Rule > ROBOT WARS > What
is Robot Wars?
Robotic combat is a new sport
where home made robots fight each other in an arena. The aim is to
immobilise your opposition using tactics and your own weaponry.
Robot Wars, the UK television
show of this sport features many home made robots. After qualifying to be
in a series, robots are drawn against each other. They go into the arena
(sometimes they can be one on one fights and others can be three way
melees or even four fighting each other depending on the format of the
show) and fight each other using weapons and tactics such as pushing your
opponent into a house robot or arena hazard. Driving skills, experience
and practice play a big part in deciding who wins the battle, not just the
quality of your robot.
You have 5 minutes to
immobilise your opponent.
Any robot that is unable to move for thirty continuous seconds shall
be considered "immobile". Once one of the robots is dead or impossible to
move anywhere (e.g. it is in the pit or out of the arena) then the robots
left standing go through to the next round. If time is up first and no
robot is immobilised, then it goes to a panel of three judges
who decide the winner of that battle using their criteria of style,
control, damage and aggression. Sometimes it is very controversial but the
judges' decision is final! If it is too close to call and even the judges
can't decide on the winner (very rare but has happened), then the judges
will either call another battle or call a draw (so both robots win).
Winners of each battle work their way through each round. A series can feature
12 or more heats. The winner of each heat goes through to the semi finals
where all the heat finalists win. The winners of the semi finals go
through to the grand final and the winner of this is the new UK champion
and winner of that particular series.
It is just wonderful to see
pieces of robots flying across the arena. Some people start crying when
they see their robot they spent years putting together coming out of the
arena looking a like a pile of old rubber but most people take it well and
have a laugh and come back the next year.
Remember, all these are home
made robots which battle in an arena which is filmed
in front of a live audience for television. There are rules
on how your robot is built which must be
followed. For example, certain types of weapons aren't allowed (e.g.
nuclear weapons are banned, liquids, fire, guns, weapons which detach off
the robot etc.), there are weight limits (heavyweights cannot be heavier
than 100kg), there are limits on most things including hydraulic pressure
and size dimensions of your robot and there are many other rules about how
you build your robot and how you play the game, so, I suggest you check
out the rules section and building
a robot section of this site for more information and advice.
Generally, a well built robot who has been designed well with good and
effective weapons and armour, who is reliable and easy to handle will win
the battle. You must also prepare thoroughly and think of good tactics and
practice your driving.
"Failing to prepare is
preparing to fail!" - Julia Reed, Fourth Wars and Extreme 1 pit
Also, make sure you have a
self righting mechanism or a robot which runs both ways up because the
flipper is a very common weapon!
For us people at home, the
audience of the show, it is very entertaining. We love to see mayhem,
destruction and robots being completely smashed, trashed and utterly
battered. We love it! There is also a very serious side to the show. Robot
Wars helps to make engineering, electronics, maths and physics interesting
and cool for kids. It gets females into this sort of thing as well. It
make more people take these subjects at school, college and university. I
think that this is a very good thing.
Robot Wars is now a global phenomenon,
shown in 45 countries (including China, America, Australia, Sweden,
Germany and Italy). It is not just a television show. Robots also take
part in charity events and other organised, robotic live
events where people go to watch. UK Robot Wars has been incredible successful,
not just the television side of it, but also because it sells a wide
variety of merchandise. See History
of Robot Wars on how it all begun! There have also been other
robotic combat shows on television, such as Battlebots,
an American version of Robot Wars. This has slightly different rules,
format and it doesn't have any house robots!
said to me that Robot Wars is boring, all it is, is pieces of metal
pushing each other around, banging into each other with no purpose at all!
