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  • robot return to base

    In past years, once a robot crossed into base, you could touch it without penalty - I know any items brought back had to be completely in base to count, but the robot only had to enter the base. At our kick-off yesterday, a friend attended a session and said that the judge told them that the robot had to be COMPLETELY in base before you can touch it to swap attachments and end back out. Does anyone know if this change is correct? or is it still the same and she misunderstood?

  • #2
    Originally posted by BentonBots View Post
    In past years, once a robot crossed into base, you could touch it without penalty - I know any items brought back had to be completely in base to count, but the robot only had to enter the base. At our kick-off yesterday, a friend attended a session and said that the judge told them that the robot had to be COMPLETELY in base before you can touch it to swap attachments and end back out. Does anyone know if this change is correct? or is it still the same and she misunderstood?
    the "judge" is right if you want to avoid a penalty. Per R14, if the robot is not completely in base, you will get a penalty if you interrupt it. This is the same as last year.

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    • #3
      Thanks.... time to adjust the brain! One other item.... the friend asked me about connecting the large waters together so that there is one stacked on top of the other in the water collection area.... I told her to check the rules, but it has always been that items had to be independent - where the model piece can be picked up without being attached - R11 ........ my understanding is this would include snapping model pieces together......

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      • #4
        Originally posted by BentonBots View Post
        Thanks.... time to adjust the brain! One other item.... the friend asked me about connecting the large waters together so that there is one stacked on top of the other in the water collection area.... I told her to check the rules, but it has always been that items had to be independent - where the model piece can be picked up without being attached - R11 ........ my understanding is this would include snapping model pieces together......
        Correct. Cant do it.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by BentonBots View Post
          In past years, ....
          It's always best to read FLL rules as if this is the the first year FLL ever existed. Don't even worry about if a rule has changed from a previous year; just read what it IS this year.

          Kansas City Region Head Ref 2014-present
          KC Region coaches and teams can ask FLL robot game rules questions at [email protected]

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          • #6
            The rule that the robot has to be completely in base hasn't changed, but I have not seen it strictly enforced. If the robot is 90% inside base and still moving, few referees are going to apply the penalty though it would be technically accurate. If the robot is only 10% in base though, I'd expect a penalty assuming the referee is paying attention (I've seen plenty of tired referees missing those offenses too). Make sure your kids know the rule and be careful not to push their luck.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bob Claffey View Post
              The rule that the robot has to be completely in base hasn't changed, but I have not seen it strictly enforced. If the robot is 90% inside base and still moving, few referees are going to apply the penalty though it would be technically accurate. If the robot is only 10% in base though, I'd expect a penalty assuming the referee is paying attention (I've seen plenty of tired referees missing those offenses too). Make sure your kids know the rule and be careful not to push their luck.
              The rule about the robot being completely in base is strictly enforced at every event where I am the head referee. That's why "completely in" is defined as it is, and why they're called rules and not just guidelines.

              Depending on the circumstances and making a "the right call vs. a good call", the team might just get a cautionary warning rather than a penalty.
              FIRST LEGO League Mentor and Referee/Head Referee since 2011.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Tom Mosher View Post

                The rule about the robot being completely in base is strictly enforced at every event where I am the head referee. That's why "completely in" is defined as it is, and why they're called rules and not just guidelines.

                Depending on the circumstances and making a "the right call vs. a good call", the team might just get a cautionary warning rather than a penalty.
                In the region where my team compete, the refs call "completely in" exactly as Tom describes. Most probably do the same. Regardless, you should plan on the calls being like that. Simple practice will make the kids naturally be able to follow the rule.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bob Claffey View Post
                  The rule that the robot has to be completely in base hasn't changed, but I have not seen it strictly enforced. If the robot is 90% inside base and still moving, few referees are going to apply the penalty though it would be technically accurate.
                  My wife is a referee, and for first round or so in a tournament, she will often remind the kids during the match to wait to touch the bot until it returns all the way to base, trying to give the over-eager rookie teams a gentle warning. If the kids don't listen, they will be penalized. A robot 90% inside base is still not IN.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cschaffer View Post

                    the "judge" is right if you want to avoid a penalty. Per R14, if the robot is not completely in base, you will get a penalty if you interrupt it. This is the same as last year.
                    Just looking to confirm my thinking on the thing that is being transported.

