Each year, teams of high school students compete to build robots weighing up to 120 pounds, that can play in a game, which requires robots to complete tasks such as scoring balls into goals, frisbees into goals, inner tubes onto racks, hanging on bars, balancing robots on balance beams, etc. The game changes every year, keeping the excitement fresh and giving each team a more level playing field. While teams are given a standard set of parts, they are also allowed a budget and encouraged to buy or make specialized parts as long as they conform to FIRST rules. Game details are revealed at the beginning of January and the teams are given six weeks to construct a competitive robot, that can operate autonomously as well as when guided by wireless controls, to accomplish the game's tasks.
Simple Rules That Never Change:
Every year, a different game is played. However, many game rules do not change from year to year and the competitive structure has not changed significantly since the competition started. Teams are randomly assigned alliances of 3 teams, which are paired into qualification matches, where they earn 'qualifying points', the calculation of which changes each year. The game changes every year, but for the most part, they involve some autonomous (computer controlled) robot operation for 10–15 seconds at the beginning of a match, followed by a much longer period (usually 2 minutes) of remote control. Teams use scoring objects on the field to get points, and they sometimes get bonus points for achieving tasks such as ending with the robot on a platform, behind a certain line, or even hanging from a field structure.
Look under the Games Header for information on the games we've played so far!