More challenge ideas - US version is all repeats! : LUSENET : Junkyard Wars : One Thread

Ok, I'm disappointed in the American host too. But enough of that. I'm bummed that the US challenges look just like previous UK challenges. We need new ones!

Some coworkers and I batted around ideas over lunch. Some of these may be repeats. I haven't exhaustively checked the archives:

1) Junkyard battlebots Each team can build from 1-4 bots, gasoline or battery powered. Bots are put in a isolated gravel pit, and battle it out. Each team is provided with 20 gallons of gasoline for their engines. For fun, make it legal to use fire as an attack form (using up gasoline). Bots are required to keep moving, or be declared "Dead". Last team with an operable bot wins. I just have "visions" of the view of the carnage from a cliff side over a gravel put, with burning rusted out hulks, like something out of "Road Warrior".

2) Gravel challenge. Teams are provided a dump truck, and a massive pile of gravel. They have one hour to load as much gravel as possible, and move it (going through a gravel yard scale) to a pile a short distance away. The junk yard could be seeded with equipment for hydrolic scoops, and conveyors. The trick is to find the best way to get the gravel up into the truck and build something to assist them.

3) Water tank challenge There is a large pond, and uphill on opposite sides of the pond are two very large open-top water tanks. The challenge is to fill your tank with some gazzillion gallons of water from the pond. You could haul up smaller barrels and dump them, or make a large tanker. Another option is to build a pipeline "in the fly", and pump the water uphill. If a pipeline is built, it has to be built after the "GO" for the challenge - so that the builders lose time to pipefitting.

4) Deadlift challenge Teams get 5 lifts. They must lift as much as they can as high as they can, using their "machine". They are award points for each lift. Total points wins. Points are awarded as the product of pounds times feet. So lifting 1000 pounds 1 foot is as good as lifting 100 pounds 10 feet. The tradeoff is that the higher you go, the flimsier you will get. Make them do 5 lifts, with no test runs. Assuming they will start conservative, and risk destruction on the final lift. Seed the junk yard with hydrollics and block and tackle equipment.

5) Brick layer challenge Transport a large pile of bricks 100 yards to a building. Somehow lift the bricks to the second floor of the building - assume it's a building under construction. Options are to build some kind of forklift or conveyor. They can make one trip, or multiple.

Those are some simple ones we could think of.


-- Mike Hojnowski (, January 06, 2001


I love the battle bot idea. I only hope comedy central wouldn't have a problem with them using the idea. Not sure if the contestants could do it in only 10 hours though. It might require some pretty heavy seeding of the yard.

-- Thomas Thatcher (, January 07, 2001.

Great ideas. Do you think a team might try to get that old scrapheap excavator working for the gravel loading. As a spin on your brick layer idea, what if they had to acually stach the bricks in a psuedo wall formation?

-- Rick (, January 07, 2001.

Good ideas. I like # 2,3,and 4. The robots thing would be intresting and fun to watch, but would take a lot of time to get several machines built.

-- Waddy Thompson (, January 07, 2001.

With the battlebots idea, I wasn't clear. I'd REQUIRE 1 bot, but the team could make as many as 4, if they wanted to. It would add "juice" to the challenge. Should they cut corners on 1 to make 2, or should they put all their efforts into 1 "good one".

If the teams can find a few running vehicles, it shouldn't take TOO long to kludge on robotics. I think a good part of the fun would be watching the teams argue about how many bots to make! :-)

-- Mike Hojnowski (, January 07, 2001.

The battle bots would be spiffy, but would be super-hard to do. Maybe, if you were given a radio and servos. How about you have to make a dump truck to move the gravel? that would be more interesting. bricklaying would be hard. But water pumping and dead lift would be cool!

-- Aaron Casey (, January 07, 2001.

I'd like to point out the original poster obviously isn't paying attention. The challenges are not all repeats:



Underwater breathing




-- Chris Rake (, January 07, 2001.

Actually they are repeats. They built hovercraft for the original pilot, and the other ones listed (diving helmets, rockets, etc) are from the first season, ones that have only been broadcast in the UK. (the only first season show that has been shown in the US was pulling tractors).

-- Jeff - The NERDS (, January 07, 2001.

Good one Chris! You really got that guy good! WOW!! You showed him...Keep up the good work dude...

-- Joe Debicki (, January 07, 2001.

I am not so upset about the repeat of the challenges. Think duplicate bridge, and apreciate the different solutions. Even with different challenges, they do keep common themes: Here are some:

Missles: First year was vegtables for accuracy (one team build a conventional trebucet, the other team a mangonelle), Second year was real cannon, third year, was missles for distance (the rugby cannon). The vegtable accuracy was what they were repeating, but the solutions were different, the trebuchet was a modern design, and they used an air cannon rather than the catapult(mangonelle) of the first year.

With cars, the first year was off road machines, the second year it was high milage vehicles, third season, they were steam powered. They will do the off road machines with americans.

They had a second vehicle track: tractor pull, walking machines, dragsters. (they repeated dragsters because people like them)

The water episode: first season diving gear, second season salvage, third submarines. The diving gear will be repeated by americans this season.

Boats: First year it was just a boat that did rescue. Second year it was an amphibian, third year it had to put out a fire. They will do rescue boats again.

Wind: they did hovercraft (yeah a stretch) land yachts, then windmills. Hovercraft again, and having seen the original, I am looking forward to the repeat. (its very unlikely the UK hovercaft show will get broadcast again, it was the pilot, and had a bit of a different format)

flight: Rockets, gliders, bombers (rockets repeat)

No real point here. Just an observation -- Personally, I like seeing challenges reused at times - like duplicate bridge, the different aproaches to the problem is interesting. If they keep with the two a night format, I would be tempted to program the duplicate shows the same night, so you could see more than one implementation.

-- Jeff - The NERDS (, January 08, 2001.

Jeff, You raise good points. As I reconsider challenges while thinking of the "educational mandate" of the show, I think the ones I propose that make the most "sense" would be the "moving water" challenge, and the "dead lift" challenge. Both could be used to illustrate technologies that aren't necessarily demo'd in the other programs I've seen (aside from the fireboat).

Two other technologies that come to mind when thinking "education" are magnets and electricity. Hmmm.. Electromagnets. Generators... Probably some possible challenges there!

-- Mike Hojnowski (, January 08, 2001.

Being in the US, we have not seen the original series. So we have not yet seen any hovercrafts, rockets, or underwater breathing challenges. We have seen a couple of boats, but no rescue challenges, and the same goes for vehicles. So, to 99% of the US audience, the upcoming shows are NOT repeat ideas. I'm sorry if my previous post failed to make that point clear (I was getting sick of all of the whining).

Of course, what surprises me are all of these people who put forward the attitude of "this is a repeat, this sucks!". Well, on that note, they should think that all sporting events suck. I mean, they always have the same rules! Kick the ball, chase the ball, tackle a guy, kick a ball, etc. How boring is that?

-- Chris Rake (, January 08, 2001.

Mike has some good ideas for future shows. I think the deadlift challenge could work very well. A twist on this theme might be designing an elevator(lifting device) to lift their entire team to some designated height. The elevator could use engine/hydraulic power or "human" power (TBD). Perhaps the machine could be mobile, and the two teams could race between two elevated platforms. (Of course, stairs and ladders would not be allowed.)

-- Jeff Koke (, January 09, 2001.

I agree with Mike,Jeff,&Chris.

-- Aaron Brown (, January 11, 2001.

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