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Using the walls as a guide is often a very effective strategy, and I would encourage it. However, note that the tables you get at a tournament may differ from your practice table, so some important things to be aware of are:
1. Wood walls may be rough, dented, splintered, or even have partial knot holes.
2. The wall height this year is allowed to any height between 2x3s and 2x4s
3. Walls may be twisted and warped
4. The gap between the west wall and base is variable, may be as small as 0" or as large as around 1/2". Same issue for the east and north walls.
5. The south wall is supposed to be flush with the south mat border, but some tournaments may have this set up incorrectly.
6. Mats may curl up near the east and west sides near the wall.
7. In a couple instances, we experienced that the "table" in the robot design judging room didn't have any walls (just mat + models, no table). This is not supposed to happen, but it happens anyway. This made it very hard for our team to demo their missions last year to the judges. Almost every mission used one or more walls.
But don't let any of that scare you away. Using walls is an great strategy, just try to get the kids to think about making it robust enough to handle the above the best you can.