Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
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This Q&A is Read Only.

Official Q&A: VRC 2023-2024: Over Under

Usage Guidelines All Questions

Signs to Help Determine if Tipping is Legal or Illegal


<G13> states:

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.

VRC Over Under is intended to be an offensive game.Teams that partake in solely defensive or destructive strategies will not have the protections implied by <G13> (see <G14>). However, defensive play which does not involve destructive or illegal strategies is still within the spirit of this rule.

a. VRC Over Under is also intended to be an interactive game. Some incidental tipping, Entanglement, and damage may occur as a part of normal gameplay without violation. It will be up to the Head Referee’s discretion whether the interaction was incidental or intentional.

b. A Team is responsible for the actions of its Robot at all times, including the Autonomous Period. This applies both to Teams that are driving recklessly or potentially causing damage, and to Teams that drive around with a small wheel base. A Team should design its Robot such that it is not easily tipped over or damaged by minor contact.

Violation Notes: • Major Violations of this rule are not required to be Match Affecting. Intentional and/or egregious tipping, Entanglement, or damage may be considered a Major Violation at the Head Referee’s discretion. • Repeated Violations within a Match or tournament could be considered a Violation of <G1> and/or <S1> at the Head Referee’s discretion.

<G14> states Offensive Robots get the “benefit of the doubt.” In a case where Head Referees are forced to make a judgment call regarding a destructive interaction between a defensive and offensive Robot, or an interaction which results in a questionable Violation, referees will decide in favor of the offensive Robot.

Q&A post states:

"Regarding your final question, in which an Alliance tips over an opponent and then takes immediate action to right them, that is part of the larger context of the Match that the Head Referee should consider when determining whether or not a Violation has occurred."

Robot tipping seems to be an inherent problem this year as robots are designed to climb and cross over the low barrier which also cause it to easily climb up an opposing robot in a collision. As such, incidental tipping can occur easily and often and can be difficult to distinguish from intentional tipping strategies. As per the above Q&A post, we understand referees will consider the larger context of the tipping. However, there appears to be considerable ambiguity in terms of what some of the common tipping signs mean in the larger context. We hope you can provide guidance in the interpretation of some of these commons signs during tipping incidents so referee rulings are less subjective and more consistent across events. We understand these signs or indicators would never be definitive and would be situational dependent.

Here are some common signs of intent we noticed during tipping:

  1. Two robots collide and both bots are tipped upwards toward each other. Our interpretation is any tipping that results from this is generally considered not egregious since both parties are engaged in similar behaviour?

  2. Two robots collide, 1 robot starts to lift up, the other robot had sufficient time to back up but continues to push forward, causing the other robot to flip over. Our interpretation is this would generally be considered egregious if it is match effecting since the guilty robot chose not to stop but continue to push and tip over their opponent.

  3. One robot attempts to cross a low barrier, the front of the robot tips upwards considerably due to design. The opponent robot drives to the low barrier at the same causing the other robot to tip backwards and become immobilized. Based on rulings we have seen, this is generally considered not egregious.

  4. Two robots try to intake the same triball from opposite directions and collide, one robot flips. Our interpretation is this is generally considered not egregious since both parties were fighting for the ball, the tipping is most likely incidental.

  5. Two robots collide; one robot is clearly and verifiably tippy even before the collision, tips over upon contact and is immobilized. Our interpretation is as long as the robot is clearly tippy during normal drive then the tipping is generally not egregious but rather due to design.

  6. After tipping over an opponent’s robot, the alliance immediately begins matchloading to take advantage of the situation. Should this be generally considered signs that the tipping was egregious if the intent of the topping is uncertain otherwise?

  7. After tipping over an opponent’s robot, driver makes genuine attempts to right the opponent’s robot back up (successful or not). Should this be generally considered signs that the tipping was non-intentional if the intent of the topping is uncertain otherwise?

Robot tipping generally occurs very quickly and is difficult to observe exactly how it transpired. Does G14 apply to tipping calls so when it is too close to call, the benefit of the doubt goes to the robot that was flipped since tipping over a robot is a defensive maneuver. This would encourage teams to be more responsible with their actions and avoid flipping over opponent’s robot.

Thank you

Answered by committee

We understand these signs or indicators would never be definitive and would be situational dependent.

This point is ultimately the most relevant line in the post. When it comes to <G13>, there are always edge cases and exceptions, and it will never be possible to provide blanket answers to hypothetical scenarios.

The intent of this response is not to explicitly codify the specific descriptions in your post as absolute. To provide a blatant example: if we were to say that your point 1 was always correct, then an alliance could conceivably get ahead by a narrow margin, intentionally tip over all 4 robots, and then cite this Q&A post as evidence that it was fair game.

With that being said... outside of extenuating circumstances, repeated warnings, or other relevant context:

  • Statements 1-5: Yes, these are generally in line with the expectations of G13.

  • Statement 6: This may be a factor in the larger context of the Match that the Head Referee takes into consideration, but it should not necessarily be a deciding factor one way or the other. "Correlation does not always imply causation".

  • Statement 7: This is essentially the same scenario as your quote from Q&A 1628.