FIRST LEGO League

"If I want to teach my students in how to have complete control over where the robot is going, where do I start?" Carsten M.

Prepare for FIRST LEGO League Robot Game. The complete guide

This FIRST LEGO League Robot Game guide is the single greatest resource to prepare for the competition. The goal of the guide is to make it easier for every mentor, team and team member to successfully participate in the FIRST LEGO League Robot Game and to have a lot of fun regardless of their experience and level. There are over 300+ robots, 1500+ attachments/constructions, 50+ courses, 500+ tutorials available for rookie teams to start with and for more experienced teams to learn from.

Why this guide?

We are participants, mentors, judges, professional engineers and software developers with a lot of experience in FLL and we've been helping teams for the last 15 years. At FLLCasts we share specific courses, robot constructions, attachments and programs that demonstrate how different mission models could be accomplished. Note that we do not share solutions for the current season as this is against our rules, but we share the principles by which different missions could be accomplished and how similar missions were accomplished in the past. You have all the information on one place.

FLL is a journey and sometimes a difficult, but always rewarding one. You are not alone in this journey. FLLCasts has helped tens of thousands of students build Box Robots, use rubber bands and program advanced state machines to achieve a consistency of the behavior of the robot. We are your partner with all the experience and knowledge that we have and we will guide you through the process of learning and accomplishing the missions.

Where to start?

Start by moving through a specific course for your LEGO set. You can participate in FLL with any LEGO set, but the four LEGO sets that are most suitable are LEGO Education SPIKE Prime, LEGO Mindstorms Robot Inventor, LEGO Mindstorms EV3 and LEGO Mindstorms NXT.

Both EV3 and NXT are no longer available from LEGO. LEGO does not sell these sets, but almost all of the constructions that were previously built with EV3 and NXT could be reused. After all, they are just LEGO parts with different electronics.

Image for FIRST LEGO League with LEGO Mindstorms EV3

FIRST LEGO League with LEGO Mindstorms EV3

EV3 was the set that took FLL to where it is today. We've built many resource for EV3, and starting with this course will give you a good idea of how to compete at the competition with this LEGO robotics set

Review of previous competitions

"Smart people learn from their mistakes. Wise people learn from everywhere they can"

When you prepare for the current FLL season there is nothing better than having all the experience from participating in previous competitions. But this is not possible, because previous competitions are...well...previous. You are forming the team now. Luckily we've recorded and explained our solutions to the FLL challenges since 2012. Start with the most recent and move back looking at the missions and their solutions and review. Learn how a similar mission was approached in the past. As you have this toolbox of knowledge you can now decide which of the attachments and robots to modify and use for the current season.

An additional option is to use the FLLCasts Off Seasons 2019 course. It does not require an FLL field and you could build the mission models from your EV3 sets. It is a good course for preparing for FLL competitions.

Tips and Tricks from current season

2021 CARGO CONNECT Tips and Tricks

10 out of 10

We try to build robots that can accomplish the missions 10 out of 10 times. Building and programming a reusable and consistent robot is the single greatest thing you could learn. Look at the different examples for "10 out of 10" tutorials.

Build a robot

There are several different options for different robot bases, chassis and approaches.

Learn by building several robot constructions and then choose a design that suits your team and your goals. Simple constructions are powerful and you could easily win a local or regional competition with them. Look at the robots that could be built from the LEGO set that you have, but also look at robots that are from different sets as they have a lot of good ideas in them that you can incorporate.

LEGO Education SPIKE Prime

LEGO Mindstorms Robot Inventor

LEGO Mindstorms EV3

LEGO Mindstorms NXT

Box Robots & Advanced Constructions

Moving directly to the Box Robots for a rookie team could be challenging, but you are participating in FIRST LEGO League after all :). Challenge is what you are here for. Check out the course first to learn the ideas behind the concepts and implementations. Then build the robots following the building instructions.

Program a robot

You can not prepare for competition without learning how to use the sensors. Learn to use them, to follow lines, the position yourself on the field with the Color/Light sensors, to detect your rotations with the Gyro, and to use State machines to separate the states in your program.

LEGO Education SPIKE Prime

LEGO Mindstorms EV3

Light, Color and Gyro Sensors Should be Calibrated

You will surely get tired of all the differences in the venues and their lighting conditions. Winning teams have the sensors properly calibrated and could calibrate them very fast, just before the runs.

LEGO Mindstorms NXT

Advanced programming

Learn more advanced programming like moving straight and state machines. This is the most common problem at competitions. How do you move straight? or at least Straighterrrr?

Attachments

Learn to build attachments. Rubber Bands, Gears, you name it. Do not over engineer. Use as few parts as possible. Build simple pinless attachments that could be changed quickly. An attachment should work 9 out of 10 times. Use rubber bands, gear wheel, worm gears, racks, levers.

Tips and Tricks from previous seasons

We publish tips and tricks at the start of every season. We share what you could look at and learn from. Make sure you check them out as they gather all the resources for the seasons with all the rules, building instructions and the specific tips and tricks how a mission could be accomplished.

2020 RePLAY Tips and Tricks

2019 City Shaper Tips and Tricks

2018 Into Orbit Tips and Tricks

Finally, you explore what you could further learn

At FLLCasts.com we have many resources on a lot of different topics connected with FIRST LEGO League and other robotics competitions. Make sure to check for new Tutorials and Building Instructions

All reviews from 2012 to current date

These are reviews not only for FIRST LEGO League, but also for World Robot Olympiad. Check them out. You might find interesting attachments and programs on which to base you current approaches to the competition

Team Subscription

Subscribe to access all of the materials. Learn more about the Personal B and Team subscription.

Learn more

Teachers Training

'Smart people learn from their mistakes. Wise people learn from everywhere they can'. Join our online training to prepare better for LEGO robotics competitions.