Susie -

The Housekeeping rules always generate confusion for first-time coaches and teams, so don't worry - you are in good company!

Here's the relevant rules section:


      a.. Objects in Base not currently being moved or used by the robot are okay for you to shift partially out of Base, out of the way, as long this action is not strategic in any way.
      b.. Objects may also be held in hand or in a box by one of the two team members at the table. 
      c.. Objects eligible to score in Base should be placed in Base when the match is over so the ref can score them. 
      d.. Team members not at the table may not hold competition objects of any type. 

Basically, "Base" is both a physical location AND a virtual location.  We can all relate to the physical location:  It is an imaginary 16" high box placed over the base rectangle on the mat.  If something is physically in that volume, then it is "in Base".

The Housekeeping rules are there because it is physically impossible to have all your attachments, strategic objects, retrievable and deliverables all in base at the same time with your robot and still get anything done.

So here's the key concept: Anything that is physically and legally in the physical base area can be moved in and out of the physical base BY HAND and still be considered "in Base" according to the rules.

Let's consider some examples:
  a.. The six people, the snowmobile, bear, and levee blocks all start in the physical base and are therefore "in Base".  They can be moved off the table before the match starts and are still, technically, "in Base".  They can be moved back to base by hand at any time.
  b.. Your robot, its attachments and any strategic objects are considered to be "in Base" at the start of the match too, even if they are in a box next to the table.
  c.. If the robot brings the Ice Buoy or the Ice Core or the Drilling Rig to the physical base then you can manipulate it by hand and move it off table if desired - they are still "in Base" and can be put back by hand at any time.  Note that scoring objects like the Ice Core should be put back into the physical base at the end of the match to ensure that they are scored.
Two reminders:
  a.. You USED to be able to move objects in base to a location on the mat "near base" rather than take it off the table to get it out of your way.  This year's rule states that you can shift them "partially out of Base".  A strict reading of this would mean that you can't move the polar bear all the way into the mountains next to base.  Under last year's rules that would have been allowed.
  b.. At the start of the match EVERYTHING you need must be on or next to the table and NOTHING match-related can be held by the team members away from the table.

I hope that clears things up a bit for you and anyone else who might be confused.


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Ellis, Susie 
  To: Stuart & Lori Roll 
  Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 10:31 AM
  Subject: RE: [VADCFLL-L] Tables & Carts at the Competition Table



  This is my first year with FLL.  Can the team members move the objects in base (people, snow mobile, bear, blocks) to the side of base or even remove them to our box or table if we don't need them?


  Many thanks,


  Susie Ellis


  From: First Lego League Discussion [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Stuart & Lori Roll
  Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 9:54 PM
  To: [log in to unmask]
  Subject: Re: [VADCFLL-L] Tables & Carts at the Competition Table


  George -


  I must admit to being dismayed at your ruling.  Especially coming just four days before the competition!


  You say that we can have team members not at the table hold a box containing attachments.  But the Housekeeping rule states "Team members not at the table may not hold competition objects of any type".  So we can't do that.


  Base is 20" x 14" by 18", but at the table you allow us a box that's smaller than base itself.  Robots vary in size considerably as do attachements and strategic objects.  There is no restriction in the rules on the aggregate size of your attachments or strategic objects.  There is a significant chance that the team's collection of attachments/objects won't even fit in the box you proscribe, much less along with the robot.  It is even legal to make a strategic option or attachment that won't fit by itself in the box you proscribe.


  I've only been to two regional tournaments and one state tournament but I have already seen a variety of ways that teams manage this issue.  In none of the matches I've ever observed has anyone brought a large or difficult to manage table, cart or box.  It is in the team's interest to bring a managable platform, isn't it?


  Last year at regionals and states we utilized a modestly-sized rolling A/V cart (like every school library uses to put an overhead projector on).  It actually improved the competition flow as we could put everything on it ahead of time and just roll it up next to the table.  Afterwards, we had plenty of space to put our attachments and robot away quickly without dumping everthing into a box and having to put attachments back together later.


  I certainly appreciate your desire to make everything run smoothly but I fear that in trying to solve a minor, potential problem you are creating unnecessary real problems for lots of teams including, potentially, both of mine.


  Considering the effect of your ruling and the lateness of it, I respectfully request that you reconsider it.  It would be just as effective to state something like the following:

    In order to ensure the smooth flow of teams in the robot competition area, boxes, tables or carts used to hold robots and their attachments at the competition table must be modest in size and easily managed.  If, during practice rounds, your team's management of its box, table or cart impedes the flow of competition the head referee may disallow its use in subsequent rounds.  If you have any doubts about your solution, bring a suitable backup.

  A ruling like this would allow teams to bring boxes, tables or carts appropriate to their own team's needs just like before and 99% of them would be just fine.  If someone shows up with a 4' x 6' table that takes 5 minutes to set up, then you can deal with it and they can't say they were not warned.


  If you feel this strongly about the subject, I suggest you ask them to modify the rules for next year to mandate the size and type of containers that can be used at the table rather than change the rules for this year just days before the tournament.  Then it would be just one more part of the challenge to design all your attachments to fit into the right sized box.


  I have great respect and gratitude for all the judges, referees, and other volunteers in FLL so I don't complain about anything lightly, but in this case I felt I needed to speak up.  I hope you take this as a positive, constructive suggestion for a better solution rather than a rant.  We all want the best experience for all the teams.


  Stuart Roll


    ----- Original Message ----- 

    From: George E. Gonzalez 

    To: [log in to unmask] 

    Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 4:55 PM

    Subject: [VADCFLL-L] Tables & Carts at the Competition Table


    Hello Sean,


    I am one of the two head referees for the NOVA/Sterling tournament. The question you raised regarding the use of a table or rolling cart at the robot performance table is asked every year, and answered differently depending on level of the competition, i.e., Regional, State, or World tournament. The primary considerations are available space at and around the tournament tables, and the logistics for teams to bring, setup, and remove their cart from the competition area. In our venue there appears to be available space; however, once you factor in teams anxiously waiting their turn, spectators, and referees, space becomes limited. Even more important is the timely and orderly flow of teams to and from the competition tables in order to maintain a deterministic process that keeps to the published schedule. Schedule slips significantly complicate the judging schedule for all teams and can adversely affect a team's performance. It is for these reasons that tables and carts are not permitted at the World Festival tournament in Atlanta. Given that the World tournament is the "Super Bowl" of FLL, teams should practice in Regional and State tournaments using the same guidelines. 


    Accordingly, tables and carts are not permitted in the competition area at the Sterling tournament.


    Teams can, however, utilize a storage bin that can be held by a team member(s) behind the cheering line (2 feet) or placed beneath the competition table for storage of attachments utilized during competition. The storage bin should be relatively small (less than 18"x16"x12") and portable to facilitate its use.


    Best of luck at the tournament!


    Best regards,

    George Gonzalez

    Team Tiki - FTC #2859



    -----Original Message-----
    From: "Sean M. Paus" <[log in to unmask]>
    Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2008 09:01:46 
    To: <[log in to unmask]>

    Subject: Re: FLL Sterling 1  Welcome letter & Program Brochure

    [log in to unmask] wrote:
    > Look in the "what to bring" section. There will be practice tables in
    > the pit area.
    > I hope it answers your question.

    Actually, what I meant was a small folding table the boys could use for
    housekeeping while they are at the Robot performance.


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