FIRST® Tech Challenge Addendum

A-Z Guide

2018 FIRST® Championship Houston
For overall event-specific info in Houston, see Event A-Z Guide

Alliance Selections

Teams must be prepared for Alliance Selection. Alliance selections will take place Saturday morning at 8:00am. For more information about our Alliance Selections, please read our Game Manual Part 1.

Awards Ceremony

Our FIRST Tech Challenge Judged Awards Ceremony will be at our competition fields on Saturday at 12:00 noon. We will award the winners of our event judged awards and our division finalist awards. Our Inspire winner and winning alliance will be awarded at our Closing Ceremony at Minute Maid Park, on Saturday.

Competition Kickoff

FIRST Tech Challenge will host our competition kickoff on the FIRST Tech Challenge competition fields on Wednesday, at 3:00pm.

Driver’s Meeting

A mandatory Drivers Meeting will be held on Wednesday at 2:00pm on the competition fields. Qualification Matches will begin at 4:00pm on Wednesday.

Drive Team Buttons

Each team will receive Drive Team badges as a part of their Team Registration packet. Wear the badge on the front of your shirt near the left shoulder so Referees, Judges, and Queuers can see it. These badges allow the wearers access to the playing field and designate:

  • One Coach Badge
  • Two Driver Badges

IMPORTANT! Teams participating in the Final rounds at Minute Maid Park will each receive extra credentials and instructions in a team meeting immediately following the Division Semi Finals rounds. Please plan to bring your robot, extra batteries, spare parts, your tool kits, and any additional items you deem necessary to Minute Maid Park for our final matches.


Field Inspection will take place on our competition fields. Hardware Inspection will take place in your team’s pit area. Appointment times are non-negotiable. The Inspectors often spot problems and provide suggestions for correction. Your robot must pass inspection to compete, but it doesn’t have to be completely ready in order to request a preliminary inspection. Be sure that your robot meets the guidelines as outlined in the Game Manual Part 1 and Part 2, as well as stipulations posted to the Game Forum (see “Game Rules” for more information and a link to the documents).

Teams will have one Inspection appointment time. During your appointment, your team’s Robot will move through a Hardware Inspection and Field Inspection. Be sure to be prepared when arriving to your Inspection appointment.


Team Judging starts at 8:30am on Wednesday. Your scheduled meeting times are posted on your Team Registration packet. Arrive early to your appointment and bring your Engineering Notebook with Control Award Content Sheet (see below) and your Robot. Please note that there will be no power available in Judging Rooms. Teams should review the judging process and criteria in the Game Manuals prior to their Judging appointment.

Load In

Teams will drive up to the first-floor loading dock off of Chartres Street, Halls B. Teams cannot unload on Chartres Street. Teams cannot leave vehicles unattended at any time. Team Vehicles will be directed to numbered spaces by load in volunteers.

Load Out

Please be respectful of other teams and the public in your departure, leave your area clean, and be safe. Team load out will be Saturday, 8:00am-3:00pm.

Step 1. Please have your driver place their orange load out pass in the front windshield of their vehicle.

Step 2. On Saturday, when your team is completely packed and ready to load out, bring your packed equipment to the queue, door A by the loading docks.

Step 3. Please call your driver and have them proceed to the Gate B entrance on Chartres Street. There will be one lane designated for FIRST Tech Challenge on Chartres Street. DO NOT use the FIRST Robotics Competition lanes or the driver will be asked to circle around the block to get into the correct lane.

Step 4. Team vehicles should arrive within 10-15 minutes from your call. Drivers cannot arrive before the team is in queue at the loading dock. Your driver will be provided a loading dock space number as they pull into the loading dock area by a load out volunteer. Drivers must stay with their vehicles at all times.

Step 5. Please move your packed pit items to the assigned dock space number when told by one of the load out volunteers. Please be respectful of other teams and the public in your departure and leave your area clean.


Wednesday, April 18
4:00pm – 5:30pm             Qualification Matches

Thursday, April 19
8:00am – 5:00pm             Qualification Matches

Friday, April 20
8:00am – 5:00pm             Qualification Matches

Saturday, April 21
8:00 – 8:15am                  Alliance Selections          
8:15am – 8:30am             Elimination Round Driver’s Meeting
10:00am – 11:00am        Division Semi-Finals
11:00am – 11:30am        Division Finals
12:00pm – 1:15pm          Judge Award Ceremony
6:30pm – 8:30pm             Final Matches at Minute Maid Park

Media Badges

Each Team Registration packet will contain 1 non-transferable Team Media Pass and a copy of the Media Pass Guidelines. The Media representative for a team will be permitted in designated media access areas only during their team’s matches. Team Media representatives are not permitted on the playing field surface, on the playing field floor during final rounds or ceremonies, or in any private venues, VIP, Volunteer, or Judges’ areas, or the FIRST Media Center for professional, bona fide media. Mascots will not be recognized as an official Team media person, unless they are wearing the Media Pass. There is no special access for Media Badge holders for final matches.

