FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Stop Build Day and Shipping

Sep 06, 2019 Written by Frank Merrick.



Stop Build Day

As I hope everyone knows by now, Stop Build Day has been retired. It may sound simple from a rules perspective to not have a Stop Build Day in 2020. In truth, though, the concept of Stop Build Day had long tentacles in the manual that required us to examine and reevaluate significant related elements. We have published the updated 2020 rules related to Stop Build Day here.


As an example of a concept related to Stop Build Day that needed to be updated, you will see we have clarified what we mean when we say that a team's robot must be built by the team. We believe teams will get the most out of FIRST Robotics Competition when they are directly responsible for their robot and the major mechanisms on their robot. As noted in the blue box associated with the rule, this is not intended to discourage getting an appropriate level of support from other teams. We strongly encourage teams to assist each other. This is part of the FIRST ethos! But the assistance can't go so far as providing major mechanisms.


We are sure some of you will have comments and questions about these new rules. This is an important topic, and we want to do our best to respond to those. You can help us with this! We think comments and questions about these new rules can be divided roughly into two categories. 

  1. Questions about the interpretation of the new rules
    These are like standard game manual questions that would normally be answered in the Q&A. These are the kind of questions you ask when a rule seems unclear. To ensure the answers to these questions are easy to find and can be referenced throughout the season, we will be opening the Q&A system early and for a limited time. But, as this is a deviation from our regular schedule, we need to do this a bit differently. Lead Coach/Mentor 1 & 2 will be emailed a Q&A access code by the end of the day Wednesday, September 11, to be used in gaining access to the Q&A system when it opens on Wednesday, September 11. Please be sure you have a lead mentor listed in your team profile by Tuesday, September 10 so you can get your access code! Also, please note that we will only be responding to questions about the rules we are publishing today and no others. Finally, while we know we will be keeping the Q&A open for a limited time, we don't know how long that limited time will be. We'll keep an eye on the questions, and when they start to dwindle or become redundant, we'll give everyone a one-week warning that we're shutting down the system to new questions. 
  2. Comments about the new rules, or 'why' questions
    These are not directly related to how the new rules should be interpreted but fall in the 'other' category. An example would be "Why did you put in place rule X? It seems to have nothing to do with Stop Build Day." Please put these in the comments section below, and we'll try to respond if you are asking a question or we otherwise think a response would help. If we get enough comments and questions in a similar vein, we may create an FAQ document for easier reference.

Note that the Q&A system won't be open until September 11. We want to give the community time to digest the new rules and get lead mentors in their team profiles. We also need some time ourselves to make sure the Q&A system will work as we intended. If you have a question falling under category one (interpretation), please do not ask it in the comments section below. We don't answer game manual questions here, and you will be redirected to the official Q&A when it opens.



We believe the You-Bring-It pilot at FIRST Championship Detroit was a success. We would like to expand the pilot to include both FIRST Championship venues and all teams, but, while we have been working on this, we can't yet say for certain that it will happen. There are difficult questions that must be answered before we can get the OK. However, we can say that regardless of a possible You-Bring-It expansion, we recognize that with no bag rules many teams will want to hold onto their robots longer than in past seasons so they can keep working on them. In past seasons, teams earning their way to Championship were required to ship their robots to Championship the week after their final competition, even if their final competition was Week 1. This made sense as they couldn't work on their robots anyway and it helped to spread the shipping load. Now, though, teams will be able to continue work.


We don't have the new shipping rules yet, as we need to finalize whether or not teams will be able to bring their robots to Championship. But we are determined to allow teams to keep their robots as long as we can without putting the robot's timely arrival at its destination at risk. I imagine most teams would agree that losing a week of work on their robot is less painful than an unexpected issue leading to them not having their robot at the event at all.


While we don't have the new shipping rules right now, I hope we will have them by the end of September.


Lots of change here! But I believe we are going to have a great season!



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Great to see some of the preliminary ground rules being laid for the 2020 season. It is clear some careful thought has gone into this. What time frame is intended to release rules around defining a robot - eg: is it possible to bring multiple robots to a competition, and select depending on strategy? or suppose a team was somehow able to make it happen - could they compete at 2 competitions simultaneously?

