very first rule system was developed by the
Denver Mad Scientists Club
and engineer Bill Llewellyn, to whom we owe a
never-ending debt of gratitude. The rules have since
evolved considerably over the years, with lots of
feedback from the contestants, the audience, and other
robotic competition organizers. If you have any
questions, please email
note: the ruleset has been updated and overhauled from
top to bottom, so please read carefully to see what all
has been changed, updated and clarified. Thanks.
0. Spirit Rules
Frankenstein Rule: If a vehicle proves sufficiently
offensive to the audience, the audience may, at their
discretion, light torches, take pitchforks in hand, and
throw the robot and its operator in the nearest creek or
large body of water.
B. Bad Idea
Rule: If, during the design of your robot, you think
that something would be a bad idea, then just don't do
cheating! This covers spirit-of-the competition type
A. The four
vehicle weight limit classifications are up to one
pound, one to three pounds, three to twelve pounds, and
twelve to thirty pounds. Vehicle control may be by any
means not prohibited by rule 1B. A 2.5 percent error
factor will be allowed to account for variations in
scales. Vehicles may not compete out of weight class,
due to safety considerations.
may be powered by any source socially acceptable for
indoor use; all vehicles should be electrically powered.
No internal combustion engines will be allowed. All
power sources must be 100% contained in the vehicle and
packaged appropriately for the expected abuse.
vehicles, must, at the beginning of each combat, be
capable of movement of at least one foot beyond the base
radius of the robot in a reasonable amount of time.
vehicle may, under any circumstances, present a hazard
to the judges, spectators, or the opposing operator(s).
No vehicle may in its operation cause damage to anything
other than the opposing robot or the combat surface. Any
vehicle that may imperil the viewing areas will be ruled
ineligible for competition.
entries must conform to the general rules of the
facility and the event.
vehicles will be subject to a technical inspection prior
to combat. Failure to disclose any operating principle
will be grounds for immediate disqualification. Judges
may restrict any function deemed hazardous.
may not be used in combat situations.
H. If any
substance or object(s) coming from a robot that, in the
opinion of the judges, cannot be completely cleaned up
after combat, the robot will then be declared
ineligible. (For example, glitter is verboten.)
must be singular in form. No secondary robots or
self-propelled devices that detach themselves from the
main robot will be allowed.
spinners are allowed with an absolute maximum tip speed
of 20 feet per second and may spin in any direction. The
tip speed in feet per second is calculated by this
formula: Tip Speed = no load RPM x Diameter in inches x
.00436. This rules only applies to non-arena
competitions; Arena competitions have no restrictions
robots with active weapons must have a Master Kill
Switch that deactivates the weapon immediately, or be
designed to cease operation when radio signal is lost or
tether is cut. This is for the safety of the audience
and the other competitors.
living elements will be allowed in any robot. (For
example, you can't put a four year old with a baseball
bat on top of your bot.)
entered in the 12 pound and 30 pound categories should
be able to operate on at least two frequencies or have a
digital transmitter capable of nonconflicting
frequencies to avoid radio frequency conflicts.
vehicles in the one and three pound weight classes must,
at full extension, be able fit through the arena
pushout(s) in any orientation. Standard pushout width is
18", though arenas can (and do) vary from event to
event. Please check with the event organizers well in
advance for specific details.
individual bot may only be entered into one weight class
combat surface will be a minimum of an 8' by 8' square
or equivalent size circle for the 12 pound class and a
minimum of 16' x 16' or equivalent size circle for the
30 pound class and may be larger as needed by the
technical layout of the staging. The staging area for
Ant and Beetle classes will be a minimum 4' x 4'
four-sided fully enclosed arena.
combat volume is defined as the combat surface and the
airspace above it to the height of whatever ceiling is
the combat volume entirely is prohibited. Major portions
of the robot may leave the combat volume provided that
some part of the robot remains inside. You will
immediately be declared defeated if your vehicle has
entirely left the combat volume, or has come in contact
with any restricted surface.
contact with the ceiling is permitted in non-arena
E. No part
of any operator's body may impinge on the combat volume
F. The use
of projectile weapons is not allowed due to issues of
audience safety. A projectile is defined as an object
thrown with the expectation that its kinetic energy will
affect its target.