I said that there are many tactics involved and he refused to believe in
such things! May I say that this is not true and I no longer have any
communication with this person! Robot Wars has many tactics, used well and
you could reign triumph. Read this and you could be on your way to
becoming Robot Wars number 1!
robots are gladiatorial robots with a purpose to completely cause
havoc, chaos and destruction in the war zone. Stay out of their way at all
costs but they can be made to your advantage! How? Push your opponent into
one of these mean and nasty house robots. The CPZs (Corner Patrol Zones)
are in each of the 4 corners of the arena. Two house robots (not including
Refbot) are in the arena during a
battle. These robots changing during the course of the heat. A tactic is
to push your opponent into a CPZ where a house robot is and only then is a
house robot allowed to attack the robot. Be careful though, if you
accidentally drive into a CPZ, a house robot could get you and you will
also e marked down on the judges' scoring sheets. See house
robots for detailed information on the house robots.
Now, there is another time when these machines of mayhem are allowed
to wreck their havoc in the war zone and damage a competitor
robot. When a robot hasn't moved for a certain length of time, Refbot
(the only non-hostile house robot, there to make sure everyone is obeying
the rules and so things don't get out of hand in the arena) counts them
out by counting from 1 to 10. If after the countdown, they haven't moved,
they are deemed out of the battle as they are immobilised. House robots
are then allowed to attack causing as much damage as they want. This
involves their own weapons and also the house robots take you to many of
the arena hazards. The house robot then dumps the immobilised robot either
in the pit or out of the arena and then you have to take your robot home
in several plastic bags! So, take my advice and stay out of the house
robots' way. However, many contestant robots think they are good enough to
take on a house robot and many have been successful in their attempts
before, pushing house robots into the pits and flipping them over making
them useless in that battle. Great stuff - I love it when it happens!
robots we have today are: Shunt, Dead
Metal, Matilda, Sir
Killalot, Mr Psycho, Refbot,
Bash and Cassius Chrome.
catch anyone out. They can be also used to your advantage by pushing your
opponent into or over a hazard which not only causes damage but also
gains you points if it goes to a judges'
decision. Some hazards are the end for a robot and makes you the winner if
you manage to get your opponent into one of these (e.g. the pit). Below
are details on the arena hazards. These are good tactics so use them well.
All these hazards are dangerous and you must drive with care when near one
because you may intend to push your opponent into a hazard, but you end up
in their instead and it is goodbye to you! Take caution!
Note that some
hazards are there to cause damage to a robot and immobilise the opposition
and others are there only to cause damage to already immobilised and dead
robots - Push a robot into a CPZ where these robots patrol to
gain you points on the judges' scoring cards and to cause damage to the
other robot. See above. Also see house robots.
Flame Pit -
If you manage to push your opponent over a flame grill in the arena,
where flames come up, then you could cause damage to the opposition. The
flames will not cause visual damage (unless the robot is made of flammable
material like Diotoir) but will
burn the inside workings of a robot and could immobilise them. It works
well if the opponent has a petrol driven engine!
The Pit of
Oblivion - Hit the pit release button at the end of the arena with
your robot and a siren will sound as the pit lowers and a hole in the
arena is made. If you manage to push your opponent into this, there is no
escape and you are crowned the winner as a puff of smoke fills the arena
as the opponent is pushed into the pit.
Flipper - When a robot is immobilised, it can be pushed on to the
flipper. The audience shouts "Flip Flip Flip" as the powerful
arena flipper pushes up, propelling the robot right across the arena.
Great fun to watch!
Grinders - Push a robot on to these and sparks will fly as grinding
discs slowly cut up the robot. This is probably the hazard which
causes the least damage to a robot. Sometimes, robots can become jammed
underneath a grinder and Refbot will have to push it free.
Zone - Sometimes the end for immobilised robots. A house robot can
push a robot on to an `X` on the arena floor. After a countdown from the
audience, any old house hold item may fall on to the poor, defenseless
robot beneath. These can be car parts, cookers, washing machines, ocean
bowling balls! Great entertainment!
Jets - Again, doesn't cause visual damage but can damage internal
workings of a robot. High pressurised carbon dioxide gas jets come up from
the arena floor when a robot is pushed on to one of the outlets so stay
away from these!
