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November 2014


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First Lego League in Virginia and DC <[log in to unmask]>
VA-DC Referee Advisor <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 9 Nov 2014 23:32:02 -0500
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VA-DC Referee Advisor <[log in to unmask]>
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We had 8 FLL tournaments in Virginia this weekend, and it looks like teams
had a great time.  I know that the referees were impressed at all the
creative solutions teams found to accomplish their selected missions, and
I've heard good things from the judges too.  I hope that the week 1
activity during core values judging helped to raise everyone's expectations!

There a few things that surprised some teams at the robot game tables, that
I would like to give teams a heads-up about.

First a reminder--don't trust any pictures or video unless the text of the
Robot Game agrees with them.  According to Rule 5:

"When there is conflict between pictures/videos and text, the text takes

1)  Engagement mission setup
    According to the Field Setup, and Game Update 5, the engagement
pinwheel setup is with its red arm up.  (That means that the main body of
the arm points straight up.)  Both pictures on pages 10 and 29 are

2)  Bouncing the Sports Ball
    Teams at several tournaments discovered that the blue ball may not
bounce the same on competition or practice tables as it does on the table
that they practiced on.  I know that at some tournaments, there was a
mixture of behaviors among both the competition and practice tables.  We're
sorry about this unexpected behavior, but it is covered by Rule 4,
Variability, and no team will know what to expect until they get to the

3)  Ramming the Door
    As described in the mission and rules, the team doesn't get points for
opening the door by ramming it and breaking it.  You must push down on the
handle to allow the door to open.

4)  Loop in the Senses mission
    Update 32 was a little too subtle about the loop in the Using the Right
Senses mission.  The mission requirement is that the loop is "released"
only by pushing the slider.  The update says not to expect the the loop
will be "ejected" by using the slider.  The update is also trying to say
that "release" means "to allow to be moved or taken", so, once your robot
pushes the slider to lift the weight out of the way, the robot is allowed
to remove the loop from the model.

5)  Reverse Engineering--making the original model during setup
    Your team is required to build an original model out of all 6 pieces
when they get to the table, even if they don't plan to do the Reverse
Engineering.  See the Field Setup, and Updates 14 and 24.  The two Robot
Handlers are the only ones allowed to build the model.   Being prepared for
this is part of being a Gracious Professional.

6)  Apprenticeship--try it out!
    If your team isn't doing the Apprenticeship mission, they really should
take a look at Update 7

7)  Apprenticeship People
    As discussed earlier today, your team is required to use the people at
the table in order to score full points on the Apprenticeship mission.

8)  Kidnapping
    Please be careful, both at the competition tables and the practice
tables, that you don't take any mission models, such as the people or the
blue ball.  If you discover them, take them back immediately.  Removing
them hurts other teams, and thus is against Gracious Professionalism.
    You shouldn't bring the Apprenticeship people from your practice kit,
and you should avoid bringing any blue balls, if at all possible.
Tournament volunteers will think that they belong to the tournament kits,
and will ask you to hand them over.

Best wishes to all FLL teams in the upcoming weeks!

Steve Scherr
Virginia-DC FLL Referee Advisor

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