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First Lego League in Virginia and DC


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VA-DC Referee Advisor <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 6 Sep 2016 20:38:22 -0400
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Learning the Robot Game and the details that can trip teams up is a
community process.  For example, although I have built several field kits
so far, I haven't unrolled a mat and set one up yet.  So understanding the
geometry of the field and its complexities is something that teams have the
most insight into.

As Frank noted, the wording for the Service Dog Action mission is tricky to
understand (and correspondingly complicated to rule on), which is why I
wanted to discuss the spectrum of possibilities in a little greater detail.

I do see a couple of missions where the wording will result in some
discussion among the referees (we try to anticipate even unlikely
scenarios), but the others look pretty straightforward to me.  That's where
the teams come in and this discussion list and other forums.  We'll find
out what questions teams have, and help by showing how referees read and
interpret the rules.

One caution for everyone--I'll try to make it clear in my comments when a
referee might have a judgement call during a match.  Rule GP5, Information
Superiority, Bullet 2 says:


   Emails and Forum comments have no authority.

So, just because I've talked about something here, doesn't mean that you
are guaranteed to get that ruling during a tournament match.  Don't worry
though, we do try to have consistency among tournaments.

Steve Scherr
Virginia-DC FLL Referee Advisor

On Tue, Sep 6, 2016 at 9:45 AM, Skip Morrow <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> This is a great answer! And to be honest, much better than I was
> expecting. Thanks!
> I was wondering, what would it take to get a clarification like this on
> all of the missions? I certainly don't want you to write up something like
> this for each one--that would take forever. But if this head referees
> conclave meeting produces a product like that, is it something that can be
> shared?
> .
> On Tue, Sep 6, 2016 at 9:26 AM, VA-DC Referee Advisor <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>> Frank and coaches,
>>   When discussing the Service Dog Action mission, M02, I don't think that
>> it is more restrictive than many other FLL missions, this year and in the
>> past.  It may be a matter of perspective.  The challenge of this mission is
>> to navigate through a constrained curved path, and the triggering of the
>> dog is the indication that you've succeeded.  (Going west is required
>> because of the design of the triggering mechanism.)  This is not inherently
>> an "operate a machine to obtain a desired result" mission (although that is
>> part of it, of course).
>>   Your teams have the freedom to decide how that traveling is
>> accomplished, as well as freedom of design to ensure that the fence is
>> triggered, sequencing of actions, and so on.
>>   In regard to the mission constraint that the fence must be down
>> "because" of the travel and "after" the travel, some actions are definitely
>> not allowed.  Examples:
>>    a)  robot sitting in Base, triggering the Warning Fence, and then
>> driving between the barriers later.  The team would not earn points for M02.
>>   b)  robot driving east of the fence, pulls it down and then, without
>> stopping ,continues and drives through the barrier path from the west.  No
>> points.
>>   c)  requiring the robot to be shorter than the distance between the
>> easternmost barrier and the fence, so that the fence isn't triggered until
>> after the robot has passed all of the barriers--not reasonable.
>>   d) What about a 20" long segmented bendable robot that enters the
>> barriers from the south entrance and triggers the fence while a substantial
>> part of the robot is still on the northward section of the
>> barriers--probably okay.  (and cool--send me your pictures!)
>>   VA-DC FLL will be having its annual head referees conclave later this
>> month, and we'll definitely talk through exactly what we understand "after"
>> to mean for the mechanics of this mission, and how we will rule on it.
>>  "Because" seems pretty clear to me, and easy to adjudicate.  GP2 says to
>> use the common conversational meaning.
>>   As usual, Rule D04, Robot, doesn't distinguish between the Robot and
>> most active attachments. I think that everyone understands that.
>> Steve Scherr
>> Virginia-DC FLL Referee Advisor
>> P.S.   Except for purposes of tournament registration, we prefer
>> "Advisors" or "Facilitators" or "Organizers" to "Overlords".  (Except
>> occasionally during tournaments, c.f. R19, bullet 1, last sub-bullet,
>> moderated by GP5, #4)  :-)
>> On Tue, Sep 6, 2016 at 12:32 AM, Frank Levine <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>> Hi All,
>>>   I'm having a heck of a time figuring out the constraints for M02
>>> (Service Dog Action)
>>> *"The Fence must be down because the Robot completely crossed it from
>>> the west, after traveling between the Barriers"*
>>> If my team wants to design an attachment to push the fence down and then
>>> cross it... is the fence down *because* the robot completely crossed
>>> it?  I don't think so... it's down because the robot pushed it down...
>>> *then* the robot crossed the fence.  It's certainly not down because
>>> the robot crossed it.  It seems to me that the only legal solution is to
>>> have the robot push the fence down crossing from the west.  This seems very
>>> 'un-FLL', in that there is no freedom to interpret... the method is
>>> completely specified.
>>> Any clarification from our FLL overlords would be greatly appreciated.
>>> Thanks,
>>> Frank Levine

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