B ASHB ALL!
BotBash returns with a new game, a radically
updated “Active Arena,” and a different approach
to extreme robotic sports.
by Steve Judd
What the Heck is
BashBall combines the visceral
excitement of one-on-one robot
combat with the strategy of team play
in a fast-paced ball game requiring
speed, skill, and brute force.
Two teams of remotely-operated
robots vie for points by scoring goals,
ejecting opponents from the arena,
disabling opponents, or all three in any
combination. BashBall is played in an
enclosed arena with transparent walls
featuring pneumatically operated pits,
flame jets, and “death blossom”
pistons that pop up from the floor.
Scoring goals in this environment is not
easy, and every match is sure to feature
plenty of exciting action!
Why Invent Another
Since the introduction of fighting
robots in 1994 at the original “Robot
Wars” in San Francisco, CA, combat
among remote controlled robots has
followed the same basic format:
one-on-one combat on a flat floor.
There have been some variations along
the way, but in the end the winner is
usually decided by single combat, with
the results based on damage caused.
The natural evolution of fighting
robots following this format has
produced two dominant designs: very
destructive robots with kinetic energy
(KE) weapons, and low, wedgy
bricks designed to survive these
weapons. With few exceptions,
“robot fights” today follow one of the
• Two highly destructive KE robots
clash briefly in a hail of shrapnel,
reducing both to ineffective pushy bots
for the remainder of the tournament.
• A low, wedgy brick wedges a highly
destructive KE robot around the arena
for three minutes.
• Two low, wedgy bricks wedge each
other around the arena for three minutes.
• A novel design is reduced to a pile of
scrap metal by a KE weapon in the first
60 seconds (often less).
• A novel design is dominated by a
low, wedgy brick for three minutes.
There are exceptions and variations
of course, but the general direction is
clear — if you don’t want to make a KE
weapon or a low, heavily armored brick,
you can expect to have two losses and
go home, often with your robot in
shards. While this format continues to
appeal to some builders, there are many
others who want something “different.”
As with other fields of endeavor, in
robotic sports “you get what you measure.” To have a different outcome, you
MARCA in San Diego, CA, 2003.
SERVO 09.2007 35