We are thinking of switching from FRC to BEST due to the high cost of FRC. Can anyone give me an idea of how much a competition season costs in BEST for high school level? How much to register a team?  Receive the KOP?  Register for a competition? Is there a limit on the amount a team can spend on a robot like there is in FRC?  Do you need to build two robots, competition bot and practice bot, like to you do in FRC in order to be competitive because of the requirement to bag the competition robot?  Is it affordable to have a real practice field if you have the space?

Last year we spent about 8K for two robots plus 9K to enter two competitions. 

We are also losing our two top mentors who have been vital to having a competitive team. Can kids do more of the engineering on their own in BEST? I know they can in FTC, but those robots are too kit-driven and the games are boring. 

I would love to hear from anyone who has made this jump from a FIRST to a BEST program. 


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Welcome to BEST.  Many of your questions are answer on the bestinc.org website but I'll try to answer them here.   
 BEST is "free", no charge for registration, KOP (Return kit and Consumable kit) are provided for free each year,  no charge for the one Hub competition, if you qualify for the one Regional Competition there is no charge for that either. 
  The only costs are what you choose to spend on shop tools and transportation too and from these 3-4 events: Kickoff, Demo day week 4or5, game day week 6, regional sometime later.  In Texas, BEST is a UIL competition in 2017.  If you choose to compete in the "BEST Award", there are costs for creating a "trade show vendor booth" type display.
  There is no limit of how much you can spend on your robot, but there is nearly nothing to spend it on, since all allowed materials are provided, and the allowable "team-provided" extra materials are cheap: cans, bottles, coat hangers, golf balls, 2 each 2x4x4" 3d printed objects.  BEST provides full drawings for the field, which is supposed to cost < $1000 in total, although most games you only need a quarter field.   Robots are less than 24" x 24" x 24" x 24 pounds.  Four teams compete at a time on a 24' square field, usually without much conflict or interaction.  There are 12-50 teams in a hub,  6-8 matches each team for seeding, then some semi-final and finals matches.
  There is no "Bagging" since the one competition is always "local" and always in exactly 6 weeks. You can buy your own Rkits from Vexrobotics.com/BEST for ~$1000 and build as many robots as you want, but you can only bring one to competition.
  BEST is a Student driven activity, and all the engineering and building and documentation and everything else, should be done by students.   Documenting the Engineering Design Process in an Engineering Notebook is REQUIRED to compete in BEST, and there are rubrics for all the scoring elements that contribute towards awards.

   I think that answers all your questions except what is typical cost over "free", like snacks, transportation, snacks, shop tools, snacks, and spare replacement materials (mostly PVC and Plywood) you buy to replace the ones you wasted with early incremental designs;  these greatly depend on your local circumstances. 

One hub has already kicked off, and the others have kickoff in the next 3-4 weeks, so its a little late to be registering.  The website BESTINC.org has the list of Hubs under "The Organization" pulldown menu, "BEST Hubs".

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