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First Lego League in Virginia and DC


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VA/DC Referee Advisor <[log in to unmask]>
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VA/DC Referee Advisor <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 9 Nov 2012 23:51:14 -0500
text/plain (97 lines)
Different Rules are there for different reasons.

Most are there to make sure that the robot game is fun, and performed
by an autonomous robot.

Some are there to give the team more of a challenge.

Some are there to make things easier for the referees to do, and for
the team to understand.

Although it's not my place to discuss the intent of the Rules (Rules 3
and 29), I think that the limitation on markings is there for the
following reasons:

a)  Teams are limited to using "LEGO-manufactured elements in original
factory condition" to set a level-playing field, try to keep costs
affordable for teams all over the world, and to limit teams in
materials they can use, to give them a reasonable challenge.

b)  The referees don't want to have to determine whether stray
markings serve some kind of strategic purpose.

c)  Most teams can remember what they need to do after a little
practice, even without markings.  It's just a little extra brain

d)  The robots look nicer in pictures without writing all over them.

Actually, this rule as been around as long I as have been an FLL
referee.  I've teased teams about labeling their robots for years, and
enjoyed asking them which kits their stickers came from.  I've never
seen a team kicked out because they had a name or a number on their

In response to the thought that teams should be allowed to do anything
that helps them, we have lots of examples in FLL where teams are not
allowed to do things that might help them:

- having 11 team members
- using 4 motors or two bricks
- using Robot-C
- taking as much time as they like with the project presentation
- avoiding touch penalties by leaving a tether in Base
- having Bluetooth on during a match
- having an alignment jig extend outside Base

Some of these might seem helpful, some might not.

Bottom line--it's just a rule.  One of the side effects of FLL is that
we ask for members of the team to become expert rule-readers both to
be able to comply with the rules, and to think creatively about how to
act within the rules in surprising ways.  This is one of those
rules--even if there is minuscule benefit for the team, the team
shouldn't mark the robot or its pieces, because it's not allowed
within the rules.

Steve Scherr
VA/DC FLL Referee Advisor

On Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 2:52 PM, Purnima <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Still don't understand why marking the sensor or motor is not allowed, If
> team wants to put a number on motors, sensor that helps them it should be
> allowed. As that will not inter fear with the robot. Just wanted to
> understand the justification behind no marking on the sensor/motor.
> Regards,
> Purnima
> On Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 2:14 PM, VA/DC Referee Advisor <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>> Laura,
>>   It's been tacitly understood that marking the robots to distinguish
>> them from each other, especially where there were multiple teams from
>> a school or other location, has been inevitable.  Also, once you do
>> it, it could be financially infeasible to undo.
>>   For attachments and other components like sensors, it would be seen
>> as more consistent with the rules not to have those marked.  So, if
>> possible, swapping with unmarked sensors would be preferable.
>> Steve Scherr
>> VA/DC FLL Referee Advisor
>> On Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 1:39 PM, Laura Dysart <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>> > My team wrote numbers on two of their sensors in sharpie- they have some
>> > swapping out of attachments and sensors and decided to mark the ports on the
>> > sensors.  Raised a red flag for me- is that "illegal?" We can swap out the
>> > sensors if it is against rules.  Thank  you- Laura

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