FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Get in the Game!

Nov 11, 2020 Written by Frank Merrick, Director FIRST Robotics Competition




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Here’s a gratuitous photo of ice cream. Ice cream is not mentioned in the blog below, cream.....

As of this writing, more than 2,000 FIRST Robotics Competition teams from around the world are going to be joining us for the 2021 season. Is your team one of them? I hope it is! Here’s the menu of what you’ll be able to enjoy!

FIRST Innovation Challenge presented by Qualcomm

Identify a real-world problem, design a solution, build a business model, and deliver a pitch to a live panel of judges remotely. More details about the nature of the problem you will be asked to identify will be released later, but this is probably the most open-ended challenge we have ever had in FRC. Not only will you be able to let your imagination run on this one, but there’s a very real chance you’ll have a direct positive impact!


This one has two parts – a robot skills competition and an interview with judges.

The robot skills competition is likely just what you would imagine. You get to show what your robots can do in a series of tasks. Agility? Check. Speed? Check. Scoring? Check. An autonomous routine? Check!

Don’t have access to your robot or can’t get together as a team? No worries! Sing your robot’s praises in an interview with judges. Share photos, CAD images, video, whatever you like to highlight your machine and programming.

Game Design Challenge

Who doesn’t want to design an FRC Game? No one, that’s who. There are zero people on this planet who don’t want to design an FRC game.*

Now is your chance to show us what you’ve got when it comes to game design! This isn’t just about game mechanics. Don’t forget about aesthetics as well. Your artistically inclined team members can join the fun too! In fact, we think this challenge can engage most of your team members from design to marketing to strategy and more!

As with the other challenges, you will be making your pitch to judges remotely this season. Twenty teams from all those who submit will be named Finalists and will go on to present to the HQ game design team. And up to three of those will have their concepts placed on the official FRC game ‘shelf’ from which we draw when it’s time for a new game.

So, that’s right, your game may end up as the game in a future season. Can you imagine seeing your game unveiled at a future kickoff? You would lose your mind in the best possible way!

Traditional Submitted Awards

All this, and you will still be able to submit for Chairman’s, Dean’s List, and Woodie Flowers Finalist Awards. We are still going to be recognizing our top teams, students, and mentors this season!

Kit of Parts

Don’t forget the Kit of Parts! As usual, every team gets access to the Kit of Parts this year. As we noted earlier, the Veteran Kickoff Kit will be lighter than in prior years, but Rookie teams will still get the supreme deluxe pizza, comparable to what they received in the past. Also, the great majority of teams will have their Kickoff Kit delivered to them at no additional charge, thanks to our good friends at FedEx.

And check out the list, just published, of what you will get in the Virtual Kit. That’s a long list, with some new, and hopefully exciting, additions this year.

FIRST Choice will also be available to all teams, and its inventory is more flush than any other season!

Long Blog

This is a long blog, made even longer by me adding this comment about this blog being long. But I’m super excited** to highlight all that we’ve got going on in this very different season!

Registration through the system closes on November 16th. Directions are here. And if you want more details on all this, click here. Please join us and so many of your fellow teams who are already in the game!


*I did a survey, asking five people. All of them wanted to design an FRC game. Extrapolating to the 8 billion people on the planet, everyone wants to design an FRC game. The math can’t be denied.

**Greatest number of exclamation points in a blog ever!!!!!

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