Board rules

These rules are disclosed to clarify the various responsibilities of all community members here on ARC. They shall be adhered to by everyone to ensure that our board runs smoothly and provides a fun and productive experience for all of our community members and visitors.

  1. Introduction

    Welcome to Advanced Robot Combat! Below, you'll find the ruleset commonly used for our fantasy robot tournaments. While you're here, we expect you to obey a couple of important rules:
    1. Be cool.
    2. Don't be an asshole.
    That about sums it up. Contact the admins if you have any questions. #
  2. Posting and Strategy Guidelines
    1. Post your strategies on time. If you’re late, your strategy doesn’t count and you’ll forfeit the match. If you know ahead of time that you won’t be able to post that week, then find someone to ghostwrite for you and just send me a heads’ up.
    2. Don’t read your opponent’s strategy if they post before you. That would give you an unfair advantage, and you wanna win fair and square, don’t you? Basically, this works on a trust system, and people have managed to honour that for about 20 years now, with only rare exceptions. If the staff panel or the writer of a given fight finds that one player referenced something in their opponent’s strategy in a way that they only could’ve had they read it, that player will be handed a forfeit loss. Upon second offense, he or she will be disqualified from the tournament. Just don’t do it, okay?
    3. Declare your configuration. If your robot has multiple configurations and they change either your stat allocations or your weapon type, you can specify when each is used in your signup post. Should this not be clear in a particular fight or should you wish to use a different option, you will need to make your opponent aware of which one you are using no later than 72 hours (3 days) before strategies are due.
    4. Don’t be a dick. Analyze and pick apart the flaws of your opponent’s bot. Talk some shit for fun in the prediction and bracket threads and on the discord, but people who straight up diss their opponents, pull tantrums when they lose (believe it or not, there is the occasional neckbeard who does this), or just bully people and act like they haven’t left middle school are gonna take a forfeit loss and just get banned from the ARC discord if they’re in it.
    5. Keep your strategy post below 400 words. Except for playoff matches, where most tournaments allow 500 words, anything after the 400th word just isn’t gonna count, and the judging panel is under no obligation to read it. A second offense will see you forfeit the fight. In general, you’ll want to briefly outline your bot’s strengths and advantages over your opponent’s bot and pick out its weaknesses. After that, the bulk of your strategy is your plan to win the fight and an explanation of why it’ll work taking into account strengths, weaknesses, and arena features. Think of it as a concise written argument where you try to convince the panel and specifically the writer of your fight that you should win.
  3. Stats

    1. Speed

      This stat affects how fast your bot moves around. Speed primarily uses basic Unit measurements instead of metric or imperial units. (although for the sake of argument, we’ll say 1 Unit = 2 miles per hour (mph)). Every robot will start with a base of two speed units (really three since you’ll have to invest at least one point to be legal). This means that your bot with 5 points in speed moves with seven speed, for example.

      Thwack bots are weird. The damage that they do is based upon spinning speed while thwacking instead of weapon power. Technically, any bot may thwack, with the damage that it does being equal to its speed. In the case of specialized ‘melty-brain’ thwacks, which use advanced software to translate across the arena while thwacking, their speed and weapon stats are reversed. #
    2. Traction

      Traction governs a bot's ability to drive under control and its rotational acceleration, as well as affecting how much knockback it might suffer upon impact. Basically, the closer that your traction is to your speed, the less susceptible to steering errors, such as oversteer, you will be. Bots may choose not to drive at full speed so as to remain under control. Additionally, having a traction stat that exceeds your speed will provide no additional benefit to control.

      # Below Speed Control Result
      0 Excellent Your bot will always steer as intended. It will not be flanked unless the other bot has a very large speed advantage.
      -1 Decent Your bot will usually steer as intended. It may oversteer occasionally, but this will rarely result in flanking unless the other bot is significantly faster.
      -2 Mediocre Your bot will sometimes steer as intended. It will oversteer often, and this will sometimes result in bots of equal or occasionally even lesser speed being able to flank you.
      -3 Poor Your bot will rarely steer as intended and will be limited to simple maneuvers. It will almost always oversteer and will be easy to flank, even for slower machines.
      -4 Uncontrollable Your bot will not steer as intended. It will struggle to move in a controlled manner at all and you will be completely unable to prevent other bots from flanking you.
    3. Torque

