Ladies and gentlemen, the game is Breakaway. It may be tempting to think of it as soccer, but soccer players don't have piston-powerful legs or robotic arms sprouting out of their backs. In the version of Breakaway we saw, two teams with three robots apiece go head-to-head on a field segmented into three parts. There is a goal in each corner, and the name of the game is to put as many balls as you can into them.
Points can be scored other ways, as well, such as building a 'bot that can lift itself off of the ground for a sustained period of time or — something we didn't see — getting a robot to hang off of the 'bot that's already hanging.
We had the privilege of getting to know some of the high school students who were to wage robo-war on the Breakaway field. Click through the gallery below to meet ten different teams with ten very different 'bots, from the enigmatic Fe Maidens to Under Control, a veteran team from Brazil.
FIRST will be wrapping up its NYC regional today, which, if you happen to live in NYC, you can go see for yourself free of charge. Check out the organization's website for more details.