There are many ways to implement an event and your EEM/RSM is the best resource to assist with matching the event with your available venue and resources. The event types and layouts shared in this guide are models for best practices, but no two events look exactly the same. The REC Foundation prioritizes a consistent experience that is aligned with the Game Manual and Judging process, but you will find that implementing robotic events can be tailored to your available resources and event space in order to promote sustainability and a positive experience for EPs, volunteers, and students.
Helpful Hint: When selecting a date for your event, consider avoiding holidays, test days, and other major events that may impact venue and team availability.
Successful events can be coordinated without using a lot of space and resources. There are many venue options to consider when hosting an event, and your EEM/RSM can assist you with matching the event with your available resources. Competitions have been successfully run in schools, community centers, gymnasiums, conference centers, and other spaces.
- Plan out how students will get their robots from their pit area to a queuing area, from the queue to a playing field, and then back to their pit area. Many events will have queuing stations and one-way traffic to prevent congestion. Identify any bottlenecks in your layout and plan accordingly.
- You should have access to your event space ahead of time for setup. For Tournaments, it is recommended that you set up the night before and test all the electronics needed to run the event (i.e., VRC/VEX U fields, displays, sound system, and mobile scoring). Optimally all you should need to do the morning of the event is power on systems.
- Create a to-scale map of the venue. This is not only useful for event planning, but teams and judges will benefit from having a labeled pit map with venue landmarks noted, particularly if your event is spanning multiple rooms.
Venues for Tournaments
Tournaments are commonly held in school gyms because they have large open spaces for the competition fields, pit areas, audience seating, and other event equipment. Larger common areas, like a community center or school cafeteria, can be equally viable venue options. Larger events may choose to use a cafeteria for the pit area, because tables are usually already set up, and use another space such as a gym for their competition fields and audience. Your venue selection will factor into how many teams can attend the event, and thus the resources (equipment and volunteers) you will need to recruit.
Venues for Leagues
League sessions are intended to be easier to set up because there are usually fewer teams in attendance at each ranking session, and teams generally run a smaller number of matches per session. League sessions can be run in a classroom with only 1-2 fields and an audience display. Team pit areas can be on desks and the audience viewing area can be seats set up near the field. Larger leagues that include Robot Skills matches at each league session may need to be held in a common area or gym.
Example Event Layout for VIQRC
This example VIQRC Event layout represents a smaller event and can be scaled to meet your event needs and resources. Other event activities that may require additional space include a concessions area, charging stations, and private area for Judges to convene.
Example Event Layout for VRC, VEX U, or VAIC
The example VRC/VEX U/VAIC Event layout represents a smaller event and can be scaled to meet your event needs and resources. Other event activities that may require additional space include a concessions area, charging stations, and private area for Judges to convene.
The equipment and resources needed to host an event vary depending upon the event size and number of teams. Consult with your EEM/RSM for assistance with developing a detailed list of equipment needed for your event.
6’x8’ Game Field(s):
12’x12’ Game Field(s):
- League sessions can be held with only 1-2 VIQRC Fields or 1 VRC Field.
- Borrow fields from nearby organizations and teams attending the event.
- Fields can be reused every year. Only the game kits need to be replaced each season.
- Check with your EEM/RSM to see if there is an equipment trailer available to rent in your area.
Team Pit Area
The team pits are a designated area for coaches and teams. Each team's pit area will have a table, optional chairs, and either access to an outlet or a charging area. This pit area will be where teams work on their robot, wait for matches, and are interviewed by the judges. Pit tables should be clearly marked with the team’s designated team number using signs printed from Tournament Manager (found under Reports).
- If you are low on outlets it is helpful to have a designated charging area for teams to utilize. You should also have a pit display to make it quick and easy for teams to know which qualification matches are being played or queuing up.
- If teams will need to share pit tables, they should include enough space for teams to work on their robots and provide some seating for team members.
Electrical cords connecting event equipment should be secured to the floor during the event setup process to reduce tripping hazards throughout the venue. Cords can be secured using cord covers or non-residue tape like Gaffers Tape or Wrestling Mat Tape.
Walkways should be designed for safe movement between event areas. Consider the flow of the event participants throughout the day, including teams that will be transporting robots. The venue should be ADA compliant (inside the U.S.) or follow local inclusion laws to allow access for all (outside the U.S.). Some venues may require approval from the Fire Marshal to ensure the walkways are appropriate for the venue size and capacity.