      This stat determines your pushing power and how fast you push other robots. When pushing, torque = speed. However, the speed that you push at can never exceed your actual speed stat. Torque also determines your acceleration. You’ll start at half of your top speed and accelerate to top speed in two seconds. Each point of torque above one knocks off half of the time that this takes. For example, a bot with two points of torque will take one second. A bot with three will take half a second. A bot with four will take one quarter of a second, and so on. This does not mean that a bot always has to accelerate to its top speed. A driver may choose to go slower for tactical or other reasons. #
    4. Weapon

      The weapon stat affects how powerful your bot’s weapon is. Wanna do damage? Then, it has to be higher than the armour of whatever you’re hitting. The bigger the gap, the more damage done, so invest in this and invest big.

      However, powerful weapons also deal self-damage (hence, you know, so many spinners knocking themselves out over the years). To avoid damaging yourself, you’ll want to keep your bot’s weapon power no more than four points above the armour rating of its weapon. At a five point difference, you’ll do a bit of self damage, and your weapon will take longer to spin up or reset after firing and will do so less reliably towards the end of the match. At six, your weapon will knock itself out after five hits. Seven? It’s not just the weapon. Your entire bot’s dead. For each extra point of difference after seven, it’ll take one less hit to self-KO. Eleven point difference? Congrats. You’re a deadbot walking.

      Weapon Armour
      So, a (generally) four point difference between weapon and armour isn’t much. Fortunately, weapon armour is here to help. If you look at most robots, their weapon is generally their strongest, most thickly armoured part. To reflect this, weapons with five or more points invested will receive a free two point armour bonus, making them tougher than the rest of your bot. In the case of weapons with ten or more power, this bonus will be bumped up to four points. No trying to find loopholes, however. While things like shell and disc spinners get an exception, generally, non-spinning weapons have to cover less than 1/3 of the robot to receive this bonus. If your weapon is a bit too big, you can choose to apply that bonus to a single, easily-definable area that’s less than ⅓. Ultimately, your self-damage will be based off of the total of your armour stat added to your weapon armour. Other non-weapon armour bonuses that you’ve applied do not count towards this total. #
    5. Armour

      This stat is how durable your bot is. The higher your armour, the more damage you will be able to withstand. Generally, if a weapon that hits you is four or five points higher than your armour, you’re in for some hurt. If you wish, you can apply an armour bonus to a specific area of your bot that’s less than 1/3 of its total area. This bonus isn’t free like the weapon armour bonus. The points spent on the bonus will be subtracted from the rest of your bot’s armour. For example, Derpbot has ten armour. It applies a two point bonus to its front wedge. That wedge now has twelve armour. The rest of Derpbot has eight.

      If your bot has two or more parallel wedges on the same plane and at the same height, such as a pair of wheel guards or feeder wedges on either side of a vertical spinning weapon or flipper, they can both benefit from the same armour bonus as long as they’re under ⅓. Yes, you can stack weapon armour bonuses and regular bonuses, because we knew you'd ask. #
  4. Damage Scale

    1. General Damage

      The ultimate goal for many bots is to damage their opponent in the hope of scoring a knockout. To do this, they’ll need to invest more points into weapon than their opponent has into armour. The number of points above the armour value that a weapon is, the more damage that it’ll do. Basically, the formula here is weapon value minus armour value.
      • Zero points: You’re not doing any damage, kiddo. Maybe you’ll get some sparks or a bit of nicked paint if you’re lucky. That’s about it.
      • One Point: Hey, you just made a little dent! Is that a scratch?! Go pat yourself on the back. Get a golden star sticker from the teacher
      • Two Points: Okay, you did some damage. You can put dents and divots in your opponent’s armour, bend it and make it look a bit beat up, but you’re still not breaking through and you’re not getting that KO.
      • Three Points: Now we’re talking actual damage. Your weapon will be able to pierce your opponent’s armour, though it’s not exactly going to be tearing gashes. It’ll take a lot of repeated hits, probably to the same area, to score a knockout. It’s not likely, but not impossible. Tracks are also potentially on the menu given a meaty enough hit.
      • Four Points: This is where things start to get serious. You’re going to tear holes in your opponent’s armour, and if you tear enough of them, you may be able to rip panels off. Tracks are guaranteed to be torn off, and the functioning of weapons and wedges can be seriously compromised. This doesn’t mean that a knockout is going to happen, but you’ve got a solid chance.
      • Five Points: At this point, very severe damage is being dealt. Large gashes are being torn immediately, along with significant warping. Wheels will be destroyed if hit. Lifters, flippers, and hammers should be toast in one or two hits. It’s not a guaranteed KO, but it’s very close. Your opponent won’t hold up for that long.
      • Six Points: Congrats. You’re dealing catastrophic damage on every hit. Panels will be torn off, frames will be warped, and innards exposed. A direct hit to the chassis could net you a one shot KO. In any event, your opponent isn’t going to last for more than a couple of hits.
    2. Corner Damage

