You should have received your field kit by now and put it together. You’ll want to go over each of the missions with your team. Try to understand them to the best of your ability before you meet with them. Questions will inevitably come up while you go over the missions, and if you don’t know the answers, don’t be afraid to say so. Good questions from your team means they are thinking things through.
The Game Rulings page has the latest details and clarifications for the missions. Check it often as it will contain important information that will apply during the competition. If you have questions and the Game Rulings don’t answer them, send your questions to the email address on the page.
As you go through the missions, keep a couple of things in mind:
First, don’t try to do all the missions. Very few teams accomplish all the missions, or even attempt all the missions. In 2009, the missions were a bit easier, so there were a few teams across the world that were able to score all 400 points. But The Game for 2010 is much harder. Concentrate on the easy missions first. Once those have been accomplished, think about completing a few of the harder ones.
Second, remember that all of your points are tallied at the end of your two and a half minute run (rule #27). You don’t get any points during the run. That means that if a mission stipulates that a particular piece has to be in a particular part of the mat, if it put there during the run, then accidentally moved, it won’t score.
But that also means that how or when you get a piece to its destination doesn’t matter. For instance, this year (2010), one mission is to move the white blood cells to the Patient Area (East part) of the mat. Another is to move the people there as well. You don’t have to activate the syringe, move the white blood cells to the brain area, then get the doctor and move her all the way East. In fact, there is no rule that you have to complete a particular mission before starting another one. You can activate the syringe, and grab the doctor at the same time and have your robot go back to base. You can then do a bunch of other missions, then deliver the white blood cells and people later.
Note, also, that you will need to do some things with the brain in the Patient Area. Why not have the items that need to be delivered there piggyback on the robot to the brain area, dump the items, then do the brain missions (or do the missions, then dump).
The point is, you can break the missions down into further steps (thinking like a computer) and combine the steps of different missions. If you were required to do each mission one a time, there is no way they could all be accomplished in two and a half minutes or less.
Finally, keep in mind that the robot does not have to finish in base unless there is a specific mission stating that fact. In 2009, the robot had to finish in one of three places on the mat. This year, there is no mission or rule stating where the robot has to be at the end of the two and a half minutes. In other words, the robot could be in base, but could also be anywhere in the mat. If you have a long way to go for a particular mission, save it for last and just stop. This will give you a few extra precious seconds to accomplish missions because you are not wasting them trying to get back to base.