[FRC Blog] Detailed Information about the 2021 Season

Posted on the FRC Blog, 9/30/2020: https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc/blog/2021-more-details

Detailed Information about the 2021 Season

Sep 30, 2020 | Written by Frank Merrick.

Hello FIRST Robotics Competition Teams!

2021 Season is a buffet of choices! FIRST Robotics Competition

We’re very excited to provide you more information about the 2021 season! You can find it in this document. Thursday’s info was more of an overview. Today’s document provides much more detail.

As you will see, even if we don’t have official events in 2021, there are still exciting ways to be engaged in FRC. I think of it like one of those buffet restaurants (or how they were before COVID, anyway) - not everything may appeal to everyone, but hopefully, there’s something that each team will enjoy! Even within the challenge categories, teams can focus on specific elements and still be successful!

Is this going to be as amazing as a typical season in which every team gets to an event? Uhhhhhh…no. Let’s just say it - nothing can replace the energy and excitement of in-person FRC competitions. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a fantastic and worthwhile season working on these brand-new challenges. And in 2021, with respect to the Game Design Challenge and the Innovation Challenge anyway, more teams are closer to being ‘rookies’ than in any recent year. I’m excited to see how this change in the competitive landscape will play out!

Who is going to knock the socks* off the judges this season and forever earn a place in FIRST history? No one can predict, but I can’t wait to find out!

Registration opens at Noon Eastern Time on Tuesday, October 6. Please join us! It’s going to be a year to remember!


*Do people still wear socks? Or even still use this expression? IDK. (I’m told IDK means ‘I don’t know,’ please correct me in the comments below if I’m wrong.)


Some things that stick out to me:

  • Most KOP stuff being in FIRST Choice is an an interesting move. I don’t know how I feel about this change, but with the BOM incentives to get stuff you don’t really need gone, this could work out pretty well
  • A “group” is mentioned in the IR@H awards section, but there doesn’t seem to be any information about how the other teams in the group is determined. Is it geographic? Do we sign up to join a specific group? Is it totally random and we could end up facing teams from around the world?
  • No progression is mentioned in IR@H other than the Championship, but they imply a “next level of selection” in the Q&A. I assume that means there’s going to be different levels of “competition” beyond the “group”, but I guess we’ll have to wait for more info.
  • Also of note, no field elements are required for IR@H. The Power Port is also mentioned, so I guess they have some way of simulating that, and other challenges, without any field elements. (AR? Tape on wall? Something in the KOP?)
  • Innovation challenge definitely looks like a beefed-up FLL project combined with aspects of the Entrepreneurship award and Chairman’s. I wonder if it’ll come back in 2022 given the amount of work they seem to be putting into it.
  • Teams with mentors that run CADathons will be OP in the game design challenge.

What stuck out to me was that teams will need only 3 balls for IR@H, could we be seeing a restriction of robot capacity this coming year?

screams in 5 ball capacity spindexer

That would be a considerably annoying change to the game and cause many teams to want to completely overhaul their robot given significantly different constraints. 5 of these silly putty balls are a pain any way you slice it, and cutting that number down really wouldn’t be fair to teams that wanted to play at a high level with their previous year’s robot.

Of course, it’s likely that none of that will matter.



In reality, honestly probably not much, the CADathon “gdc” is made up of many people from many different teams and we go through many ideas bounced off each other and many community suggestions before deciding on a game design. It’s not the same as what this will be… I think anyway.


Doubtful, especially given previous statements on what kinds of changes were under consideration. Seems more likely to me that this is to ensure that any team participating in the 2021 IR@H challenge is guaranteed to have enough balls to compete without needing to purchase more. FIRST stated that teams will receive 3 balls in the 2021 kickoff kit.

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Out of curiosity, how do you always post these first?


Because those of us who see them and come here looking for a thread are too lazy to post it and just wait for him to do it? Not saying that i’ve done that before or anything…


Sure earns him a lot of :heart: top topics.


I’m unclear as to how many Game Design Challenge awards will be given out. I understand the top 20 will advance to the top 3, but how big is the pool the top 20 are in? It says top 20 of winners; how many winners will there be? Will they be selected from a district, or a region, or a country, or will they come from numerical order of team number, or will they come from some other type of division?

Also, I find it interesting that it says 2019 CMP winners will not pre-qualify for 2021CMP, but it makes no mention of HoF or OAS teams.


LOL*, yes Frank IDK means that. *And LOL means Laughing Out Loud.
As for Socks, Eso si que es. I’m too old to know if that phrase would be understood today. I think it would though.

You need to lease a teenager for this kind of social data. They must have them in Manchester? Or hire a pre-college intern. Isn’t SNHU just around the corner??

Ryan is ALWAYS paying attention, that’s how.


Have you ever seen Ryan and Frank in the same room together? Seems pretty sus to me…


@DonRotolo, got any older evidence to respond to this one?

Personally I suspect Ryan of being a bot of some form. I have “other evidence”, rather older…

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I think Ryan has an alarm rigged to tug his toe whenever Frank posts.

These two built it.


Shoot! Frank, he’s onto us! Amscray!


I’m so glad the Ryan Truthers are coming forth.


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