2017 competition – Pi Wars 3.0

When is Pi Wars?

The next Pi Wars competition will be held on 1st-2nd April 2017 at the Cambridge Computer Laboratory, the same venue as last year.

Why not December?

Following feedback from the last competition, we have decided to change the date to April. This was for several reasons, but primarily it was because we want to encourage more schools’ teams to enter. We had previously thought (naively) that competing robots would be built during curriculum time, as there is a lot to learn during the process. We were completely wrong – schools’ teams tend to come instead from lunchtime and after-school clubs. With the new term starting in September and the competition in December, this gave them only limited time in which to build, program and test their robot to make it competitive. By giving teams an additional three months, we hope to overcome this issue and therefore encourage more involvement from schools.

Why two days?

We recently asked for people to register their interest and we have been overwhelmed with responses. More than 120 potential teams have registered. Therefore, we are planning at this stage to run the competition over two days in the following way:

  • School or Club predominantly involving children – Saturday
  • Family or Group of friends – Sunday
  • Amateur or beginner/intermediate hobbyist(s) – Sunday
  • Professional or expert hobbyist(s) – Saturday or Sunday

What are the rules?

You can read the general rules here. There are also rules for each challenge and you can read those on the list of challenges.

What challenges will there be this time?

We have decided that evolution rather than revolution is the way to go and so, in keeping with previous years, there are some challenges making a return along with some new challenges to keep things fresh.

You can read the complete list of challenges and rules here.

How do I enter?

Applications for entry will open on 1st August and close on 22nd September. Mike and Tim will then analyse and assess the applications and make decisions on the 28th/29th September with notifications sent out on Saturday 1st October.

Please review the Application and Selection process.

How can we hope to compete?

This time, we are going to be handling things very differently in terms of categorising teams and robots. Whereas previously we relied on the cost of the robot (2014) and the size of the robot (2015), this time we will be grouping teams into categories according to skill level and access to equipment. These have yet to be finalised but our current thinking is:

  • Schools and other clubs.
  • Families and groups of friends.
  • Hobbyists with access to a Makespace/Hackspace.
  • Hobbyists without access to a Makespace/Hackspace.

There may be some crossover, so as well as asking teams what category they would like to be in, we may shift things around a bit to make the competition fairer.

By categorising teams in this manner, it means we can also be much fairer with awards – there will be a much wider spread of prizes amongst competitors this year.

What about side-competitions?

It’s mostly all-change this year. We will be awarding points according to artistic and technical merit. These will be added to challenge scores to find the overall winners. Teams will be encouraged to blog about their experiences – they will earn points for this as well as there being an overall Blogging Award.

How do I build a robot?

We have a Getting Started guide that takes you through various options and introduces you to some video guides that show you the basics of building your very own robot.

How can I keep up-to-date with Pi Wars news?

Very simple: sign up to the mailing list. You get advance notice of ticket sales and other insider information!

How can I sponsor Pi Wars?

If you would like to donate prizes to Pi Wars, please visit this page and take a look at the information there. Then, contact us from there – we’d love to hear from you!

How can I get in contact with you?

Visit this page and send us your questions!