By Sachin Nayak
This year’s manual robotics involved the well-known game of ‘Lagori’, played by robots. Around 14 teams participated in the event. The rules of the game were simple. The game arena was divided into four portions. In the beginning, each team was allotted two adjacent portions of the arena as its ‘home area’. This was done such that the set of blocks was cut along its length into two parts, one part made available to each team. In the first three and a half minutes of the game, one was not allowed to go into the opponent’s home area.
The object of the game was to build the highest possible stack of blocks in the circle in one’s home area while attempting to destroy the opponent’s stack. Points were given based on the height of the stack at the end of the match and numbers of blocks of the opponent’s stack that one managed to topple. The red blocks in the centre carried double the points as compared to the normal blocks. So, the red blocks often acted as the cause of massive fights between opposing teams.
The second half of the game allowed the teams to step into the opponent’s home area while forfeiting the right to step into that section of one’s own home region. This part of the game saw more aggression from the teams. In this part of the game, one was also allowed to use Tennis balls kept on podiums on the sides of the arena to demolish the opponent’s stack. Unfortunately, no team made use of this opportunity because the tennis balls were thought to be ineffective and difficult to control. Instead, everyone used in-built close combat mechanisms.
Each team was allowed to build two bots with certain restrictions on their size. Most teams built a ‘gatherer’ bot and a ‘stacker’ bot, the strategy being such that the gatherer bot would gather blocks from the center of the arena and bring it near the circle on one’s side for the stacker bot to stack. The attacking mechanism, if present, was mostly fitted on the gatherer bot.
Left: Narmada’s stacker bot in action, Right: Sharavati’s gatherer bot
Top Left: Godavari’s ‘Scorpion’ Top, Right: Narmada’s improvised gatherer, Bottom Left: Saraswati’s dual stacker, Bottom Right: Mandakini’s only Prototype, Centre: Tapti’s defense mechanism
The most notable of all bots was the ‘Scorpion’ bot built by Godavari. This bot was a gatherer bot with two sets of gathering mechanisms fitted in the front along with a bendable tail at the back for close combat. There was also Narmada’s improvised gatherer bot which could gather three blocks at a time unlike most others which could gather only two. It also had a slider fitted at its back for attack. Sharavati’s bots were light weight and fast. Mandakini had two teams competing in the event but all the 4 bots built by Mandakini were the same. Their strategy was to alternatively use each bot for gathering and stacking. Saraswati’s stacker bot had two sets of stacking mechanisms fitted on it. If one failed, the other could be used. The only team which thought of fitting a defensive mechanism was Tapti. This was particularly useful against Godavari’s ‘Scorpion’.
The tournament proceeded as follows : First, the 14 teams played 3 league matches each. Six teams were selected from these teams, based on two best scores in the league matches. The top two teams qualified directly for the semi-finals. These were – Tapti with a whopping score of 1140 followed by Godavari with almost half the score of Tapti. The other four teams, namely Narmada, Mandakini-1, Mandakini-2 and Alaknanda-2, played a few more matches in the super league. Out of the 4, Narmada and Mandakini-2 qualified for the semi-finals. In the semi-finals, Narmada played Mandakini-2. It was the third time in the tournament the two teams were competing against each other and Narmada emerged victorious, just as the two times before. Tapti won against Godavari and qualified for the finals. In the finals, Tapti (420) narrowly beat Narmada (400) by 20 points.
But Tapti’s winning mood was dampened by Narmada’s arguments challenging a violation which had cost them 50 points. Luckily for Tapti, the coordinators gave their judgement in Tapti’s favour. Mandakini-2 finished third by beating Godavari.
1st – Tapti
2nd – Narmada
3rd – Mandakini (team 2)
4th – Godavari