Out of the
Arena - The arena side walls are quite low so, if you can manage to
line up your opponent and charge your flipper, then you may be able to
flip the robot right out of the arena. This is great fun to watch but also
means that the flipping robot is the winner of that battle. Chaos
2 was the first robot to flip a robot out of the arena and many more
have now done the same. Firestorm
was the first ever robot to be flipped out of the arena and it was during
the Third Wars.
a scale diagram of the arena showing you where many parts of the arena are
on the warzone's battle scarred surface including the pit, drop zone,
flipper, CPZs and side wall angle grinders. You can also see, in the above
diagram, where the gates (located below where Craig Charles stands) are
and what type of robot (either contestant or house robot) comes through
that particular gate/door. Diagram/picture © Robot Wars.
your driving skills to perfection. Often a badly built robot that is
well driven can win a battle against a brilliant robot that is poorly
driven. Gain experience from taking part in other robotic combat
events, such as charity events, live
events and others.
it is useful to inspect your opposition before the battle. By doing
this, you can target their weak spots which you can attack during the
battle. Weak areas could be a lack of armour, weak armour or where
internal workings show. Attack a robot where their weapon doesn't hit.
Also by knowing information about the other robot such as its speed or
if its weapon is not working can be used to your advantage.
Now, where is
that fool who said that there weren't any tactics in Robot Wars? I will
set Mr Psycho on him!
The format of
the show changes each series. It generally goes like this: In round one,
two or more robots fight. The losers are eliminated and the winners go on
to the next round. In round 2, there are a few head to head battles
starring the winners from the first round. The winners of round 2 then
fight it out against each other to determine the winner of the show who
goes into the semi-finals. The winners of the semi-finals go into the
final which determines the grand champion of Robot Wars for that
That is what happens in the
main series of Robot Wars. There are other programmes such as Robot Wars
Extreme which has many battles such as tag-team terrors, annihilators,
mayhems, wild card warriors and battles like that. These are special
tournaments and not so serious competitions designed to give roboteers
practice and the audience entertainment. There is also the Robot
Wars World Champion where robots from around the world fight under one
roof to see which country will win the world championship of Robot Wars
and to see which country has the better machines! Soon Robot Wars will
be like the world cup, arenas will be located all around the world where
competitions are held. Basically it is action packed robot destruction. It
is all extremely fun and incredibly addictive to watch!
winners of the main UK Robot Wars competition for all the series so far, click
here. They battled well, working their way up and winning the grand
final! Congratulations to all of them!
In Series One it was Jeremy
Clarkson as presenter of the show. In Series Four and for Robot Wars
Extreme it was Julia Reed as the pit reporter. All other times (except for
the Seventh Wars onwards - see below), it has
been the main two presenters: Craig Charles and
Philippa Forrester. Also,
don't forget Jonathan Pearce for the wonderful commentary! Philippa was
replaced by Jayne Middlemiss as pit reporter from the Seventh Wars
onwards. For more information on the presenters, click
A picture of the two
wonderful presenters of Robot Wars in series 2: Philippa Forrester and
Please note that Philippa no longer presents Robot Wars because she was
replaced by Jayne Middlemiss from the Seventh Wars onwards.
Production of Robot
Mentorn have produced
Robot Wars for the BBC and other television companies from 1997 onwards. Mentorn are the
people who also make Techno Games. Channel Five now shows Robot Wars in
"Roboteers, stand by"
"Three, two, one,
"Let battle commence"
the wars begin!"
Pit" "Flip Flip Flip" "Burn Burn
Burn" "Drop Drop Drop"
Craig always does some
rhythmic poetry at the end of each show before he kisses his fingers and
says "goodnight" and these are a few of his best:
"You've seen strange
things happen behind closed doors, but nothing's quite so wicked as Robot
"You can ask for robot
presents from Santa Claus, but you'd better beg for mercy from Robot
"You can stick your
vegetarians and your old carnivores, we only eat metal here on Robot
"We've had hundreds of
robots banging on the doors, but only the best get on Robot Wars!"
who've got glass jaws, we don't pull our punches on Robot Wars!"
