Guiding Principles:

     GP1 – Gracious Professionalism®

    You are “Gracious Professionals.”
    ● You compete hard against PROBLEMS, while treating PEOPLE with respect and kindness – people from your own team, as well as other teams, and other countries.
    ● Coaches and parents lead by example.
    ● You build onto other people’s ideas instead of resisting or defeating them.
    ● If you joined FIRST LEGO League with a main goal of “winning a Robotics competition,” you’re in the wrong place!
    ● The Robot Game is developed and produced so you can: • have fun with science and technology, gaining confidence, knowledge, and skill at the same time. • practice taking risks and innovating in a team setting.
    ● Everyone running a tournament is a volunteer, including each Referee (Ref). Refs spend hours after work and on weekends to learn the Challenge, but you must expect them to occasionally make calls you disagree with.
    ● For every call you think cost you points incorrectly, another call probably gave you points incorrectly, and the same thing occasionally happens to all teams – please see the bigger picture.

     GP2 – Interpretation

    ● Robot Game text means exactly and only what it says. Take it literally whenever possible.
    ● If taking text literally seems to allow an arguably clever strategy or advantage, then it’s allowed.
    ● If taking text literally leads to something outrageous/absurd, take the more popular/“common sense” meaning.
    ● If a word isn’t given a game definition, use its common/dictionary meaning.
    ● If a detail isn’t mentioned, it doesn’t matter

     GP3 – Benefit of the Doubt –

    You get the “benefit of the doubt” when the Ref...
    ● thinks a faulty Model or poor Field setup/maintenance is a factor.
    ● thinks a split-second or the thickness of a line is a factor.
    ● thinks a situation could “go either way” due to confusing, conflicting, or missing information.
    ● is unable to point to compelling official text to support a call. This good-faith courtesy is not to be used as a strategy.

     GP4 – Variability

    Our suppliers, donors, and volunteers try very hard to make all Fields correct and identical, but you should always expect/design for flaws and variability. Just a few examples...
    ● Border Walls
    ● Lighting
    ● Table surface and Mat
    ● Field setup

     GP5 – Info Precedence

    ● In case of conflict between sources of game info, precedence/authority in descending order is...
    • #1 = Current Robot Game Updates text
    • #2 = Missions and Field Setup text
    • #3 = Rules text
    • #4 = Local Head Ref decision
    ● Pictures and video have no standing, except when referred to by text in #1, #2, or #3.
    ● Emails and Forum comments have no standing, even from official sources. Consider them opinion.


    D01 – Autonomous

    A Launched Robot is said to be “Autonomous” – performing with no help.


    D02 – Base

    “Base” is over the Field’s inner quarter-circle. It extends to the inner south and west Border Walls, but no farther, and has an invisible ceiling 12” (30.5cm) high. Base is important during Robot Launches/re-Launches only.

    D03 – Equipment

    “Equipment” is everything you bring to a Match for Mission-related activity.

    D04 – Field

    The “Field” is the Robot’s game environment, consisting of LEGO Models on a Mat, surrounded by Border Walls. The Field is held on a Table. For full details, see Field Setup.

    D05 – Interruption

    If you interact with an Autonomous Robot, that’s an “Interruption.” No longer Autonomous, the Interrupted Robot is not allowed to move or do anything. 

    D06 – Match

    A “Match” is when two teams play opposite each other on two Fields arranged back to back.
    ● Matches last 2-1/2 minutes.
    ● Your Robot Launches from Base and tries as many Missions as possible.
    ● The Field is not reset for the purpose of multiple attempts.
    ● Re-Launches are allowed during the Match, but the timer doesn’t pause.

    D07 – Mission

    A “Mission” is one or more objectives worth points.
    ● Some must be visible at the END of the Match.
    ● Some must be performed in a particular way, and must be watched by the Ref AS THEY HAPPEN.

    D08 - Model

    A “Model” (often called a “Mission Model”) is any LEGO structure already at the Field when you arrive to compete. You don’t bring Models to the competition Field – they’re already there when you arrive.
    ● You are not allowed to take Models apart, even temporarily.
    ● If you combine a Model with something, the combination must be loose enough that if asked to do so, you could pick the Model up and nothing else would come with it.

