Re: Here's the problem with the minibot
Nevertheless, good points all. The extreme premium placed on finishing first in the minibot race is driving everyone towards a very small number of designs. A flat rate for minibots would definitely leave room for different designs and reduce the numbers of "heavily inspired" designs. Bonus points if you can tweak your flat rate endgame to encourage usage of the NXT brain and sensors to encourage actual partnership with FTC teams, since they're more likely to know how to accomplish the task. My proposal:
Slightly fancier towers with multiple scoring zones marked along the length.
15 pts for triggering the tower.
10 pts for stopping the minibot in the correct, randomly determined scoring zone.
Depending on the difficulty you're aiming for, the random zone could be told to teams at the start of the match, told to the robot through the fms, or indicated on the pole via lights, an electromagnet placed inside the pipe, or something else.