      Ever notice how spinners do more damage if they can get under a bot, pin it against a wall, or hit a sharp corner and really tear into its armour instead of just being deflected upwards or outwards off of a wedge or sloped piece of armour? With that in mind, spinning weapons will be eligible for a one point damage bonus on hits where they can catch a sharp (90 degree +) corner or hit from under their opponent (see Minotaur vs. Blacksmith for a good example). It's a strong incentive to drive strategically for both bots in a fight! #
    3. Wheel Damage

      As should be obvious to any experienced fan of the sport (and even common sense for newcomers), wheels - except for giant UHMW ones like those on Gabriel or HUGE - are usually a lot more vulnerable than the rest of a robot to damage and to just being torn off. To reflect this, the damage scale above will be multiplied by two when hitting a wheel. So your two damage hit is really doing four damage, and your three damage hit is doing six. At five points of damage, a wheel is guaranteed to be torn off or otherwise disabled. #
    4. Shock Damage

      Concussive weapon blows can affect more than just the area directly impacted. Robots with high armor bonuses can still experience damage to the mountings of the bonused area, or have internal components knocked loose. This can never directly cause an outright KO, but may cause things to stop working or parts to fall off with enough full-power impacts. It will count as flat surface damage (no corner bonus), and be equal to half the damage that the weapon would do if it hit that component directly. (i.e. if a 14-power spinner hits a bot with a 12-armour wedge on an 8-armour chassis, it’ll deal 2 points to the wedge and 3 points to the chassis). Hammers are a special case. Due to their concussive nature, they will automatically do two bonus points of shock damage on top of what they would already deal. #
  5. Weapon Types

    1. Spinning Weapons

      Spinning weapons are the most common damage-dealing weapons. They will generally take (weapon power)/4 seconds to reach their full spinning speed. When this number is not a whole number, it will be rounded to the nearest whole or down if it falls halfway in between. For example, a 16 power spinner will take 16/4 = 4 seconds to spin up. A 14 power spinner will take 14/4 = 3.5 seconds to spin up. This will be rounded down to 3. Spinning weapons will only receive a damage bonus when they are able to catch a corner and deal corner damage. #
    2. Overhead Striking Weapons

      Overhead striking weapons include hammers and axes. The time that they take to go through a complete firing motion and recover/reset will be equal to (weapon power)/6. When this number is not a whole number, it will be rounded to the nearest whole or down if it falls halfway in between. These weapons will automatically do 1 bonus point of damage and deal 2 extra points of shock damage. #
    3. Crushing and Piercing Weapons

      Crushing and piercing weapons will generally move slowly, taking three seconds to travel from a fully ‘open’ position to a fully ‘closed’ one. In addition to also acting as clamps, they receive 2 points of bonus damage. These weapons will not deal shock damage, however. #
    4. Flippers and Other Flipping Weapons

      For flippers, each point invested equals one foot of flipping distance, added to their stroke, with damage dealt as impact damage when their opponent lands. They will take (weapon)/4 seconds to reset. Vertical and x-axis (face) spinners can also sometimes flip or toss opponents when striking them. The distance flipped/tossed will be half a foot for every point invested in weapon. Impact damage equal to half the spinner’s total weapon power will be dealt upon landing. #
    5. Control Weapons

