If you're not familiar with VEX Robotics or any form of robotics competitions in general, this is the right place to be!
To put it simply, VEX Robotics puts together various robotics competitions around the world for students from elementary to post-secondary. They divide the age groups into three main competitions: VEX IQ for elementary students, VEX EDR for middle and high school, and VEX U for university. Since we are a high school club, we participate in VEX EDR; this year's season theme being Change Up.
Competitions rules and goals vary by season, but the main goal always stays the same: beat your opponent. There are around 6 qualifying matches each tournament.
Each match, your team gets paired with a random team to compete against two other teams. These two alliances compete in a total 2-minute period to get as many points as possible. 15 seconds is reserved for an autonomous stage where the robot runs a pre-programmed course with no driver input.
Whoever wins the autonomous gets six points towards their total score and a helpful bonus. If the autonomous is tied, the points and the bonus is split evenly.
After the autonomous, you have 1 minute and 45 seconds of driver control to acquire as many points as possible with your robot. However the opposing teams can interfere by ramming into your robot, making it more difficult to get points.
At the end, the points are tallied up and whichever alliance has the most points wins the match (there are no rematches in qualifying matches when there is a tie).
After qualifying matches, the elimination rounds begin. The top 16 teams become captains and get to choose their alliance partners for the eliminations. Two brackets are made and then the fun begins. The best teams compete against each other in single elimination games to eventually become the champions of the tournament. However, all finalists get to advance to Provincials as well as teams that earned specific awards.
In the Provincials, it's the same format, however there are more awards that advance you to Worlds than in provincial qualifying tournaments. All finalists advance, however the Excellence, Amaze, Design, Think, and Robot Skills awards automatically qualify you to Worlds.
In Worlds, the heat is turned up! Teams from all around the world travel to Louisville, Kentucky to compete in the pinnacle of robot competitions. The winnings are a trophy and an automatic qualification for next years Worlds.
This 2020-2021 season's theme is Change Up, which is played on the standard 12ft² field with two sides for each alliance, red and blue. The main goal of the game is to score as many points possible by scoring balls in the goals and descoring opponent balls.
The autonomous bonus is six points towards the auto winner's score. On top of the bonus, if any team completes their home row of goals during the autonomous period, they are awarded an extra Win Point, advancing them in the standings regardless of the outcome of the rest of the match.
Change Up is an intense game of strategy and timing. There are 16 blue and 16 red balls that alliances aim to score in goals. Each ball in a goal is worth one point at the end of the match. You can also earn points by owning goals. To own a goal, your team's coloured ball must be on the top of the goal. You earn a six point bonus if you connect three owned goals in any direction.