VEX game manuals present the rules for a game, the robots that will participate, and the events that teams will attend to play it. Game manuals are complex, but the Game Design Committee (GDC) creates and organizes them in ways specifically designed to help students, coaches, and volunteers find the information they need. This article highlights some of the organizing concepts of VEX game manuals, and may help you understand how to read and interpret the rules.
Game Manual Versions
You should always make sure that you’re using the most current version of the game manual. To check, find the version number (located in the footer of PDF versions and near the top of the page in HTML versions) and search for the keyword “Updates” to check the version number against the list of scheduled updates. The game manual pages in the REC Library always include links to the current game manual versions.
Game Manuals are Searchable
Game manuals, whether you’re using the PDF or HTML version, are searchable. Answers to most common questions can be found by searching for keywords and concepts!
Linked Terms and Rules
Defined terms are capitalized and italicized when used in the game manual, and are generally linked to the term’s definition. When a rule mentions other related rules, those rule numbers (for example, <G1>) also typically link to those rules.
The contents of each rule are different, but the basic structure of each rule is the same. Additionally, in rules that are shared or similar across multiple rule sets, the GDC attempts to give those rules the same number in all rule sets. We’ve included a screenshot of a rule from the VRC game manual as a reference, and added numbers to indicate the parts of a rule that are described below.
1 - Rule Number
Rule numbers appear inside single-angle quotation marks. Each rule number begins with a letter or letters that identify the specific rule set (Safety, Scoring, etc.) and a reference number.
2 - Rule Name
Each rule has a name that describes its overall intent. Rule names are presented in bold text in the “featured” color of the rule set (blue for VIQRC, red for VRC, etc.).
3 - Rule Description
A rule will include one or more paragraphs that describe the details and requirements of that rule. Note that defined terms (Triball, Robot, etc.) are capitalized and italicized as previously described.
4 - Color Box
Color boxes (blue for VIQRC, red for VRC, etc.) are used to provide more information, examples, and/or clarification about the rule, in a less-formal and more conversational style.
5 - Violation Notes
When a rule has specific guidance for referees to use when teams break that rule, it will be included in red italicized text.
Sets of Rules
Rules are grouped into subsets based on their focus. Each set of rules uses a shared starting letter or string of letters. Some of the sets change with every new game, and others remain mostly consistent across the seasons.
Scoring Rules (SC)
These rules describe how robots can score points during a match, and how referees confirm and count points earned by the team. This set of rules changes for every new game.
Safety Rules (S)
These rules provide the safety requirements for robots and humans at competitions. This set of rules rarely changes.
General Rules (G)
These rules apply to matches and behaviors at events. This set of rules rarely changes.
Specific Game Rules (SG)
This set of rules described how the game is played, and how robots interact with the objects and elements on the field. This set of rules changes for every new game.
Robot Rules (R)
This set of rules provides constraints for robots that will play the game, including maximum size and legal parts. Most of these rules are consistent across seasons.
Tournament Rules (T)
This set of rules governs how competitions are run, and rarely change.
Robot Skills Competition (RSC)
These rules specify how the field setup, scoring, and game tasks are modified for Driver Skills and Autonomous Coding Skills matches. This set of rules may change for every new game.
Game Manual Sections
Each section in the game manual presents a different facet of the game rules, and most event volunteers will only need to fully understand a subset of sections.
Section 1: The Game
Students and referees must fully understand the rules in this section, which include scoring, safety, and rules for how the game is played.
Section 2: The Robot
Students, referees, coaches, and robot inspectors have to understand the rules in this section to ensure that robots at a competition meet the requirements (size, legal parts, etc.) of the game.
Section 3: The Event
Students, referees, coaches, and Event Partners are the primary audiences for this section of rules, which cover how a competition should be run and the responsibilities of the major volunteers.
Appendix A: Field Specifications
This appendix provides technical details about the game field and objects, and isn’t “required reading” for any role. It can be very helpful to Event Partners.
Appendix B: Robot Skills
Students and referees must fully understand the rules in this section, which describes how robot skills matches are set up, run, and scored.
Additional Appendices in the VRC Game Manual
The VRC game manual may include additional appendices for the VEX U and VEX AI competitions. These appendices are required reading for students and referees who will participate in VEX U or VEX AI competitions.