May 14th 2022
May 14th is the third event in the NHRL 2022 season. Bots in 3 weight classes will be fighting for the chance to win one of 3 all-new NHRL trophies, as well as a part of the $4,200 prize pool. We will be showing off our new expanded arenas, pits and spectator spaces.
This event will be for new bots only. None of the bots that have fought today have ever competed at an NHRL event before. We welcome people who have never fought a combat robot before, as well as experienced builders who want to try something new.
All-day passes to watch the fights are $10.00. We will be handing out a total of 3 Golden Dumpsters and $4,200 in cash prizes! There is a $25 fully refunded deposit for registration as always! We are expecting a large competitor field with over 100 robots present at the event!
NHRL is currently hiring paid staff for the May event! Email email@example.com for more information.
Registration will close on April 30 at 11:59 pm. If you register and drop before then, you'll get your $25 deposit back. If you drop on May 1 or later, you will not get your deposit back.
All eligible deposits will be refunded a few days after the event.
Cage 5 elimination fights:
Brackets for our July 16th 2022 event will become public on Wednesday, July 6, and the predictions challenge will open on Friday, July 8!
What is a new bot?
So, what exactly is a "new bot"? We are considering a new bot to be one that has never specifically competed at NHRL.
We are excited to see new bots here. We want you to take risks, innovate, and inspire. We're not looking to aggressively restrict or disqualify bots. Consider the following guidelines and boundaries, not rules that we are going to aggressively disqualify bots on. If you're close, you'll likely get to fight, unless we find that you're not following the spirit of the rules.
Kit/open source bots are okay, as long as you haven't fought at NHRL with a build from that kit/design before.
If you've never competed at NHRL before, you are welcome to fight in May! You don't have to read any further unless you're curious.
If you have competed at NHRL before, and if you have some questions about exactly what is allowed and not allowed, here's the fine print.
The fine print
The following are guidelines. Havoc Robotics reserves the right to deny registration to or disqualify a bot that we feel is not a new bot, even if it seems to meet all these requirements on a surface level. Again, this isn't something that we're going to do aggressively; we just want to make sure everyone is following the spirit of the event. If you're worried that your entry may be toeing the line, please email us in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org to get pre-clearance.
- Your bot must have a different name than any bots that have fought in the past at NHRL.
- Your bot must be visually unique, compared to any bot you've brought to NHRL. A bot that has fought before, but with only a new paint job, is not allowed.
- If iterating on a previous bot, at least 50% of the weight of non-electric parts (weapon, pulleys, chassis) must significantly change including at least one major subsystem (drivetrain, weapon type, etc).
- If part of a multibot team, the aforementioned 50% rule is still in effect for the main bot only. This means that the smaller of the two bots may stay the same; however it requires significant changes to the main bot and changes to the minibot do not reduce how much needs to change for the main bot
- Bots that have had purely cosmetic changes or changes that do not alter the function of a bot do not qualify as a "new" bot.
- A change from a FingerTech beater bar to a similarly dimensioned machined beater bar or drisk drop-in replacement would not be considered a subsystem change. Changing from a beater bar vert to a disk vert or a flipper would.
- Changing the gear ratio for your drivetrain or your wheel type would not be considered a subsystem change. Changing from a gearbox to direct gear drive or from wheels to a walker would.
- Changing materials while keeping the same general design does not count as a significant change.
To repeat: These are all guidelines. Havoc Robotics reserves the right to disqualify a bot that we feel is not a new bot, even if it seems to meet all these requirements on a surface level. However, we are not actively seeking to restrict bots from fighting; if you're close, you'll likely get to fight. If you're worried that your entry may be toeing the line, please email us in advance at email@example.com to get pre-clearance.
What's new for 2022?
We have been hard at work on upgrading the facility since the end of the 2021 season in December, and we are super excited for everyone to see these new changes! Check out some progress pictures below.
What's new for competitors:
- Expanded pits areas, with more tables, more space between tables, and a dedicated viewing area to sit and relax as you watch the stream.
- 2 new cages, including a 30lb cage!
What's new for spectators:
- More than 5,000 square feet of new activities, lounge areas, and exciting attractions, including our Bot Museum.
