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Official Q&A: VRC 2018-2019: Turning Point Usage Guidelines

INTENTIONAL tipping off center platform <R3> <G12>


Adam Timmer (Event Partner)
11 months ago

Applicable rules...

<R3> The following types of mechanisms and components are NOT allowed: b. Those that could potentially damage other competing robots.

<G12> Don’t destroy other Robots. But, be prepared to encounter defense. Strategies aimed solely at the destruction, damage, tipping over, or Entanglement of opposing Robots are not part of the ethos of the VEX Robotics Competition and are not allowed. If the tipping, Entanglement, or damage is ruled to be intentional or egregious, the offending Team may be Disqualified from that Match. Repeated offenses could result in Disqualification from the entirety of the competition.

Note 1: Alliances who attempt to utilize the Center Platform should expect vigorous interactions from opponent Robots. When a Robot is contacting or engaging with the Center Platform, incidental damage that is caused by opponent Robots pushing, tipping, or Entangling with them would not be considered a violation of <G12>. Intentional damage or dangerous mechanisms may still be considered a violation of <R3>, <S1>, or <G1> at the Head Referee’s discretion.

QUESTION...

It's understood that a mechanism on a robot designed only for tipping robots would be disallowed. However, robots may have a mechanism that can flip caps and happens to also be able to flip opposing robots (so the mechanism is legal).

Is it legal for a robot to have their forks, or other mechanism, under an opposing robot (that is attempting to utilize the Center Platform) and lift, or activate their mechanism to lift one side of the opposing robot to intentionally flip them?

The crux of the matter is, should we differentiate between actions that cause incidental tipping, and strategies (not necessarily mechanisms) aimed solely at INTENTIONALLY tipping opponents off the center platform?

Related Q&A posts...

Possible rules contradiction between <G12> and <R3>

Questions about <G12>

Answered by Game Design Committee

<G12>, in general, only comes into consideration once a Robot has been tipped, damaged, or Entangled. Most damage that occurs in VRC is incidental; few teams come to the field intending to play combat robotics, as there are many rules against it (<G12>, <G1>, <S1>, <R3>).

With this in mind, Note 1 is intended to act as a clarification that when Robots are engaged in the Center Platform, the line for what is considered "incidental" is different from standard gameplay. Simple pushing and shoving, which would have looked fine on the normal playing field, could now turn into a tipped Robot because of the elevated Center Platform. Note 1 provides a guideline that damage caused by this maneuver should be waived as "incidental". To re-quote Note 1 with portions bolded for emphasis...

When a Robot is contacting or engaging with the Center Platform, incidental damage that is caused by opponent Robots pushing, tipping, or Entangling with them would not be considered a violation of <G12>. Intentional damage or dangerous mechanisms may still be considered a violation of <R3>, <S1>, or <G1> at the Head Referee’s discretion.

Note 1 does not say whether "intentional tipping" is legal or illegal on the Center Platform, because that question is irrelevant. It focuses on what happens when a Robot has become damaged as the result of a Center Platform interaction, such as tipping. The intent for this is to help draw the thin line between "vigorous interactions" vs "combat robotics" - in other words, "incidental damage" vs "intentionally dangerous mechanisms".

Is it legal for a robot to have their forks, or other mechanism, under an opposing robot (that is attempting to utilize the Center Platform) and lift, or activate their mechanism to lift one side of the opposing robot to intentionally flip them?

As always, it is difficult to provide a blanket ruling on a snapshot description of a hypothetical mechanism. That said, this is getting close to a mechanism that would have the potential to violate some combination of <G1>, <S1>, or <R3>, depending on the context of the interaction, per the last bolded sentence in Note 1 above. Possible referee questions could include:

  • Did the team's action compromise the safety of the competition area?
  • Has this team been warned before about their mechanism being unsafe / destructive?
  • Is this mechanism designed primarily for tipping other Robots?
  • Is there something in the mechanism's design that resulted in damage? To be more specific in this hypothetical example - Did it lift the wheels just enough to break traction on the Platform and tip them when they fell off, or was it so powerful that it launched the opponent into the air?