Introducing 'Turning Point', the 2018/19 VEX Robotics Competition game
"The biggest shake-up in the VEX Robotics Competition for some years."
That is how our Education Manager and VEX expert Chris Calver describes the 2018/19 season, of which we have received our first glimpse with the reveal of the new competition game. It's called 'Turning Point', but that isn't the only thing to have changed. The new, faster, more powerful V5 control system will also be available in competition for the first time.
The usual competition rules apply. So the game is played on the standard 12' x 12' field, with the two red and blue Alliances composed of two teams each. Matches will consist of a 15 second Autonomous Period, followed by a Driver Controlled Period of 145 seconds.
The game elements are eight Caps, six Posts, nine Flags, 20 Balls, two Alliance Platforms and one Center Platform. The object of the game is to attain a higher score than the opposing Alliance by High Scoring or Low Scoring Caps, Toggling Flags, and by Alliance Parking or Center Parking Robots on the Platforms. Turning Point is intended to be a back and forth game, with no scored object safe from being reversed!
Alliance Platforms can be used for Alliance Parking. The Center Platform can be used by Robots from either Alliance for Center Parking. An additional bonus is awarded to the Alliance that has the most total points at the end of the Autonomous Period.
We spoke to Chris Calver, our resident VEX expert, for his thoughts on the new game.
"This game combines elements of several games from the past which means teams will be able to dig into the history books to get some ideas for designs, but this is a very multi-disciplined game and so combining all these ideas is going to take some real thought.
"The first thing that strikes me about this game is how few game elements there are. We got used to 'In the Zone' where the Field was absolutely chocka with cones before the match started – and then once the match was underway, another 24 cones were introduced to the field in the form of Driver Loads. The low number of elements in this game might give you a hint about how Turning Point matches are going to unfold – there will be lots of descoring and rescoring throughout the match.
"From my first glance at the rules, it looks like teams can descore the caps from the posts and rescore them as their own colour. The flags are also interesting as they will be scored one way then the other back and forth throughout the match – timing is going to be key!
"Firing balls has shades of Nothing but Net which was a great game, but by the end of the season teams were clearing the field of balls before the end of the match so left with nothing to do. In this game, the net will keep balls in play (or at least these fired the right way!) so the scoring of flags can occur all the way up to the end of the match.
"It looks like both teams start with nine points before the match begins so descoring will be as big a part of autonomous as scoring. Also, the autonomous line means blocking strategies in the autonomous period are out of the question which I am pleased about – there is nothing more satisfying than a team nailing a good autonomous routine. Once again, we have parking bonuses this year but now with a twist – you can park on your own colour platform in relative safety, but the higher scoring centre platform is going to be a free-for-all with very little protection from being pushed off. Again, timing might be key here."
"I could talk all day long about strategies for this game – there are so many possibilities.
For this season (and probably next), both the existing Cortex and the new V5 systems will be legal. So are the teams who get their hands on V5 early in the season going to be at an advantage? I'm going to stick my neck out and say….maybe!"
'Turning Point' was unveiled during the VEX World Championships in Kentucky.