- More seating around the cages, and the cages have been moved even closer to the bleachers for a better viewing experience.
- "Walk up" cages, where you can spectate as close as you want standing around the cage.
Watching NHRL Online
All NHRL events are livestreamed on our YouTube channel.
We also upload individual fight clips to our second channel.
Don't want to wait for the event to see some robot action? Check out the highlight reel from the 2021 finals!
Spectating at NHRL
Come see some robot carnage up-close and personal! Click here to buy tickets for any of our upcoming events!
All NHRL events are open to the public for spectating. Adults and children over the age of 4 can purchase an all-day access pass for $10. This will give access to all of the spectating areas around all the fighting cages, as well as the spectator lounges, Bot Museum, and other fun combat robotics attractions. Spectators under the age of 4 are admitted for free. Any spectator under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a guardian over the age of 18.
Food trucks for our July 16th 2022 event will be announced soon!
What should I bring with me to NHRL?
Spectators are encouraged to bring a pillow, sweater, or other soft object to sit on in the bleachers while watching fights. Seat cushions will also be available for purchase at the event. We also encourage bringing hearing protection, especially for younger spectators. Free earplugs will also be provided at the event.
How do I buy a ticket?
Tickets are also available day-of at the door. We also sometimes run special promotions on ticket sales or sell them as part of a bundle through websites like Groupon. Any such deals or offers will be linked here when available.
Is there food at NHRL? Can I bring my own food/drink?
NHRL hosts a number of food trucks from local businesses serving a wide range of food. We also provide free water for all spectators. Outside food and drink are not permitted. This does not include baby food, food related to medical needs, or water. Keep in mind your admission is all-day, so you are welcome to leave and get lunch, and come back. South Norwalk has a ton of great places to eat, which you can read more about on the Travel Info page.
How do I get to NHRL?
NHRL is within walking distance of the South Norwalk train station, serviced by the MTA New Haven Line, MTA Danbury Branch, and the CTRail Shore Line East. It is also possible to drive to NHRL, and parking on site is included with your spectator pass. For more information on getting to NHRL, please see the Travel Info page.
Besides food, is there anything else to buy at NHRL?
Yes! NHRL has an official merch store, where you can buy t-shirts, stickers, magnets, and more. You are also able to purchase competitor merchandise here, to support your favorite bot.
Are alcohol or drugs permitted at NHRL?
Alcohol is permitted at NHRL for spectators aged 21 and up. Only builders with bots not active in the competition, not planning to fight grudge matches, and are aged 21 and up may drink.
Any inebriated people who are causing a disturbance, be they spectators or builders out of the competition, will be asked to leave the premises. Please drink responsibly!
NHRL does not permit the consumption of any other recreational drugs.
NHRL is a smoke-free building, but there are ashtrays located outside the building for your convenience.
What can I do besides watching robots fight at NHRL?
In addition to robot fighting, there will be opportunities to relax in our brand-new spectator area, watch behind the scenes as competitors repair/test their robots, and try driving our house bot, Brett.
What does the schedule for the day look like?
The doors open to spectators on Saturday at 10 a.m., just as the first fights of the day are starting. Food trucks will arrive be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Fights will continue nonstop until we reach the final 8 bots in each weight class (usually around 6:30 p.m.), at which point we will take a 30 minute break to allow competitors time to eat dinner and for our staff to do cage repairs. After this break, fights will resume until we have made it through all the fights in all weight classes. Fights usually conclude between 10 and 11 p.m., and the facility closes 30 minutes after the last fight of the day.
Do you offer behind the scenes tours, meet-and-greets with competitors, etc?
Currently we do not offer such things, but we hope to in the future. That being said, many competitors make a point of hanging out in the spectator areas after their fights, so just keep an eye out for those wearing NHRL competitor badges!
What is your current COVID-19 Policy?
Norwalk recently lifted its mask mandate, and the CDC has identified the COVID-19 community level in all of CT, as well as many surrounding communities, as "low", so masks will not be required at our events, unless Norwalk changes its masking policy. We will continue to follow the guidance of state and local agencies and will advise if our policy changes. Norwalk is a mask-supportive community, and we believe in the effectiveness of high-quality masks as a means of stopping the spread of COVID-19 and support individuals who choose to mask at any time for any reason.
