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Battlebots

Battlebots is an American television show where teams of competitors create remote-controlled combat robots and put them in an arena to fight in a double-elimination tournament. The robots have no intelligence; they are entirely guided by humans.

In the show, teams are interviewed, and cameras show robots being prepared for battle. The robots are then put in an arena called the BattleBox for a three-minute fight in which the idea is to disable one's opponent by any means available.

Table of contents

Weaponry

  • Axes
    • Axes are great for cutting through most armor, but they can get blunt rather quickly and are prone to breakage. Thick armor stops them dead.
  • Hammers
    • Hammers do well if they have the power behind them, but a well-shielded robot or one with good shock absorbers will be almost invulnerable.
  • Saws
    • Saws are a popular, if ineffective, weapon. They slice through armor, but without a push behind them, only rarely do they cut the circuitry beneath. The copious quantities of sparks score them extra style points, however.
  • Flippers
    • The most debated weapon in Battlebots, flippers have a simple strategy: flip the opponent over. Methods of construction vary, but having a wedge-shaped robot that slides under the opponent is the prevailing one. Many newer robots are made to be self-righting or run upside-down, so wedges may be losing their reign.
  • Spinning Blades
    • Spinning blades are more effective than saws, as they can throw a robot large distances if set up correctly.
    • Some "spinning blades" are more accurately SpinBots- the entire robot is spinning blades, making it almost impossible for an opponent to attack. This is a very effective strategy- but spinbots are not as sturdy as other designs, in general.

Weight Classes

Robots are separated into four weight classes: Lightweight, mediumweight, heavyweight, and super heavyweight. A robot that uses legs instead of wheels is allowed more weight.

Robot Design

Robot designs vary wildly:

  1. Circle-shaped spinbots are effective close-range fighters- when they're up to speed, they do serious damage when they hit. But a robot with a long axe can stop them dead.
  2. Wedge-shaped Wedgebots have low ground clearance, so they can scoot up under opponents and flip them over. This low ground clearance makes them hard to flip, but very vulnerable to the arena hazards.
  3. Boxbots are sort of boxishly shaped, and generally have something sharp mounted as a weapon. They're an easy design and easy to find sturdy parts for, but there are better designs.
  4. Other, the most popular class. It includes everything from egg-shaped robots with saws to what appears to be a walking pile of blades.

The design process, and the construction of a robot, takes months and thousands of dollars. Robot parts can generally be salvaged even after a robot is rendered non-functional, however, so future robots generally cost less.

The BattleBox

The BattleBox is a square playfield in a sturdy cage in which robots are put to the test of combat. The floor is not without its hazards, however.

Arena Hazards

Operated by "Pulverizer Pete," the arena hazards are calculated to rip up robots not designed to handle them, or unable to steer around them. The hazards include:

  • Spike Strips
    • The walls of the arena are covered with foot-long sharpened steel spikes. Pushing an opponent hard into a wall can sometimes mean a stuck opponent.
  • Spinners
    • These high-speed record players can interfere with a robot's driving. They (probably) won't do damage themselves to a robot, but they can make it move rather crookedly!
  • Kill Saws
    • The Kill Saws are aptly named. Coming out of the floor at high speed as soon as a robot drives over the red slots, these diamond-tipped saws can utterly shred a robot's chassis and are usually immediately fatal to all but a well-designed heavyweight. Middleweights are usually dead, and lightweights don't have a chance.
  • Pistons
    • Pistons are steel columns that raise and lower from the floor without warning. As they're not sharp or particularly fast, they don't do much damage to robots.
  • Ramrods
    • Ramrods are the painful variant of pistons- sharpened steel spikes that come out of the arena floor.
  • Hell Raisers
    • Even the floor is not to be trusted. If a robot drives over the center of the arena, it will find itself driving on a <math>15\deg</math> tilt.
  • Pulverizers
    • The most dangerous of all obstacles, the high-powered hammers known as the Pulverizers mark each corner of the arena. A robot under a pulverizer will usually get destroyed in short order unless it gets out from under it quickly; Bill Nye The Science Guy has calculated that each pulverizer hit is equivalent to a car being dropped on the hapless robot.

Matches

Matches are three minutes long. During a match, both radio-controlled robots do their best to destroy the opposing robot using whatever means availible.

If a robot is unable to move for thirty seconds, it is declared Knocked Out and its opponent the winner; this is not a common occurrence, however.

The match time usually runs out before a robot is knocked out; at that point, three judges distribute a total of 45 points (15 points a judge, 5 points per judge per category) over three categories. The robot with the higher score wins; if the judges can't decide, the audience chooses by volume of applause.

The categories are Aggression, Strategy, and Damage. A robot who hangs back safely from its opponent will not get many Aggression points; one in there fighting the whole time, however, will.

The Strategy category is about how well a robot exploits its opponent's weaknesses, protects its own, and handles the hazards. A robot driving over the kill saws will lose points here, unless it had good reason to do so, as will a robot that can't make up its mind what it wants to attack.

The Damage category is in how much damage is dealt to the opponent by any means. A robot that drives under a Pulverizer under its own power gives its opponent points in this area!

The winner moves on; the loser will be dropped to the second bracket or eliminated, depending upon whether that robot has already lost once or not.

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