"If there's one thing
that your television licence ensures, it's robot mayhem on Robot
"We don't use camera
tricks or hidden trap doors, the danger's for real on Robot Wars!"
"We've got our own rules,
and we've got our own laws, but controversy rules on Robot Wars!"
"While the roboteers, on
their fingernails gnaw, it's always time for action here on Robot
"If you look in a teepee,
you'll find Indian squaws, wishing they had a telly to watch Robot
"Forget about polishing
the arena floor, it's covered in debris after Robot Wars!"
Robot Wars, the first wars
looked nothing like it does today. The first round was The Gauntlet. Here,
six robots had to make it the furthest down the course in the least amount
of time within the time limit. They had to go through obstacles like house
robots (the house robots looked completely different in series one and two
than they do now, vast improvements have been made since), brick walls,
grinders which move close together, the pit, the flame pit to try and get
to the finish line. The robot who got the least distance down The Gauntlet
was eliminated. Round two was The Trials which changed every week to make
the show more interesting. Sometimes it was Sumo Basho which is when you
have to try and stay on the platform with Shunt as long as possible
without him pushing you off, you can try and push Shunt off. Other trials
tested not only strength but driving skills, speed, traction and so on.
They had a king of the castle round with Matilda and also a round which
you had to knock over the most "explosive" barrels in the least
amount of time with the house robots as obstacles. The robot who performed
the worst in The Trials was eliminated. The third round was The arena.
This is where the four remaining robots battled each other out. The robots
tried to destroy their opponent, push them into arena hazards and into the
PPZ (perimeter patrol zone) where the house robots waited patrolling
around the arena to get a robot in their grips. If a robot became
immobilised, they were out and if time was up first, it went to a judges
decision. The two remaining robots battled it out in a fight to determine
the robot who will proceed into the semis and eventually into the grand
The winner of the first
wars, Road Block.
here for more information on the First Wars.
This was almost the same as
the first wars except for a new house robot, a new presenter and The
Sentinel for The Gauntlet round which was a giant pneumatic arm in the
course which span round knocking robots which got in their path into the
The Sentinel on the end
of the arena.
here for more information on the Second Wars.
This series completely
re-vamped the format of Robot Wars and much improved it. The show was also
extended from 30 minutes as it was for series one and two to 45 minutes
allowing for some more battle time. They also completely scrapped the
games round of The Gauntlet and The Trials to allow only for battles.
Basically, first it is the eliminator rounds where two robots per battle
fight it out eliminating the worst robot. The winning robots go through to
the next round who fight it out until there are just two who fight it out
in the final battle which will determine who will go to the semis and so
on. Another big difference for the show is the CPZ (corner patrol zone)
instead of the PPZ so the house robots are in the corners and not around
the whole arena. This means that the contestant robots can fight with each
other instead of the house robots doing all the work. House robots can
only attack if a contestant robot goes into their CPZ or if the contestant
robot is immobilised. Half way in the show, there is a little break
between battles where you will see either the pinball round or the robo
soccer round which are little games which will have a winner at the end of
the series. The soccer is where a team of robots tries to score as many
goals as they can with Matilda playing with them and Dead Metal in goal.
Pinball is where the robot tries to get as many points as it can by
knocking things down, hitting targets, going through obstacles, pushing
balls into the pit or whatever which scores the robot points. There are
also the house robots trying to get in the way and stop the playing robot
scoring points. The robot with the most points at the end of the series is
the pinball champion. As before, Philippa Forrester is pit reporter,
reporting on damage to contestant robots, talking about battles and having
a gossip before fights with the roboteers in the pits. In this series, all
the house robots have been greatly improved. Dead Metal was improved the
most with a completely new front and circular saw.
here for more information on the Third Wars.
Similar to Series 3 with few
changes. Julia Reed replaces Philippa because she is pregnant and Refbot
comes on for the first time to make sure all the robots are behaving.
