- 1/28: Starting sequence
Q: What is the exact starting sequence?
A: Here is the final, updated starting sequence:
- You will know which table and which side of the table you're on,
and you'll proceed to the check-in area while the previous round is
running at your table. Note that from now on, your beacon may not
come on until the round begins, or you will be charged with a false
start. Two false starts result in a disqualification from the round.
- Your robot's size will be measured, and your team number and
name will be taken to the table announcer.
- Your table escort will lead you to your table, and you can begin
setting up your robot. At this time, you can calibrate your sensors
and actuators, and your sensors and actuators are allowed to run. The
starting light will be on. You should also take this time to run
through a final checklist of verifications.. such as Hawkers being on,
etc. You'll have 60 seconds from the time the 2nd teams gets to the
table to set up your robot. If you take too long, you'll be charged
with a false start.
- Say "ready for orientation" when you are done with the rest of
your set up. When both teams are ready, we will tell you your
orientation, and you must place your robot in that orientation. You
may not do any form of calibration at this time. Your actuators must
be powered down by this time. This means that servos must be disabled
and powered down by this time. If your actuators come on, you will be
charged with a false start. The starting light will still be on at
this time so you can use its readings to center your robot if you
wish. (You just can't give your robot any more information.)
- Say "ready for off" when you're done placing your robot. When
both teams are ready, the starting light will be turned off, and the
table master will say, "lights are off". You are then to hit a button
to arm your robot. Be sure to do this step! Your robot should now be
ready to go once the starting light comes back on.
- Say "ready for go" and step away from the table when your
robot is armed. When both teams are ready, the table master will begin
the round, and your robots will hopefully begin dueling!
- 1/21: Number of motors
Q: Can I plug 2 motors into the same port? Can I use more
6 motors on my robot?
A: No. You are limited to using 6 motors, 1 for each motor port.
The reason for this is that the motors, when stalled, already draw enough
current to max out the capacity of the motor driver chips. Since stalling
is not always avoidable and we do not want people to risk burning out
their chips, we do not allow for more than 1 motor per port.
- 1/18: Modifying parts
Q: What sensors/actuators may I modify?
A: You may modify sensors and lights freely, but you may not
modify actuators (servos and motors) except for mounting purposes.
Q: May I take the NiCd batteries out of my handyboard and
mount them somewhere else, on a longer wire?
- 1/11: Decorating your robot
Q: Can I paint my robot to fool others into thinking that
it's a wall?
A: No. Decorations may not serve any useful function.
- 1/11: Robot size
Q: How is the 12'' x 12'' x 12'' robot size limit measured?
A: Your robot will be placed on a flat surface, bottom side
down. We will try to lower a 12-inch box without a bottom or top
(so the beacon can fit through) over the robot. Your robot must fit
without any switches depressed, though wires may be pressed in.
- 1/11: Wires
Q: Can I drill holes in lego for wires?
A: Yes, as long as they don't serve a structural function.
We are in favor of cleaner wiring.
- 1/11: Moving your IR beacon
Q: Can I spin my IR beacon during the contest?
Q: It's hard to spin the beacon while keeping it fixed with
respect to the controller board. Can I move it a little?
A: We'll consider it "fixed" if it stays within a circle of
diameter 4'' that is entirely contained in the 12'' square into
which your robot must initially fit.
- 1/10: Starting Orientations
Q: How will the initial orientations compare for the two robots?
A: The initial orientations for the two robots will be
radially symmetrical. That is, the 4 possibilities are:
- Away (from other robot/from center of table)
- Toward (other robot/center of table)
- Left (i.e. facing your half of the table)
- Right (i.e. facing your opponent's half of the table)
- 1/10: Setup period clarifications
Q: What happens during the 60-second setup period before the round begins?
A: All you really need to do is to put your robot down in the proper orientation, and, after the starting lights are turned off, hit a button to put your robot in a "ready" state where it will activate once the starting lights come back on.
Optionally, you may choose to calibrate your sensors or motors during
this time, though you shouldn't need to.
At no point after impounding are you allowed to give your robot any
information other than explicitly allowed calibrations. Specifically,
you may not tell your robot its orientation or the side of the
table that it's on. It must determine that for itself.