G. The use
of "entanglement" style devices is not allowed.
Flammable fuels, liquid, gaseous or solid, are not
I. There is
a three minute time limit for each combat round in all
weight classes. If neither robot has achieved a victory
condition within the time limit, the judging panel will
declare a winner
your opponent’s controller, either electronically or
physically, is prohibited. Any robot with ECM
capabilities will be disqualified from competition.
during the course of an arena-based rumble, the
pushout(s) become filled, a temporary halt can be called
by the judge(s) in order to clear the pushout(s). If
such a halt is called, all contestants must immediately
judge(s) shall be impartial non-participants.
judge(s) may declare a contest completed at any time.
decisions are final.
competition will be one-on-one best two-out-of-three
rounds in the 12 pound and 30 pound class, and
one-on-one direct decision double-elimination in the Ant
and Beetle weight classes, time permitting.
will start on opposite sides of the combat surface with
the aft end of each robot even with the edge of the
may become double-elimination at the discretion of the
judges, and may be arranged by random draw of a bye. The
round robin format may also be implemented, at the
discretion of the judges, to even out odd bracket
pairings or if time permits such a competition.
are limited to entering no more than one robot per
weight class per competition.
must be ready when the combat begins. A brief pretest
may be allowed by the judges.
hazards, such as steel bars or stuffed animals, may be
introduced to the combat surface at the discretion of
the judges and/or organizers.
G. For open
surface events, a minimum of 30' (thirty feet) distance
must be maintained between the edge of the combat stage
and the audience for safety reasons. No audience members
are allowed within the safety zone, and children under
the age of 16 are not allowed in the front row.
F. If no
clear winner of a rumble is declared, the judge(s) may
call for a replay involving all remaining functioning
vehicles in the specific weight class.
A. To claim
victory in the 12 pound and 30 pound classes your
vehicle must show mobility and be within the combat
volume. You will immediately be declared defeated if
your vehicle has been rendered immobile, has entirely
left the combat volume, or has come in contact with any
B. If both
vehicles are immobile, the robot controlling mobility
shall be required to release the other robot after a
period of no more than ten seconds has elapsed. In cases
where neither robot controls mobility, both vehicles
shall receive a draw.
Immobility is defined as the inability to move at rate
of at least one foot beyond the base radius of the robot
in a reasonable amount of time.
vehicle shall be required to compete within ten minutes
of a previous combat. If a robot cannot be repaired
within a reasonable time, a forfeit will be declared by
the judge(s), solely at the judge(s) discretion.
E. To claim
victory in the Ant and Beetle weight classes, the
opposing robot must be either pushed out of the arena
into the designated area or disabled.
F. A robot
that sits more than fifteen seconds without attempting
to engage with an opponent will receive a warning from
the judge(s) for "lack of aggression". Three warnings
within a combat round will result in disqualification.
contestant may forfeit a match by "tapping out", at
which point both contestants must immediately cease
fighting. A contestant who taps out and then continues
to fight will be disqualified from the entire
competition. Contestants need to make their tap out as
clear as possible, so that the judge(s) and other
competitor are aware of the tap out.
Robot Battles ruleset is a set of guidelines. They can,
and often will, be amended to adjust to changing
technology and venue conditions. If at all possible,
feedback will be requested from contestants, builders
and audience members to make the rule changes as fair as
possible, but the final decision rests with the event
necessary, the Robot Battles ruleset may be adjusted to
fit in with another ruleset for a specific event. Those
changes hold true for only that event and may be added
to the main ruleset at a future time.