VA/DC Rules and Guidelines

Updated Wednesday, November 7, 2019

What's New with City Shaper ?

Champion's Award and Advancement

There is a new Champion’s Award and Advancement policy. The four core areas are equally weighted - Core Values Judging, Robot Design Judging, Innovation Project and Robot Game.

The following calculation is used:

Project Room Rank Core Values Room Rank Robot Design Room Rank + Robot Game Rank* = Score. Lowest score wins.

Your highest Robot Game Score in a competition round score is your official Robot Game Score. Robot scores are NOT averaged, and your practice round does not count. Unlike in previous years, there is no minimum robot game ranking required to be considered for Champion.

*To normalize the Robot Game ranking with the Judging room ranking, the Robot Game rank is divided by the number of judging room lanes. A judging lane is a set of judging rooms - Robot Design, Core Values and Innovation Project. For example, if you have 1 set of Division 1 judging rooms, you divide the Robot Game Ranking by 1. If a tournament has 2 sets of judging rooms for a division, you divide robot ranking by 2.

 Note: Division 1 and 2 are separate tournaments. Neither room rankings nor overall ranks or scores are shared.

After the Championship Award(s) is/are determined, judges deliberate and award Innovation Project, Robot Design, Core Values and Judging awards in no specific order. Robot Performance Awards are based on robot game scores.

A team is only eligible to win one judged award (Champion’s, Core Values, Innovation Project, Robot Design, or Judges’). A team can win a judged award and a robot performance award, but this is the only way to win two awards.

The team(s) advancing to the VA-DC FLL Championship are determined using the same criteria as the championship awards in that the team(s) with the lowest ranking scores will advance. The number of teams advancing from each division at each tournament is determined based on the number of teams in that division at that tournament. Tournament directors do not have the ability to advance more teams than their tournament was allotted. The number of teams advancing should be announced at the coaches' meeting. Note that it is possible to advance without winning an award (especially at larger tournaments where there are more teams advancing). It is also possible to win one or even two awards and not advance.

Rubric Updates

  • The design layout of all the FIRST LEGO League Rubrics have been updated for the 2019 CITY SHAPER session.
  • Wording in the Core Values and Robot Design Rubric have been updated.

Innovation Project

    The project portion of the Challenge is now named “Innovation Project.”

Robot Game Updates

Read the RULES for all the updates, including:

  • New Mat Size due to the new home area. When Table size and Mat placement are correct, Home will measure about 45″ by 13-1/2″ (1143mm by 342mm)
  • Robot/Equipment Inspection Area
  • Open Software: First LEGO League teams can use any software that allows the Robot to move autonomously – meaning it moves on its own.
  • What's New in VA-DC ?

    Robot Design ***NEW FORMAT***

    • Robot Design Judging will NOT have a mission table or mission set. Teams will be provided a table to store and present their robot.
    • Teams will NOT run missions in Robot Design Judging.
    • Teams will be provided a laminated printed copy of the mat and a dry erase marker to show their mission routes.
    • A Robot Design Conversation Guide (under Judging Guidelines below), a Robot Design Executive Summary (RDES), or a Robot Design Summary found on page 38 & 39 of the Team Meeting Guide is strongly encouraged.

    Judging Guidelines

    General Guidelines

      1. All teams are judged against the official FIRST LEGO League Rubrics.
      2. All judging sessions are 10 minutes.
      3. Time starts when the door closes.
      4. No audiovisual equipment is provided.
      5. Three non-team members are allowed in judging sessions but must not interact with the team.
      6. Teams should bring a copy of their Team Information Sheet to leave with each judging room. You will need four total.
      7. Teams should not leave materials with judges with the exception of the Team Information Sheet.
      8. All teams present at the tournament must participate in judging sessions. Teams members present at the tournament who elect to miss a judging session to work on the robot will disqualify a team. A sick team memeber not participating in the tournament is acceptable.

    Innovation Project Judging


    • Presentation* – 5 minutes (including setup time)
    • Q&A – 5 minutes
    Room Setup
    • Rooms will have an open space
    • *Adults are not allowed to help teams setup. The presentation must be in compliance with the Challenge Theme and should focus on items defined in the Rubric. The presentation must be live.

    Core Values Judging


    • Challenge Activity – 2 to 3 minutes
    • Core Values Poster Presentation (Optional) – 1 minute
    • Q&A – 6 to 7 minutes
    Room Setup
    • The room will have an appropriate area to complete the challenge activity.
    • The team will have an area to gather for Q&A.

    Robot Design Judging

    Format ***NEW***

    1. Robot Sharing - the team will share aspects of their robot design using the Robot Design Conversation Guide or Robot Design Executive Summary or any other interactive format that shares the information with the judges. Teams will NOT run missions. - 3 to 5 minutes
    2. Q&A - 7 to 5 minutes
    Room Setup
    • There will be a surface for the team to store and show their robot.
    • There will NOT be a mission set and teams will NOT run missions.
    • Teams will be provided a print out of the map to demonstrate their routes.

    Robot Design Conversation Guide ** Optional, but recommended **

    The Robot Design Conversation Guide provides teams with a guide for Robot Design Judging. It can be a one-pager, poster, a presentation or tri-fold board. The Robot Design Conversation Guide should cover the following:

    1. How did you come up with your robot design?
    2. How did you test your Robot Design?
    3. What is your strategy for solving game missions?
    4. How did you program your robot?
    5. What is innovative about your robot?
    6. What was the biggest challenge you faced with your robot?
    7. Another good resources is the Robot Design Summary found on pages 38 and 39 of the Engineering Notebook. They can also be found HERE.

    Tournament Guidelines

    General Guidelines

    • Teams are NOT allowed to bring mats and mission to tournaments. Practice tables will be provided.

    Team Information Sheet

    Please bring four (4) copies of your Team Information Sheet to a VA/DC event.

    Consent & Release Form

    Please bring these forms for each team member or print out the list from if the team has done it electronically.

    Members who were not 9 years old as of January 1st, 2019 may not be able to register online but can still participate by bringing a paper copy to the event.

    VA/ DC FIRST LEGO League
    Coaches Webinar

    Here is a recording of the webinar held for coaches.  This recording was made on Wednesday, October 16th, 2019.

    For those that were on the call: If you posted a question to the chat room or Q&A, those records were not able to be recovered. If you would like to resend your question, please email it to Kaitlin Ilnitzki at