Minute Maid Park Access

All officially badged participants will enter Minute Maid Park without going through metal detectors. All bags will be checked manually. All participants should limit the bags that are brought to Minute Maid Park as bags slow the entry process. Please only bring your essentials and, if possible, return bags and backpacks back to your hotels before attending the closing ceremony.

Team Check-in

We encourage teams to take advantage of our Early Bird Check-in. Early Bird Check-in is Tuesday, 3pm-6pm. Wednesday check-in will be 6:00am – 8:00am. All teams must be checked in by 8am on Wednesday. Teams will need to check in at the Team Check-in table to receive their team packet. Your team packet will have your judging and inspection schedule, driver and coach buttons, team schedules, event information, and media passes. To complete check-in you will also need to send a coach to the registration desk with their ID so that they can get your team’s badges printed. You will need team badges to access most areas of the event. Please register your team members and team spectators in Experient before the event to speed up your registration and check-in process on site.

Pit Announcements

Parts requests will be grouped together and announced every 20 minutes. To submit a request, write your division, team number, and needed part on a piece of paper and give it to the Pit Administration staff. Additional announcements will be made at half hour intervals. Personal and irrelevant announcements will not be made.


Each Team is allocated a 10’ x 10’ x 10’ (3.05 x 3.05 x 3.05 m) Pit space. Extending beyond your Pit space is not allowed and you must set up your Pit within your Pit area (using the aisles is not allowed). Each Pit will have access to one electrical outlet in a dual outlet box. Teams should remember to be gracious in their positioning and usage of the dual outlet box. Aisles must be clear for robot movement, safety, and queuing reasons, so we suggest that team members watch the matches and cheer on the teams instead of overflowing the pit stations into the aisles. One table is provided, but no chairs. There is a 10’ (3.05 m) height limit. Structures, signage, or banners cannot be higher than ten feet above the floor. Do not build any structure that supports people or stores items above the work area/pit space. If the height exceeds ten feet, you will be asked to take it down. No advance placement requests are available. Positioning is numerical by division. No requests for displays, additional tables, Pit locations, division assignments, meeting rooms, or additional space will be considered. Please remember that everyone must wear safety glasses at all time in the Pit Area.

Practice Fields

There will be two (4) complete Competition Fields, (2) per division. Safety glasses are required at all times on all Practice Field spaces. Practice fields are available on a first come, first served basis. Teams must sign up for a time with the Practice Field attendant. Wi-fi and power will not be provided at the practice fields. Teams should plan accordingly.


Teams are responsible for knowing their match times and will have to queue up a half hour prior to their matches without the help of an announcer. For Qualification matches, FIRST will make every effort to keep close to the published schedules. Keep close watch of the pit display for any moment-to-moment changes. If your team is one of the first six matches of the day, queue early enough to be on the field before the competition kickoff.

IMPORTANT! Please plan to arrive in the pit when the doors open at 7:00am. Teams who will be participating during the first six matches in the morning will be asked to be in queue and be at the playing field well in advance of the 8:00am start. When Queuers come to collect you, be gracious and don’t delay. Not arriving on time for your match will result in match forfeiture.

Schedule and Team Lists

Team Lists and Schedules will be available on the Championship website and in the Championship App. The 2018 FIRST Championship App can be downloaded from our website or you may search for "2018 FIRST Championship" in the App Store or Google Play Store. Install and open app. Tap on the Houston or Detroit guide from the home screen.

Scoring Disputes

All questions about a match or scores must be brought forward to the Referees by using the Referee Question Box located in the Competition Area. Only one representative from an Alliance is permitted to enter the Question Box, and must do so within the outlined time based on the type of match being played:

  • Qualification Matches: A team must enter the question box to dispute a match within the time period of three (3) matches following the disputed match.
  • Elimination Matches/Final Matches: A team must enter the question box to dispute a match before the start of the next match played by the Alliance, regardless if the team is participating in the next match. The next match played could involve different Alliances.

The student representative should be prepared to cite the rule in question to the Referee. Head Referees will only discuss calls, scores, penalties, or match outcomes with students. The Head Referee’s ruling is final, and there is no recourse. There is no review of tape or digital media. For additional information please refer to the Game Manual Part 1.

Student Ambassadors

As part of the FIRST Championship, we ask FIRST participants to assist us in providing fun and exciting tours to our generous Sponsors and other special guests. We know our students are our best tour guides, and our guests would love to meet you! Volunteer to be a Student Ambassador at the FIRST Championship this year and show our guests what FIRST is all about. This role will be one to two hours during the entire event. To volunteer, please apply through the Volunteer Registration found at

Vendor Booths and Robot Doctor

The vendor booths and Robot Service Center is in the FIRST Tech Challenge Pit area next to our main entrance. These booths are an opportunity for you to seek technical help, spare parts, or assistance with repairs from our generous sponsor CEWD and vendors AndyMark, Pitsco, and REV Robotics. Even if you don’t need their help, we encourage teams to check in and thank them for their support.