One of the more challenging aspects of the VEX IQ Challenge is that a new game design is introduced for each competition season. This allows students to use their previous game experience as they tackle the new objects and goals of the game while giving both experienced and new teams an equal starting place.
Each year, the challenge requires new strategies and new techniques for scoring as many points as possible. Some teams strategize to move the closest objects first, some strategize to move multiple objects at a time, and some teams do both. The best strategy for scoring the most points in the least amount of time depends on that season's layout of the challenge field and the team's design of their VEX IQ Robot, like which manipulators it has and how the robot moves best.
For the Squared Away Challenge, some strategies could include collecting multiple balls at a time first before placing them in or on a cube. Another strategy could be to place balls inside of the cube, move the cube to the scoring zone, then place balls on top so that transporting the cube does not knock any of the balls off of the top.
A team should focus on their own robot's strategy, however, teams should be flexible with their strategy since they will be randomly assigned a teamwork partner for the challenge. Many different combinations can be explored for the best way to score points. Some teams may strategize how many balls they can score inside of a cube or focus on placing the green cube on the platform.
Some common strategies to keep in mind when analyzing a VEX IQ Challenge:
- Read, study, and understand the game manual.
- List all of the different ways to score points and the point values associated with these methods.
- Consider different components of the robot that would be useful for scoring points.
- Record any size or part restrictions for the robot.
- Identify clear objectives or tasks that you want the robot to accomplish in order to score points.