- 1/10: Throwing balls above 16''
Q: Can a ball be thrown over 16 inches high?
A: Yes, but you must release it before it gets to that height.
- 1/9: Harming your opponent
Q: May I ram my opponent into oblivion?
A: Yes, as long as your point of impact is blunt.
Q: Are ramps considered blunt?
A: Yes. You can try to flip your opponent or lure it off
- 1/11: Robots breaking apart
Q: Can I swap in replacement modules if the ones on my robot
A: Yes, any kind of rebuilding with identical components is
allowed, but you should not be planning for your robots to break!
Q: Can I remove hopelessly damaged modules from my robot
Q: Can I tell my robot which damaged parts have been
Q: What if the falling ball always smashes my deflector?
A: If your robot breaks most of the time, it may be
disqualified. Since broken robots usually don't win, we expect that
we won't have to enforce this rule.
Q: What if my robot breaks when it encounters another robot.
A: We do not allow parts that intentionally break off. For
example, you may not use loosely attached legos that will fall off
into your opponent's gear train.
- 1/9: Robots with many nearly separate parts
Q: Can I weave wire into a LEGO chain connecting different
parts of the robot?
A: Yes, but the key phrase there is "weave into". You may
not strap the chain onto a huge cable, since wires may not be used
for structural purposes.
- 1/9: Using the dowel
Q: What can I use the dowel for?
A: You may use it only for mounting the beacon. However, you
may mount sensors on the section that supports the beacon.
Q: Can the dowel go higher than the beacon?
A: No. Nothing may be extended past the plane of the beacon
PC board, since it may obstruct the IR transmitters.
- 1/9: Ball dropping
Q: Can I use my beacon to deflect the falling ball?
A: Yes...but remember that if your beacon breaks, you will be
Q: Can you clarify the timing of ball drops?
A: If the central ball is disturbed within the first 17
seconds, a ball will fall onto the platform at 20 seconds and 40
seconds. If the central ball is first disturbed between 17 seconds
and 37 seconds, a ball will fall at 40 seconds. Otherwise, no ball
Q: Can I fool the sensor measuring the central ball?
A: Probably not, but even if you do, an organizer will notice
and drop the balls manually according to the rules.
Q: Which extra ball will drop first?
A: It will be random.
Q: From what height will the ball drop?
A: The bottom of the net that slows its fall will be about
22'' above the central platform.
- 1/16: The $20 rule
Q: Can I buy weights? Can I buy springs? Can I buy
A: No. You may only buy electronic components, but any kind
of actuators, motor driver circuitry, or microprocessors are
explicitly disallowed. Two exceptions: you may buy FETs to power
LEDs (we have a bunch) or servos (we have some that are heavily
Q: If I replace broken servos with servos I buy elsewhere,
will those count toward the $20?
A: No. As long as you replace them with the exact same
model, you can pretend that you never broke them in the first
place. However, we will not sell you more than two.
- 1/9: Extra batteries as weight
Q: Can I use my extra battery pack as a weight?
- 1/17: Strings and rubber bands
Q: Can we use strings or rubber bands to transfer force to
moving parts (for example, to make pulley systems connected to a
gear train or dropping weights)?
A: Yes, as long as the string is not a structural component
and all parts are still connected by LEGO.
Q: Can we use rubber bands to store energy?
A: Yes. You can even wind them up before the round, and have
them release at 59 seconds, so that your robot continues moving for
a while past the end of the round.
Q: Can we use rubber bands to add friction to our
A: Yes, as long as they do not provide structural support.
Q: Can we use huge-ass rubber bands?
A: No, but you can use as many small ones (less than 1/8'') as
Q: Can we make a net/conveyor belt/ball grabber out of
strings or rubber bands?
A: No. That would make it a structural component.
- 1/9: Qualifying
The requirements for qualification are somewhat subjective. Even if
your robot has a bad run, if it looks to us like your robot is
capable of scoring points, you might qualify.
- 1/9: Double wins / double losses
Q: In the situation where both teams have defensive
strategies resulting in a tie, but one team has an unsuccessful
offensive attempt, how would this be scored?
A: Both teams will lose. To win a tied match you must
actually do something that increases your relative score at some
point in the contest.