Also, the spikes are removed from the arena so the robots can do damage to
other robots (especially the house robots) and not the spikes. The set is
also completely different looking much different and allowing a bigger
audience. The fighting format is the same as Series 3 but it does have
Pinball and Sumo Basho (Sumo is the one where the robot tries to stay on
the platform as long as possible without Shunt pushing them off and they
can try to push Shunt off) half way during the show. Robo Soccer isn't in
this series. Also, the first fight, the eliminator, allows
three robots in the arena fighting (previously it was two at first), one
is eliminated and the rest go trough to fight in further battles (one
against one in these further battles) until two remain who battle it out
until just one is left which goes through to the semi-finals later on in
the series. The CPZ remains with four house robots in the arena at one
time (not including Refbot). The arena flipper can flip better and the pit
now raises and lowers so robots don't fall down it all the time which was
the problem with the previous series of Robot Wars - you always knew what
was going to happen, they would fall down the pit! Not so predictable now
because the pit is mostly covered. There are also mini flame pits around
the arena as well as the big one near one of the side walls.
here for more information on the Fourth Wars.
Much improved series. Most of
the previous problems have now been eliminated. There is a new and much
improved set which also allows more room for audience members and opening
and closing doors on the arena allow for robots to enter and exit easier
than before. The weight limit has been raised from 80kg to 100kg which
will allow for more weapons on contestant robots which means more carnage!
There is also a pit release button which when pressed will lower the pit
so the pit can be controlled by a contestant robot if he/she thinks they
can get their opponent down the pit. There are also jets of carbon dioxide
gas coming up from the arena which can cause damage, the flame pit is back
and also the arena flipper is back for some more flipping action. The
arena side walls have better grinders on which can create more sparks than
ever before! There are only two house robots in each battle instead of
four (not including Refbot). The house robots vary so sometimes it can be
Shunt and Sir Killalot and other times it can be Matilda and Sgt Bash or
whatever, you know what I mean, I hope. There are also more battles now
because they have got rid of Pinball and any in between games which means
that they have more robots in the show than any other series before. First
it is the eliminating rounds where two robots fight eliminating one in
each battle. Then, the remaining four robots (the show started with eight
robots) fight it out in two battles (two robots in each battle) and the
two remaining robots (the winner from each of the round two battles) fight
it out in the final battle which will determine the robot who will proceed
into the semi-finals. So, in series five, there are seven battles (more
than ever before) which is more exciting. They have also cut the chit chat
between battles which was (in my opinion) a good idea so we can get to
more action faster and see some more carnage. The house robots have also
been improved, find out about the improvements by reading my Fifth
Wars section in this website.
here for more information on the Fifth Wars.
This was filmed at RAF Newton
near Nottingham in early July 2002. There are a number of improvements to
this series making it the best ever series of Robot Wars ever.
Improvements include the two new house robots (Growler and Mr Psycho)
which will bring loads more carnage and destruction to the show with their
awesome weapons. Their weapons are big chomping jaws which will bite and
crush other robots (Growler) and Mr P's weapons are a big claw which will
pick up robots and a heavy hammer smashing down on robots beneath. Other
than the two new house 'bots, there is the inclusion of the two new arena
hazards: the Drop Zone (where ovens, washing machines, cars, bowling balls
and other household items are dropped from the arena roof on to robots on
the arena floor flattening them and causing maximum destruction) and the
other hazard is the Disc-of-Doom which will spin on the arena floor
spinning robots out of control but will need a button on the arena wall to
activate it just like the pit. Other improvements include the buttons
(like the pit release button) have now been modified so they don't rip,
break or come off as easily as they did before. There are also new camera
angles. The house robots have their cameras back bringing the brilliant
house 'bot cam showing us close ups of all the action happening in the
arena. There is also the Drop Zone cam which shows the load being dropped
on the robots from the arena roof and the damage cam which Philippa will
use to show close ups of any damage caused by robots. Other improvements
include the costumes which Craig and Philippa now wear. It will take a bit
of getting use to until you get used to Craig's new Formula 1 look but
Philippa's costume is much better than before. Another improvement is the
elimination of the house robot statistics which don't come up anymore
because it got a bit annoying seeing t