This year’s medieval themed game ‘Stronghold’ promises to be the most challenging game faced by the San Pasqual SuperNURDS. This team is in their 7th year and veteran students quickly recognized many familiar game components from previous years all rolled into one.
Immediately after the crack of dawn kick off day, The SuperNURDS dove into an intensive strategy session collaborating with several other local teams: Top Hats, BluePrints, Agency, Liberty and Kodiaks. Collaboration is the key ingredient to all the team’s success and there was no shortage of game strategy and robot design ideas flying back and forth.
During the first week, the SuperNURDs fabricating team has already constructed 18 field elements. A field element (a.k.a. field obstacles) are structures that the robots will have to get around, get through, maneuver or manipulate in order to score points. Using 30 sheets of plywood and over 20 2x4s was tough work. Having all the field elements finished early is critical this year because of a unique game twist. “I am impressed with the fabrication team on getting the elements done so quickly. I am proud of how professional and precise the students were in the construction and in such a short time frame.” Sarah Nichols, Adult Mentor and Alumni.
There will be 5 field obstacles each game. Five, you say? But you built more than 5 field elements? Why yes, there are different kinds of obstacles this year. And there will be a vote (each game) to decide which obstacles the robot will have to face. In past years the playing field was static, giving the students a chance to perfect a few winning strategies. This year, the audience gets to vote on one obstacle and the student teams themselves get pick the rest. There are over thousands of different combinations possible for the playing field this year. The students will need to come up with a game plan for as many different scenarios as possible. Problem solving during the game itself will also be a critical skill set for the students operating the robots. “I am really excited for this game. There is a lot of variety to it. So much so that we can apply the last 6 years of the team’s knowledge to this year’s game.” Mr Marler, Head Coach.
Having such a complex playing field will make designing a extraordinary robot a laborious task. The robot will need the ability to solve each obstacle’s unique problem with speed and agility. Wood prototypes for the drive train are under construction to save time before the team puts their designs in CAD. Blake Hobbs, High School Senior, Lead Mechanic and Co-President said “I am excited at how collaborative everyone is right from the start. Everyone is talking about game strategy while we are discuss robot designs.”
The Statistics team is also working hard at breaking down all the scoring elements and combining that with the field obstacle strategies to create something like a football play book. This ‘playbook’ will be an essential part of this year’s success.
Overall it has been an intensive amount of work and late nights and this is only the first week of build season. But the new students on the team have really stepped up to learn all they can and help out wherever they are needed. “So far this past week, participating on this team has definitely increased my knowledge and leadership skills” - Will Moffat, freshman on Statistics team. “As a freshman on the team, I have a fresh perspective of how everything works. I believe that this program will benefit my future and help me be a better team player.” - McKenna Myers, freshman, CAD and Mechanical team.
The San Pasqual SuperNURDs are grateful to the continued sponsorship of Caterpillar and without them this would not be possible.