      Control weapons include things like clamps, lifters, linear ramming bars, and turrets like the ones on Tazbot and Pressure Drop. They’re not intended to deal damage and will never do so. Their focus is on controlling the other robot, and so points invested in them increase the speed at which they operate, with a one point control weapon being very slow, three points being average, and five being very fast. Control weapons with more than five points suffer from diminishing returns. At a certain point, they’ll become harder to control for little tangible benefit. All of these weapons, with the exception of turrets, will receive a two point armour bonus if they have five or more power. #
    6. Lifters

      Generally speaking, a lifter, with only one actuated part, will move faster than a clamp with the same weapon power. As long as they are properly designed, lifters will always be able to lift the opposing bot. Points simply determine how quickly they’ll move. #
    7. Clamps

      Many lifter setups allow them to function similarly to clamps. However, true clamps consist of two or more moving ‘jaws’ or similar. As a result of having more moving parts, they will function marginally slower than pure lifters, with a 5 power clamp moving at a speed roughly equivalent to a 4 power lifter. #
    8. Turrets

      When turning, a turret will function on the exact same speed scale as a drivetrain, where its speed will be equal to the number of weapon points it has. This essentially means that a 5 speed turret will be able to keep up with a 5 speed bot. Above 5 points, the accuracy and precision of a turret suffers, and it begins to function more like a spinner without the weapon armour bonus. #
    9. Linear Punching/Ramming Bars

      Ramming bars work a bit differently. They will always be fast, but the amount that they can knock opponents back or impede their progress is dependent upon weapon points. It will be one foot for each point invested. Also unlike other control weapons, they will not suffer from diminishing returns on their effectiveness when they have over five points invested. #
    10. Extended Contact Weapons

      Circular saws and drills will have their own damage scale, to better reflect the unique way in which they deal damage. In order to deal damage, a weapon will have to cut through its opponent's armour. It will do this at a rate of (power) / 10 damage per second, meaning that a 5 power saw would do 0.5 damage per second and take 24 seconds to cut through 12 armour. Once a weapon has pierced, it will do a flat rate of 1 damage/second that it remains in contact. While this type of weapon will not receive weapon armour, the arm on which a circular saw or drill must be mounted will not require a point investment so long as the weapon in question has more than five points. The arm will be assumed to move at a speed equivalent to a four-point lifter. An additional point may be added into it to increase its speed up to an equivalent five-point lifter. However, it will still not receive any weapon armour bonus.

      Things like ‘chop-saws’ or ‘impact-saws’ do not count as true saws, and their damage will be measured on the same scale as spinners. Unlike saws, which don’t deal shock damage, they will be able to. #
    11. Wedges

      Then, of course, there’s everyone’s favourite: the wedge. Whether it’s complementary to an existing weapon or it is the weapon, its an essential part of robotic combat whether we like it or not. Not requiring any point investment, wedges will not receive any free armour bonuses, unfortunately. In terms of wedge effectiveness, we’ll follow this general hierarchy: static wedge on a 2WD bot, a lifter that can press into the arena floor, or a hinged wedge > static wedge on a 4WD+ bot. Things like teeth on a wedge focus the weight behind it, making a toothed wedge generally more effective than straight-edged wedge in head-on wedging contests but leaving it vulnerable to being angled in on. Check out how well your wedge will do against other types below. These guidelines aren't absolute and don't always apply in real life, but it's the standard that we generally follow on here.

      4WD+ static Flat 2WD or hinged Toothed 2WD or hinged
      4WD+ static 50% 30% 20%
      Flat 2WD or hinged 70% 50% 40%
      Toothed 2WD or hinged 80% 60% 50%
    12. Flamethrowers

      Flamethrowers are mainly intended for entertainment purposes, but under the right circumstances (given a long period of uninterrupted application time) are capable of doing damage. They will utilize the same damage scale as saws and drills, but will take exactly twice as long to breach an opponent’s armour unless used against rubber or flammable areas. However, unlike drills and saws, they will be able to bypass armour and deal their damage immediately if applied directly to the internals of an opposing machine, through a sizable existing opening resulting from either damage or design. #
    13. Chainsaws and Reciprocating Saws

      These will work on the same scale as circular saws and drills. However, given their proven lack of effectiveness in robotic combat, like flamethrowers, they will take twice as long to breach the opponent’s armour. #
    14. Entanglement Weapons

