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Superior Strategies for a World Class Robot

Superior Strategies for a World Class Robot

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Hello World! Chloe here! Im joined this week with my teammate Ritvik and together well tackle the topic of creating superior strategies for the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Robot Game. There are three key aspects to focus on when approaching the FLL Robot Game: the robot strategy, robot design, and programming. Today we will concentrate on strategy - the first step to creating a World Class Robot!

Mission Ready

Before you build your robot, you must evaluate the missions on the game table and create a suitable strategy. The robot strategy is the plan of action, or, more specifically, the order and route in which your robot attempts missions. In the robot game, success stems from a well-planned strategy, so it is crucial for you to have the best strategy possible. Your teams strategy should allow you to reach your point goal (the number of points that you want your robot to score), and should be feasible to complete within a

2minute time period. Your strategy is best determined after you:

List missions in order of ease of completion.Calculate how many points you believe your robot can achieve (target point zone).Determine if the difficulty level of a particular mission is worth the points received for completing that mission.Organize the missions you plan to attempt into different groupings, or mission runs. These groupings will become the programming groups that your robot will follow when competing on the game table.

After you complete these steps, you can begin to plan your strategy! Draw your strategy on a clean map of the game table, tracing the route your robot will take and numbering the missions in the order you will complete them. When you begin to program your robot, each of your programs will contain a grouping of missions that your robot completes each time it leaves Base.

Optimize and Strategize

To earn the most points possible in the way that makes the most sense, teams often use the following two concepts: the Leapfrog Principle and the Bang for the Buck Principle.

The Leapfrog Principle helps you to advance the design of your robot - with an insurance policy. When you use the Leapfrog Principle, you build two copies of your robot and robot attachments. This way, when you make a design change on one robot, you always have an unchanged copy to compare. If a design change is proven to be beneficial, you can then implement that change on the second robot. On Team Geared UP!, we use the Leapfrog Principle with our two robots, Alpha and Romeo. Typically, we first make a change on Romeo, and then test that change. If the change works, we build it into Alpha. This ensures that we dont accidentally build any useless or harmful parts onto our robots.

While it may seem cliche, Bang for the Buck is a critical concept in game strategy. Given the need to score as many points as possible in a limited time frame, your team will need to determine if it is worthwhile to include a particular mission in your overall strategy. As applied to FLL Robot Game Strategy, Bang for the Buck means earning the most points you can (which is your bang or return) for the time you spend (which is your buck or investment). For example, when designing our strategy for last years competition, we created the Bang for the Buck Rating Scale shown in the table below.

Putting It All Together

Together these optimization concepts help refine the programming groupings (pictured below), and the order in which the missions are attempted. A programming grouping refers to the way in which you program your LEGO Mindstorms NXT or EV3 brick. By taking time to think through all of your options and by giving careful consideration to your programming groupings, your team will be on its way to creating a superior strategy!

To see these concepts in action check out this weeks Geared UP! video, and remember, its never too late to join the Robolution! Join a FIRST LEGO League team today and have the time of your life!

Until NXT time,

Chloe and Ritvik

FLL Resource Page for Teams

FLL Robot-Game Field Mat Overhead View

FLL Official Score Sheet with Graphics

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