    D09 – Penalties

    A “Penalty” is a deduction from your final score due to a specific action that is allowed but discouraged. Penalty values are found in the Missions. There are two types of Penalty:
    ● Interruption Penalty – Caused by you Interrupting the Robot while it’s not completely in Safety.
    ● Junk Penalty – Caused…
    • immediately – by each piece of equipment the Robot strands partly in Safety.
    • at the end of the Match – by each piece of equipment still stranded completely outside Safety.

    D10 – Robot

    A “Robot” is a LEGO MINDSTORMS controller and all Equipment currently combined with it.

    D11 – Safety

    “Safety” contains Base, extends to the outer red line outside of the base, and has no ceiling. 

    Robot Equipment, Supplies, & People:

    R01 – All Equipment

    All Equipment must be made entirely of LEGO-manufactured building elements in original factory condition.
    ● Except: LEGO string and tubing may be cut to length.
    ● Except: Reminders written on paper are okay.
    ● Except: Marker may be used only in hidden areas, for ownership identification.

    R02 – Controllers

    You are allowed only one individual controller in any particular Match.
    ● It must exactly match a type shown below (Except: Special-edition color differences are okay).
    ● All other controllers must be left in the pit area for that Match.
    ● All forms of remote control or data/info exchange with Robots including Bluetooth in the competition area are illegal.
    • LEGO Mindstorms EV3
    • LEGO Mindstorms NXT
    • LEGO RCX

    R03 – Motors

    You are allowed up to four individual motors in any particular Match.
    ● Each one must exactly match a type shown below.
    ● You may include more than one of a type. Example: 3 EV3 LARGE + 1 EV3 MEDIUM = 4 motors = Okay.
    ● All other motors must be left in the pit area for that Match. Example: If you have 3 motors installed in the Robot, you may have at most 1 other motor ANYWHERE with you. Example: If you have 2 motors installed in the Robot, you may have at most 2 other motors ANYWHERE with you. 
    • EV3 Large Motor
    • EV3 Mediul Motor
    • NXT Motor
    • RCX Motor



    Use as many external sensors as you like.
    ● Each one must exactly match a type shown below.
    ● You may include more than one of each type.
    • EV3 Touch Sensor
    • EV3 Color Sensor
    • EV3 Ultrasonic Sensor
    • EV3 Gyro/Angle Sensor
    • NXT Touch Sensor
    • NXT Light Sensor
    • NXT Color Sensor
    • NXT Ultrasonic Sensor
    • RCX Touch Sensor
    • RCX Light Sensor
    • RCX Rotation Sensor

    R05 – Other Electric/Electronic Things

    No other electric/electronic things are allowed in the competition area for Missionrelated activity.
    ● Except: LEGO wires and converter cables are allowed as needed.
    ● Except: Allowable power sources are (1) controller’s power pack or (6) AA batteries.

    R06 – Non-Electric Elements

    Use as many non-electric LEGO elements as you like.
    ● Except: Factory-made wind-up/pull-back “motors” are not allowed.
    ● Except: Additional/duplicate Models are not allowed. 

    R07 – Software

    The Robot may only be programmed using LEGO MINDSTORMS RCX, NXT, EV3, or RoboLab software (any release). No other software is allowed. Patches, add-ons, and new versions of the allowable software from the manufacturers (LEGO and National Instruments) are allowed, but tool kits, including the LabVIEW tool kit, are not allowed.

    R08 – Technicians

    ● Only two team members, called “Technicians,” are allowed at the competition Field at once. Except: Others may step in for honest emergency repairs during the Match, then step away.
    ● The rest of the team must stand back as directed by tournament officials, with the expectation of fresh Technicians being able to switch places with current Technicians at any time


    Robot Play:

    R09 – Pre-Match Preparation

    After getting to the Field, you have at least one minute to prepare. During this time only, you may...
    ● ask the Ref to confirm that a Model or setup is correct.
    ● calibrate light/color sensors on the Field outside Safety.

    R10 – Hands Off

    If something on the Field is not completely in Safety, you are not allowed to touch it except as specifically described in a Mission, Rule, or Update.

