Questions and Answers about Combat Robotics
from Team Run Amok

The 'Ask Aaron' 15th Anniversary 'Mad Lib' Contest

Team Run Amok started 'Ask Aaron' in 2003 to answer the occasional robot combat question sent to our team. Fifteen years and 6250 questions later we're still here and still fielding a very broad range of practical, theoretical, arcane, obscure, and sometimes just plain silly questions.

In 2013, Aaron had taken to adding haiku to the end of his answers to questions on his namesake webpage. This lead us to celebrate that year's 10th anniversary of 'Ask Aaron'with a Robot Haiku Contest. For this year's 15th anniversary I've reached a little farther back into the history of 'Ask Aaron' for inspiration.

The Story
Late in 2009, Aaron tired of answering a nearly constant stream of "What ever happened to..." questions about obscure robots that fought once, lost, and were never heard from again. Out of this frustration Aaron developed what would become the most celebrated feature of 'Ask Aaron': The Obscure Robot Mad Lib

FAQ #32

Q: What ever happened to insert name of obscure old robot that fought only once and lost?

A: More than 4000 robots have fought in organized combat events in North America alone. Most of these robots have uninteresting stories -- they were built, they fought, they lost, and their builders moved on. We have very little interest in most of these obscure robots, but if you are interested and willing to dig thru old website archives and combat records, see FAQ questions #30 and #31.

We get so many variations on this question that I've started entertaining myself by playing 'Mad Libs' with the answer:

'[obscure old robot]' fought a single match at the [name and date of event] and lost. Depressed, '[obscure old robot]' made its way to the center of the Golden Gate Bridge and leapt off - only to land on the deck of a freighter bound for [a third-world country]. After hitching a ride into [capitol city], '[obscure old robot]' worked as a [low-level job title] in a [type of business] for several years and saved every penny until it had enough money to open a small [type of proprietor-owned business]. It married a lovely girl named [female name] and had four children: a girl, two boys, and a [type of small metallic object]. The family is doing well.

We fill in the blanks with appropriate words and phrases, and it comes out like this:

Q: What happend to 'Boy Howdy'?

A: Middleweight 'Boy Howdy' fought one match at the '95 US Robot Wars and lost to 'La Machine'. Depressed, 'Boy Howdy' made its way to the center of the Golden Gate Bridge and leapt off - only to land on the deck of a freighter bound for Myanmar. After hitching a ride into Rangoon, 'Boy Howdy' worked as a juice squeezer at a roadside drink stand for several years and saved every penny until he had enough money to open a small barber shop. He married a lovely girl named Mintaya and had four children: a girl, two boys, and a master cylinder. The family is doing well.

You can read the complete collection of 'Obscure Robot Mad Libs' in Aaron's Greatest Hits.

The Contest
Our readers and staff have enjoyed having The Obscure Robot Mad Lib available for quick and entertaining responses to a common question, even though some readers enjoy it so much that they will submit a 'What ever happened to..." question just to trigger the response. I think it would be great if we had a new 'Mad Lib' to answer other common combat robot questions, so for the 15th anniversary of 'Ask Aaron' we are sponsoring a Mad Lib contest:

The Rules
  1. Read thru the Ask Aaron FAQ for inspiration, then come up with a common combat robot question that could be well answered by a 'Mad Lib' response.
  2. Write up your new 'Mad Lib' template in the same format used in the 'Obscure Robot Mad Lib' FAQ entry above. Keep it short - around 100 words is good - and keep it 'familly friendly' for our readership.
  3. Do not just fill in the existing template; we're looking for new templates to answer other common robot combat questions.
  4. Send in your 'Mad Lib' by pasting it into the form conveniently located immediately below these rules. You may enter as many times as you like.
  5. One winner will be selected based on our entirely subjective evaluation of the ability of the 'Mad Lib' to answer the selected FAQ question with humor and poise. Our decision is final, so no whinging.
  6. One prize of Ten Billion Dollars (10,000,000,000) in the form of a genuine Zimbabwean Banknote in that amount will be delivered to the winner's home address by a uniformed courier. Alternately, the winner may choose the sum of fifty (50) US dollars to be delivered via PayPal.
  7. Boring Details All entries that we consider appropriate for our readership will be published and credited on this webpage. By entering your 'Mad Lib' you grant us license to publish your entry and your name, and to use your 'Mad Lib' to answer questions submitted to the 'Ask Aaron' webpages should we choose to do so. We ask for your email only for the purpose of contacting should you win -- we will not contact you for other reasons and we will not share your email with anyone. The contest closes March 31st, 2018 at 11:59 PM, Pacific Standard Time.

'Ask Aaron' Mad Lib Contest Entry
All Question Fields are Required.
1. Your Name:
2. Your Email:
3. Question This Answers:
4. Your Mad Lib:

To see the most recent questions or to ask a new question, go to the

Run Amok Combat Robotics homepage
Copyright 2018 by Mark Joerger -- all rights reserved.