FAQs for Teams

We know there are usually lots of questions from THOR newcomers and veterans alike. So we've put together a list of the questions we most commonly get and their answers. If your question doesn't appear here, send it to us at THOR@firstnorthcarolina.org and we'll get you an answer. We may even add it to this list!

What is an off-season competition?

Off-season competitions are a chance for teams to have additional fun with their robots, to train new students, and to bring in members of the community to see what FIRST is all about. The first off-season competitions were held in the late 1990s with the "Rumble at the Rock" events in Massachusetts. Over the years, the number of events has grown all across the US with NC joining the mix in 2013.

How is an off-season competition different from an official event?

Two main differences:
1) This is a one-day only event so fewer matches, no judging and only robot game awards (Champions and Finalists).
2) No robot inspections - Teams are on-their-honor to bring robots that are compliant and would pass inspection (if there were any)
And one more difference - no 10x10 pits. Each team will have a table and some floor space. But please don't bring your usual full-blown pit display. Just what you absolutely need to keep your robot functional.

Why two THORs?

Twice the fun!
Seriously, though, we are working hard to get more teams involved in more parts of North Carolina. By hosting events in rural locations such as Pembroke, we hope to engage more communities in FIRST. But we also know that it is important to have an event close to where the majority of teams are located so....two events to meet both needs.

Another reason for two events: We need to deepen our volunteer pool for many key positions. THOR gives people a chance to try out a new volunteer position and gives us a chance to start training more referees, technical crew folks and more. Interested? Check out the volunteer page and sign up!

Do we have to build a new robot?

No, you compete with your 2017 FIRST Steamworks robot. You are welcome to modify it, add a new function to it, improve or test a new idea. Just make sure it would pass inspection. And keep in mind that the Head Referee reserves the right to request changes to your robot if it is deemed unsafe or looks suspiciously heavy or over-sized.

Are we playing the same game?

Depends. For FRC, we will be playing the same 2017 game, FIRST Steamworks. We reserve the right to make tweaks to the game fi we think it will make the event better for teams. These are usually small tweaks that reduce penalties or simplify rules or have been made at other off-season events with good results.

FTC will be hosting a scrimmage of the new 2017/2018 game Relic Recovery.  This is your team's chance to test out your robot before official events start.

Do we have to bag and tag our robot?


What's the schedule?

The tentative schedule is below. Keep in mind that this is subject to change and depends upon how many teams participate at each event.

7:30 am - Team check-in
9:15 am - Mandatory Driver's Meeting; Match Schedule Released
9:30 am - Opening Ceremonies
9:45 am - Qualification Matches Begin
12:00 pm- Lunch Break
12:30 pm - Qualification Matches Resume
3:00 pm - Qualifications Matches End
3:10 pm - Alliance Selection
3:30 pm - Elimination Rounds Begin
5:30 pm - Awards (Finalists and Champions)
6:00 pm - Breakdown and Load-out

Will there be practice matches?

It depends. The main priority it getting all robots to the field for an FMS radio check. If all teams get this accomplished early enough, sure, we'll run some practice matches. But no promises on this.

What should we bring to the event?

CHARGED robot and power tool batteries
Battery chargers
Safety glasses for your team and guests
Hand tools and spare parts
A sense of humor and your GP!
Pre-rookies? B-teams? What's the difference?

A pre-rookie team is a team of students whose school or organization is new to FRC and they intend to register as a rookie team for the 2018 season. They may be using a veteran teams extra robot or a past robot that has been modified for this year's game. A B-team is comprised of members of your own team and is often used to give new (or veteran) team members a chance to drive and experience FRC in a different way than they may have in the past.

Do the second or recycled FRC robots need to meet all the rules?

For the most part, yes. While we won't be conducting robot inspections, you know that other teams will be checking to make sure you are playing fair. A few key things that are non-negotiable:

Bumpers - yes you need bumpers - color and number rules still apply, though you can use cheap, stick-on numbers
Keep to the weight limit
NO SHARP EDGES - really!
How much is registration?

Early Bird Registration - $300
Regular Registration - $350
Procrastinator Registration - $400
B-Team Registration - $200 (if space is available)
Pre-Rookie Team Registration - $0
Deadlines for each of the registration options can be found on the registration form.

How do we register?

Registration for FTC teams is now open.  Sign up here.

Registration for FRC teams is now closed as we are at capacity.  If you would like to be on the waitlist, please email us at thor@firstnorthcarolina.org