January 28th 2023


January 28th will be the first event in the 2023 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.

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.

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. Still, we recommend that you do something innovative or creative with that kit.

If you've never competed at NHRL before, you are welcome to fight in January! 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 hello@nhrl.io 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 hello@nhrl.io to get pre-clearance.

What to expect at NHRL

Whether you attend NHRL as a competitor or as a spectator, it's an unforgettable experience! Here's what to expect.

We have six cages where robot fights happen, in two different areas!

One area is the Steel Arena, which contains Cages 1 and 4, for 12lb and 30lb bots, and Cages 2 and 3, for 3lb bots.

Another area is the Titanium Stage, which contains Cages 5 and 6, both for 3lb bots.

Each area generally gets its own stream on event day, with dedicated announcers.

If you're a spectator with VIP tickets, you can get a special, close-up view of both areas. You can also relax in our dedicated VIP lounge, with drinks and some soft sofas. And, you can go on an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of NHRL!

We have a bunch of other great things that all our spectators can check out.

  • Our Bot Museum, with notable bots you may have seen on TV.
  • An outdoor patio, with plenty of food trucks with delicious offerings.
  • The Brett Experience, where you can try your hand at driving Brett the Brick.
  • The Sparky Store, where you can buy souvenirs like t-shirts and stickers.
  • A sign-making station, where you can support your favorite competitors.

Spectator tickets run as low as $10. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a guardian 18 or over. Children 4 and under get in free.

If you're a competitor, you're in for a treat! We welcome competitors of all backgrounds and skill levels. Here's what you can expect...

  • An enormous pit area on the second floor.
  • A large workshop filled with all sorts of tools to help fix your bot.
  • An amazing, supportive, and helpful community.
  • No registration fees! (There is a $25 per-bot deposit that's refunded after you attend the event.)
  • The best competition in the world!

Watching NHRL Online

All NHRL events are livestreamed on our YouTube channel.

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 public spectators. 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.

Also, look for our VIP tickets, where you can relax in our lounge, experience our fights close-up, and go on a behind-the-scenes tour!

Read more about our spectator experience.

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. Signups close 2 weeks before the event.

Read more about competing at NHRL here.