Questions and Answers about Combat Robotics
from Team Run Amok

Privacy Policy
Team Run Amok started 'Ask Aaron' in March of 2003 to answer the robot combat questions sent to our team. Twenty years and almost 7200 questions later we're still fielding a very broad range of practical, theoretical, arcane, obscure, and sometimes just plain silly questions.
  • In 2013 Aaron was appending haiku onto the ends of his answers on his namesake webpage. This lead us to celebrate that year's 10th anniversary of 'Ask Aaron' with a Robot Haiku Contest.
  • In 2018 I was answering inquiries about little-known combat robots with Aaron's beloved Obscure Robot Mad Lib. Our 15th anniversary contest sought a new Mad Lib for other common Ask Aaron questions.
For Ask Aaron's 20th anniversary I wanted something more like a puzzle for our readers to work on.

The contest ended March 15th -- but you can still try the puzzle. The answer key is at the bottom of the page.

Secret Identity

I'd been experimenting with artificial intelligence graphics engines to create images based on text inputs and a start image.

I fed the hand-drawn sketch of our champion robot 'Run Amok' (shown at upper left below) into one of these graphics engines. In a few seconds it gave me the seven smaller images below:

I wondered if I could recognize 'Run Amok' from one of the generated variations if I didn't know the starting image? This gave me the idea for the 20th anniversary contest.

The Contest
The Challenge Name the robots whose images were used as inputs to these A.I. generated variants:
Tie Breaker The tie-breaker entry did not require a name, although some entries gave one. I asked for guesses about any attributes of the mystery competitor: weight class, nationality, number of wheels, weapon type(s), tournament(s) entered, when built... absolutely anything. There was no penalty for wrong guesses so some tie breaker entries were pretty long.
Here's the Tie Breaker image:

The Winners

Suprise! Everyone who submitted an entry will receive a Termite Weight Robot Kit!

I decided that giving away just one prize wasn't a big enough celebration for the 20th anniversary of 'Ask Aaron'. All entries that were received prior to midnight on March 15th, 2023 will be contacted by email to arrange for delivery of their kit. Delivery to some non-US addresses may be tricky to work out -- I may substitute a cash prize of equal value.

The actual contest winner is Ethan Harris who correctly identified eleven of the fifteen combat robots. Ethan will receive a termite-weight robot kit and will also have his name added to the Combat Robot Hall of Fame... in a pale font... and well hidden.

'A.' in New Jersey and 'I.M.' in Massachsetts also correctly identified eleven robots, but Ethan's tie-breaker was clearly closer to the mark. I have attached a copy of Ethan's entry at the bottom of the answer key as well as the tie-breakers from Ethan, A., and I.M. so you may judge for yourself.

In the answer key:
  • Easy - The six images marked Easy were correctly identified in more than 2/3rds of the contest entries.
  • Medium - The five images marked Medium were correctly identified in 1/3rd to 2/3rds of the contest entries.
  • Hard - The four images marked Hard were correctly identified in less than 1/3rd of the contest entries.
Ready for the Answer Key? Click the button:

Run Amok Combat Robotics homepage
Copyright 2023 by Mark Joerger -- all rights reserved.