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Review: Robot Fight Club

Updated: Apr 12, 2023

By Benjamin Vasquez

Photo credit:

Robot fights have long been a part of science fiction and other pop culture. However,

that fantasy is real. And it’s closer than you think.

The National Havoc Robot League(NHRL) is a competitive and accessible combat

robotic league located in Sono at 165 Water Street. Just a short walk from the Maritime

Aquarium. NHRL has grown significantly since its start.

Over time, NHRL has grown to include

eight fight cages, a museum of combat robots, and a separate floor for builders. It has also

attracted sponsorships from ASML, Xometry, and SendCutSend.

The robots that fight at NHRL range from as small as three pound bots, to as heavy as

30 pound robots. And with only a few exceptions, such as nets, a robot's design is only

limited by parts and their builders' imagination. For example, one three pound robot had feet walked around hitting opponents with a rubber stamper. In contrast to the 30 pound robot

built by the founder of NHRL, Austin McChord.

A robot that had a literal jet engine as its weapon and melted a part of another robot. This is something I experienced up close, as well as the lingering smell of jet fuel. And there are hundreds of different robots in between those two extremes.

For people that might want to view this Havoc, there are set days for the events. You

can look on the website to find all of the scheduled dates.

General admission tickets are available for $15$ dollars for anyone over eighteen and $10$ for children over four. Any tickets for children under four are free. Additionally, VIP tickets are available for $50 for those over 18 and $25 for those over four. They offer access to two cage side lounges, a tour of the pit area, and a digital merchandise redeemer.

But if you have the time, money, and interest you can build your own robot to compete.

While most higher level teams build their own, there are some easier alternatives, such as a kit sold by FingerTech for a three pound robot:

It certainly won’t be as easy as building a lego set as it requires drilling and cutting for the final product. But if you can put in enough time and effort, you can have your own combat robot to fight with.

I’ve been going to NHRL for about a year now. I might be biased, but It’s become one of

my favorite things to do out of the house. There are always robots that have surprising weapons and designs. It doesn’t cost that much. And it’s always interesting to see new builders competing. So if you think you might want to experience the havoc for yourself, then you can check out the website here

So if you want to live out your robot fighting fantasies, why wait? Check out NHRL for yourself

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