FIRST Power Up is played on a 27 ft (823 cm) by 54 ft (1646 cm) field that is covered in grey carpet, called the “Arcade”. The field is bounded by transparent polycarbonate guardrails on the longer sides and the Alliance Station walls on the shorter side. While most of the field is alliance-neutral, including where the scoring areas are located, there are some alliance-specific zones, which are the Null Territory, Platform Zone, Power Cube Zone and Exchange Zone on the field, and the Alliance Station and Portals outside the field. All zones belong to the alliance whose Alliance Station is closest to the zone, with the exception of Null Territory and the Portals.
Power Cube Zone
The Power Cube Zone is an alliance-specific area in front of the Switch that contains 10 power cubes for the alliance that owns the Power Cube Zone to use. Robots of the opposing alliance may not cause Power Cubes that are inside the Power Cube Zone to be removed from the Power Cube Zone. The Power Cube Zone includes the tape used to define the area, but not the Switch that it is adjacent to. The Auto Line runs parallel to the Alliance Station wall, crossing through the centre of the Power Cube Zone, and touching both Guardrails.
The Platform Zone is an alliance-specific area between the Switch and Scale that protects robots from opposition interference and gives additional freedoms when attempting end game objectives such as climbing. It includes the tape, Switch and Tower walls used to define the area as well as the rung connected to the Tower. It also contains 6 power cubes that are available for both alliances to use.
Null Territory is an alliance-specific area next to the alliance’s Plate on the Scale that protects robots from opposition interference when attempting to place power cubes on the scale. It includes the tape used to define the area but not the Guardrails.
The Exchange Zone is an alliance-specific area next to the Alliance Station wall that stops opposing robots blocking access to where the alliance’s robots can give power cubes to their Human Players through the Exchange. It includes the tape used to define the area but not the Alliance Station wall.
Each alliance owns two Portals at the two corners opposite to its Alliance Station. This is where Human Players can give robots additional power cubes through the walls and each contains 7 power cubes. It includes the tape and the wall used to define the area.
Each alliance owns an Alliance Station that is at one of the ends of the field. The Alliance Station is where Drivers control their robots at the Driver Stations, Human Players manage power cubes and Coaches give advice to their team members. Technicians must stay outside of the Alliance Station and the Portals at all times. At the beginning of the match, during the Autonomous Period, all alliance members must stay behind the Starting Line in the Alliance Stations.
The Exchange is a place in the Alliance Station wall where robots can give power cubes to their Alliance Station for either storage in the Alliance Station, storage in the Vault or return to the field. The Exchange Zone surrounds the Exchange, making it a protected area.
The Vault is a device at the back of the Alliance Station that Human Players interact with to obtain power ups. Human Players place power cubes, which are collected from the field through the Exchange, inside the Vault to earn Power Ups, with the strength of each Power Up related to how many power cubes are inside the Vault when the power up is played.
There are two Switches, one owned by each alliance, and a Scale, which is neutral, located on the field. An alliance’s Switch is located 14ft (427cm) in front of the Alliance Station wall and its Plates are 9in (23cm) above the carpet when level. The Scale is located in the centre of the field and its plates are 5ft (152cm) above the carpet when the match begins. The two rungs connected to the Scale’s Tower are 7ft (213cm) above the carpet, extend 8.25in (21cm) out from the Tower and are 1ft 1in (33cm) across. There are two Plates on each end of the Scales and Switches, one belonging to each alliance. At the beginning of the match, the Plates that each alliance owns are randomised.
Switches and Scales begin the match level, with no alliance having ownership. An alliance gains ownership of a Switch or Scale if, by placing power cubes on their Plate, the respective Switch or Scale is tipped by the weight of the power cubes. An alliance also gains ownership of their Switch if the Force Power Up is played at level 1 or 3, and gains ownership of the Scale if the Force Power Up is played at level 2 or 3.
Gameplay and Scoring
There is only one scoring element in this game, power cubes. Power cubes are 1ft 1in (33cm) wide, 1ft 1in deep and 11in (27cm) tall milk crates covered in a yellow nylon cover. The FIRST logo covers the open face of the milk crate.
Robots start the match contacting their Alliance Station wall, with no part of the robot inside the Exchange Zone, with up to 1 power cube preloaded onto the robot. The first 15 seconds of the match is the Autonomous Period, where robots act solely on pre-programmed instructions, hence acting autonomously. Drivers and Human Players must stay behind the Starting Line throughout this period. Robots can earn points in a variety of ways. If any part of a robot’s bumpers completely cross the Auto Line, they gain 5 points for their alliance. However, they may not pass Null Territory to stop opposing robots completing their Autonomous tasks. If an alliance gains ownership of the Scale or their own Switch, they gain 2 points. For every whole second that an alliance owns the Scale or their Switch in Autonomous, they gain an additional 2 points.
