By Preston Frazier / September 10, 2018

3-2-1 . . . Launch! Sending robots to the moon with ROVER RUCKUS

Saturday was a big day in the world of robotics competitions. FIRST® released the 2018-19 season game details about the earlier announced ROVER RUCKUSSM. It’s already a big hit with FTCers! Because who wouldn’t want to go to the Moon?

Kicking Off the New Season

After weeks of anticipation, last Saturday robotics teams took part in kickoff events all over the country to watch the announcement of the new FIRST Tech Challenge game. I watched firsthand at the University of Minnesota (UMN) event when the newest elements and challenges in the mineral-mining, space-themed, and out-of-this-world competition were explained.

Here are a few key points:

  • On the course this year, there are two crater rims, and each has gold and silver minerals. Points are allotted to robots that can climb over the crater rim, grab the minerals, and deposit them into the Lunar Lander box, which is in the middle of the course.
  • The Lunar Lander has a gold cargo hold and a silver cargo hold. The robot must deposit the correct minerals in the correct cargo hold.
  • Extra points are awarded to teams who place their flag in the appropriate Alliance Depot.

I asked Paul Uttley, TETRIX® creator and Pitsco R&D Manager, what his thoughts were about the new ROVER RUCKUS game.

“I’m excited about the engineering challenge for this year’s competition. Itll be interesting to see how teams design a robot to climb over the crater rim and collect the minerals.”

He also thinks the endgame will be exciting, as robots have the opportunity to latch and hang on to the Lunar Lander at the end of the match for extra points.


Talk About the RUCKUS

During the UMN event, I talked with teams who are definitely excited for ROVER RUCKUS!

  • Thunder PengWin Robotics Team (Team 11150) – “We think that hanging by the lunar lander will be the most challenging part of the whole competition. We’re looking forward to being able to customize our team marker for the game.”
  • Tactical Tech Tomato Turtles (Team 14556) – “We’re looking forward to working as a team, meeting new people, learning new things, and just having fun.”
  • Wiring Warriors (Team 10430) – “We’re excited about starting and ending with the lifting and hanging portion of the game. We haven’t had to work with lifts before and are looking forward to this challenge. We’re also excited about the team marker element and how the game features a way in which the alliances can actually support each other.”
  • Nordic Storm (Team 5962) – “The part of the game when you must lift and then land goes well with the theme of landing on the Moon. Hanging will be the most challenging part, but you also get the most points, so you have to figure out how to do it.”
  • The PRIDE (Team 7588) – “There was a hanging part five to six years ago, and we’re happy they brought it back, but the most challenging part for us will be getting into the crater and grabbing the silver and gold minerals.” 

Win Big with TETRIX

There’s no doubt that there will be awesome competition this FIRST Tech Challenge season. Now that you’re launching into brainstorming, sketching, and designing, let us fuel your mission. Get inspiration and tips from Pitsco all season long and enter to win multi-month giveaways at

Don’t forget, if you’re a registered team, use your 25% discount code at the TETRIX Spare Parts Store.

Best of luck to all FIRST Tech Challenge teams. Shoot for the stars! 

FIRST ROVER RUCKUS game reveal video
Enter to Win TETRIX Giveaways
Register for FIRST Tech Challenge
FIRST Tech Challenge Storefront instructions

TOPICS: ROBOTICS, Collaborations, FIRST Tech Challenge, Technology, Engineering, Future Ready, TETRIX Robotics

Preston Frazier

Written by Preston Frazier

Hi all! I’m one of Pitsco’s education advisors and have the pleasure of serving the Midwest. I travel quite a bit visiting with teachers and presenting at workshops whenever I have the opportunity to do so. I’m an alum of the University of Missouri and Pittsburg State University and a supporter of our Big Brothers Big Sisters local chapter. I love traveling, going to sporting events, and hanging out with my wife and daughter whenever possible.