Official Q&A: VRC 2020-2021: Change Up Usage Guidelines

Reacting Against Multiple Sides of The Center Goal

1 month ago

G16: Robots may not intentionally grasp, grapple or attach to any Field Elements. Strategies with mechanisms that react against multiple sides of a Field Element in an effort to latch or clamp onto said Field Element are prohibited. The intent of this rule is to prevent Teams from both unintentionally damaging the field and/or from anchoring themselves to the field.

Minor violations of this rule that do not affect the Match will result in a warning. Match Affecting offenses will result in a Disqualification. Teams that receive multiple warnings may also receive a Disqualification at the Head Referee’s discretion.

Field Element– The foam field tiles, field perimeter, white tape, Goal, and all supporting structures or accessories (such as driver station posts, field monitors, etc)

A team creates a square structure that surrounds the center goal in an effort to prevent the goal from being descored. If the structure were to remain stationary and not come in contact with the center goal, would the robot not be considered grasping, grappling, or attaching to the goal since it is not reacting against any sides? See Figure 1 for a visual.


Say the same square structure is moved and is now in contact with the center goal at two different points. Would the robot now be considered grasping, grappling, or attaching to the goal since it is reacting against multiple sides? See Figure 2 for a visual.


The square structure is now replaced with a circular structure. Is it moved against the center goal but is only in contact at one point. Would the robot not be considered grasping, grappling, or attaching to the goal since it is only reacting against one side instead of multiple sides? See Figure 3 for a visual.


Answered by Game Design Committee

Thank you for quoting the relevant portions of the Game Manual and providing images of your scenarios.

For the purposes of answering this question, we are assuming that the red lines represent hypothetical structures that satisfy all Robot rules, and the only rule in question is G16. We are not making any assumptions or blanket statements about the height, rigidity, or other design characteristics of the mechanisms, as it would be impossible to issue a blanket ruling that would satisfy all possible hypothetical Robot mechanisms.

As noted in the quoted portion, one intent of G16 is to prevent teams from "anchoring" themselves to the field. The primary thought experiment that Head Referees should use to determine whether a Robot has "anchored" itself to a field element is to envision the Robot being pulled in any random direction by a strong force (such as a human or an opposing Robot).

When it is pulled in random directions, does the Robot "get stuck" on the field element? Does it run a risk of damaging the field? Does it run the risk of damaging itself (a la G5)?

Based on this thought experiment, the three hypothetical depictions would not be legal.