Robot Load In and Activation

The least dangerous robot gets priority for load in.

Use the following process to activate a robot:

  1. Place the robot in a stable position on the combat area with the drive wheels oriented so that when they come in contact with the combat area the direction of  travel will be away from other robots, persons, and entry doors. If the robot has a weapon that is aimable, aim it toward the wall furthest from the arena entry door.
  2. Remove any weapon covers.
  3. Turn on the transmitter.
  4. Turn on the main power.
  5. If separate, turn on the weapon power. This applies to both separate power loops and non-electrical power systems. (ie. pneumatics)
  6. Remove any weapon locks.

Once both robots are activated and in their starting squares, the arena access point will be  closed and a maximum of 20 seconds will be allowed for a brief weapon/drive system test if  either operator desires. No weapon testing of any sort will be allowed prior to the arena door being closed.

After this, the referee will ask both operators if they are ready and the match will begin.

Post Match Activities

At the end of the match both robots are to cease movement and, if applicable, allow their  weapon systems to de-energize. Once the weapon systems have de-energized, the judges may request that one or both robots demonstrate that their drive and/or weapon system is still functional.

  • Demonstration of drive system functionality will be done by the robot returning to its  starting location.
  • Demonstration of weapon system functionality will be done by the robot returning to  its starting location and briefly applying power to the weapon system to show that the weapon is still active and functional. The robot should not spin to full speed during this demonstration.

Once this is completed, the robot deactivation and load out procedure can begin.

Robot Deactivation and Load Out

The most dangerous robot gets priority for load out.

Use the following process to deactivate a robot:

  1. Disable the weapon system. This includes any applicable weapon locks, power cut off, and/or venting. The exact order of this procedure will be at the discretion of the builder as differing designs may necessitate different safe shutdown procedures.
  2. Turn off the main power.
  3. Turn off the transmitter.
  4. Reinstall any weapon covers.

Emergency Deactivation Procedure

In the event of an emergency (for example: one or more robots on fire), the standard  procedure does not apply.

In the event of emergency deactivation, both competitors must make their robots as safe as possible as quickly as possible so that the arena can be entered. This should include spinning down weapons and stopping movement immediately, as well as turning your transmitter off to engage the failsafe.

The referee must start an emergency deactivation in the event of any battery fire in any robot. The other most common situation requiring emergency deactivation is a robot going rogue and being uncontrollable. The match must be declared over at the time of emergency deactivation. An uncontrollable robot may be subject to count out at the discretion of the referee.

Emergency Match Stoppage Procedure

In the event of an arena breach, damage to the arena that renders it unsafe, or any other event that is otherwise judged a safety risk by event staff, the referee shall immediately halt the match.

If a competitor continues to match after the referee has called for the match to be stopped, they will forfeit the match. Repeated infractions, or an egregious infraction, will result in removal from the tournament. It is the  responsibility of the operator to ensure that they respond promptly to the call to stop fighting.

Once fighting has ceased, the operators must deactivate the robots according to the emergency deactivation procedure. The deactivated robots may be left in place or moved to a safe location in or around the arena until a determination about the status of the match is made. No work may be done on the robots during this time. The source of  the safety issue will then be inspected to determine the appropriate action. Once the issue has been resolved, a determination will be made as to whether or not the match will resume. If possible to resume safely, the match will resume from the point where it was paused. If resuming the match is determined to not be possible due to a safety concern or other issue, the match will be judged based on the results up until the point where it was stopped.

The safety of the crowd, competitors, and crew must always be considered when  determining if any additional measures need to be taken beyond resolving the immediate  safety issue.

Tournament Format

All MRCA events will use the double elimination format.

  • In a double elimination bracket all robots start in the winners bracket.
  • The losing robot in a winners bracket match will move to the losers bracket.
  • The losing robot in a losers bracket match is eliminated from the tournament.
  • The robot that wins the losers bracket will need to defeat the robot that wins the winners bracket twice to win the overall event.

Match Frequency

All MRCA events robots will be given a minimum of a 20 minute repair time from removing the robot from the arena at the end of the previous match until beginning to load the robot into the arena at the start of the next match. It is up to the match coordinator to determine how lenient that is, but a forfeit may be declared at any time if a robot is not ready to fight after 20 minutes of repair time. The match coordinator should make every effort to apply consistent leniency and expectations to all robots, and exceptions should only be made if time constraints or other external factors require a change in expectations.

