 2 Robots would outpower the Alliance with 1 Robot regardless of forcing an SG3-B violation. Should the skill of each Alliance be taken into account? For example, if the Alliance of 1 Robot was overpowering and forced an SG3-B violation? Does this change if the Alliance of 2 forced an SG3-B violation when they are losing?

  3. Does proximity to the platform before the forced movement starts matter? For example, is it okay to force an SG3-B violation if the opponents are x distance away from your platform, but not okay if they’re over x distance? For example, entering the opponents home zone automatically makes you a defensive robot?

  4. Should the intent of teams be taken into account when deciding if a forced SG3-B violation becomes a questionably ethical strategic decision?

  5. Do these interpretations violate the manual, G13 in SG3-B, by giving the defensive robot an edge in the decision?

There are more scenarios that could be stated, but I know a blanket answer cannot be given. At some point, the Head Referee will always have to decide how to interpret what happened. I’d like some pointers on what to look for when this situation inevitably happens.

Top teams walk a narrow road with the rules and will force an SG3-B violation if they are able to argue its legality.

Thank you for your time!

Answered by committee

What should Referees look for in a forced SG3-B violation to determine when it becomes a questionably ethical strategic decision and violates G1?

The inherent nature of G1 makes it impossible to provide a blanket, definitive set of guidelines that outline this gray area. Rules such as G1, S1, G12, etc are intentionally worded to give Head Referees the appropriate leeway for making informed judgment calls given the context of their specific Match. If it were possible to set purely objective "black-and-white" rules to outline every possible interaction, then the judgment of human Head Referees would not be necessary.

The most objective description we can provide for SG3 is found in the first sentence of the rule:

During the last thirty (30) seconds, Robots may not contact the opposing Alliance’s Platform.

If a Robot is contacting the opposing Alliance's Platform, regardless of how it got there, then a violation of SG3 has occurred.

All five of your specific questions can be answered by parts "a" and "b" of SG3:

a. For the purposes of this rule, contact is considered "transitive” through other Robots and Scoring Objects.

b. For the purposes of this rule, <G13> supersedes rule <G14>. Any Robot which is contacting its own Platform, provided that no other rules are being violated, will automatically receive the “benefit of the doubt”.

The Robot of the same color as the Platform should always receive the "benefit of the doubt".

The scenario described in Q&A 968, i.e. taking advantage of disabled robot to force a violation, is a very specific example of an extreme edge-case scenario that could be interpreted as a G1 warning (at a minimum), and could easily be escalated to a G1 / G12 violation depending on the specifics of the interaction or previous warnings.

Top teams walk a narrow road with the rules and will force an SG3-B violation if they are able to argue its legality.

We would advise these teams to bear in mind the sentiment shared in Q&A 895. Teams who choose to rely on a human judgment call of an edge-case rules interpretation should be cognizant of the risk they are taking in doing so, and be aware that it is well within the Head Referee's discretion to escalate any controversial or uncivil interaction accordingly.