Had a great time with the competition. Never intended to submit until I was egged on by my kids. Didn't read the scoring rules in the beginning so I didn't realize until later that if you so much as think about a powered disc your score is through the roof. Anyway someone asked to see my first crack at gate keeper. http://FantasticContraption.com/?designId=6829945
Came up with this very quickly (before I read the scoring rules) and declared victory. It was only when I read the rules and couldn't get my ticks below 100 (that extra tick was costing me 1 point) that I scrapped and went to a brown stick solution using one of the orange balls on the side. I gained a few points but my ticks were 233 - I didn't tweak very much.
I do want to say that after looking at the ingenious designs I enjoy the four blue rod solutions for champ, the unpowered solutions for the second pit in canyon, and the rods-only solutions to stuck the most. I'm sorry but as far as the balls-only solutions to stuck - while I can only imagine how long it took to tweak those in - I just don't appreciate them as much. From a scoring standpoint it doesn't seem consistent that everything else being equal (ticks, etc.) a solution using 3 rods only gets the same score as one using 8 or 10 blue balls (or whatever makes that break even).
My suggestion for future scoring would be to make the hands-off badge more points and don't weigh the balls-only solution so much. Also, (I don't know how hard it would be to design and control something like this) but what about a contest where you get a certain amount of time per quest (an hour or two) and no more and then the amount of time you took less than that would earn you bonus points as well as simplicity, badges, and ticks.
As far as cheating. Cheaters will cheat at anything. I do want to say that when I first looked at garmin's displacement I thought I had opened one of my saved (and discarded efforts) for two blue rods. It looked identical - I just couldn't tweak it in - so it wasn't. I spent probably half of my total time of the competition on trying to tweak in my displacement and I didn't. If I had been a micron over one way or the other it might have worked and then it would have been identical. In that particular scenario, once you realize that the big ball will balance on a blue rod and try to win the level with a second blue rod you will tend to a very limited number of solutions.
Signing off until the next email inviting me to another contest.