Hi Lael, good questions. In the subset of rules we published in this blog we tried to capture all the significant rules that were changing because of the retirement of Stop Build Day. Last year, and for some time now, we have had a "Compete with only one robot" rule (Rule C5 in 2019). You can be sure that if we were changing that rule for 2020 we would have included it in this document! Also, there will be no changes to the registration system for the 2020 season that would allow a team to register for two competitions that are occurring simultaneously. The current system prevents teams from preferencing or registering for two events that are happening at the same time, and we have no plans to change this.

Whoops! I spoke too soon! Sorry! Looking at some of the Q&A questions we received we thought a clarification of C5 was in order. You will still only be able to compete with one robot but we wanted to make sure folks understood more clearly what that means. Please see this blog

I'm glad that FIRST has identified and rectified the issue that 'cheesecaking' has become (a top teams would pick one lucky below average team with little attention throughout qualifiers as their second pick and that team would effectively show up at the playoffs as a second version of the top team's robot).  It was great for both teams involved, but overall takes away from the competitiveness and fairness of the event.  Hopefully this change will give the lower seed alliance a 'fighting chance' based on the 1-8, 8-1 alliance selection process and force top teams to rely on strategy and scouting instead of bringing spare mechanisms for their second pick.

Out team accidentally didn't have a Lead Mentor with a valid Consent & Release Form, so we didn't get an email with the Q&A Auth Code needed to ask questions. Is there a way to get it now so we can ask questions in the Q&A? Thanks.

Hello Ari!

Please send an email with this request to We will help get your team ready!


Jamee Luce

Team Advocate, FIRST Robotics Competition

Are these the final, or nearly final versions of these rules? Are there plans to make changes to some of these rules based on the community feedback and discussions?

Sorry for the delay in responding! As hopefully you've seen, we've been making changes to these rules over the last few weeks. While we could change these rules anytime, I think it unlikely we would make substantial changes once the Q&A closes after the early-open period.

Rule I1 seems designed to limit [both upgrading by alliance captains and] sister and V/JV team interaction throughout build season. Is this indeed the intent, and if so can you elaborate on the intent w.r.t to HQs desired FRC vision? Thank you

For many years rule I1 has had language related to requiring teams to build their own robots. For the 2020 season, with the retirement of Stop Build Day and the rules that went along with it, we recognized we needed to get more specific about what exactly we meant. As noted in the blue box, it is not intended from teams giving each other assistance, but it is intended to prevent one team from building a robot for another. 

In addition to limiting collaboration outside events, I1 as written would also limit some common rookie assistance measures (both between and) at events. Can you elaborate on the intent behind this restriction? For instance, another team shows up with an illegally oversized, immobile, or unassembled robot, and teams (or volunteers, for that matter) help get them in the field. The thankful team then exclaims to the LRI something like "we never could've built this drivetrain alone" or "X Team/Spectator really helped up build this; we wouldn't have made any matches without them". Can an LRI waive I1 for such "desperate" cases? Or how is the team's opinion of "built" assessed (to help us ensure rookie assistance doesn't end with them DQed)?

We strongly encourage teams to help each other, but the help should stop short of building a team's robot for them. I've been at events and witnessed rookie teams getting helped to the point where no rookie members were actively working on their robot. All work was being done by other teams while the rookie members stood by and watched. This is a great gesture toward getting that team on the field but denies that rookie team the experience of fielding a robot they actually built, even if it takes a bit longer or the robot ends up performing not as well as it could have. As noted in the blog, we believe teams will get the most out of FIRST Robotics Competition when they are directly responsible for their robot and the major mechanisms on their robot. Cranking wrenches, turning screwdrivers, stripping wires and making simple cuts or holes are things just about everyone can do after being shown once or twice, even though mastery with basic tools may take years. 

To answer one of your other questions, no one at an event has the authority to waive rules. 

I believe your question about the assessment of 'built' is touched on in some of the Q&A answers. 

Are teams required to bag and tag their robots between Regionals and to Championships?

Will there be a new update on this rule change before kickoff 2020? This will impact decisions made to continue with a second robot!

No, teams are not required to bag and tag their robots after Regionals but before FIRST Championship. There will be no bagging of robots at all in the 2020 season, and there will be no rule changes between now and Kickoff. Please see this document for the rules that are released.

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