After the Autonomous Period ends, the Teleop (Tele-operated) Period begins, which lasts for 135 seconds. Drivers control their robot from their Driver Station and Human Players deliver power cubes through the Portals and place power cubes in the Vault. If an alliance gains ownership of their Switch in Teleop, they gain 1 point, or 2 points if the Boost Power Up is active at level 1 or 3. For every whole second that an alliance owns their Switch in Teleop, they gain an additional 1 point, or 2 points if the Boost Power Up is active at level 1 or 3. If an alliance gains ownership of the Scale in Teleop, they gain 1 point, or 2 points if the Boost Power Up is active at level 2 or 3. For every whole second that an alliance owns the Scale in Teleop, they gain an additional 1 point, or 2 points if the Boost Power Up is active at level 2 or 3. For every power cube an alliance places in their Vault, they gain 5 points.
During the Teleop Period, teams have access to three Power Ups: Levitate, Force, and Boost. These Power Ups are activated through placing power cubes that are obtained through the Exchange in the Vault. No two Power Ups can be active simultaneously with the exception of Levitate, which both alliances can activate at any point during the Teleop Period. After a Power Up has been activated by an alliance, it cannot be used again. Except for Levitate, all Power Ups last for 10 seconds, and if another Power Up is activated in this time (except for Levitate) it is placed in a queue. The number of power cubes required and effects of the Power Ups are detailed in the table below.
Power Cubes Required (Level)
Alliance earns a free Climb (only if 2 or less robots have earned a Climb)
Alliance gains Ownership of their Switch
Alliance gains Ownership of the Scale
Alliance gains Ownership of both their Switch and the Scale
Alliance gains double Ownership points from their Switch
Alliance gains double Ownership points from the Scale
Alliance gains double Ownership points from both their Switch and the Scale
The last 30 seconds of the Teleop Period is called the End Game. During this time, robots can earn additional points by performing tasks in their Platform Zone. If a robot is fully supported by the Scale, fully outside the opponent’s Platform Zone and has its bumpers at least when time runs out, the robot earns a Climb and 30 points. If a robot has met all of the criteria above but does not have its bumpers at least when time runs out, the robot earns a Park and 5 points. If the Levitate Power Up has been activated and no more than 2 robots have Climbed, a Climb is credited to a random robot who has not Parked or Climbed. If all robots have at least Parked, one random robot who has not Climbed will be credited with a Climb.
In addition to these methods of scoring, alliances can perform special tasks to gain additional points. If an alliance can get all 3 of their robots to complete an Auto-Run and have ownership of their Switch at the end of the Autonomous Period, they have completed the Auto Quest and gain 1 extra Ranking Point in qualification matches. If an alliance has all 3 of their robots credited with a Climb (whether through an actual Climb or the Levitate Power Up), they can Face the Boss and gain 1 extra Ranking Point in qualification matches. If an alliance breaks a rule, they may be penalized. A Foul will result 5 points being credited to the opposing alliance, and a Tech Foul will result in 25 points being credited to the opposing alliance.
Ownership of Scale
2 points + 2 points/second
1 point + 1 point/second2 points + 2 points/second if Boost level 2 or 3 active
Ownership of Alliance’s Switch
2 points + 2 points/second
1 point + 1 point/second2 points + 2 points/second if Boost level 1 or 3 active
In Loving Memory of Dan Deganis (March 13, 1963 – February 8, 2017)
FIRST Steamworks is played on a field 27ft (823cm) by 54ft 4in (1656cm), covered in green carpet and bounded by transparent polycarbonate guardrails on the longer sides and the Alliance Walls on the shorter sides. It is divided into the Neutral Zone, alliance specific Launchpads, Keys and Retrieval Zones.
The Neutral Zone is an area in the middle of the field that contains no major scoring elements, and is neutral to both alliances. It is bounded by the Launchpad Lines, white in color, and the Launchpad Lines are not part of the Neutral Zone.
Each side of the arena is called the Launchpad. The Launchpad is alliance specific, bounded by the Launchpad Lines and the Alliance Wall. Each Launchpad belongs to the alliance that has their Alliance Wall bounding it. Robots start the match contacting the Alliance Wall. The Launchpad contains the Key, Retrieval Zone and the Airship.
The Key is the area in front of the Boiler. It is bounded by alliance-coloured tape and the Boiler and is contained inside the alliance’s own Launchpad. Opposing robots may not stay in the Key for more than 5 seconds, as this would obstruct the alliance from scoring in the Boiler.
The Retrieval Zone is the area in front of the Loading Station. It is inside the opposite alliance’s Launchpad, meaning that the robot must travel to the other side of the field to get to the Loading Station. Robots in the Retrieval Zone normally receive scoring elements through the Loading Stations. Robots may not contact another robot in the opposing Retrieval Zone, regardless of who initiates the contact.
