Tension was high and excitement was tangible in the room where students, mentors, and alumni stood around the TV, waiting for the 2018 game reveal. After a long introduction hinting at what was to come and a freeze right before the unveiling of the game, the 2018 challenge Power Up was announced.

Power Up is a game where two teams composed of three robots work to deliver cubes to three different areas: the scale, the switch, and the vault. Unlike previous years, the amount of points gifted is mainly determined by time instead of a set amount of points each time you deliver an element. Points are earned per second when the scale or switch is tilted in your alliance’s favor. More points may be scored by delivering cubes to the vault and trading them for “power ups.” Each power up gives your alliance a unique advantage. At the last thirty seconds, robots may climb the scale to gain extra points. During the autonomous period, robots are preprogrammed to score by delivering cubes to the scale or switch. In teleop period, robots are controlled by human drivers as they attempt to gain control of the scale or switch, trade in cubes for power ups via the vault, and climb at the end.

Right after the unveiling of this year’s competition, we split up into groups and began to brainstorm everything from game strategy to possible robot designs. An hour or so later, we all got together and had each group present their ideas. Together, we came up with a game strategy and a general robot design.