<T1> The Head Referee has ultimate and final authority on all gameplay ruling decisions during the competition. 

  1. Scorekeeper Referees score the Match, and may serve as observers or advisers for the Head Referee, but may not determine any rules or infractions directly. 
  2. When issuing a Disqualification or Violation to a Team, the Head Referee should attempt to notify the Team as the Violation occurs, and after the Match must provide the rule number of the specific rule that has been Violated and record the Violation in the Match Anomaly Log. 
  3. Violations of the REC Foundation Code of Conduct may involve additional escalation beyond the Head Referee’s initial ruling, including (but not limited to) investigation by REC Foundation representatives. Rules <S1>, <G1>, <G2>, and <G4> are the only rules for which this escalation may be required. 
  4. Event Partners may not overrule a Head Referee’s decision. 
  5. Every Qualification Match and Finals Match must be watched by a certified Head Referee. Head Referees may only watch one Match at a time; if multiple Matches are happening simultaneously on separate fields, each field must have its own Head Referee

Note from the VEX GDC: The rules contained in this Game Manual are written to be enforced by human Head Referees. Many rules have “black-and-white” criteria that can be easily checked. However, some rulings will rely on a judgment call from this human Head Referee. In these cases, Head Referees will make their calls based on what they and the Scorekeeper Referees saw, what guidance is provided by their official support materials (the Game Manual and the Q&A), and most crucially, the context of the Match in question.

The VEX IQ Robotics Competition does not have video replay, our Fields do not have absolute sensors to count scores, and most events do not have the resources for an extensive review conference between each Match

When an ambiguous rule results in a controversial call, there is a natural instinct to wonder what the “right” ruling “should have been,” or what the GDC “would have ruled.” This is ultimately an irrelevant question; our answer is that when a rule specifies “Head Referee’s discretion” (or similar), then the “right” call is the one made by the Head Referee in the moment. The VEX GDC designs games, and writes rules, with this expec tation (constraint) in mind.

<T2> Head Referees must be qualified. VEX IQ Head Referees must have the following qualifications: 

  1. Be at least 16 years of age. 
  2. Be approved by the Event Partner
  3. Be an REC Foundation Certified VIQRC Head Referee for the current season. Visit the RECF Library for more details. 

Note: Scorekeeper Referees must be at least 15 years of age, and must be approved by the Event Partner. 

<T3> The Drive Team Members are permitted to immediately appeal the Head Referee’s ruling. If Drive Team Members wish to dispute a score or ruling, they must stay in the Driver Station until the Head Referee talks with them. The Head Referee may choose to meet with the Drive Team Members at another location and/or at a later time so that the Head Referee has time to reference materials or resources to help with the decision. Once the Head Referee announces that their decision has been made final, the issue is over and no more appeals may be made (see rule <T1>). 

  1. Head Referees may not review any photo or video Match recordings when determining a score or ruling. 
  2. Head Referees are the only individuals permitted to explain a rule, Disqualification, or Violation to the Teams. Teams should never consult other field personnel, including Scorekeeper Referees, regarding a ruling clarification. 

Communication and conflict resolution skills are an important life skill for Students to practice and learn. In VEX IQ Robotics Competitions, we expect Students to practice proper conflict resolution using the proper chain of command. Violations of this rule may be considered a Violation of <G1> and/or the Code of Conduct. 

Some events may choose to utilize a “question box” or other designated location for discussions with Head Referees. Offering a “question box” is within the discretion of the Event Partner and/or Head Referee, and may act as an alternate option for asking Drive Team Members to remain in the Driver Station (although all other aspects of this rule apply). 

However, by using this alternate location, Drive Team Members acknowledge that they are forfeiting the opportunity to use any contextual information involving the specific state of the Field at the end of the Match. For example, it is impossible to appeal whether a game element was Scored or not if the Field has already been reset. If this information is pertinent to the appeal, Drive Team Members should still remain in the Driver Station, and relocate to the “question box” once the Head Referee has been made aware of the concern and/or any relevant context.

