FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Kit of Parts: The Basics & 2020 Deets

Sep 26, 2019 Written by Kate Pilotte, Kit of Parts Manager, FIRST Robotics Competition.



The Basics

Each season, FIRST Robotics Competition teams receive Kits of Parts (KoP). The KoP has three parts available to teams through a variety of sources; the Kickoff Kit, FIRST Choice, and the Virtual Kit.

  1. The Kickoff Kit is distributed via local Kickoffs (or via MySite shipment for those teams that can’t make it to a local Kickoff).
  2. FIRST Choice is an online repository of items that teams can get using credits.
  3. The Virtual Kit is the list of items available to teams directly and take two forms: software downloads or vouchers for goods.

Kit of Part FIRST Robotics Competition

We hope that what the Kit of Parts model lacks in simplicity, it makes up for in flexibility: for Donors and for teams.


This is the time of year when we’re finalizing all the Kit of Parts components. We spend a lot of time on the phone and emailing with the ~100 FIRST Robotics Competition Suppliers who generously send us parts they want y’all to have. We’re reminded of what an incredibly supportive group they are, and how proud they are to be involved!

In speaking with the Dean’s List Winners over the summer, we realized that not many teams/students/mentors realize the degree to which these donors support teams’ efforts. Please consider thanking them on social media and/or when you see them at events!

Kickoff Kit Deets

Kickoff Kit FIRST Robotics Competition

Size & Weight

Once we’re closer to Kickoff, we’ll let you know the general size and weight of the Kickoff Kit so you can plan your transportation home from Kickoff accordingly.

Kickoff Kit Contents

Right before Kickoff, we’ll post an encrypted list of the Kickoff Kit’s contents – on Kickoff Day, you’ll get the encryption code so you can inspect your contents and use our Replacement Parts System to let us know if anything’s missing or damaged (details later).

Drive Base Opt-Out

Drive Base Kit Opt Out FIRST Robotics Competition

Returning (i.e. Veteran) “event ready” teams, may or may not get a Drive Base Kit with their tote… each team gets to decide.

You may decline the drive base kit and receive a $450 voucher to AndyMark instead (voucher will be available with the other PreKickoff Virtual Kit items mentioned below on November 14, 2019).

To accommodate drive base kit production lead times, this option is only available from Noon (Eastern) on Monday, September 30, 2019 until Noon (Eastern) on Tuesday, October 8, 2019.

If your team does nothing by the deadline, you will be assigned the ‘default’ option of receiving the Drive Base Kit as part of your Kickoff Kit. To opt out and receive the voucher instead, follow the instructions here.

To help you make your decision, we can give you some general information about the 2020 Drive Base Kit.

  • It’s similar to the AM14U4 from 2019 and includes a bumper mounting kit and a battery mounting kit.
  • Features are such that they enable a team to execute basic elements of game play.
  • Design is such that the drive base can be assembled and driving by a small team with limited resource within two days.

We totally get that this puts you in a position where you must decide without a lot of information, which is frustrating. We believe, and feedback affirms, that many of you would rather have this option with little information than not have it at all. So, we try to give you as much information as we can without revealing details about the game (for example, a drive base with significant ground clearance may imply some type of obstacle on the field that robots would likely have to traverse. If we revealed details such as ground clearance, we would be giving away more than we should).

Extra Game Pieces for Teams in Remote Areas

Like the 2019 season, we’re working with distribution partner(s) to stage game pieces around the world. We received positive feedback about the availability and expect a similar if not better experience for 2020. However, there will still be a few teams in a few countries that won’t be able to get additional game pieces without suffering significant delays (yes, a minimal game piece/set of game pieces is included in the Kickoff Kit by default). We’ll reach out to those eligible teams directly and invite them to trade FIRST Choice credits for an extra game piece/set of game pieces by October 11.   

FIRST Choice

FIRST Choice FIRST Robotics Competition

The FIRST Choice program continues for the 2020 season (for detail, aka FIRST Choice 101, visit the FIRST Choice section of the Kit of Parts page), so mark your calendars! The top of the Kit of Parts website has an updated timeline for the 2020 season which includes key FIRST Choice dates.

