Skookum Botwars - Prepare for the end
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The year is 3015. Earth is no longer the paradise it once was. The rain forests are just a myth. The oceans are foul and slick with oil. Potable water has become the main form of currency - and war. Humans no longer live in cities, but in small urban tribal communities. They battle one another, but their biggest fear is the Bots. Humans no longer ponder the meaning of life or when it all began. They know the Singularity is the beginning - and the end.

Something has changed though. The Bots evolved into something wholly unexpected - they developed emotions. In juxaposition to the humans who turned from primal emotions into sentient beings, the Bots have tured from sentient beings into entities driven by emotion.

These emotion driven Bots no longer work towards the same goals and war has broken out among the Bots with devestating consquences to the human race who are nothing but collateral to the Bots. This war will continue until only one Bot remains.

Game Rules

Skookum Bot Wars is a Turn Based Strategy (TBS) game where two competitors build sentient bots to battle til the death.

The field consists of a 20 by 20 grid. There are two spawn points at opposite corners for the red bot and blue bot. One botlet for each bot is spawned in the first turn.

Energy is spawned randomly around the field every three turns. If a botlet gathers energy (by moving adjacent to it), another botlet will be spawned for that bot on the next turn. Each botlet of a bot's color can be moved one space per turn (up, down, left, or right, so no diagonals). If a bot submits turns in an invalid format, it will be disqualified. Invalid moves will be ignored and the bot will miss their turn.


The goal is to eliminate all botlets of the opponent bot's color. If botlets of differing colors are adjacent after moving, a battle will commence.

  • In the event of a battle, the botlet with the most opposing botlets adjacent will die.
  • If both botlets involved in a battle have the same number of opposing botlets adjacent, both will die.
  • If two botlets (regardless of color) move to the same position, both will die.
  • The 'x' represents a dead bot but it is essentially an empty space. You can move to it.

Here are some examples, where 'r' represents a red botlet, 'b' represents a blue botlet, '.' represents an empty space, and 'x' represents a dead botlet:

Same number of botlets

.....     .....
.rb..  >  .xx..
.....     .....

Two vs. 1

....     .....
.rbr.  >  .rxr.
.....     .....

Multiple battles

...rb     ...xx
.rbr.  >  .rxx.
...b.     ...b.

More battles

...rb.     ...xb.
.brb..  >  .bxx..
.brb..     .bxx..
...rb.     ...xb.

Spawn Razing

If a botlet moves onto an opposing bot's spawn, that spawn is razed and no more botlets can be produced for the opposing bot.


The order actions are carried out in each turn is as follows:

  1. Botlets are moved according to commands provided by the bot
  2. If opposing botlets are adjacent, battle(s) take place to determine which botlets die
  3. If a botlet is on an opposing bot's spawn at this point, the spawn is razed (disabled)
  4. If a bot has sufficient energy, and his/her spawn is not disabled, a botlet is added at his/her spawn point, and the bot's energy is decremented by one
  5. If any botlets are adjacent to energy, that energy is consumed and the respective bot's energy is incremented by one. If opposing botlets are adjacent to the same energy, the energy is removed and neither bot gets it
  6. If a sufficient number of turns have passed since the last energy was spawned (3), two more are randomly but symmetrically spawned on the field

The game ends when either one bot's botlets are completely eliminated or when the turn limit (100 turns) has been reached. If the turn limit is reached, the bot with more botlets on the field is declared the winner.

Implementation Details

Communication between the game and the bots is established using JSON data exchanges over HTTP. For every turn, the two bots are given the current game state as JSON. Your bot must accept a POST method at /. The game state will be POSTed to your bot. Your bot is expected to return your set of moves in the appropriate JSON format in the POST response. Each bot is expected to respond with moves within five seconds. If a bot doesn't respond within five seconds, it is disqualified.

This is an example of the game state that will be POSTed to each bot:

"state": {
  "rows": 4,
  "cols": 4,
  "p1": {
    "energy": 0,
    "spawn": 5
  "p2": {
    "energy": 0,
    "spawn": 10
  "grid": ".....r....b.....",
    "maxTurns": 20,
    "turnsElapsed": 0
  "player": "r"

Where "player" represents which side the bot is playing as, and is either "r" or "b". p1.spawn and p2.spawn represent the indices of their respective bots' spawn points on the grid string. and represent the amount of energy each bot currently has.

The Grid

The grid is a string where each character represents a space on the grid.

  • The grid's dimensions are provided as "rows" and "cols".
  • On the grid, p1 botlets are identified by "r", p2 botlets are identified by "b"
  • Energy is identified by "*"
  • Empty space is identified by "."
  • Botlets killed in the previous turn are identified by "x".

Bots are expected to respond in from the POST with the following format:

    "from": 12,
    "to": 11
    "from": 21,
    "to": 20

Where each item in the array represents a move. "from" must be the index of one of the bot's botlets, and "to" must be the index of a coordinate adjacent to that botlet. Otherwise, the move is ignored.

Bots can be written in any language you wish as long as you meet the HTTP JSON specification defined here and they are publically accessible at the time of the tournament.

Example JavaScript bot

Testing your bot

Note: the tournament uses HTTP communication so you can write your bot in any language you wish as long as you can read and write over HTTP

After cloning the repo run npm install

In order to run the web server, run npm start.

Go to http://localhost:3000 in your browser.

Log in with a Google account and specify your bot URL as you would normally, by using the /bot route.

Your bot will run through HTTP communication instead of stdin/stdout. In order to test locally you will need to run your bot on a different port than the server which is using 3000. At the /bot route you will be asked to input the URL for your bot. Then at /test you can select your user account (which points to your bot URL) and nodebot (which is a test bot built into the server) and watch them fight to the death.

Go to the /test route to run test matches. In the dropdown menus, you can choose the bots to compete. Click the "new game" button to start and view the match.

** Note: Game Id will be attached to the gameState object once a new game has been initialized for debugging purposes

Questions or Issues

Please submit a Github issue if you have any questions or concerns.