Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Human Player Clarification

Hi again FLLers,
We have talked to lots of new FLL teams and have found a common misconception that we want to clear up. The topic is how many team members can be at the competition table at one time. The answer is two - at a time, not two only. For those of you who already know this, great. For others, here's the scoop. If it is important to you - and it is important to many teams, including us - to have everyone get a chance to be at the table, plan to have a tag team system. Two members start at the table and get the robot ready to run. The match starts and one person or both step back from the table and one or two more step up. You can cycle through your entire team this way with a little planning and practice.

All the rest of your team members (and coaches) are 'at' the competition table but must all stand behind a taped line on the floor back a few feet from the the table. Changing out team member "human players" is simple - just make sure you don't have more than two at the table by mistake. Other teams like to have the same kids run the robot the entire match or they have two different human players for each of the three table runs. There are many ways to approach the game table - find the one that works best for your team.

Live, Laugh, LEGO!
The Inventioneers

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Q and A Reminders!

Hi teams!!!

We hope your season is off to a great start! Don’t forget to read the Q and A’s on the US FIRST website (see previous post). It is very important to stay updated on the Q and A’s because they can slightly change the rules and affect your robot strategy. Three new ones came out yesterday.

The point values for parking on the bridge vs the target were not assigned by accident. If you can't figure out why a team would take a possibly higher risk for a possibly lower reward, feel free to ask them---not me.

Drive wheels/treads are those that would continue to move even after you pick your robot up.

Please be sure that anything you add to mission models can be removed in about 15 seconds when the ref gives the okay after the match.

There have also been updates to old Q and A’s. They are labeled as:
NOTE - CHANGE to QA 12 (for example)
Be sure to read those too – they can change older Q and A’s a little bit or completely!

Where the robot is required to be PARKED at the end of the match, it must be permanently stopped by the time the end-of-match signal starts.

These are exceptions to the third bullet in Rule 25: The truck when not in contact with the red beam may be considered stray. The red beam with no truck will still be worth points. Sensor walls moved by the robot will be considered stray only if and when the TEAM asks for them to be removed. A removed wall will not count as upright, even if it was upright when removed.

The entire figure must be part of your robot (see Rule 11) from buzzer to buzzer. Rule 16 allows you to place/load the figure aboard the robot before the start. The figure can touch the mat, but it has to stay intact.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Check those Q and A's !!

Scott Evans just posted 5 new messages on the Q and A page:

We thought this one (#10) was worth adding our two cents to, certainly the italics below are only our opinion, the rules themselves were directly copied from the Q and A page. We would be interested in your interpretations as well.

"The 5th part of Rule 17 was offered as a friendly relief for robots which were engineered to return to Base, but needed a break upon entering, due to kid excitement or a bad angle. But in the face of growing over-interpretation of that rule change, you are informed here that the term "reaches Base" as used in Rules 17 and 30 shall only apply at the completion of an actual/obvious trip to Base. Extensions which drop, uncoil, shoot, telescope, etc., for the obvious purpose of avoiding the penalty for truly failing or not even trying to engineer a trip to Base will be treated like tethers, and not considered part of the robot."

The Inventioneers: In Inventioneers-speak, we interpret this to mean that if a part of your robot crosses the plane(s) of base as it is attempting to return to base, the entire robot and its contents (any retrievables in its possession) are considered in base. If the robot is just extending a piece/part/arm/beam/ into base without purposefully trying to get to base, the robot will still be considered active and a touch penalty will be incurred and any retrievables/deliverables in the robot's possession will not be considered in base.

Other new Q and A's:

Your hands can only operate in Base to add pieces to models. 2009 Rule Change A does not give you any new freedom to touch models outside Base. That would violate Rules 17 and 27.

Where drive wheels or treads need to touch, at least one is all you need. This can be seen in at least one of the scoring diagrams labeled "scoring example."

The loops on the southeast wall are placed parallel to the wall, as shown in the pictures. Those of you who thought this was obvious (95%) were right. Those of you who recognized that this missing text detail could cleanly have justified fields being set randomly were also right. So if you roll your eyes at Q&As like this one, remember, they're for your protection!

Since any part of "A" touching "B" counts as "A" touching "B," understand that separated parts from your crash test figure touching the mat (example: the arm falls off) will cause a no-score for the crash test figure mission.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Inventioneers Top 10 Teamwork Tips - Games

Now is always the perfect time to work on team-building activities. One of our favorites is the Tissue Game (using a fresh roll of bath tissue only!). The first time you play the game, pass around the pristine roll and ask team members to take as many squares as they like. There will be much laughter and many jokes at this point. After everyone has their desired number of squares, team members must take turns telling the team new things about themselves equal to the number of squares they selected. We have learned some cool things about our team members even after six years - we even learned that on the day we first played the game, one of our team members had driven a car for the first time in a shopping plaza parking lot, supervised by a parent, of course)!

Since everyone will know the significance of the number of squares after the first game, we recommend putting squares in envelopes and having team members choose envelopes without knowing how many squares they hold!

Have fun!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hi all you LEGO fans -

We are helping other kids get excited about science through FIRST LEGO League. Contact us at TheInventioneers@yahoo.com !