Well, it is mid-October, so it's time for me to remind everyone about the key Robot Game documents. "Come back to them often."
Rule 1 - READ EVERYTHING - All else held equal, experts on the four main documents of the Robot Game do better and have more fun. Read these well, and come back to them often: Field Setup, Missions, Rules, Rulings.
There is a special mission this year, too:
READ OTHER IMPORTANT PAGES TOO
You are currently reading the “Missions” document, which is only about half of what you need to know in order to do your best at a tournament. There are three other documents your team needs to become experts on:
The Field Setup, the Rules, and the posted/updated Rulings. Invest a meeting to go over them, even if you’re a veteran team. Ask about anything that’s not clear.
MISSION: Read all four robot game docs, and go over them often. They’ll mean more to you each time.
DOCUMENT EXPERTS ON YOUR TEAM = CRITICAL
Now that your teams have some strategies in place to perform missions in the robot game, I think that it would be valuable for the team to invest some time reading the Rulings, Missions, Rules, and checking the Field Setup and taking time to think--"does everything we are planning to do still make sense when we read this?" I know that most FLL'ers cannot recite chapter and verse from the game documents--but it can be an issue if everyone just "knows what they say" and doesn't double-check once in a while.
That being said, on to the subject of the e-mail.
The female medical person is officially the Doctor this year. See the Professional Teamwork mission "MISSION - Move both the doctor and the biomedical engineer to meet with the patient, anywhere in the patient’s area," as well as the Field Setup instructions:
Doctor And Patient - Position the doctor on the center of the directional compass at the northwest, sitting, looking toward Base. Position the patient on the nucleus of the west-most nerve cell, sitting, looking west. There is no set position for the people’s arms, and the doctor’s case may or may not be present. Each person’s hair must look great.
Yes, it's the Field Setup instructions that talk about the briefcase. Personally, I think that the hair looking great will be the biggest challenge for the referees this year--I always have issues with minifig hair...
It's okay to practice without the briefcase, but a team that wants to minimize variability will likely want to practice some of the time with the briefcase, too. Why? Because it is likely that the team will encounter a doctor with a briefcase at some time during a tournament, even if only in the early rounds. Your team will probably want to know if the presence of the briefcase will affect how the robot performs the mission.
For those of you who have read this far, here is an official VA/DC FLL Ruling:
Rule 18, Handling Not Allowed, states "You may not request a field setup outside the range of specified setups, but you may ask the ref to double-check that a particular setup is correct/within spec." Since the Field Setup says the the briefcase doesn't have to be present, a team may ask the referee, before the match starts, to remove the briefcase, and the referee should try to grant the request. (Note that this may not be possible for a couple of reasons.) Under no conditions should a referee remove the briefcase after a match has started (except when applying of Rule 22).
VA/DC FLL Referee Advisor
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