May Madness 2017

On May 13th at 9:00AM, the Sarah Heinz House gym in Pittsburgh, PA will be open to students participating in the May Madness Event!

Board Instructions

*The game objects and board layout is meant for the main event, Mice Escape. 

Event Information and Sign Up

The main event is the Mice Escape, which has more info underneath this info box. Three more challenges will be held during May Madness. These include the Robot Parade, the Grand Challenge, and the Bio-Bot Show Off. Remember that all of these event are meant to be autonomous (without communication from a driver). They are described in detail below.

The robot parade is just that, a parade made from LEGO robots. Each robot must be able to follow both straight and curved lines. These lines are made from black electrical tape on a white backing. If they fail at following the line, they will be removed. The robots will also be taken out of the parade if they bump into another robot. After only a few robots are left, the most creative and best looking robots will be rewarded. These requirements can be met with a light/color sensor, an ultrasonic sensor, and a bit of creativity.

The grand challenge will also take place during the main event. With no knowledge about the challenge prior to arriving (9:00AM at earliest), your robot (made day of) must be able to complete a variety of challenges. For this challenge it is a good idea to understand how to follow a line and use basic sensors.

A new edition SHARP is trying to this year’s May Madness is the Bio-Bot show off. Each team makes a robot that is designed to mimic a real-life animal or creature (spiders, dogs, butterflies, etc). Each robot will be given a twelve inch by twelve inch area to display their abilities. Robots will not have to be up the entire time of the event, and batteries can be swapped if needed. The robots will be judged on creativity and realism. Each team’s robot is encouraged to use motors and sensors and may use parts that are not LEGO brand (Paper, plastic, tape, wood, cardboard, etc). Special thanks to Jeff Kandra for suggesting the idea!

These events and challenges are meant to be a more casual than a normal FLL (First LEGO League) competition and to help teach and educate the participants. Mentors, please leave the building and programming to the students as these events are not focused on winning, but they are focused on fun and education. Do note, that doesn’t mean the students can’t make the ultimate robot.

Again, the event will be held at Sarah Heinz House, Pittsburgh, PA on May 13th. Doors will open at 9:00AM.

🐁 Sign up here.🐁

Basic Rules

*This set of rules is meant for the main event, Mice Escape.

The mice are planning a daring escape, and they have enlisted for your robot’s help! For the best departure, they ask for water, food, and the key pieces to be placed into the escape zone. Many mouse traps have harmed them, and they have requested that the traps be disarmed. To help heal the hurt mice, they borrowed some medicine from the medicine cabinet. They would like as much medicine as possible to be placed back into the cabinet so the house owners can use it again.

Basic First Lego League rules apply, and a more detailed rule set can be found below along with the Q&A.

Detailed Rules

*This set of rules is meant for the main event, Mice Escape.

~Games Objects

Point Value Chart

Game Object Ending Location Points Gained Per Max Points Possible
Key Pieces Escape Zone 5pts 15pts
Trap Disarmed N/A 5pts 10pts
Water Dispensed Escape Zone 10pts 10pts
Food Escape Zone 2pts 10pts
Robot Escape Zone 15pts 15pts
Medicine Cabinet 3pts 30pts
Touch Penalty N/A -3pts -18pts


TRAP – A trap is considered disarmed whenever the middle piece is pressed, causing the trap’s ‘flag’ or ‘tail’ to fly up. Both traps should have their flag pieces facing up toward the medicine cabinet, with red piece with the rubber-band in the instructions picture being closest to the base (Your traps do not need this piece to be red, it is just so you know what piece is being talked about).

KEY PIECES – The key pieces’ loop should be parallel with the middle follow line when looking from above, with the loop facing toward the middle follow line.

WATER DISPENSER – To get the water into the escape zone, the robot must press the small wheel on the dispenser. If the water (the two circular bricks in the container) spills out of the water container (the rectangle surrounding the water), it does not give any points. The dispenser is mounted onto the board, while the container is mobile. The small wheel is facing downward towards the food crate. 

