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November 2016


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VA-DC Referee Advisor <[log in to unmask]>
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VA-DC Referee Advisor <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 23 Nov 2016 11:21:37 -0500
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Dear Abbey and FLL friends,

  I don't usually like to talk about specific mission strategies in public
on this list, because discovery is a key item in our core values, but
everyone has had a chance to attend a qualifying tournament already.  As
coaches who have read my responses on this discussion list have seen, you
can expect me to discuss some philosophy, and then to evade giving a direct
answer to your question.  (That's not me trying to be mean, but rather
trying to give you a way out if you don't like my answer.)

  When a team thinks of an innovative or surprising strategy, the first
question to ask is "can we make a persuasive case to the referee that this
is okay from the text of the Rules and Missions?"  Although GP3, Benefit of
the Doubt, is not to be used as a strategy, it is there to help teams who
are creative in interpreting the game.  Plus, in my personal opinion, the
FLL Game Designer always builds in a couple of hidden flexibilities, both
for fun and to see who might find them.  (One example is the Frogs model
this year.)

  We have to walk a fine line when looking at the Mission Models and the
images on the mat, and assigning meaning to them.  Rule GP2 says that "if a
detail isn't mentioned, then it doesn't matter."  For mission M05,
Biomimicry, we know that the Green Gecko and the Biomimicry Wall are
distinct things, because both are mentioned.  The feet of the Wall are not
separately mentioned though, so we have to assume that they are an integral
part of the Wall for purposes of the mission.

  In real life, it wouldn't make sense to transport a shark outside of its
tank, but in the Robot Game, we need to look at the Exact Scoring
Requirement information in the mission to see what the referee will
evaluate. M01 does distinguish between the walls of the Tank and the floor
of the Tank, so we know that those details are important.  The walls don't
stop being walls because of changes in orientation of the tank, and the
floor doesn't stop being a floor either.

  Here are a couple of other items related to this topic.

-- when I met with several other Virginia-DC Head Referees in September, we
did discuss the possibility of seeing a Shark on an inverted Tank, and we
came to a consensus on how we would rule on it.

-- as Coaches Tim and Matthew noted, there are some precedents for this
technique being considered acceptable for scoring at previous events.  I
should warn you, though, precedent doesn't mean anything at the
Championship, unless it's backed up by the text of the Robot Game.  Every
year I end up telling a couple of teams that something that they think was
allowed at their qualifying tournament isn't allowable at the Championship,
because the Rules and Missions prohibit it (GP5).

  Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Steve Scherr
Virginia-DC FLL Referee Advisor
Head Referee, Virginia-DC FLL Tournament

On Tue, Nov 22, 2016 at 6:01 PM, Brittany Rose <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Dear Mr. Scherr,
> Hi - I am part of the Extravaganza Girls FLL team and I am wondering if
> the method described below will be allowed at the championship tournament.
> Thank you,
> Abbey Baham
> Sent from my email address as my team members are not signed up for the
> listserv :)
> On Nov 21, 2016, at 11:06 AM, Rockledge Robotics <
> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Tim that is an interesting question.  Looking back at the rules it does
> not define what the floor of the tank is.  Looking at the vagueness of the
> instruction the bottom of tank can still be the floor. It is just an
> interesting way to read the rules.  I know that Head Ref (Steve Scherr) at
> the Osborn Park Tournament Address this directly with the field judges and
> still said that it counted.
> V/R
> Matthew
> Rockledge Robotics
> Electro Eagle Green Team 25187
> Electro Eagle Gold Team 25188
> Electro Eagle Black Team 25189
> On Mon, Nov 21, 2016 at 10:53 AM, Tim <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Hello all,
>> I have a quick question regarding the shark-transport mission. At my
>> team's regional tournament, I noticed a lot of team have a set up like this:
>> - The shark is taken out of the shark tank
>> - The tank is then turned upside down
>> - The shark is place on its side (not standing), "on" the bottom of the
>> tank (since the tank was turned upside down, the bottom is now the top)
>> Now with that set up, they can easily push the shark tank to the target
>> location and still satisfies the requirements:
>> - Shark and tank are completely in Target
>> - Shark touching only the tank floor (NOT wall)
>> - Nothing touched the Shark except the tank
>> Is this method allowed? I would like to know since I am preparing my team
>> for the Championship event. To be honest, I feel like this is cheating but
>> the ref. did not say anything to teams that did this.
>> Best,
>> Tim

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