                    R14 states that depending on where each was at the time of the interruption. And that if the Transported thing is completely in Base, you are allowed to keep it. If you can keep it, it's in base. And if it's on Base at the end of the match, you'd get any points associated with that mission. But, you would get a Touch or Interruption Penalty for touching the a Robot that wasn't completely in Base.

                    Does this thinking sound correct?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jamiebeedy View Post

                      Just looking to confirm my thinking on the thing that is being transported.

                      R14 states that depending on where each was at the time of the interruption. And that if the Transported thing is completely in Base, you are allowed to keep it. If you can keep it, it's in base. And if it's on Base at the end of the match, you'd get any points associated with that mission. But, you would get a Touch or Interruption Penalty for touching the a Robot that wasn't completely in Base.

                      Does this thinking sound correct?
                      The fine details of what happens when the robot is interrupted only need to be understood by the referees. What the team needs to know about interruption is how it affects your score. Interruption is a lot bigger than a 5 point penalty. It should change how you think about the game solution.

                      Interruption occurs the instant you touch the robot after launch. A lot of teams think interruption is grabbing the robot when it gets stuck. This is only one kind of interruption. Any time you touch the robot after a launch it is an interruption. No adjusting attachments after launch. No nudging the robot as it leaves base or even as it is moving in base. Avoid the urge to grab the robot while it crosses into base. As soon as you touch the robot it is an interruption. You have to stop the robot and re-launch.

                      An interruption is not a bad thing. Nearly every solution includes plans to interrupt the robot after it returns to base upon completion of a mission. Some solutions even plan on interrupting the robot while it is out of base, accepting a penalty in return for saving time or an inability to return to base. So even an interruption penalty is not a bad thing, it can be strategy.

                      The interruption penalty is relatively minor. Of more concern is what happens to TRANSPORTED THINGs when the robot is interrupted. When the robot is interrupted the referee has to make a quick judgment on what to do with any of the things the robot is transporting. If the thing is NOT COMPLETELY IN BASE the moment the robot is interrupted the referee takes the thing away. This is crushing for deliveries. You line up the robot to deliver the well, press the run button and immediately realize the attachment arm is down when it is supposed to be up. Before you can touch the robot it pushes the well to the edge of base. The referee sees the well has crossed the base outline and takes the well model away. You just took a 5 point penalty and lost your chance for earning 25 points for the mission. Oh well.

                      The cost of a launch mistake should be part of your mission solution design criteria. Do you want to load everything on the robot and risk losing them all on one failed launch? Maybe you should split deliveries up across missions. Maybe you should have some sort of verification as part of the launch process. My girls didn't like to practice, so they were terrible robot operators. Their most common problem was picking the wrong program for a mission. Interruption while leaving base wasn't so costly back then, but if they competed today I bet they would use some sort of two touch launch. The first touch would display some image on the screen, the second touch would launch the robot. That would force them to verify the program was correct before launching the mission.

                      The important thing to know about interruption is not what actions to take when it occurs. The important thing to know about interruption is how costly it can be, when it is most likely to happen, and what you can do to avoid it. The next time a launch mistake occurs during a practice or testing take a moment to write it down in your notebook (you do have a FLL notebook, don't you?). If you keep making the same launch mistakes it may be worthwhile figuring out why.
                      Last edited by Dean Hystad; 09-22-2017, 05:18 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dean Hystad View Post
                        You line up the robot to deliver the well, press the run button and immediately realize the attachment arm is down when it is supposed to be up. Before you can touch the robot it pushes the well to the edge of base. The referee sees the well has crossed the base outline and takes the well model away. You just took a 5 point penalty and lost your chance for earning 25 points for the mission. Oh well.
                        Fortunately, update #1 went some distance towards fixing this: the team would be keeping the Well in this case. But other than that I agree with Dean's post; many teams don't do a good cost / benefit analysis of Interruptions.
                        Kansas City Region Head Ref 2014-present
                        KC Region coaches and teams can ask FLL robot game rules questions at [email protected]

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                        • #13
                          Echo Echo.

                          And don't forget "match clock time" in the cost benefit analysis of an interruption. If you have but only a few seconds left on the clock, or nothing NEW to try...leave the bot where it is. It is all too common to see a team incur the penalty and not have any sense of how they might do something different to make it worthwhile on a new launch.

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