Top 5 Favorite FRC Games

I agree. Overdrive with lots of quick swerve robots would be a game announcer’s dream. That carpet damage, though….

In no order, my choices and why:

  • 2022: Very good game overall. A breath of fresh air. All game tasks worth doing (no gimmicks) and can win/lose a match.

  • 2014: Good game in retrospect (with some rule changes and field tech/reliabilty fixes). “Forces” all alliance members to contribute in some sort. Other than truss shot catching, no real gimmicks to speak of.

  • 2013: Good game. Favored offense with plenty of valid strategies (cyclers, full court shooters, climb & shoot, rapid climb, etc.). Only complaint would be that there wasn’t a reliable form of real time scoring. Few gimmicks.

  • 2019: Lots of valid strategies. No gimmicks. Interesting “set your own ceiling” autonomous (null panels vs pre-loaded cargo).

  • 2008: Of all the old games from when I was a student, it seems the 2008 matches are the ones I can watch videos of and still get exited about. Lots of valid strategies. No gimmicks other than the IR remote hybrid period (calling it a gimmick due to how easily the custom diversified systems IR boards fried and how impossible they were to replace).

And some I couldn’t vote for (even if they weren’t on the list) and why:

  • 2020/2021: Control panel was a gimmick (although as little as the game was played, this isn’t a fair assessment).
  • 2018: Time based scoring lead to a lot of irrecoverable blowouts. Not sure how one would fix that without a major game change.
  • 2017: Fuel was largely a gimmick. Field was a nightmare to deal with (which isn’t so much a game issue, but it still taints my memory). Gear scoring too invariable which lead to some crazy ties in fuel-poor events. Forced theming wasn’t my thing
  • 2016: Similar theming issues to 2017. Audience selected defenses a gimmick. Otherwise a good game (probably would rank it 7th of the games I’ve personally played or volunteered in)
  • 2015: Good engineering challenge, but a poor game to watch at all but the highest levels. Can wars became a nasty arms race. Average-based alliance rankings in playoffs led to many demoralizing upsets and early exits.
  • 2012: Coopetition bridge is a gimmick. Would probably rank as 6th place.
  • 2011: Minibots were a gimmick where one design was highly superior and the “intended” designs were all but hopeless. Wouldn’t have been a bad game had it not been for minibots.
  • 2010: DOGMA penalties were a pain and IMHO unfair. Good game otherwise (8th place?)
  • 2009: Only one wheel choice limited drivetrain designs. Poor gamepiece availability. Autonomous reliant on immature technology. Too much reliance on human players. Super cells were a lottery.

2007 and earlier: wasn’t in FIRST/FRC. But 2006 and 2007 looked to be good games in most respects.

Design convergence? Three examples of very different successful designs–perhaps the most diverse in the last decade:

Strategy evolution was as significant as in any year. How the third bot was used changed significantly to become more active on defense. That bots had to play both ways was new and still relatively unique to any FRC game so far.


I’m new to FRC this year but I think that Rapid React was a really good game for my first year. It was very simple but still entertaining

For me

  1. Stronghold and Rapid React tied
  2. Steamworks
  3. Rebound Rumble
  4. Power Up

I am a little biased toward the ones I played as a student.

Outside of 254, which is one of the 2-3 I was hinting at worth watching, you literally posted 2 robots that looked like many other robots. Especially your robot double intake with a catapult, many many robots looked like that. Now you also posted 3 very successful robots form 2014.

I guage how good a game is not on how exciting the game is on Einstein but how exciting the game is from start to finish and 14 was boring to watch at just about every level but Einstein.

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Also recycle rush:(

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For mine:

  1. Stronghold
  2. Power Up
  3. Rapid React
  4. Destination Deep Space
  5. Recycle Rush (this was my first year viewing FIRST and it was quite enjoyable)
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It is difficult to have a balance between ‘challenging’ and ‘frustrating’, while keeping games viewable for the general public. This year’s game did a good job of that.

Of course, many of the older games will be under-represented in this poll, as many of those participants aren’t on CD any more.

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no maize craize? im disappointed

  1. Power Up
  2. Aerial Assist
  3. Ultimate Ascent
  4. LogoMotion
  5. Rapid React
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The matches in 2014 were a blast to watch. It was a wide open field with only one game piece per team, and at any given moment at least one robot per alliance would be playing defense. There was a lot of sports strategy in that game that hasn’t really come up in any other game since.

I’d like to put in a word for Overdrive. That was the first FRC game I ever experienced, and it’s still one of the better games that I can remember. It was well-tuned and had a wide variety of robot designs. I’d love to see a racing-themed game again.


