"In any case, I maintain that our loss was not as pathetic as Vivek made it out
to be. ;-) The design was sound; we just ran out of time for fine tuning. Yes,
we lost, but we put up a good fight."
Sorry Toph, it was a pathetic defeat.
You can't have an indefinite amount of time in a contest.
And I use the word "contest" because this was a contest. The contest guidelines required that we make a series of simple machines with the most steps possible. Since it is a contest, there is an inherent time requirement as well.
If our machine didn't work in the amount of time we allotted for this competition, obviously we lost due to the machine itself:
Was it the lack of time that made us lose? No. The other team had just as much time we had to build it (not to mention, they finished 30 minutes before us).
Was it the materials? No. Both teams had an equal share of quality materials.
So that leaves us with just the machines.
One doesn't need to be the great Sherlock Holmes to deduce that, since the other team's series of machines was much simpler than ours (resulting in less time in completing their machine and the abundance of time necessary for fine tuning), and that ours was more complex (allowing us less time to test the machine and fine tune it accordingly), the simple team won due their simple series of machines.
In the end, it wasn't really a lack of time, rather a lack of time management due to complexities. :)