Alliance Station and Loading Lanes
The Alliance Station is the area behind the Alliance Wall where drivers are stationed. They control their robots from the Driver Stations inside the Alliance Station, behind the Alliance Wall. Behind the Alliance Station is the Loading Lane, belonging to the opposite alliance. Human Players are stationed in the Loading Lanes, with a supply of both gears and fuel to deposit through the Loading Stations to the robots, who then score points with them. Both areas are bounded by alliance-colored tape. The Loading Station is the only way to get more gears after the start of the match and one of the two ways to get more fuel, the other being the Hoppers.
The Boiler is located at the corner of the field, belonging to the alliance that has its Alliance Wall next to it and their Key in front of it. There are two goals on the Boiler, the Low Efficiency Goal, which is 1ft 6in (46cm) above the ground, and the High Efficiency Goal, which is 8ft 1in (246cm) off the ground. The Low Efficiency Goal is low enough for robots to dump fuel into, though the High Efficiency Goal is too high to do that, so fuel must be launched upwards into it. Fuel may only be launched from an alliance’s own Launchpad.
There are five Hoppers stationed around the field, on the guardrails.There are polycarbonate plates on the guardrails. If these are hit by a robot, 2 containers of fuel (1 Hopper) are released onto the field. There are 50 fuel in each container and 100 fuel in each Hopper. Hoppers are neutral with one in each Launchpad and the rest in the Neutral Zone, so any alliance can use the Hoppers. This is one of the two ways robots can get more fuel after the game starts, with the other being the Loading Station.
The Airship is located in the centre of the alliance’s Launchpad, is hexagonal in shape and is the main way alliances score points. Two Human Players, known as Pilots, are stationed inside the Airship. On the Airship there are 3 lifts with pegs for robots to deposit gears onto and a cable to let the Pilots pull the gears from the pegs onto the Airship. The lifts are on the 3 faces that are closest to the Alliance Wall. Pegs consist of a plastic spike and a spring that bends, which may cause the gear to fall off the peg while it is being lifted into the Airship. There are bumpers that separate the pegs, with each on the corner of the face. The edge of the bumpers also define the Base Line, a line marked with green tape that is parallel to the Alliance Wall and touching the edge of the bumpers. Also on the Airship are davits, which each hold a rope and a Touchpad. The davits are positioned with one on the side of the hexagon facing the Alliance Wall and the others two faces away. At the end of the game, the robots attempt to climb the ropes connected to the davits, activating the Touchpad. In the middle of the Airship is the Steam Tank, which displays lights for how much fuel has been scored in the Boiler and also where the first gear is placed to activate the first rotor. The other gears must be placed on the sides of the Airship, with an increasing number of gears required for each succeeding rotor. The second rotor requires 2 gears, the third requires 4 gears and the fourth requires 6 gears. There is one reserve “free” gear that is pre-placed on the Airship for the Pilots to use, however it cannot be used in the Autonomous period.
Gameplay and Scoring
There are two major scoring elements in the FIRST Steamworks game, namely fuel and gears. Fuel are plastic wiffleballs with 26 holes in them, are “Screamin’ Yellow” in colour, weigh about 2.6oz (75g) each, with a 5in (13cm) diameter. Gears are plastic toothed wheels with 10 teeth, weigh 18.4oz (~500g) each, an 11in (28cm) diameter, a 10in (25cm) pitch diameter and are 2in (5cm) thick. Robots may control as many fuel as they wish, but only 1 gear at a time. Ropes are also regulated.
Robots start the match contacting their Alliance Wall, with up to 1 gear and up to 10 fuel preloaded on the robot. The first 15 seconds of the match is called the Autonomous Period. Robots are controlled by pre-programmed commands with no driver input, hence they operate autonomously. Drivers and Human Players must stand behind the white Starting Line during Autonomous to ensure this is the case. Pilots, however, may still operate the lifts and place gears/turn rotors during Autonomous, but may not touch the reserve gear. Each rotor that is activated in Autonomous gives the alliance 60 points, each fuel scored in the High Goal is worth 1 kilopascal and each fuel scored in the Low Goal is worth ⅓ kilopascals. Also, if a robot crosses the Base Line, it earns 5 points. If a rotor is engaged in Autonomous, the yellow stack lights next to it will illuminate.
After the Autonomous Period ends, the Teleop Period (Tele-operated) begins. It lasts for 135 seconds and robots are controlled by driver inputs. Rotors that are engaged in Teleop earns the alliance 40 points, fuel in the High Goal is worth ⅓ kilopascals and fuel in the Low Goal is worth ⅑ kilopascals. At the end of the match, each whole kilopascal accumulated throughout both periods is worth 1 point.