What if I have another question?
Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be able to answer any questions you may have.
Competing at NHRL
Want to come fight at NHRL?
NHRL is open to competitors of any experience level. Before building/bringing a bot to NHRL, make sure to review our bot design rules!
There is a $25 deposit for each bot you register. As long as you check in for the event, you'll get your deposit back a few business days later. Keep in mind that there are no caps on the number of bots at NHRL events, so don't worry about rushing to sign up! Signups will close 2 weeks before the event.
What should I bring with me to compete at NHRL?
Most competitors will bring their own set of tools, spare batteries, a battery charger, and spare modules/copies of their bot for faster repairs. See the question below "What tools/equipment/space do I get to use as a competitor at NHRL?" for more information on what you can use from our facilities.
I am new to building combat robots. Where should I start?
If you are new to combat robotics, I would suggest reading The Combat Design Handbook, which can be downloaded for free here. You should also join our Discord, where you can ask questions and get advice from other competitors as well as our staff.
If you want some inspiration for your bot, you can check out past competitors here;
Is there any way to get help with my bot?
The staff and facilities at NHRL are also available to help builders. Our staff can offer technical advice, assistance in assembly/construction, loan new builders parts to use, and even assist in fabricating parts for your robot. Contact email@example.com or ask a staff member on the Discord for more information.
What tools/equipment/space do I get to use as a competitor at NHRL?
Each competitor at NHRL gets 1 pit table, which is a 6' x 36" folding table, and 2 padded folding chairs. Each pit table has at least 2 outlets and 2 USB charging ports at it. Competitors also get access to free high-speed WiFi during events.
During the event, all of our safety test boxes are available for competitors to use. We ask that you refrain from fighting in these cages though.
All competitors have access to our workshop facilities, fully stocked with tools, hardware, and equipment. Tools from the workshop are not allowed to be removed from the workshop, so any work with them must be done there rather than at your pit tables. For help with specialized equipment, like welders, staff can assist you.
What does the schedule look like for the day? When can I come to NHRL?
Competitors can access the facilities on both the Friday before the event and the Saturday of the event. On Friday, the facility is open from noon to 10 p.m.. During this time, competitors can complete check-in, set up their pits, pass safety, and use the workshop facilities. Once doors close at 10 p.m., all equipment must be unplugged (especially battery chargers!), and the facility doors will be kept locked until the event on the following day under 24/7 CCTV monitoring, so don't worry about leaving stuff overnight.
On Saturday, doors open to competitors at 8 a.m., and all competitors must have passed safety and be fight-ready by 9:30 a.m.. Keep in mind that the line for safety is longer on Saturday than it is Friday, so try to get there early to pass safety (or even better, come Friday!). Failure to pass safety on time can result in disqualification.
The first fight of the day will take place at 10 a.m., and fights will continue back-to-back across all weight classes until we reach the final 8 bots in each weight class. At this time (usually around 6:30 p.m.), we will take a 30-minute break as we reset the cages and prepare for the last fights of the day. These last fights of the day usually will take us until 10 or 11 p.m.. Competitors are welcome to stay the entire event, or are also allowed to leave once their fights are done for the day.
How many fights will I be in during an event?
NHRL is a double-elimination tournament, meaning that you will keep fighting until you have lost twice. For most competitors, this averages out to 3-4 fights over the course of th day. Later in the day, competitors are also allowed to request "grudge matches" against each other, where two (or more!) bots can face off against eachother, independent of the tournament bracket.
How much time do I have between fights?
Competitors are guaranteed at least 20 minutes between fights. Towards the start of the day, though, this can be more in the range of hours. When your time is nearly up or your fight is coming up soon, your name will appear on a list on all the TVs in the pits, indicating it is time to report in for your fight.
Can I bring multiple bots?
Yes, there are no rules at NHRL prohibiting you from entering multiple bots in different weight categories, or even the same weight category. However, the 20-minute repair time rule applies to each bot independently, so you may end up in back-to-back fights if you have too many bots. It is your responsibility to manage your time if you bring multiple bots, and having multiple bots to fight will not be accepted as an excuse if you are facing disqualification for being late to a fight.