The objective of this year's challenge, Toxic Troubles, is to design and build a remotely controlled robot that gathers spilled "toxic waste" and places it into a containment vessel. A CD containing valuable information about other hazardous waste locations should also be retrieved.
There are 13 different (obscure) game pieces and a CD for each team. The game pieces include a large air filter, an 2-liter soda bottle containing a small amount of a "toxic substance", a hat, a 3.2 oz 2-cycle oil container. As you can tell, the game pieces vary greatly in size and weight.
The Playing Field: The game is played in a 24-foot, octagonal-shaped field. In the center of the field, a six-foot wide octagonal-shaped platform holds the game pieces. The platform is roughly six-inches high. Four ramps are arranged as spokes from the center octagon. These ramps connect each team's scoring area with the center octagon. Naturally, the ramps do not provide easy access to either the center octagon or the scoring vessel.
Scoring: There are two containment areas, an elevated area worth three points for each deposited item, and a secondary area (under the vessel) worth one point for each item. Teams can score five points if they can retrieve their CD, have their spotter hold the jewel case, and have the CD on the machine at the end of the match.
The Rules: Teams can move or pick up any of the game pieces (including their opponents CD), they can block other machines or defend their scoring areas, or do anything else that doesn't disrupt play or damage another machine.