The Polaris VEX robotics team 24626 hosted its first general meeting Tuesday, August 20.The meeting served to tell new members more about this year’s game, Tower Takeover, and what Polaris does.
“I’m pretty excited for this year,” senior Steven Meldrum, Vice President of Mentoring and Training, said. “We had more people sign up than expected, we’ve actually had to order another parts kit because we had an increase in the number of freshmen who we thought would be interested.”
The general meeting marks the start of fall season, where Meldrum said new members are trained and groups start building their robots each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
“Fall is when we start building and really focus in on the main goals of the game, and we go to a few competitions,” Meldrum said. “Before school started, over the summer we had a few brainstorming meetings between returning members, just going over possible designs and ideas. Spring is when we go to more competitions.”
The season lasts a full year, all the way from when the next game is revealed right before the final match of the World Championship in May, all the way to the next year’s World Championship.
“If you’re a good team, spring season is when you basically try to find the best design and build towards that,” Meldrum said. “There’s a lot of innovation and iteration. Even if you start with a rough design, it’s still possible to go really far if you iterate and put in the hours.”
Competitions begin with qualification matches where teams compete in random alliances of 2 vs 2. Then, in rankings based off those matches, teams select each other to build alliances of two before competing in playoff rounds.This year’s game, Tower Takeover is played on a 12 foot by 12 foot field, where robots compete to grab different colored cubes and place them in scoring zones. The point value of each cube is determined by elevated towers near the scoring zones that can hold different colored cubes.
“Last year’s was more of a strategic blitz game,” Meldrum said. “You wanted to start off, grab as many points as you could, and maintain those points. This year, it’s more about just grab the cubes and keep scoring them, and then manage what colors are in towers. Because of that, people are going to interpret it as a no strategy game, but there really is a strategy and depth to it and people are going to overlook that. It’s a bit deceptive.I think if we come up with a good strategy it will go well. If we keep our design that we have in mind, I think we can go far.”