Match Duration

All MRCA events employ 2:00 min matches. It is up to the event organizer to determine when or if hazards activate within that time period.


Matches will be paused to separate robots in the event that they become stuck together in the arena. Robots that become stuck together will be allowed 10 seconds to attempt to separate. If they are not able to do so, an un-stick will be called for by the referee. An unstick can only be called for by the operators or referee, and the referee has the final say on whether or not the unstick will be granted. No modifications or repairs are allowed during an unstick.

Arena Unstick definition: As a competitor, you assume the playing field is indestructible. If you embed yourself in the arena and become immobile by causing damage to something that should be assumed indestructible, you are granted one arena unstick per match. This is different from getting propped up against a wall, “doing the thing”/becoming balanced on a non-driveable side of the robot, or becoming stuck on a piece of debris from another robot. If a piece of debris detaches from the arena during a match and causes a robot to get stuck, you are allowed one arena unstick because this wouldn’t have happened with an indestructible arena. The arena is a hazard. Be warned and use it to your advantage.


When a robot has ceased moving in a controlled manner but has not tapped out, the referee  will request motion and begin a 10-second countdown out loud. If the robot is unable to demonstrate controlled translational movement before the countdown ends, it will be declared the loser by knockout. If, during this time, the robot is able to show controlled translational movement or if the opposing robot attacks it, the countdown will stop. This means that a “dead” robot will not be counted out should the opposing robot continue to attack, and the match will not end until the match timer expires, one robot taps out, or a new countdown is completed.

A robot with one side of its drivetrain disabled will not be counted out if it can demonstrate  controlled translational movement. Controlled translational movement is defined as being  able to traverse in a manner such that the net movements of the robot are in a linear  direction.

In the case of multi-bots, the countdown will begin when greater than 75% of the mass of  the multi-bot is unable to move. For multi-bots with an even number of robots (2, 4, etc…)  and equal weights for each portion, the team will identify which are considered to be the  heaviest.

In the event of a simultaneous knock-out, the match will go to a judges’ decision. This same ruling will apply even if one robot ends up in a push-out and the other is considered knocked out.

Should the battery of a robot become uncontained, the match will be halted and the robot with the exposed battery will lose by knockout. If both robots have an exposed battery, the match will go to a judges’ decision.


If the arena is equipped with a pit, push-out, or similar hazard, a robot that fully falls into this area will result in the end of the match and a loss for the robot that first entered the area. The definition of a robot fully falling into the pit is at the referee’s discretion.

For a cluster robot to be pitted, all of its mobile parts must fall into this area.


Any robot pinning or lifting their opponent may only continue to pin or lift them for 10  seconds at a time. After 10 seconds has elapsed, the robot in control must release the  opposing robot. If the robot in control is not able to release the opposing robot, the match will be halted and the robots will be separated.

“Release” is defined as complete physical separation such that both robots are able to freely move away from their current location. It is preferred if the releasing operator backs away enough to let the match resume in the center of the arena. Backing away and pinning your opponent again in the same corner may be beneficial, but the spirit of this rule is to keep things entertaining and avoid excessive capitalization on a single exchange.

Refusal to comply with the referee’s request to release the opponent when the robots are not stuck together will result in forfeit of the match.

Tapping Out

At any time during a match, the robot operator may choose to tap out. Once an operator has tapped out, combat will cease and the opposing robot will be declared the winner. Tapping out is done either by informing the referee that you are tapping out verbally or by using a designated tap out button if it exists. Literally hitting the polycarbonate can also be used to alert a referee in some cases.  If the referee is unsure if a tapout has occurred, the referee should request clarification immediately.  If a referee declares a tapout in error, the referee may restart the match from the point it was ended as long as the confusion does not completely alter the outcome.  (For example, a robot stops fighting due to the perceived tapout and is damaged significantly afterward.)

MRCA Match Rules v1.0
MRCA Match Rules v1.0 (Based on SPARC Match Rules v1.2) Robot Load In and Activation: The least dangerous robot gets priority for load in. Use the following process to activate a robot: Place the robot in a stable position on the combat area with the drive wheels oriented so that when they com...