At the Robot Game, the teams compete with robots they have built in advance out of LEGO® parts and programmed by themselves. Within 2 ½ minutes they try on the approximately 2 m2 large playing field, to get as many points. The robot must act autonomously, all movements must be performed independently by the program. Remote controls are not allowed.

At all tournaments of a season the same playing fields and missions are used worldwide. The way in which the objects are achieved and the order in which they are dissolved, are not prescribed. Accordingly, the robots of the team look completely different, even though they are all built from LEGO®.

Guiding Principles

GP01 – Gracious Professionalism®
  • The FLL Tournament should be driven by fairness.
  • You compete hard against problems, while treating all people with respect and kindness.
  • If you joined FIRST® LEGO® League with a main goal of “winning a robotics competition,” you’re in the wrong place!
GP02 – Interpretation
  • If a detail isn’t mentioned, it doesn’t matter.
  • Robot Game text means exactly and only what it plainly says.
  • If a word isn’t given a game definition, use its common conversational meaning.
GP03 – Benefit of the doubt
  • If the referee feels something is a “very tough call,” and no one can point to strong text in any particular direction, you get the “benefit of the doubt.”
  • This good-faith courtesy is not to be used as a strategy.
GP04 – Variability
  • Our partners and volunteers try hard to make all fields correct and identical, but you should always expect little defects and differences.
  • Top teams design with these in mind.
  • Examples include border wall splinters, lighting changes, and field mat wrinkles.
  • Questions about conditions at a particular tournament should be directed to that tournament’s officials, the contact dates you can find at the FLL Regional Websites.
GP05 – Information Superiority
  • If two official facts disagree, or confuse you when read together, here’s the order of their authority (with 1 being the strongest):

1 = Current Robot Game updates (FAQ) 
2 = Missions and Field Setup
3 = Rules
4 = Local head referees - in unclear situations, local head referees may make good-faith decisions after discussion, with rule GP03 in mind.

  • Pictures and video have no authority, except when talked about in one, two, or three.
  • Emails and forum comments have no authority.


D01 – Match
  • A “match” is when two teams play opposite each other on two fields placed north to north.
  • Matches last 2½ minutes, and the timer never pauses.
  • Your robot launches one or more times from base and tries as many missions as possible.
D02 – Mission
  • A “mission” is an opportunity for the robot to earn points.
  • Requirements are written in the form of
    • Results that must be visible to the referee at the end of the match.
    • Methods that must be observed by the referee as they happen.
D03 – Equipment
  • “Equipment” is everything you bring to a match for a mission-related activity.
D04 – Robot
  • Your “robot” is your LEGO® MINDSTORMS® controller and all the equipment you’ve combined with it by hand which is not intended to separate from it, except by hand.
D05 – Mission Model
  • A “mission model” is any LEGO® element or structure already at the field when you get there.
  • Mission models are not the same as “equipment”.
D06 – Field
  • The “field” is the robot’s game environment, consisting of mission models on a mat, surrounded by border walls, all on a table.
  • “Base” is part of the field.
  • For full details, see Field Setup.
D07 – Base
  • “Base” is the space directly above the field’s quarter-circle region, in the southwest.
  • It extends southwest from the outside of the thin curved line to the corner walls (no further).
  • The thin line around any scoring area counts as part of that area.
  • When a precise location related to a line is unclear, the outcome most favorable for the team is assumed.
D08 – Launch
  • Whenever you’re done with handling the robot and then you make it go, that’s a “launch.”
D09 – Interruption
  • The next time you interact with the robot after launching it, that’s an “interruption.”
D10 – Transporting

When a thing (anything) is purposefully/strategically being…

  • taken from its place, and/or
  • moved to a new place, and/or
  • being released in a new place,

it is being “transported.” The process of being transported ends when the thing being transported is no longer in contact with whatever was transporting it.

Equipment, software, and people

R01 - All Equipment

All equipment must be made of LEGO®-made building parts in original factory condition.

  • Except: LEGO® string and tubing may be cut shorter.
  • Except: Program reminders on paper are okay (off the field).
  • Except: Marker may be used in hidden areas for identification.
R02 - Controllers
  • You are allowed to use only one individual controller in any particular match.
  • It must exactly match a type shown below (except color).


  • All other controllers must be left in the Pit Area for that match.
  • All remote control or data exchange with robots (including bluetooth) in the competition area is illegal.
  • This rule limits you to only one individual robot in any particular match.
R03 - Motors
  • You are allowed to use up to four individual motors in any particular match.
  • Each one must exactly match a type shown below.
  • You may include more than one of a type, but again, your grand total may not be greater than FOUR.
  • ALL other motors must be left in the Pit Area for that match, no exceptions.
EV3 large motor EV3 medium motor


R04 - External sensors
  • Use as many external sensors as you like.
  • Each one must exactly match a type shown below.
  • You may include more than one of each type.
R05 - Other Electric/Electronic Things
  • No other electric/electronic things are allowed in the competition area for mission-related activity.
  • Except: LEGO® wires and converter cables are allowed as needed.
  • Except: Allowable power sources are one controller’s power pack or six AA batteries.
R06 - Non-electric Elements
  • Use as many non-electric LEGO® elements as you like, from any set.
  • Except: Factory-made wind-up/pull-back “motors” are not allowed.
  • Except: Additional/duplicate mission models are not allowed.
R07 - Software
  • The robot may only be programmed using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® RCX, NXT, EV3, or RoboLab software (any release).
  • No other software is allowed.
  • Patches, add-ons, and new versions of the allowable software from the manufacturers (LEGO® and National Instruments) are allowed, but tool kits, including the LabVIEW tool kit, are not allowed.
R08 - Technicians
  • Only two team members, called “technicians,” are allowed at the competition field at once.
  • Except: Others may step in for true emergency repairs during the match, then step away.
  • The rest of the team must stand back as directed by tournament officials, with the expectation of fresh technicians being able to switch places with current technicians at any time if desired.

