FIRST Robotics Competition
Competition outline: All FRC games have a similar outline to how they are played, but the tasks change yearly. Competitions are played in rounds that last 2 minutes and 15 seconds. Each round has a read and blue alliance playing at the same time. Each alliance is made up of three robots. The round starts with a 15 second autonomous period where the robot runs a program without human control. Following the autonomous period there is a tele-operated period lasting 2 minutes where a drive team uses radio controls to move the robot. The final part of the round, 10-20 seconds, may have a special end-game task where teams can earn extra points. Each game usually has penalties for moves that interfere with other robots completing the tasks or damaging field parts.
In our area, there is a new competition model. Washington and Oregon have combined into the Pacific NW District. Teams from those two states will play two 2.5-day competitions, earning points. The top 65 teams will then compete in a District Championship in Portland, OR. Winners at the District will move up to the Championships in St. Louis, MO. For more details see the FIRSTWA.org website.
At the competitions, ranking rounds are played, and teams are scored by points earned, minus any penalty points. Teams with the highest points earn the right to enter the final elimination rounds as Alliance leaders. They then choose their alliance partners, which means a team with a lower score still might get chosen to be part of the final competition.
- See our vocabulary page for more details on unfamiliar words.
- See the USFIRST.org website for complete game manuals.
2015 Recycle Rush: The 2015 FRC games utilizes totes, bins, and pool noodles. Teams earn points by stacking the bins and totes, or by pushing pool noodles into a designated “Landfill Zone”.
2014 Aerial Assist: The 2014 FRC game uses 25 inch exercise balls. Teams earn points by putting this ball into the high or low goals and by tossing and catching it over the center truss. Teams also get points by teamwork, by passing the ball between robots in each of three field zones.
2013 Ultimate Ascent: The 2013 FRC game uses frisbees and a climbing pyramid of bars. Teams can earn points by getting frisbees into goals at various heights. Teams can also take the tougher challenge of climbing up the pyramid, earning more points the higher they climb. Special colored frisbees make points if they make it to the top of the pyramid.
2012 Rebound Rumble: The 2012 FRC game uses basketballs and tilting bridges. There are four hoops placed in a diamond configuration (three heights) at one end of the playing field. Robots have to travel either over tilting bridges or a 4 inch bump to pick up balls at the other end of the field. In the final seconds of the game, 2-3 robots need to get onto the bridges and balance them. Alliances can earn extra points for cooperating with an opposing team to balance the center bridge.
2011Logomotion: The game of Logomotion uses triangle, circle and square tubes as game pieces. The robots need to be able to retrieve the tubes from the feeder station and carry them across the field and place them on a hanging rack. There are three rows and three columns on each rack. Teams get more points for placing tubes higher on the rack and for placing them in the FIRST Logo order: triangle, circle and square. Teams can also get extra points if they cover an uber tube. Uber tubes are placed on the rack only during the autonomous part of the game. During the final 10 seconds of the game teams may earn extra points by launching a mini-bot up a ten foot pole in a race against other teams.
2010 Breakaway: The game of Breakaway was a bit like soccer. The robot kicked or pushed soccer balls into the goals where they would be returned to the center of the field via an overhead ramp. Traveling the field was made more challenging by adding one foot tall bumps and 20 inch tunnels that the robots had to get under or over. The robots could earn extra points in the final seconds by hanging themselves from a tower.
2009 Lunacy: Lunacy was a game in honor of the first landing on the moon. It used orbit balls, which are made from plastic strips covered in cloth and woven together in a sphere, so they are hollow. The surface of the playing field was made from a slippery material, to simulate being on the moon with light gravity. Each robot pulled a trailer and attempted to put the orbit balls into the opposing alliance’s trailers while avoiding getting any into their own trailers. Teams could earn extra points in the final seconds by delivering a special colored ball to the opposing alliance’s trailers.
2008 Overdrive: Overdrive used a large 40 inch ball. The field was set up like an oval race track. At mid field there was a ladder like rack placed horizontally overhead on which four balls started. Teams could earn points by completing a full circle of the field. They also got points for moving the balls across the finish line and even more points for putting the balls over the rack. Teams could earn extra points in the final seconds by placing the balls back onto the rack.