Thinking about this list made me realize that playing Triple Play (2005) with modern robots would be so cool. The stacks would get crazy high, and unstable, the strategy would be wild. And we’d need to optimize our robots for stacking / reaching high which would be an interesting new challenge.


I think the recent strides in team capability open up lots of interesting challenges that in the past only sort of worked (and even then only for the top-of-the-top teams). I may gripe about the FIRST organization a bunch, but the GDC has delivered pretty consistently and I’m excited to see them start reacting to the improvements in what teams can do.


I’m so happy to see Triple Play getting some love. I remember cd at that time with teasers of who had the tallest robot. Seeing chainzilla in person was incredible. I still tell my students about Einstein and watching the stacks get higher and higher. I like games where both alliances are scoring on the same goal.

Triple Play in the modern era would be a lot of fun.


I think Triple Play is probably the only game I would like to replay. Too many others have been pushed to the point where new technology and/or revealed robot strategies would break the game (replaying 2013, for instance, would mean everyone and their mother would have full court shooting in their pocket). With a bit of polish and rules-era updates (bumpers, probably re-working the human player loading, extension limits, something more exciting in autonomous/autonomous bonuses) I think Triple Play could be a great game that we haven’t maxxed out the potential of.


I’d love to replay Triple Play and Rack ‘n Roll in the current COTS ecosystem. The strategic depth of these games were hampered by the lower floor of the era, but would be so fun with today’s KoP and WPILib.

You say that as if it’s worse - that sounds inCREDIBLE

2013 replayed today with some tweaks would have such high level play - more turrets, more swerve, more climbers - it would be so hype to watch


I don’t think there’s a game in history that has had quite the same nostalgia glasses glow-up, perhaps even bordering on revisionist history at times, than Aerial Assist. While I can’t dig up all the complaints from the era (many are buried in random threads), here’s a quick sampling of what people thought of Aerial Assist back in 2014:

To summarize some of the concerns regarding Aerial Assist from back in 2014:

  • Too many fouls that changes the outcome of matches
  • Tech Fouls were worth 50 points in a game where average scores didn’t break 100 points until week 6.
  • Refs were essentially given double duty as manual scorekeepers (tracking assists and trusses) and tracking fouls
  • The game was nicknamed “Aerial Assault” for the significant amounts of damage that robots received, particularly from high speed collisions involving intakes that would deploy outside of the frame perimeter (sound familiar?)
  • Dead robots and “bad” robots could significantly impact an alliance’s ability to win a match, thanks to the assist rules essentially turning many matches into a contest of who had the weakest link. Some larger/higher resources teams attempted to mitigate this by doing things like attaching lawn chairs to robots to help them gather assists, but that still didn’t solve issues that arose when team’s would have radio or cRIO reboots, suffer damage during a match, or even pop their main breaker (remember this was the stretch where 6 CIM drivetrains existed but the roboRIO with its staggered brown outs didn’t yet, so tripping the main breaker was a real possibility).
  • Missing autonomous shots would delay the start of tele-op cycles and assist gathering, so it actively penalized less consistent teams from attempting high goal autonomous routines.
  • Pedestal lighting to start ball availability was a huge issue in week 1, and continued to be an intermittent issue in later weeks
  • Dead balls
  • The rankings at regional events were often very “noisy” and heavily dependent on qualification schedule and luck (even more so than in other years)

To make it clear, I don’t think Aerial Assist was a “bad game,” especially not at higher levels. I think those 2014 Championship matches are some of the most fun you can have watching FRC, at least as a spectator. But I do think there’s a ton of nostalgia that is associated with this particular game. Qualification matches in many games are often pretty boring (especially before the past few years), but 2014 was particularly cringe inducing. Here’s a qualification match involving a team that would end up on Einstein against a team that would be a division finalist.

Additionally, if you look at the other end of the spectrum of play, Aerial Assist eventually evolved into a game where the human players did most of the playing and the robot attempted to touch the ball as little as possible. Teams very rarely attempted to catch the ball over the truss, instead opting for trussing to their human players. Eventually teams minimized passing the ball directly between robots, instead opting to gain possession credit as quickly as possible and give the ball directly back to their human players so the HP could then feed the next robot in the cycle. By IRI, even elite-level teams like 2056 were reduced to being elastic springboards that human players could execute “bounceback passes” onto.

Some of the most praised strategies involved robots that would gain a scoring position and then never move:


2014 fails then

2014 was still very fun (at higher levels) to watch and is justifiably a very good game, and Lavery above does a way better job of discussing this anyways…

That sounds like they all will be hanging out in the loading stations instead…? likely end up with 2 full court shooters and 1 cleanup, or worse a 2015 style “sit and look pretty” bot

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