    R11 – Workspace and Storage

    ● ON THE FIELD: Handling and storage of allowable things may extend out of Safety, into adjacent irrelevant Field space only if specific actions and locations are completely non-strategic.
    ● OFF THE FIELD: Equipment and Models are not allowed on the floor

    R12 – Launching

    A proper Launch (or re-Launch) goes like this:
    ● Ready Situation
    • Your Robot and everything related to its next Autonomous period are arranged as desired and all completely contained within and under the limits of BASE.
    • The Ref can see that nothing in Base is moving, and that you’re not touching anything.
    ● Activation Method Options
    • ACTIVE: Reach with one hand and touch a button or signal a sensor to prompt a program.
    • PASSIVE: Do nothing and allow a running program to resume.
    SPECIAL CASE: Match Start – In this case, the exact time to Launch is the beginning of the last word/sound in the countdown, such as “Ready, set, GO!” or BEEEEP!
    ● The properly Launched/re-Launched Robot is Autonomous until you Interrupt it.
    ● Every change completely outside Safety caused by the Robot stays that way.
    ● Except: The Robot may change its own changes.
    ● You are not allowed to cause anything to leave or even extend out of Base except by Launching/re-Launching.
    ● If you accidentally propel something out of Base, that’s okay to recover immediately without disturbing the Field. 

    R13 – Interrupting

    If you INTERRUPT the Robot, you must stop it immediately, then
    *calmly pick it up for a re-Launch
    *if there will be one.
    Here’s what happens to the Robot and any Model it was transporting, depending on where each was at the time...
    Robot – Completely in Safety?
          • YES: Re-Launch.
          • NO: Re-Launch + Interruption Penalty.
    Model – Completely in Safety?
          • YES: Keep it.
          • NO: Was it with the Robot during the most recent Launch?
                – YES: Keep it.
                – NO: Give it to the Ref (out of play). 
     *LENIENCY: If there is no re-Launch allowed/intended, leave everything stopped in place, and there’s no Penalty or movement of anything. Your Match is considered finished. Use this leniency if your robot has no more to do, especially if it’s out of control, or stuck and straining its motors.

    R14 – Stranding

    If the UNINTERRUPTED Robot loses contact with something it was transporting, that thing must be allowed to come to rest.
    Once it does, here’s what happens, depending on its rest location...
    ● Equipment
       • Completely in Safety: Keep it.
       • Partly in Safety: Take it completely into Safety + keep it + Junk Penalty (immediately logged on Ref’s Sheet).
       • Completely outside Safety: Leave it as is.
    ● Model
       • Completely in Safety: Keep it.
       • Partly in Safety: Give it to the Ref (out of play).
       • Completely outside Safety: Leave it as is.
    You may hand-recover unintended fragments from a truly broken Robot any time, with no Penalty.

    R15 – Field Damage

    If the Autonomous Robot separates Dual Lock or breaks a Model, Missions obviously made possible or easier by this damage or the action that caused it do not score.

    R16 – Interference

    ● You are not allowed to negatively affect the other team except as described in a Mission.
    ● Missions the other team tries but fails because of illegal or accidental action by you or your Robot score anyway.

    R17 – End Of The Match

    As the Match ends, everything must be preserved exactly as-is...
    ● If your Robot is moving, stop it ASAP and leave it in place.
    ● After that, hands off everything until after the Ref has given the okay to reset the table. 

    R18 – Scoring

    ● Scoresheet – The Ref recalls action and inspects the Field with you, Mission by Mission...
       • If you agree with the Ref on all facts, you sign the sheet, and the score is final.
       • If you don’t agree, tell the Ref nicely. Refs can be wrong, and when they are, they want to know. If there is any lingering disagreement, the Head Ref makes the final decision.
    ● Impact – Only your BEST regular Match score counts toward Robot Performance Award. Head To Head Challenge is scored the same as the regular Match scoring, and has an independent Head To Head Award for that portion of the tournament.
    ● Ties – Ties are broken using 2nd, then 3rd highest scores. For a rare tie across all three Matches, tournament officials decide what to do.