<T4> The Event Partner has ultimate authority regarding all non-gameplay decisions during an event. The Game Manual is intended to provide a set of rules for successfully playing VIQRC Rapid Relay; it is not intended to be an exhaustive compilation of guidelines for running a VEX IQ Robotics

Competition event. Rules such as, but not limited to, the following examples are at the discretion of the Event Partner and should be treated with the same respect as the Game Manual: 

  • Venue access 
  • Pit spaces and pit access 
  • Health and safety 
  • Team registration and/or competition eligibility 
  • Team conduct away from competition fields 

This rule exists alongside <G1>, <S1>, and <G3>. Even though there isn’t a rule that says “do not steal from the concession stand,” it would still be within an Event Partner’s authority to remove a thief from the competition. 

<T5> Be at your match on time. If no member of a Team is present in the Driver Station at the start of a Match, that Team is considered a “no show” and will receive zero (0) points. The other Team in the Alliance will still play and receive points for the Match

<T6> Robots at the field must be ready to play. If a Team brings their Robot to the Field, it must be prepared to play (i.e., batteries charged, sized within the starting size constraint, etc.) 

  1. Robots must be placed on the field promptly. Repeated failure to do so could result in a Violation of <G1> and/or removal of the Robot from the current Match at the Head Referee’s discretion. 

The definition of the word “promptly” is at the discretion of the Event Partner and Head Referee, who will consider event schedule, previous warnings or delays, etc. As a general guideline, five seconds to check Robot alignment would be acceptable, but five minutes to assemble multiple parts together would not. 

<T7> Match Replays are allowed, but rare. Match replays (i.e., playing a Match over again from its start) are at the discretion of the Event Partner and Head Referee, and will only be issued in the most extreme circumstances. Some examples that may warrant a Match replay are as follows: 

  1. Score Affecting “Field fault” issues. 
    1. Switches not being reset before the Match starts.
    2. Field Elements detaching or moving beyond normal tolerances, not as a result of Robot interactions. 
  2. Score Affecting game rule issues. 
    1. A Field is reset before the score is determined.

<T8> Disqualifications. A Team that is issued a Disqualification in a Qualification Match receives zero (0) points for the Match. The other Team on their Alliance will still receive points for the Match

  1. In Finals Matches, Disqualifications apply to the whole Alliance, not just one Team. An Alliance that receives a Disqualification in a Finals Match will receive zero (0) points. 
  2. A Team that receives a Disqualification in a Robot Skills Match will receive a score of zero (0). 

<T9> Timeouts. There are no timeouts in VIQRC tournaments. 

<T10> Be prepared for minor field variance. Field Element tolerances may vary from nominal by up to ±0.5” [25.4mm], unless otherwise specified. Ball weights may vary from nominal by up to ±5 grams. Teams are encouraged to design their Robots accordingly. Please make sure to check Appendix A for more specific nominal dimensions and tolerances.

<T11> Fields and Field Elements may be repaired at the Event Partner’s discretion. All competition fields and other Field Elements at an event must be set up in accordance with the specifications in Appendix A and/or other applicable support materials. Minor aesthetic customizations or repairs are permitted, provided that they do not impact gameplay (see <T4>). 

Examples of permissible modifications include, but are not limited to: 

  1. Replacing a damaged or missing VEX IQ Field component with an identical part of any color.
  2. Elevating the playing field off of the Floor (common heights are 10” to 24” [254mm to 609.6mm]).
  3. Using off-the-shelf PVC to replace a damaged or missing Pickup Zone pipe. 
  4. Repairing a Ball that has been ripped open by sewing it back together. 

<T12> Teamwork Matches. During Teamwork Challenge Matches, two (2) Teams form an Alliance that will play on the Field

  1. Qualification Match Alliances are randomly selected. 
  2. Finals Match Alliances are assigned as follows: 
    1. The first and second ranked Teams form an Alliance
    2. The third and fourth ranked Teams form an Alliance
    3. And so on, until all Teams participating in Finals Matches have formed an Alliance

<T13> Ending a Match early. If an Alliance wants to end a Qualification Match or a Finals Match early, both Teams must signal the referee by ceasing all Robot motion and placing their controllers on the ground. The referee will then signal to the Teams that the Match is over and will begin to tally the score. If the Match is a tiebreaker Finals Match, then the Match Stop Time will also be recorded.

<T14> Practice Matches may be played at some events, but are not required. If Practice Matches are run, every effort will be made to equalize practice time for all Teams

<T15> Qualification Matches will occur according to the official match schedule. This schedule will indicate Alliance partners, Qualification Match times, and, if the event has multiple Fields, which Field each Qualification Match will be played on. 

