For programming skills, are the students allowed to touch / re-position the hexballs on the fence before the match starts? In the field diagrams, the hexballs seem to be placed with all the “tips” aligned flush with each other. Can the students change the position of the hexball so the tips are not in a straight (imaginary) line?
There hasn’t been an official ruling on that that I am aware of, but it is common to have the kids inspect the field prior to a match or skills run. Doing so avoids conflicts were matches are protested because the field was not setup correctly. If the kids know that they have that responsibility, then they will insure that it is correct.
Looking at page 4 of the game manual, it appears that the orange fence hexballs and the blue fence hexballs are set up differently. I assume this means it could be either way? It has never come up in the competitions we’ve gone to so far; most of the time we end up re-setting the board ourselves before our match and we just put them on how we like them. If the field is pre-set, we definitely go in and double check hexball positions (and bridge operation, of course - last weekend was the 2nd time we have had to assist in re-building the competition bridges to get them working correctly!).
It would probably be a good idea to ask the ref to reset the field properly, not to have the kids do it themselves. As we head to regional events, every effort should be made to make sure the robot will work well either way. Don’t set yourself up to let a ruling ruin your day. Karthik will not be at the event!
Definitely a good idea to remember for Regionals and higher events that they are likely to have someone else resetting the field!! Around here locally, however, every competition we’ve gone to the kids have been responsible for setting the field up after a match themselves. Sometimes the work isn’t completed before our match, or is done incorrectly by another team, so we always always always check everything. We definitely check the bridge function in full, since we’ve been in 2 competitions this season where the bridges have been unusable as-built and several others where the bridges needed minor repairs to regain full functionality.