Vorpal Hexapod Activity: Capture the Flag

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Contents

Required Items

  • Two or more Vorpals, preferably an even number
  • A Capture the Flag attachment on each Vorpal
  • Two Capture the Flag cups
  • Tape to mark boundary lines on field

Activity Procedure

Setup

  • Place tape on the floor in the shape of a large rectangle to mark the field boundaries.
  • Split the Vorpals into two teams.
  • Line up all the Vorpals on Team 1 on one side of the field and all the Vorpals from Team 2 on the other side.
    • You may want to mark the starting line for each team with another piece of tape.
  • Place one capture the flag cup on each side of the field.
  • Place one flag on each side of the field.

Gameplay

  • The first team to successfully pick up the flag on the opposite side of the field from where they start, bring it back to their side of the field, and drop it in the cup on their side of the field wins!

Hints

  • You may want to institute a "no human contact with the robots during gameplay" rule. If someone touches a robot (theirs or anyone else's) while the game is in session, they must put their gamepad down and let their robot stand still for twenty seconds.
  • Be careful of Vorpals getting too aggressive with each other. Excessive entanglement can result in burnt out servos.
  • Fight modes tend to be useful for picking up the flag.
  • See if you can program your own motions onto the gamepad using ScratchX to make your Vorpal more efficient at the moves needed to pick up or drop the flag!

Variations

More Than Two Teams

  • Play capture the flag as is described above, but:
    • Team 1 tries to capture the flag guarded by Team 2
    • Team 2 tries to capture the flag guarded by Team 3
    • And so on, with the last team trying to capture the flag guarded by Team 1.
  • Once a team successfully captures their designated flag and returns it to their cup, their Vorpals are removed from the playing field. Play continues to determine the ranking of the remaining robots with each team.
  • This variation often results in the implementation of different strategies from those used in the original game.

Spoons

This variation is inspired by the card game Spoons.

  • Place one cup for each robot in a circle.
  • Place one fewer flag than you have robots in the center of the circle. For example, if you are playing with four Vorpals, place three flags in the center.
  • Each Vorpal starts standing in front of its cup.
  • All the Vorpals start at once and try to retrieve a flag and drop it in their cup.
  • The Vorpal left without a flag once they have all been placed in cups is eliminated.
  • This elimination continues until only one Vorpal (the winner) is left.

Only One Robot

If you only have one Vorpal, don't worry! You can still play capture the flag.

One Robot, One Flag

  • Place one flag and one cup on the floor. Mark where the flag was so that you can place it back there later. Place your robot a designated distance from the flag. The specific distances between the cup, flag, and robot can be whatever you would like them to be, but it's important that they are consistent between rounds.
  • Time how long it takes you to pick up the flag and drop it into the cup.
  • Try to beat your personal record! After all, you are your own best competition. This is also helpful practice that will allow you to defeat your opponents in future multiple robot capture the flag games.

One Robot, Multiple Flags

  • Place multiple flags and one cup on the floor.
  • See how many flags you can pick up and drop into the cup in two minutes (or another time of your choice, based on your proficiency and the number of flags you have available).
  • Try to beat your personal record!