      This ain’t Robot Wars, son. These are not allowed. #
    15. Projectile Weapons

      Projectile weapons are a relatively new phenomenon in Battlebots, and their effectiveness is untested. For our purposes, all projectile weapons will automatically start with two rounds of ammunition. If you want to add rounds, you’ll have to dedicate weapon points to those. Each weapon point put into ‘ammo’ gives you two additional rounds. A projectile will receive a one point bonus to damage if it fires from point-blank range (three feet or less) and will suffer a one point penalty if it fires from extreme range (more than half the distance across the arena). Projectile weapons will also not be subject to self-damage. Have fun with your two armour bots! #
    16. Damage from Impact Force

      The damage that a robot does by virtue of sheer impact force is equal to the midway point between its speed and traction, rounded to the nearest whole number or up if it falls midway between. This damage calculation also applies to vertical thwacks such as Gabriel, Overkill from the original run of Battlebots, and Stinger from Robot Wars. In terms of self-damage, they will follow the same scale as most other weapons. #
    17. Flails

      A non-fixed spinning weapon such as flails will behave much the same as a regular spinning weapon, though generally dealing less knockback. However, it exchanges sheer damage for reach and the ability to occasionally bypass opponents’ hardpoints and, as a result, will deal one damage point less than rated. #
    18. Melty-brain Thwacks

      These are horizontal thwacks that include special software allowing them to translate as they spin. Like any thwack, the damage that they deal is dependent not on weapon power, but on speed. Their speed is determined by the effectiveness of their melty-brain system, which is based off of weapon points. Since they do not technically have a weapon, they receive no weapon armour. Instead, they receive a bonus to spin-up time, which is equal to (speed)/8 instead of traditional spinners’ (weapon)/4. Also, in lieu of weapon armour, they may apply a regular armour bonus to their teeth, even if these are out of line and plane with each other. #
    19. Impact/Chop Saws

      Similar to the weapons seen on 2019 Sawblaze and Skorpios, these are spinners mounted on actuated arms. They will use the same damage scale as spinners and count as spinners. However, they will have the option to allocate any number of their weapon armor bonus points to an actuated arm or other articulation mechanism attached to the spinner. #
  6. Movement

    1. Wheels

      Bog standard. No special advantages or disadvantages. #
    2. Legs

      Your bot is double the weight of others, making it harder to push and flip. It also receives an extra two points for a total of 32 points. However, its top speed is capped at 4 points (6 units of speed) and the sensitivity of its legs makes it two points more vulnerable to self-damage from its weapon. #
    3. Tank Treads

      Your bot’s treads are more susceptible to being torn or ripped off by two points in addition to the normal double damage that motive systems take. However, you suffer only half the knockback of other bots so long as at least part of your treads are touching the ground and you will be marginally less prone to oversteer than other bots with the same control ratio. #
    4. Shufflers

      You receive an extra point to reflect a 50% weight bonus. However, your top speed is capped at 6 and your wedge will be noticeably less effective due to wobbling. #
    5. Slitherers

      You’ll receive a three point bonus and even be able to possibly climb back into the arena (within ten seconds) if flipped out of it. However, your top speed is capped at 4 and the power of your primary weapon is capped at 13. #
    6. Mecanum and Omniwheels

      Given the right setup, you’ll be able to move omnidirectionally without turning, giving you a significant maneuverability advantage over other bots. However, your torque will suffer a 50% reduction and you’ll struggle to regain traction following impacts from spinners and flippers and will skid 50% further. #
    7. HDPE and Flexing Wheels

      These wheels are flexible, not suffering from the normal 2x damage weakness that wheels have but coming up short in the traction department. They take a one point penalty to their traction stat. #
    8. Gyroscopic Procession

      Robots that move based on the gyroscopic forces of their spinner get around based on the sheer force of their weapon. All bots that use gyroscopic precession must have a spinner with at least 10 Weapon invested into it, which is used in some way to move the robot. Whatever device is used to tilt the spinner costs no points to add, and moves at the same speed as a 3 point lifter. The Speed stat of a gyrobot is capped at 1/4 of their drive spinner's Weapon, and they will have a Torque of 0, though it’s treated as 1 in terms of acceleration. Yes, this does mean that a gyro-powered bot cannot push an opponent, even from the side. The mechanism used to adjust the angle of the spinner is quite sensitive and will take double damage just as wheels do. #
  7. Multibots, Multiple Weapons, & Configurations