Virtual Kit

Virtual Kit FIRST Robotics Competition

We’re happy to let you know that we will again be opening the Virtual Kit before Kickoff - November 14, 2019, noon, Eastern.

At that time,

  • the Virtual Kit section of the Kit of Parts webpage will be updated to include all 2020 Pre-Kickoff Vouchers and the relevant details.
  • any codes needed to redeem vouchers or license software will go live in the team’s registration account at Codes will only be visible for secured (i.e. paid) teams and only visible to Lead Mentors 1 and 2.

If your team’s not secured by November 14, 2019, it’s okay. As soon as your team’s paid up, the codes will become live in your team’s registration account.

We can wait to get all these goodies to you. Please, take some time to get to know your Kickoff Kit items, peruse the FIRST Choice page & make your priority lists, and redeem any and all vouchers you think could help – it’s all included as part of your registration fee (except shipping/duties/taxes), so don’t let those resources go unused!

Good luck this season!

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Why can't the opt out be available prior to the 30th? And why can't the process be streamlined as an affirmative answer when registering for your kit pickup/kickoff event location?

Hi Kevin. Because one of the criteria for selection is that a team must be "event ready," we can't open the system before the first round of event preferences because then no one's "event ready." For the back end of the window, we need to have final counts of how many drive base kits we need by early-ish October so that manufacturing lead times don't stretch past our kickoff shipping dates. 

Where  a can I Opt Out 

There's a link above that takes you to instructions, but here it is so you don't have to hunt for it: 

The link doesn't work.

Hi Douglas.

Thanks! It's fixed now. Apologies!

Jamee Luce

Team Advocate, FIRST Robotics Competition

This link never worked for us, so I was patiently waiting for it to open the Opt out window date, which never happened.

We want to Opt out this year.

Hello Sanat! Unfortunately, we cannot provide the voucher to your team. I sincerely apologize.


Jamee Luce

Team Advocate, FIRST Robotics Competition

Last year a lot of teams were disappointed when the changes to the cost accounting rules were announced after they had already selected FIRST Choice items.  Would it be possible to provide the cost accounting rules for 2020 before the initial round of FIRST Choice so that we can make informed decisions?

Thanks so much for your comment. Consider yourself heard, and stay tuned.

Hello Kate, I have been unsuccessfully trying to Opt In for the international teams Extra Game Pieces, it still says "The Game Piece Phase is closed" . Do you know if this option got delayed or is there any problem with the system? Thanks in advance! Tal

Please see above. Given our expectation that game pieces will be in stock in various locations around the world, the international game piece option is not being employed this season (with the exception of a few very remote teams, who will be contacted directly).

Is it still possible to opt-out of the drive base kit in exchange for the $450 AndyMark voucher? This is our team's first veteran year and there was a misunderstanding.

I have the same question. Hoping that there is a way that an exception could be made, the $450 voucher would come in very handy for a small team with limited funds. We completely missed this deadline as it is far ahead of the payment deadline, totally my fault!

Hello Reid! Unfortunately, we cannot provide the voucher to your team. I sincerely apologize.


Jamee Luce

Team Advocate, FIRST Robotics Competition

Hello! Unfortunately, we cannot provide the voucher to your team. I sincerely apologize.


Jamee Luce

Team Advocate, FIRST Robotics Competition

Can a mass e-mail reminder be sent to the lead mentors about opting out of the Drive Base. We get a lot of other reminders such as events and other things, we should get a reminder about this important option as well since the window to opt out is very short.

The drive base deadline was communicated to teams via the FIRST® Robotics Competition email blast system (9/26 & 10/3) and the FIRST Robotics Competition Blog (along with reminder Facebook posts). We also added "add to calendar" widgets on the KOP webpage  ( to help customers keep track of important dates. We'll continue to try to make sure anyone who cares about important deadlines will find it really hard to miss them; I'm sorry that's the case for you here. 

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