FLL teams compete by running their robot on missions. The robot leaves the base, does a task, and then returns to base. Each mission is worth a few points. The goal is to collect the most points in a 2 and 1/2 minute run.

The tasks are at different positions across a 4' x 8' obstacle course.

Some missions are easy, others very difficult.

Some missions require intricate Lego constructions. Some require difficult programming. More than one task can be accomplished before returning to base.

What strategy should an FLL team use to pick the missions to attempt?

Given there are about 15 missions that each take somewhere from 10 to 30 seconds to run and the team has 5 missions that work most of the time and the 5 missions consume the 150 seconds available, what should the team work on next?

  • 3
    This is a bit too abstract for me. Can you somehow illustrate what the missions are and what the course looks like? I think I have seen a course you describe in a school project. However, it is difficult to tell at the moment.
    – Aziraphale
    Dec 18, 2017 at 18:59

1 Answer 1


First off, that website is horrible, so much clicking on expandable things, a terrible UI.
The PDF download of the rules is better.

Looking through the missions I notice a few things:

  • None of the missions have significantly bigger point values to make them obvious choices over other missions.
  • The missions are all based on end state and cannot be repeated for multiple points

So it appears you should simply try to maximize the number of successful missions accomplished in the limited time period.

Some missions should obviously be combined since they are handling similar pieces and would be easily doable with the same robotic manipulators.

Such as:

  • Moving pipe sections for: pipe removal, pipe install, pipe construction

  • Moving Big Water pieces for: fountain, flower, and water collection

  • Manipulation of levers or handles: flow, water treatment, faucet

  • Picking up, moving, and aligning pieces in the field: pump addition, rain, manhole covers, sludge, water well

  • Moving objects from the base onto the field: tripod, water well, slingshot

Also some missions must be done before other missions:

  • Manhole covers removed before a tripod is placed

  • Pipe removal before pipe install

The best bet is to pick a group of tasks that a single robot build is likely to be able to do well and go from there.

Some thought might be given to completing the furthest missions first, so that traveling past already completed missions doesn't mess something up.

You might start by sorting the task into groups like I have done, try to judge the inherent difficulty of the mission, and rank them comparing with point totals.

On a final note: As this is a competition for children to learn about engineering and robotics, you should really just explain the rules/different objectives/point values and help the kids pick a strategy themselves. The planning process itself is as much engineering as the programming and building of the robot.

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