Note: The official Match schedule is subject to changes at the Event Partner’s discretion. 

<T16> Each Team will be scheduled Qualification Matches as follows. 

  1. When in a tournament, the tournament must have a minimum of six (6) Qualification Matches per Team at local qualifying events and eight (8) for a Championship event. 
  2. When in a league, there must be at least three (3) league ranking sessions, with at least one (1) week between sessions. Each session must have a minimum of two (2) Qualification Matches per Team. The suggested number of Qualification Matches per Team for a standard league ranking session is four (4). Event Partners may choose to have Qualification Matches as part of their league finals session. 

<T17> Teams are ranked by their average Qualification Match scores. 

    1. When in a tournament, every Team will be ranked based on the same number of Qualification Matches
      1. For tournaments that have more than one (1) division, Teams will be ranked among all Teams in their specific division. Each division will have its own set of Finals Matches. The winners of each division will then have an overall event Finals. Any multi-division event must be approved by the REC Foundation Regional Support Manager prior to the event, and divisions must be assigned in alternating sequential order by Team number. 
    2. When in a league, every Team will be ranked based on the number of Matches played. Teams that participate in less than 60% of the total Matches available will be ranked below Teams that participate in at least 60% of the total Matches available (e.g., if the league offers 3 ranking sessions with 4 Qualification Matches per Team, Teams that participate in 8 or more Matches will be ranked higher than Teams who participate in 7 or fewer Matches). Being a no-show to a Match that a Team is scheduled in still constitutes participation for these calculations. 
    3. A certain number of a Team’s lowest Qualification Match scores will be excluded from the rankings based on the quantity of Qualification Matches each Team plays. Excluded scores do not affect participation for leagues.

Number of Qualification Matches per Team 

Number of excluded Match scores









  1. In some cases, a Team will be assigned to play an additional Qualification Match. The extra Match will be identified on the Match Schedule with an asterisk and will not impact the Team’s ranking (or participation for leagues). Teams are reminded that <G1> is always in effect and Teams are expected to behave as if the additional Qualification Match counted. 
  2. Ties in Team ranking are broken by: 
    1. Removing the Team’s lowest score and comparing the new average score. 
    2. Removing the Team’s next lowest score and comparing the new average score (on through all scores). 
    3. If the Teams are still tied, the Teams will be sorted by random electronic draw. 

<T18> Teams playing in Finals Matches. The number of Finals Matches, and therefore the number of Teams who will participate in Finals Matches, is determined by the Event Partner. Events must have a minimum of five (5) Finals Matches if there are ten (10) or more Teams in attendance. 

<T19> Finals Match Schedule. Finals Matches are played sequentially, starting with the lowest-ranked Alliance. Each Alliance will participate in one (1) Finals Match. The Alliance with the highest Finals Match score is the Teamwork Challenge champion. 

  1. Alliances are ranked by their Finals Match score. The highest-scoring Alliance is in first place, the second-highest-scoring Alliance is in second place, etc. 
  2. Ties for first place will result in a series of tiebreaker Finals Matches, starting with the lower-seeded Alliance. The Alliance with the highest tiebreaker Finals Match score will be declared the Teamwork Challenge champion. 
    1. If the tiebreaker Finals Match scores are tied, the Alliance with the higher Match Stop Time will be declared the winner. 
    2. If the Match Stop Time is also tied, a second series of tiebreaker Finals Matches will be played. If this second series of tiebreaker Finals Matches is also tied, then the higher-seeded Alliance will be declared the winner. 
    3. iii. If there is a tie for a place other than first, the higher-seeded Alliance will receive the higher rank. 

Example 1: Alliance 6 and Alliance 3 are tied for first place. During the tiebreaker Finals Match, Alliance 6 scores 13 points and has a Match Stop Time of 12 seconds. Alliance 3 scores 13 points and has a Match Stop Time of 10 seconds. Alliance 6 is the Teamwork Challenge winner. 

Example 2: Alliance 4 and Alliance 5 are tied for third place. Alliance 4 is the third place winner and Alliance 5 is the fourth place winner. In this way, the lower ranked Alliance must “overcome” the higher ranked Alliance in order to become the Teamwork Challenge champion.