FOOD CRATE – Five small puff balls represent food. If a food falls off of the food crate before it enters the escape zone, it becomes null and can not be scored. If a food falls off in the escape zone, its 2pts still counts.

ROBOT IN ESCAPE ZONE – If at the end of the match (two minutes, thirty seconds), the robot is touching the escape zone or is fully in it.

MEDICINE CABINET – Each medicine is a 2*4 LEGO brick. A robot may only carry up to 3 medicine at a time and a total of 10 may be scored. 15 medicine will be supplied in the Base, giving an extra 5 medicine encase you drop some onto the  field and can not move it any further.  The medicine is scored whenever it is on or underneath the cabinet. Any 2*4 LEGO bricks brought onto the field by human players will not be counted as medicine.

TOUCH PENALTIES – Anytime a human player touches the robot while it is not in the partially or fully in the Base will warrant a touch penalty. Each touch penalty removes three points from the score at the end of the match, and the robot must be placed fully in the base after one is warranted. After 6 touch penalties, no more will be given during the remaining duration of the current match. If the robot is carrying a game object when it is touched, the game object will be placed where it last touched the ground. Human players may not touch the game objects during or after the match.



Remember, the robot must be fully autonomous during the round. Autonomy is when there is no communication from any player to the robot during the round, except when changing or starting programs when in the Base. Communication with the robot includes Bluetooth connections, IR transmitters/receivers, etc.

The robot must fully fit within the Base along with all of its attachments, which 14in by 14in with no height restriction. The robot is considered fully in the Base when all parts of the robot are enclosed in the 14in by 14in area (no pieces of the robot are sticking out of the Base). The robot is partially in the Base whenever the robot has crossed one of the two base lines, but has parts sticking out of the Base. 

Attachments, which may include sensors, may be removed and added onto the robot when it is fully in the Base to adjust to the challenges as each game object needs. However, you may not remove or add any motors on the robot. All attachments must be fully within the base, unless on the robot. No robot piece or attachment may be released onto the field on purpose, but if one breaks, you may leave it or you can pick it up for one touch penalty.


*For all events/challenges. NOTE: Answered questions will override any previous ruling.

Got a question about the board or the rules, just click HERE and follow the instructions. All answered questions will be put down below. (Note: It may take a few days for questions to be answered)

Q: Are players permitted to touch game pieces ( such as food and keys) inside of the safe zone?

A: If you mean the escape zone instead of the safe zone, then players may not touch game objects. If you mean the Base instead of the safe zone, then players are permitted to touch the game objects as long as the objects are fully within the base.

Q: Are the traps and medicine cabinet anchored to the board?

A: Yes, the traps and medicine cabinet are anchored to the board. 

Q: Can the medicine bricks be attached together or do they need to be separate to count?

A: They are separate.

Q: On the key: What length is the axle?

A: Which axle? Let me know and I will update this.

Q: I’m confused by the black tube on the top. Mine seems much longer. How do I know what size they are? Are there different lengths? Did you cut one in half?

A: The black tubes on the keys are 2¾ inches each. They were obtained from official LEGO sets and FLL boards. However, you can cut them into the proper length if you wish.

Q: Hi! Does the table have walls? The dimensions you have do not allow for walls. I am trying to use an old mat (I turned it over and am taping the back,) but the dimensions are off. Thoughts? Thank you!

A: Hm? The dimensions are from the official FLL board and have walls. Depending on whether the mat you have is too large or small depends on your solution. If it is too big, you can just put the walls over it, have a student/mentor hold it in place if you do not want ruin the mat, or fold the mat under itself (but the bumps formed might affect the robot’s movement). If it is too small, I do not have a thought right now except add something like paper around it. I will post a fix for it being too small if I get an idea. Hope you and your students can find a fix to the problem.