What is FIRST® Robotics Competition?

Combining the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. We call FIRST Robotics Competition the ultimate Sport for the Mind. High-school student participants call it "the hardest fun you'll ever have."

Under strict rules, limited resources, and an intense six-week time limit, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. Each season ends with an exciting FIRST Championship.

FIRST Steamworks

FIRST® Robotics Competition 2017 Game

FIRST STEAMWORKSSM the 2017 FIRST Robotics Competition game, invites two adventure clubs from an era in which technology relied on steam power to prepare their airships for the ultimate long distance race.


Each three-team alliance prepares to take flight in three ways:

  1. Build Steam Pressure. Robots collect fuel represented by green balls. They score it in high and low goals in their boiler. As fuel is scored steam pressure in the tank on the alliance’s airship builds – the high goal builds pressure faster than the low goal.
  2. Start Rotors. Robots retrieve and deliver gears to pilots on their airship who then install them on the appropriate rotor. Once a gear train is complete the rotor can be started. 
  3. Prepare for Flight. Adventure clubs want their robots to climb aboard their airships so they can assist the pilots during the race.

Autonomous Period:

Robots operate independently from preprogrammed instructions for the first 15 seconds. 


Adventure clubs score points by: 
  • Reaching their baseline 
  • Delivering gears to the airship 
  • Scoring fuel into the boilers 

Teleoperated Period:

Operators take control for the final two minutes and fifteen seconds. Adventure Clubs continue to score points by: 

  • Collecting and delivering gears to their airship 
  • Scoring fuel in the boilers 
  • Climbing the ropes on their airship to prepare for flight 
  • Populating gear trains to start rotors 
  • Defending against other Adventure Clubs 

The adventure club with the highest score at the end of the match is best prepared for the race and wins.

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