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RAD to the Core

(Compliments of SA BEST)
The designers of this year's game decided to produce a game from a slightly different point of view. The objective is to design and build a remotely controlled machine that runs on an overhead track. The machine must remove fuel rods from nuclear reactors and place them into a Multi-Tube Containment Vessel (MTCV). Playing Field: The playing field is rectangular, 12 feet wide and 48 feet long. Each half of the field has two parallel tracks, for a total of four tracks. Four teams play at a time with each machine suspended from one of the inverted “T” tracks. Between the two tracks on each half of the field are two nuclear reactors. Each reactor has 6 color-coded fuel positions, 3 for each team on that side of the field. At the start of the game each reactor fuel position will contain a fuel rod. The fuel rod will be placed such that a hinged radiation shield passes through the fuel rod handle. Four Multi-Tube Containment Vessels, color-coded to match each team, are located in center of the field. Each MTCV consists of twelve tubes into which a fuel rod can be placed. The MTCV is initially empty.  Machines must remain on their track, although parts may be detached and placed on the reactors, MTCVs, or carpet. However, machines may not drive on the carpet.
Scoring:  At some point during the match, each team must trip their Emergency Cooling Switch in order to score any points during a match. Each track has a switch located near the center of the field. Machines are not allowed to interfere with other machines’ tripping of the switch.
During each 3-minute match, teams score points by removing the fuel rods from their portion of the reactors and by placing the fuel rods into their MTCV. One point is scored for removing a fuel rod from a reactor. The team owning the reactor fuel position from which the rod was removed scores the point (independent of which machine removed the rod). Two points are scored for each MTCV tube containing a fuel rod at the end of the match. The team that “owns” the MTCV scores the points. Multiple fuel rods in the same tube score only two points and rods must touch the bottom of the MTCV to score. Ownership of a reactor position or MTCV is color-keyed to the color of the drivers box.

If all six fuel rods are removed from a reactor, the MTCV score of each team playing on that side of the field will be doubled. If both reactors are cleared, the MTCV scores will be doubled again. Note that the doubling does not affect the points scored for removing a fuel rod from the reactor.
A reactor with one rod removed
MTCV's in the background.

Competition protocol: There will be two phases to the contest: a partial round robin preliminary competition and a three game round robin playoff between the top four teams. During the preliminary competition each team will play eight games against randomly selected opponents. The team’s average score over the entire preliminary competition will be used to rank the team and to determine which four teams advance to the final round robin playoff.
For the final round robin playoff, each team will be paired with each of the other three teams for one match. The teams’ total scores for these three matches will determine the final ranking of the four teams. In case of a point tie, teams will be ranked by the order in which they tripped their emergency cooling switches in the third game.