Appendix 6: VEX Games for the Classroom

 

Abstract:

This appendix provides some sample competition robotics games that can be played in a classroom.

Introduction:

This curriculum leads students through the design process involved in producing a VEX robot to play a competition robotics game. Of course, to go through this process one needs to have a game to play! Over the years VEX has created a number of games specifically designed to be played in a classroom. The VEX Classroom Competition games are designed to be played on an 8’x 8’ field in a one vs.one format. A tool-less, easily to assemble perimeter to play these games on is available from VEX. The games are designed and scaled to be run in a classroom environment by a single teacher. They provide a challenge for designers of all experience levels, and should result in exciting match play regardless of competitor skill. For more information on the VEX Classroom Competition, please visit: http://www.vexrobotics.com/education/classroom-competition.Here is a brief summary of some of these games that can be used to teach students about the engineering design process.

Swept Away

Swept Away was the first VEX Classroom Competition game. Matches are played on an 8 ft x 8 ft square field with a dividing wall down the center. One robot is placed on each side of the field with twelve 4" foam soccer balls and six foam footballs. The object of the game is simple: get as many balls onto your opponent's side of the field as possible during a 2-minute match. Robots can dump footballs over the 12” high wall. They can also roll soccer balls through the slots, dump them over the wall, or dump them into the 18” tall goals. If all the balls in play end up on one side of the field, the match immediately ends. The team with all the balls on their side has been “SWEPT AWAY” and loses the match. Full rules can be found here.

Click here to view an animation detailing how VEX Swept Away is played. 

Round Down

Round Down is played with five (5) Goals along with ten (10) red tubes and ten (10) blue tubes. One robot is placed on each side of the field at the start of each match. All twenty (20) tubes start along two opposing edges of the playing field. Points are earned in Round Down by scoring tubes. Tubes can be scored in one of two ways: they can be scored by placing them over the goal post of a Goal or by simply moving them so they contact the base of a Goal. The object of the game is simple: score as many Tubes, and take ownership of as many Goals as possible during a two minute match. Each tube in contact with the floor and the base is worth 1 point, each tube placed over the pipe of a Goal is worth 2 points and an Owned Goal is worth an additional 2 points. As an end of match bonus, a Team can earn an additional 5 points by lifting a Goal off the floor of the field. At the end of the match a referee will calculate the total score to determine the match winner. Full rules can be found at here.  

Barrel Blast

Barrel blast is played on a field with four Goals at its center. Robots start the match on opposite sides of the field. Scoring objects start on the “left” and “right” of the field, away from the robots. The scoring objects consist of red and blue Balls and Barrels. Robots can score points by placing their team’s scoring objects into the Goals at the center of the field or by plowing their team’s objects into the wall. The object of the game is simple: score as many points as possible during a two minute match.  At the end of the match, referees will count the total game objects in the Goals and the total game objects touching the walls.  You get points based how many game objects your team has scored. (It doesn’t matter if game objects started touching the wall, they still count!) Full rules can be found at here.

Game Rule Modifications

All these VEX Classroom Competition games can be easily modified to change the level of difficulty or just to provide a new challenge. Consider some of these possibilities:

  • Add an autonomous period at the beginning of each match where human operators have no control over their robots.
  • Use different game objects.
  • Increase the height of the Goals.
  • Change the point values in the game to further incentivize or diminish specific tasks.
  • Play each match 2 vs. 2.

Major deviations from the “foundation” set of rules and field specifications listed above may have undesired results on the game play, but that is just part of the fun!