Robot Game

R09 – Before the Match Timer Starts
  • After getting to the field on time, you have at least one minute to prepare.
  • During this special time only, you may also ...
    • ask the referee to be sure a mission model or setup is correct, and/or
    • calibrate light/color sensors anywhere you like.
R10 – Handling during the match
  • Only the robot is allowed to interact with any part of the field that’s not COMPLETELY in base.
    • Except: You may interrupt the robot any time.
    • Except: You may pick up equipment that broke off the robot unintentionally, anywhere, any time.
  • You are not allowed to cause anything to move or extend over the base line, even partly.
    • Except: Of course, you may launch the robot.
    • Except: You may move/handle/store things off the field, any time.
    • Except: If something accidentally crosses the base line, just calmly take it back – no problem.
  • Anything the robot affects (good or bad!) or puts completely outside base stays as is unless the robot changes it. Nothing is ever repositioned so you can “try again.”
R11 – Mission Model Handling
  • You are not allowed to take mission models apart, even temporarily.
  • If you combine a mission model with something (including the robot), the combination must be loose enough that if asked to do so, you could pick the mission model up and nothing else would come with it.
R12 – Storage
  • Anything completely in base may be moved/stored off the field, but must stay in view of the referee, on a stand.
  • Everything in off-field storage “counts” as being completely in base and may be placed on an approved holder.
R13 – Launching

A proper launch (or re-launch) goes like this:

  • Ready situation
    • Your robot and everything in base which is about to move or use is arranged by hand as you like, all fitting completely in base and measuring no taller than 12 inches (30.5 cm).
    • The referee can see that nothing on the field is moving or being handled.
  • Go!
    • Reach down and touch a button or signal a sensor to activate a program.
  • If first launch of the match – in this case, accurate fair timing is needed, so the exact time to launch is the beginning of the last word/sound in the countdown, such as “Ready, set, GO!” or BEEEEP!
R14 – Interrupting
  • If you interrupt the robot, you must stop it immediately, *then calmly pick it up for a re-launch (*if you intend one).
  • Here’s what happens to the robot and anything it was transporting, depending on where each was at the time:
  • Robot
    • Completely in base: re-launch.
    • NOT completely in base: re-launch + penalty.
  • Transported thing which came from base during the most recent launch
    • Always: keep it.
  • Transported thing which did not come from base during the most recent launch
    • Completely in base: keep it.
    • NOT completely in base: give it to the referee.
  • The “penalty” is described with the missions.
  • If you do not intend to re-launch – in this case, you may shut the robot down and leave it in place. (See also "Changes for 2018/19")
R15 – Stranding
  • If the uninterrupted robot loses something it was transporting, that thing must be allowed to come to rest.
  • Once it does, here’s what happens to that thing, depending on its rest location...
  • Transported thing
    • Completely in base: keep it.
    • Partly in base: give it to the referee.
    • Completely outside base: leave as is.
R16 – Interference
  • You are not allowed to negatively affect the other team except as described in a mission.
  • Missions the other team tries but fails to get because of illegal action by you or your robot will count for them.
R17 – Field Damage
  • If the robot separates Dual Lock or breaks a mission model, missions obviously made possible or easier by this damage or the action that caused it do not score.
R18 – End of the Match
  • As the match ends, everything must be preserved exactly as-is.
    • If your robot is moving, stop it as soon as possible and leave it in place. (Changes after the end don’t count.)
    • After that, hands off everything until the referee has given the “okay” to reset the table.
R19 – Scoring
  • Scoresheet/Scoringsoftware: The referee discusses what happened and inspects the field with you, mission by mission.
    • If you agree with everything, you sign the sheet, and the scoresheet is final.
    • If you don’t agree with something, the head referee makes the final decision.
  • Impact: Only your best score from regular match counts toward awards/advancement.


Serious Changes for 2018/19


  • If you interrupt the robot while it is transporting something it took from base during the most recent launch, you can now keep that object.


  • Border lines are always part of the area they define.
  • Disputes related to the thickness of thin lines (such as the border of base) always settle in favor of the team.
  • You need to conform to local event standards regarding the style and size of your storage trays and carts.
  • It is okay to shut off the robot and leave it in place without penalty if it is done with intended missions.


  • Important questions are published at the “FAQ” section for all teams.
  • For official answers to questions send an email to HANDS on TECHNOLOGY e.V.
  • Questions will be answered in due time.

All Robot Game documents are available as a pdf download – please go back and click “Downloads”. Please remember to work on the Research Project as well as on the Robot Game missions.