Teams are tasked with automating farming tasks by attempting the following objectives:

  • Plant corn seeds.
  • Harvest and deliver corn.
  • Harvest and deliver tomatoes.
  • Harvest and deliver lettuce.
  • Round up, secure, and feed loose pigs.
  • Turn on water valve.

Each team has its own pig pen that also serves as a starting location for their robot. The pigs that have escaped from the pens are located throughout the field and can be secured by being returned to the pig pen and having the pen gate closed. The area around the team's pig pen is a non-blocking zone that other teams must vacate when the pen-owning team is in the area.

Starting Pen

The playing field includes four corn plots that are not assigned to any particular team; that is, any team can harvest and/or plant corn on any of the corn plots. The ears of corn (paint rollers) can be deposited into the team's harvest bin near the center of the field, or in the central community bin beneath the windmill. Alternatively, the ears of corn can be used to feed pigs that have been returned to the pig pen. The area surrounding the team's corn bin is a non-blocking zone where the bin owning team has preferred access.

Corn Plot
Windmill with Corn Bins

Corn seeds (golf balls) are color matched to each team's starting position. The seeds must enter the field through the team's silo and the robot must plant the seeds by placing them into any of the holes on any of the corn plots. In addition to helping the driver with directions and strategy, the spotters are responsible for loading the corn seeds into the silo. Once the seeds have been through the silo, they cannot be touched by the spotter.

Corn Silos

There are hydroponic stands in two corners of the field that provide heads of lettuce (luffas) located along the base and tomatoes (whiffle balls) attached to vertical members of the stand. These items can be harvested by any team's robot and must be deposited into the correct bin in the team's produce stand. Non-blocking zones extend in front of each team's produce stand.

Hydroponic Stand
Produce Stand

A summary of the point values for the various items is provided in the table that follows.



Total Number

Point Value




Plastic Pig



On Field

Starting Pen





Hydroponic Stand

Produce Stand


Whiffle Ball



Hydroponic Stand

Produce Stand

Ear of Corn

Paint Roller


5 or 20*

Corn Stalks

Harvest Bin(s)

Corn Seed

Golf Ball

24 per team


Off Field Seed Tray

Planting Hole

*Corn scores 20 points in the team bin and 5 points for each team in the community bin.

The position of the water valve provides another scoring opportunity.  50 points are scored if the valve is in the over/under position at the end, or 100 points are scored if the valve is turned to the On (optimum) position. In addition, bonus scores are available for the following:

  • Feeding Pigs: 10 points per pig/corn cob pair in the starting pen.
  • Plant & Harvest: 30 points per pair of scored corn cob and planted corn seed.
  • Harvest Diversity: 50 points for each set of Corn Cob, Tomato, and Lettuce scored.  (A maximum of 200 points per match can be scored for the Harvest Diversity bonus.)

Scoring for most items requires that the item must be in contact with the bottom surface of the scoring area.  However, corn cobs are the exception to this rule and can be stacked, but must be 100% supported by the scoring bin.  In addition, game pieces that are in contact with the robot (or detached part of the robot) at the end of the match do not score.  Scoring is based on the position of the game piece at the end of the match.

There are many rules governing the actions of the drivers and spotters, but a few important restrictions are as follows.  During a match, drivers/spotters may not:

  • Leave their respective areas.
  • Touch the field, robot, or game pieces except as discussed previously.
  • Throw anything.

Teams have constructed their machines subject to a list of allowable materials and other rules on construction, as well as initial size and weight limits.  There are also numerous restrictions on how the game is played.  A partial list of restrictions includes:

  • Robots may not remove game pieces that have been placed in a scoring position by another team’s robot.
  • Robots may not remove (steal) game pieces that are under the control of another robot.
  • Teams may not do anything that the referees consider to have malicious intent.

There are three phases to the contest: a partial round robin seeding competition, a six game round robin semi-final between the top 16 teams, and a three game round robin final between the top four teams.  During the seeding competition, each team plays eight games against randomly selected opponents.  The team’s average score (after the lowest score is dropped) during the seeding competition is used to rank the team and to determine 14 of the 16 teams that advance to the semi-final round robin playoff.

The 15th and 16th teams for the semi-finals are the highest scoring teams during two “wildcard” games. The participants for the wildcard game are selected based on the score of their engineering notebook.  All teams are required to turn in an engineering notebook documenting the development and design of their robot.  This notebook is a significant portion of the BEST Award and the wildcard game gives teams further incentive to turn in quality notebooks by rewarding them for their effort.

At the start of the semi-finals, the scores are reset to zero.  For the semi-final round robin playoff, the top 16 teams each play three matches.  The total of each team’s scores for these three matches determines the four teams advance to the finals.  For the final competition, total scores are again be reset to zero.  The top four teams play three additional matches to determine the final ranking order.

San Antonio BEST Award Results:

  1. United Engineering and Technology Magnet*
  2. Smithson Valley Middle School*
  3. Holy Cross of San Antonio*
  4. J. B. Alexander High School*
  5. Saint Mary's Hall School*
  6. Lyndon B Johnson High School (Laredo)*
  7. Spring Branch Middle School
  8. Lutheran High School of San Antonio

Competition Results:

  1. United Engineering and Technology Magnet*
  2. Lyndon B Johnson High School (Laredo)*
  3. Boerne Middle School South*
  4. Stacey High School*
  5. Brennan High School*
  6. IDEA San Benito College Preparatory School
  7. John Marshall High School
  8. Holy Cross of San Antonio

Teams Advancing to the UIL State Championship:

  • Large School: United Engineering and Technology Magnet*
  • Small School: Natalia High School*

* teams advancing to the Texas BEST and UIL State Robotics Championship from SA BEST (2 UIL, 5 BEST, 3 Competition)

Other Awards:

  • Founders Award - 
    1. Saint Mary's Hall School
    2. Brennan High School
  • Most Robust - Lutheran High School of San Antonio
  • Good Lookin' John Wigand Most Photogenic - Stacey High School
  • Best Table Display and Interview – J. B. Alexander High School
  • Most Spirit – IDEA San Benito College Preparatory School
  • Most Sportsmanship – Smithson Valley Middle School
  • BEST T-shirt - St. Gregory the Great School
  • BEST Use of Game Theme – Spring Branch Middle School
  • Software Design and Simulation – United Engineering and Technology Magnet
  • Blood, Sweat and Duct Tape – La Feria High School
  • SAME Award - Lyndon B Johnson High School (Laredo)

The 2016 Game Results and the 2016 BEST Award Results are available.