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Official Q&A: VIQC 2019-2020: Squared Away

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Look at the data and listen to your customers before it’s too late to fix the ‘Magic Hands’ Ruling which had allowed Strategic moving of ‘Controlled’ Game Elements in Skills Matches


Unfortunately there has been a substantial increase in the Programming Skills scores following the adoption 2/12/20 of ‘Magic Hands’ Q&A Ruling which allowed Strategic moving of ‘Controlled’ Game Elements in the Q&A ( #518

  • The ‘Magic Hands’ Q&A Ruling makes it easier for teams to score 60 points or more in Programming Skills by Strategically moving game elements 7 feet across the game board by hand.

This substantial increase in the Programming Skills scores has been realized in Indiana Middle School (MS) Division and more broadly in the USA Middle School (MS) Divisions: -- In Indiana there has been a ~50% increase in Indiana MS teams scoring 60 points or more in Programming Skills in the recent 10 days (was 31 & now 46 teams scored >60 between 2/13 & 2/23) -- Across the USA there has been a ~30% increase of USA MS teams scoring 60 points or more in Programming Skills in the past 10 days (was 164 & now 211 teams >60 Programming between 2/13 & 2/23).

  • I’m hopeful that some of this growth in programming scores was through programming effort. However, the data do not support this interpretation as there is much smaller increase in Driver Skills Scores and locally Teamwork Finals top scores actually dipped in Final 10 days indicating limited growth in other areas of the game.

The data supporting these interpretations of IN MS and USA MS Skills Scores can be found at I did not have the foresight to look at the potential impact of ‘Magic Hands’ Q&A on other active regions and other age groups (Elementary?) . Therefore I’d ask Game Design Committee to review your data to determine which regions and age groups are most impacted by the rule change (uncharacteristic increase in Programming Scores >60)?

The data, cited above, indicate that this ‘Magic Hands’ Q&A ruling changed IN MS VEX IQ Skills Ranking System and penalized teams who competed prior to the 2/12 change. Thus it also changed the VEX IQ Qualifying Criteria [embed link] from Two ways for teams to qualify” to now ‘3 ways to qualify’

  1. Qualifying Award or
  2. Skills After 2/13 (Majority of Skill Qualifiers in IN MS VEX IQ)
  3. Skills before 2/13 (<5% of All Teams registered IN MS VEX IQ) The Skills qualification system was design to select the top performers to compete at State and World as opposed to preferencing the most recent performers.

To ensure fair and equitable treatment of all teams, I would like to propose each region and age group to review their data and come up with an equitable plan.

I have been in contact with local REC and State Championship organizers proposing an expansion of IN MS VEX IQ Division to accommodate more Skill qualifiers for over a month, originally due to strong growth of interest in MS VEX IQ and more recently due to impact of the Magic Hands’ Q&A.

I remain optimistic that they will accept my current proposal to expand the # of Indiana MS VEX IQ teams from current 110 to 116 to include 6 more teams. The number 116 was chosen as it represents equal number top Skills Scores who competed both before and after 2/13 (also clean cut off at Total Skills Score 124 or more). Previously I had proposed an increase to 135 teams, (35% increase) to match the number of World Qualifying Spots, but I now recognize time is now more limited and a smaller increase may be an appropriate compromise under this difficult timeline.

Lastly I encourage all involved to consider this problem and proposed solutions, as it may be in the best interest of our organizations and our youth to maintain equitable regulations so that all students have a fair chance.

Sincerely, Kevin Sheehan

Answered by Game Design Committee

Thank you for taking the time to write out this feedback; we will be sure to take it into consideration for future seasons.

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