Do the contestants on the new BattleBots have certain restrictions when it comes to creating their competition robots: for example, a certain budget, size/weight boundary, or material type? Was this addressed in the original BattleBots?


This information seems to be in the BattleBots Wikipedia article. According to the article, it appears that only the weight of the bot matters:

Robots at BattleBots tournaments were separated into four weight classes. The weight limits increased slightly over time. At the final tournaments the classes were:

  • Lightweight – 60 pounds (27 kilograms)
  • Middleweight – 120 pounds (54 kilograms)
  • Heavyweight – 220 pounds (100 kilograms)
  • Superheavyweight – 340 pounds (154 kilograms)

Additionally, certain types of robots had "bonuses" that allowed them to enter lower weight classes.

'Walking' robots ('StompBots') propelled by means other than wheels were initially given a 50% weight bonus. The rules changed following the victory of a heavyweight StompBot (Son of Whyachi) at BattleBots 3.0. For BattleBots 4.0 and beyond only a 20% weight bonus was given to walkers and the technical rules specified that walking mechanisms not use cam operated walking mechanisms as they were functionally too similar to wheel operation. Since the rules change, walking robots have entered the competition, but none has achieved any success beyond preliminary rounds.

The official BattleBots website seems to have undergone a recent change, so none of the official rules pages appear to be accessible and the current "rules" page has no actual information on it.


I asked the BattleBots team through their website. After the incident yesterday with the fishing net and the comment about no ball bearings...

They sent me a short PDF file with the rules for 2015. This differs from the 40 page version of 2009. They also told me that if there was a second season to come, there would be a new set of rules to come out.

My guess is (and this is only my personal opinion) that ABC invited the veterans of the sport to bring back the show, and that the newbies will actually get their chance next season.

My email was the following:

Hello Battlebot Team,

I have been interested in Botfights for the last 15 years. I it was always my dream to build a Battlebot, now I think I finally got the resources to build my own. I have been searching and can’t find the rules for this Tournament, only the ones from 2009. The comment about the ball bearings in the last episode scares me. How can a shaft turn without the bearings? Could you give me a link to the rules of this season? And in case that’s not possible, Could you please answer me the question why there is such a secret of the rules?


Their reply:

Hi Hans,

If ABC grants us a second season we will announce all the details for our season 2 tournament: Entry info, Rules, Ticket info, Sponsorship etc. The best way to find out first is to follow us on social media (see links in signature below and/or sign up for the newsletter on our website (www.battlebots.com).

Thanks for your interest - really appreciate it!

Estimates on the next Tournament is May 2016, but could be sooner…

Attached are the Season 1 rules - these will change for season 2, so do NOT start building your bot until the new rules and entry procedures are announced (entry could be via design application, qualifying tournament or both). Also note that these season 1 rules were written for veterans of the sports—people who have competed for over 10 years—people who have a ton of experience building and competing. Since season 2 will attract more newbies, the season 2 rules will be much more comprehensive. Your best bet, while we wait for ABC to green light season 2 (if they do so), is to start designing your robot on paper or CAD.

Finally, read the disclaimer at the bottom of this email. Be safe. And there is no “Secret” to the rules. We’re not posting them because they’re going to change so much for season 2.

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    This is excellent, and answers my concern on why they weren't outlining any rules so far. Would you be able to share the pdf? – Valerie Jun 30 '15 at 19:59

In the original Battlebots, there were a number of different weight classes and weight bonuses were given to walking and shuffling robots, as described in Catija's answer. There were no limitations on size or material choice, other than that it couldn't be toxic or use weapons that would take away from the fights, like nets, liquids, projectiles, and EMP generators. I believe the robots were paid for by the builders, and then they got paid for how well they did or how popular their robot was.

However, for the 2015 reboot, there is only one weight class, which is 250lb, slightly more than the old heavyweight class, and there is no longer any weight bonuses for walkers or shufflers. The builders were given a much shorter time frame to build their robots, only a few weeks, and ABC gave them money specifically to buy materials for the robots, which I have heard from different sources is either $8,000 or $10,000. Other than that, I believe the rules have stayed the same.


Me and a friend are working on building a battlebot for 2016 when they will hopefully have a new season, but you have me concerned - dot they really choose people then pay them to get stuff and compete? Because i'm not waiting to get chosen, Im nominating myself, bringing my bot to them and stuff. Will I not be able to play or what?

And about the rule changes and stuff: it seems there has been a reduction of obstacles on the FightArena thingy. So that means the bots have to fight better. I also think there's been changes to the judge's grading system as well.

I also know these little snippets that have probably been rules from the beginning; Your bot has to have a light indicator that shows when it's on/active (interior or exterior) Your bot CAN NOT be purchased via eBay, Amazon, hand-purchasing, trading, etc.

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    This isn't really an answer to the question. We aren't a normal discussion forum. You might have better luck getting answers to your questions by contacting the BattleBots people directly. Contact info is on their website. – Catija Jun 23 '15 at 22:02

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