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GEAR Competition

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Bumble Rumble: The Game

The 1994 engineering task involved designing a machine to catch Bumble Balls, those jiggly, cute, and annoying little things that kids just can't seem to get enough of. Once caught, the balls had to be deposited at the team's home base before the buzzer sounded to score. Teams could also plot to keep their opponents from scoring. The team with the most points at the end of each two-minute round won, until knocked out of the double-elimination tournament.

The Playing Field: The game was played in a 12-by-24-foot arena. Two humps at each end of the field kept the Bumble Balls in the center, and two raised platforms lined the center of each side wall.

Scoring: Four teams competed in each round, with each team assigned a home base and platform identified by a color. At the end of each round, the number of Bumble Balls in the colored scoring areas were counted and the points were totaled. Teams earned one point per ball by dropping them off at home base or three points per ball by placing them on the platform before the buzzer sounded. Each round used 24 Bumble Balls, including one tie-breaking "Bumble Buddy" that counted double. Bumbles that quit moving, "Humble Bumbles," or Bumbles that left the carpeted playing area, "Bumble Fumbles," didn't count.

The Rules: Machines could push, capture, and steal balls from other machines or scoring areas, block opponents from scoring, upset other machines, or do anything else that didn't damage the playing field or another machine.

Competition Results: