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Intro to the Aspects of Competition

Part of being part of a robotics team is going to competition. Competition is an extraordinary experience where our robot will be put to the test in FIRST's game. Here we will go over the key aspects of competition as well as competition vocabulary so you can be prepared for first competition


Onseason (build-season) begins with a broadcasted kickoff event, where details on the year’s game are revealed. A video animation of the game is typically shown and a code to unlock the game manual, a document specifying the rules and other details of the game. After kickoff, teams will begin the planning, brainstorming, and building process.

Game Vocabulary

Before we look at competition, lets look at some key terminology we use at competition.

  • Alliance: A group of three teams that work together in a game. In qualification matches this is random, but during playoffs, alliances are chosen. (All matches are in a 3v3 format.)

  • Match Points: Points earned throughout a match by scoring or completing activities in the game. The alliance with the most points wins the match.

  • Ranking Points: Points earned through select activities in the game and winning matches. Ranking points go towards a team’s rank.

  • Qualification Matches: Matches where random alliances compete against each other to score match and ranking points.

  • Playoff Matches: Matches where the top 4 alliances compete against each other to score match points only. 2 losses for any team results in an elimination. Matches are played until one winning alliance remains.

  • Penalties: Certain actions, such as intentionally damaging other robots and throwing game pieces outside of boundaries are prohibited during matches, and will result in punishments ranging from point deduction to disqualification.

  • Autonomous Period: The period in the beginning of matches where robots are pre-loaded with game pieces and are allowed to attempt to score points while driven entirely by code.

  • Teleop Period: This phase occurs for the rest of the match time. Teams have manual control over their robot and work together in alliances to score points.

    • Defense: Some alliances will dedicate a bot to protect their alliance’s robots from incoming attackers or prevent enemy bots from scoring.
    • Endgame: The period towards the end of the match where teams have the chance to gain extra points by completing a special action.

1678 Triple Climb

Team 1678 performs a three bot climb as part of the endgame phase of 2019’s Deep Space game.

Last update: 2023-11-14