    1. Multibots, Minibots, and Drones

      Clusters and minibots utilize the same set of rules. Your main bot starts with 30 points (or a bit more for some types) and has to give up 1 point to create a second bot. In return, this new bot will receive 4 stat points. You may have a maximum of 6 bots. Your main bot’s total stat points must be equal to or greater than any other secondary bot created from those stat points. An example would be having 3 bots: a secondary bot would be (5 main bot points x 4 stat points = 20 usable points), another secondary bot would be (5 x 4 = 20), and the main bot would be (30 – 5 – 5 = 20). All 3 robots would have 20 stat points. Another example would be: secondary bot (3 x 4 = 12), secondary bot (5 x 4 = 20), main bot (30 – 3 – 5 = 22). Clusters or multibots of any type are considered to be knocked out only when over 50% of their total mass has been knocked out.

      Drones are badass, but not so effective in robotic combat. A drone will cost you one point and will count as a weapon. It will be incapable of dealing noticeable damage. However, it may assist you as a distraction, sacrifice, or potentially for the purposes of unsticking. #
    2. Multiple Weapons

      So, you wanna be Red Devil with cool-ass chassis articulation, clamping jaws, and a circular saw on an actuated arm, huh? Afraid that might cost too many weapon points, leaving you with four uselessly weak weapons? Have no fear! Basically, to make designs like this viable, we have a multi-weapons rule: If you want to have two separate weapons that aren't run off of the same motor, then you can either just divide the points between them or each can get 2/3 of the total instead of half. For example, a robot with 12 weapon points has two weapons. Each weapon now has 8 instead of 6 points. If you have three weapons, each gets half of the total instead of 1/3. If you have four, each gets 1/3 instead of 1/4. Four's your limit, though. Notice how most bots IRL don't have too many? That's because you can't put the same kind of weight and motor power into four different weapons systems and keep your bot under the weight limit. Finally, you’re not allowed to subdivide weapon points if they’ve already been divided. This isn’t science fiction. #
    3. Clutch Systems

      Then there’s the good old clutch system, like the one that Team Whyachi’s Warrior always ran. These have a slightly different set of rules: Clutch-powered secondary weapons will have to invest one point in order to work and will receive half of the main weapon's power (rounded up to the nearest whole). However, they will have the option to increase their power by adding additional points to the clutch mechanism. They will gain two points for every one of these invested. Be advised, though, that a secondary weapon's power may not exceed that of the primary weapon. #
    4. Shared Mechanisms

      If you have two weapons run off of the same motor, say, dual spinning blades, it's your lucky day! Both weapons will have the full number of weapon points minus one point. However, they will not be able to operate independently of each other under any circumstances and will take 1.5x as long to spin up or, in the case of non-spinning weapons, to reset after being fired/used. Also, keep in mind that your setup needs to be mechanically viable. No, your flamethrower and your hammer can’t be powered by the same mechanism. #
    5. Multiple Configurations

      We heard you like Bombshell (except when it won the last-chance rumble). If you'd like to have multiple configurations, we're cool with that, but there are a few guidelines you'll need to follow.
      1. Number Allowed
        The first is that you're allowed a maximum of three configurations (don't worry, small stuff like wedgelets and hammer blockers don't count as a configuration).
      2. Stat Type Limitations
        The second is that, while your weapon type as well as weapon points and armour points can change, your drivetrain (speed, traction, and torque) and base chassis armour need to remain constant through all configurations.
      3. Stat Change Limitations
        The third is that modular robots may not transfer any more than 5 stat points from weapon to armor (and vice versa) between different modules. Keeping the same weapon type and general setup and swapping out a stronger weapon for a thicker wedge? These rules still apply to your bot, with the exception of the primary configuration rule. It’s cool. You can keep all of your points.
      4. Stat Penalty
        The fourth and final is a small point deduction. Instead of having a maximum of 30 points to work with, a bot with multiple configurations that differ in weapon type can choose to designate one as the primary configuration. It'll receive the normal 30 points and the other two will receive 28 points. Alternatively, if you don't designate a primary configuration, all configurations will receive 29 points.