The Combat Robot Hall of Fame - 2019 Voting Breakout

2019 Open Ballot -- Detailed Breakout

The Combat Robot Hall of Fame has a problem...

The Hall has always been biased toward heavyweight robots. When the Hall first started sampling the consensus of robot builders this made sense. Robot Wars and BattleBots were the televised pinnacle of the sport while smaller robots were fighting in obscurity; YouTube didn't yet exist.

For this ballot I required a little 'info-quiz' that ran thru the important voting elements and made a strong suggestion that worthy sub-lightweight robots be considered for inclusion. This 'reminder' did have an impact: the percentage of ballots mentioning at least one sublight jumped to 67%, nearly double the figure for 2017. In spite of this increase in attention we only managed to add one of the smaller robots to Hall membership. I'm actively considering an 'off-year' ballot in 2020 restricted to sub-lightweight robots only. Stay tuned.

A couple of interesting shifts in the 2019 ballot...

  • A record 358 different combat robots appeared on at least one ballot -- an 86% jump over the previous record set in 2017

  • Only 46% of the robots that appeared on ballots in 2017 repeated that appearance 2019. This reinforces my belief that many votes come in for 'flavor of the day' robots that are only briefly prominent and quickly fade. I'm working on a change in eligibility rules for the 2021 ballot to correct this issue.
New Members

The large voting turnout combined with the huge number of robots mentioned in ballots did make it difficult to crack thru the 50% voting threshold, even with an increase in the number of robots on an average ballot. Two dominant robots from big and small weight classes did find the global support to carve out a spot in the Hall, and four very different designs earned Honorable Mention.

  • Bite Force gained full membership based on its performance in all three seasons of the BattleBots reboot. There was some controversy as to whether the 2015 champion treaded, clamping-lifter version of Bite Force differs too much from the 2018 champion wheeled, vertical-spinner version of Bite Force to be considered the same robot. Voters didn't really seem to care, and the membership committee decided to take a very inclusive stand that has spilled over to a few other robots in the Hall.

  • Silent Spring becomes the first beetleweight robot to attain full membership. The top-ranked beetle was designed for low maintenance as well as dominating power.

  • Behemoth gains a well earned Honorable Mention for longevity in the UK robot realm plus icon status with fans.

  • Huge / HUGE! perfects the axial blade spinner on giant UHMW wheels in the featherweight class and successfully transitions the design to heavyweight class for an Honorable Mention.

  • Spectre / Quantum revives the hydraulic piercing crusher design for victory in China and a run at BattleBots for the last Hall Honorable Mention in 2019.

Two existing members in the Hall had their listings 'expanded' as a result of the new inclusive definition of a single robot. Based on 2019 ballot results, all three of the 200+ pound versions of Last Rites and Tombstone are now included under a single Full Member listing, and the Honorable Mention listing for Touro Maximus has been expanded to include Minotaur. A more complete explanation of the new ruling can be found at Combat Robot Hall of Fame: Eligibility.

Regional Breakouts

North America

  • Largest number of robots on a single ballot: 57
  • Mean number of robots per ballot: 12
  • Percentage of total ballots cast: 52%
  • Top Five Robots:
  1. Bite Force
  2. Silent Spring
  3. HUGE!
  4. Spectre / Quantum
  5. Dark Pounder


  • Largest number of robots on a single ballot: 34
  • Mean number of robots per ballot: 14
  • Percentage of total ballots cast: 36%
  • Top Five Robots:
  1. Eruption
  2. Spectre / Quantum
  3. Behemoth
  4. Bite Force
  5. Nuts 2

The rest of the World

  • Largest number of robots on a single ballot: 33
  • Mean number of robots per ballot: 14
  • Percentage of ballots cast: 12%
  • Top Five Robots:
  1. Bite Force
  2. HUGE!
  3. Spectre / Quantum
  4. Eruption
  5. Silent Spring

All robots appearing on at least 10% of the ballots

In alphabetical order:

  • Aftershock
  • Anticide
  • Apollo
  • Behemoth
  • Beta
  • Bite Force
  • Captain Doom
  • Crippling Depression
  • Dark Pounder
  • Eruption
  • Firestorm
  • Gabriel
  • General
  • HUGE!
  • K2 (beetle)
  • Krave Monster
  • Limpet (beetle)
  • Mega Melvin / Shatter / Blue
  • MegatRON
  • No Fly Zone
  • Silent Spring
  • Spectre / Quantum
  • Tombstone
  • Touro Maximus / Minotaur
  • WETA God of Ugly Things
  • Whiplash / Splatter
  • Witch Doctor
  • Xiake / Chiyung Jinlun
  • Ziggy

Fun Facts

First ballot Colleyville, Texas

Last Ballot Hackensack, New Jersey

Number of robots mentioned on at least one ballot 358

Percent of robots mentioned on ONLY one ballot 49%

Rumors, facts, and outright lies about Combat Robot Hall of Fame balloting
  1. Robots appearing on at least 50% of the submitted ballots will attain full membership in the Combat Robot Hall of Fame. This method of voting is common to established 'Hall of Fame' voting practices. See Baseball Hall of Fame Voting for an example.
  2. Robots appearing on at least 25% of the submitted ballots will gain Honorable Mention status and will remain eligible for promotion to full membership on future ballots.
  3. You are strongly encouraged to vote for ALL the robots YOU believe to be worthy of membership in the Combat Robot Hall of Fame. A typical ballot will have about seven robots listed. Large blocks of identical ballots are considered suspicious and are subject to being 'trimmed'.
  4. Ballots with a very small number of robots listed carry less weight than do ballots with a larger number of robots. These ballots are also aggregated into a smaller number of combined ballots to prevent 'dilution' of the percentage votes caused by such small ballots.
  5. Due to regional voters being more familiar with and favoring their local robots, a small scoring weight is added to robots highly popular in their home voting continent. The exact details of this and other scoring adjustments are kept confidential to prevent the system from being 'gamed'.
  6. Rumor has it that ballots with their entries in alphabetical order are given extra weight. Mark may have started this rumor simply to make it easier for him to enter ballots into the tally sheet.
  7. There are four key considerations for membership in the Combat Robot Hall of Fame, as published at the top of the Combat Robot Hall of Fame page:
    • Dominating success in combat;
    • Pioneering or perfecting influential designs;
    • Having great fan or entertainment appeal; or
    • Otherwise making a lasting impact on the sport.

    Note that 'being really cool' is not on the list, and neither is 'beautiful machine porn'. Note also that winning ANY single tournament does not, by itself, qualify as 'dominating success in combat'. A robot that has no discernible standing in any of these categories will not be allowed full membership in the Combat Robot Hall of Fame regardless of the voting outcome. The Combat Robot Hall of Fame membership committee has not yet found it necessary to enforce this rule.

Comments about the selections? Questions? Send them here.

Contents copyright Mark Joerger, 2003, 2019
'Combat Robot Hall of Fame' is a trademark held by Mark Joerger, 2003