I’ve been designing intake mechanisms that would potentially work for both types of game pieces, and so far my ideas are a vacuum suction and an expanding collet that when expanded could be used as a claw to pick up cargo. Did you guys have fun any ideas?
Some of my teammates came up with a combination wheel shooter/inside grabber claw for the cargo and plates. The wheel shooter is similar to the wheel shooters on elevators like in Power Up, but they can fold in farther to make it easy for the claws on the end to grab the inside of the plate.
Given the amount of development time available, and the importance of speed in acquiring and delivering game pieces, you are almost certainly better off developing two different manipulators for these vastly different game pieces. It’s far easier to tune in two different devices for one game piece each than to get both of them working on the same device. If you DO decide to go for the double device, decide up front which one is your first priority; doing one quickly will be more attractive to potential alliance partners than doing both slowly.