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Materials cost

To maintain an equal playing field among teams, each problem has a cost limit. This is the maximum allowable total value of the items used in the team’s final problem solution at the competition. All materials used in the presentation of the team’s solution, except those that are exempt from cost, must be counted in this value (see assigned value and exempt below). The team must include an item’s value even if it is borrowed or donated; however, items may be valued at “garage sale“ prices. This is a used, or second-hand, price. Items purchased new must be listed at full price, and the team should retain the receipt.

If the team uses only part of an item, for example, half a can of paint or a segment of a 2 x 4, the team is required to list the value of only the portion used. If a team exceeds the cost limit, it will be penalized. If a team fails to list any of its items on the cost form, the staging area judge will allow them to add the value of those items. If adding the value puts them over the cost limit, judges will assess a penalty.

Each team must give the staging area judge a copy of its completed cost form (electronic Excel copy, PDF) before it begins its long-term presentation. The value of materials used must be listed on the form in the currency used by the country where the competition is held. Cost limits are given in United States dollars. Associations will announce their official exchange rates no later than October 15 of that program year. If these are not published, non-USA teams must use the exchange rate for their country as of October 1 of the program year to determine material values.

Assigned value items

The following items must be intact and used for their intended purpose. If they are decorated, the cost of the decorations will be in addition to the assigned value. The following list shows the categories of items and their assigned value.

  1. Commercially produced musical instrument and its case, including required peripherals such as a stand, amplifier, and speakers. VALUE: $5 or actual cost if less.
  2. Any type of audio or video recorder or player and speakers to hear the sounds if applicable (including radios and MP3 players). VALUE: $5 or actual cost if less.
  3. Audio-visual cart. VALUE: $5 or actual cost if less.
  4. Laptop or desktop computer system (including monitor, keyboard and connecting cables). Smartphones are considered computers. VALUE: $10 or actual cost if less.
  5. Projector of any type. VALUE: $10 or actual cost if less.
  6. Television set or monitor (not used in conjunction with a computer). VALUE: $10 or actual cost if less.
  7. 3-D Printed Items: $5 per hour of printing time.

Exempt items

Certain items are exempt from being counted in the cost as long as they remain intact and are used for their intended purpose. These are items considered accessible to all teams without a cost associated with them. They are limited to the following items. Anything not listed below that is used in the presentation of the team’s solution must be shown on the Cost Form.

  1. Extension cords and multiple plugs.
  2. Batteries.
  3. Chairs, stools, tables and desks.
  4. Jewelry, such as wristwatches, earrings, rings, etc., and street clothes that do not enhance the solution or contribute to a costume. Remember, if a team is wearing identical street clothes such as matching shirts, they would count towards cost because they appear to be a uniform, therefore enhancing the solution.
  5. Problem-specific shirts sold by CCI at
  6. Trash items — items that are usually discarded such as cardboard cartons, milk containers and scraps of wood that may be altered from their original state are exempt from cost. Used materials that are recyclable and have value such as a deposit are considered trash materials and are exempt from cost.

Note: Items such as storage bins, casters, or dollies may be used to move props from the Staging Area to the competition site, as long as they are not used in the presentation. They must be removed immediately after the item they are moving is placed in the competition area. If they are not, their cost will count in the problem solution.

Tool kit/repair kit

Tools used as intended to build and/or repair any part of the solution that do not enhance the performance are exempt from cost. For example, a screwdriver used to repair a prop is exempt unless the appearance of the screwdriver and/or the way the screwdriver is used enhances the performance. The tool kit must be in the Staging Area when time begins and may be used on the competition site for setting up the performance or for repairs. If, at any time, their appearance or the way they are used positively impacts the performance they are no longer exempt and the team will receive a Spirit of the Problem penalty. The materials that the team might need will vary depending on what they have built. Ideas of things to include are hot glue guns + glue sticks, duct tape, screwdrivers, pliers, utility knives, scissors, colored markers or pens, spare batteries, and fasteners.

Safety items exemptions

The following safety items are exempt from cost:

  1. Personal prescription items of team members such as eyeglasses and hearing aids.
  2. Floor coverings, such as drop cloths, that are used only to protect the floor, or mats used to prevent injury to a team member.
  3. Required foot coverings that are worn as they are commercially produced. If anything is added to the foot coverings, the value of the additions must be counted. This exemption does not apply to shoes with built-in wheels. These must be counted in the cost and must also be approved for use in the competition facility by the Tournament Director.

Notes on solving the problem with a budget

The cost limit in Odyssey of the Mind not only levels the playing field between programs, but it also forces participants to use their creativity in thinking of solutions using scarce and alternate resources. However, this requirement definitely poises a challenge for many teams, especially in the vehicle and technical problems.

  • First search for used items that team members or their families own. These items can always be valued at garage sale value
  • Make purchases at thrift stores. Even though the item must be expensed at purchased price, thrift stores have great deals on clothing, fabric, and many electronics.
  • Avoid spending money on areas of the performance that are not scored highly. For example, buying a costume which is not scored not only takes money away from other props, but the team could have likely created a more creative costume on their own.
  • Keep track of receipts in case the judging team has questions concerning the materials value form
  • Find discarded wood and building materials at construction and housing sites. However, make sure to obtain permission before taking any materials.
  • Receive large cardboard boxes for free from retail stores like Lowes, Home Depot, or appliance centers.
  • Find cheap paint by asking for reject/returned colors at Lowes or Home Depot and explaining its use for a school project.
long_term/materials_cost.txt · Last modified: 2019/08/08 16:01 by michaelb