The last 30 seconds of the Teleop Period is called the End Game. In the End Game, Pilots deploy the ropes on the Airship to let the robots climb them. Each robot that climbs a rope and activates a Touchpad for at least 1 second and when the game timer reaches 0 earns 50 points for their alliance.
The playing field is divided into red and blue alliance sections, separated by a neutral zone that contains boulders. Each section contains a courtyard, an area for opposing teams to shoot boulders at the castle goals, a “secret passage” that allows human players to feed boulders to their robots from the human player station, the “outer works”, and the tower.
The outer works is the series of five defensive obstacles that divide the neutral zone from the alliance sections and span the field. Four of the five used obstacles are modular and can be moved, and certain obstacles may or may not be present during a match. Options for defensive obstacles include a cheval de frise, a “moat”, ramparts, a drawbridge, a sally port, a portcullis, a rock wall, and “rough terrain”. The defensive obstacle on the left of each outer works, the “low bar”, is not movable. LED light strips at the base of each obstacle display current obstacle strength.
Three defensive obstacles of the outer works in a particular match are determined by the teams playing the match and one obstacle is chosen by the audience.
There are over 18,000 possible field configurations from the eight defensive options.
After problems with robots and boulders getting stuck in the fabric on the low bar, FIRST made the decision to have it replaced with rubber flaps at some events (including the Championship).
The tower consists of five scoring goals, three scaling rungs, and a “batter”. Three high goals are 7 feet 1 inch above the playing field, and two low goals are six inches above the playing field. Three rungs for robots to scale the tower are 6 feet 4 inches from the playing field. Colored LED light strips on the front of the tower display the current tower strength. The “batter” is a series of seven 60° ramps at the base of the tower directly in front of the low goals designed to make challenging and scaling the tower difficult. The tower has a health of 8 for regional and district play and a health of 10 at the FIRST Championship.
Scoring elements are called boulders, grey foam balls that are 10 inches in diameter. There are 12 boulders present on the field at the beginning of a match and 18 total. Six boulders are staged evenly along the mid line of the field, and three boulders are at each human player station and one in each robot.
Game play and scoring
Stronghold is a medieval tower defense game in which two alliances of up to three teams each compete to score points by breaching the opponent’s outer works and capturing the opponent’s tower. Before the match, teams and the audience select defenses to fortify the alliance’s outer works. Teams receive two ranking points in the competition standings for a win, and one ranking point for a tie.
Each match begins with a 15-second autonomous period where robots act on pre-programmed instructions. The match then transitions to a 2 minute and 15 second teleoperated (tele-op) period, where robots are driven by the drive teams.
Autonomous (auto) period
Robots begin in the neutral zone with the ability to hold one boulder each. However, alliances may assign a “spy” robot to start in the opposing alliance’s courtyard. Alliances earn 2 points for reaching the opposing alliance’s outer works, and earn 10 points for crossing them. Any additional defenses a robot crosses in auto will not decrease a defense’s strength, or give points to the alliance. Once across a defense, a robot in autonomous mode can score a high goal for 10 points or low goal for 5 points.
Tele-operated (tele-op) period
Robots retrieve boulders from either their secret passage or the mid line, overcome opponent defenses, and score goals in their opponent’s courtyard. Robots may transport only one boulder at a time. Each time a robot crosses an undamaged defense, they receive 5 points. Robots earn 5 points for scoring a high goal, and 2 points for a low goal. In the last 20 seconds of the match, robots race to the opposing alliance’s tower to either park on the batter, earning them 5 points for a challenge, or hang from the tower’s rungs, earning them 15 points for a scale.
A robot getting ready to shoot a boulder into the high goal
There are opportunities to score additional points by completing certain tasks in FIRST Stronghold. This can be done through breaching and or capturing, and will award the alliance either ranking points in the qualification matches or regular points in the playoff matches.
Any time a robot successfully crosses one of the opponent’s defenses (whether in autonomous or tele-op), that defense’s strength is reduced by 1/2. The second time a robot crosses the defense, that defense’s strength is reduced completely and is considered “damaged”. Once four of the five defenses are damaged, the outer works are considered breached. A breach is awarded 1 ranking point in qualifications and 20 points in playoffs.
As goals are scored in the opposing alliance’s tower, the tower’s strength will be lowered. After 8 goals (high or low), or 10 goals at the World Championships, the tower has no strength and is considered “weakened”. Only a weakened tower can be captured. To capture a tower, all robots in the alliance must either drive onto the opposing team’s batter, or scale the tower. Once the capture has been declared, the tower will turn to the capturing alliance’s color, and their flag will be raised. For capturing, the alliance receives 1 ranking point in qualifications, and 25 points in the playoffs.