The Fog of War was an arena hazard, featured only in Series 10 of Robot Wars. It was one of three hazards in the Robot Wars Arena that could be activated by a robot pressing the Arena Tyre to activate the Doom Dial.
- "The arena is even more dangerous this series, with the all new hazards The Fog Of War being added to the Dial Of Doom, causing chaos by filling the arena with a dense fog. As the robots are covered in this thick mist they are vulnerable to not only attacks from their opponents, but from our deadly house robots Dead Metal, Matilda, Shunt, and Sir Killalot."
- — BBC press release on the Fog of War
After a robot presses the Arena Tyre on one wall of the arena, the Doom Dial would be activated, presenting a one-in-three chance of the Fog of War being unleashed, with the other two possibilities being the Pit opening/closing, and Rogue House Robot initiating. This one-in-three chance of the hazard being activated was reportedly made at complete random, and this could even result in the Fog of War taking place multiple times in one battle.
When the Fog of War activates, a clip of the Robot Wars announcer exclaiming "The Fog... of WAR!!" would play, and the lighting of the arena would turn a dark blue. Large jets of CO2 would then blast across the surface of the arena, shrouding the battle taking place. This made it difficult for drivers to control their robots, and the roboteers would often be unaware of what was happening in the battle for the ten seconds that the Fog of War would be active. As a consequence, by obscuring the roboteers' view of their machines, the Fog of War would also obscure the viewing perspective of the audience and presenters.
Dr Lucy Rogers presented a possibility that the Fog of War somewhat favoured spinning weapons when activated. Due to the high risk of trying to control a robot while the drivers could not see their machine, roboteers would often elect simply to not drive their robots at all for the duration of the Fog of War, although robots armed with spinners could use this opportunity to power their weapons up to full spinning speed.
- Angela Scanlon: "How do you feel about the Fog of War, the other new hazard?"
- Dr Lucy Rogers: "Well, for us, that just confuses us, because we can't see anything either! Not only can the roboteers not see anything..."
- Angela Scanlon: "Well you do see, it becomes quite a tactical game, some of them just sit still and wait until it clears, and others are getting stuck in there!"
- Dr Lucy Rogers: "But if you've got a spinner that needs time to spin up, getting that is great, because you've got time to spin up before anyone else can see you!"
- — Angela Scanlon and Dr Lucy Rogers discuss the Fog of War in Heat 3
Oftentimes, robots which activated Fog of War would simply elect to wait for the fog to subside before continuing with a battle - Eruption and Terrorhurtz in particular would flee from robots or cease all movement during Fog of War until the ten second duration had elapsed, while others such as Sabretooth and Vulture attempted to continue fighting, and put themselves in danger.
- "We have Fog of War for the first time ever! Fog, of, War, bewildering, baffling, the House Robots can't see through it... I can't see through it! I've no idea what's going on! Sabretooth there, trying to spin, ohhhhhh because they couldn't see through the fog, they couldn't see the floor flipper coming! And that's what Fog of War is all about!"
- — Jonathan Pearce, upon seeing Fog of War for the first time
Another notable consequence of the Fog of War being activated was irrespective of the hazard itself. If a roboteer wished to utilise the Pit or Rogue House Robot to gain an advantage, the roboteer would have no control over which hazard the Doom Dial would activate, and each robot could only activate a Doom Dial hazard once per match. As a result, roboteers hoping to activate the Pit or Rogue House Robot could instead waste their Doom Dial usage on the Fog of War, and then be unable to use their desired hazard for the remainder of the match.
- "And we have the Fog of War, really good at turning the tide of battle in the arena. It's a gamble to hit that Doom Dial, but the Fog of War could give robots a moment to launch a sneak attack, a great additional hazard this series, I think!"
- — Jonathan Pearce's initial praise during the melee between Terrorhurtz, Apex and Vulture
Nevertheless, the Fog of War was responsible for some key moments throughout the series. During the 10 Robot Rumble, Iron-Awe 6 immobilised itself by driving over the floor flipper, following its own activation of the Fog of War. Magnetar also delivered an explosive knockout blow to Expulsion after the Fog of War offered Magnetar ten seconds to accelerate its powerful drum spinner without being attacked by Expulsion.
- "And Expulsion's tactics early on... to create the Fog of War! But what am I hearing? I'm hearing Magnetar's death drum whirring up!"
- — Jonathan Pearce, as Expulsion's Fog of War starts to backfire
After a battle was competed, the Fog of War could also used to extinguish robots which had caught fire. This was used during Robot Wars: World Series, where the burning Diotoir was extinguished by the Fog of War after 'cease' had already been called.
- "Fog of War, where are your fog lights?"
- — Jonathan Pearce in the 10 Robot Rumble
The Fog of War was generally received negatively by roboteers and fans alike, and was the subject of much backlash in online communities. Fans and critics remarked that the purpose of the hazard obscured their viewpoint of the battle, which many did not appreciate. In particular, the inconsequential nature of the hazard was also criticised, as the Fog of War rarely contributed to the outcome of a battle, and would generally make little bearing on the fight as a whole.
Many roboteers who activated Fog of War were often disappointed at the hazard being used, particularly those who were losing a battle up to the point of pressing the Arena Tyre, or those who wished to secure a knockout. For example, both Behemoth and Tough as Nails were clearly losing battles to Eruption and Thor respectively, and as both robots were known for pushing robots into the Pit, this hazard being activated could have posed an opportunity for a comeback victory, but as each team possessed only one press of the Doom Dial during battle, their Arena Tyre push resulting in Fog of War proved wasteful, to the disappointment of the teams. Victorious teams could similarly be held back by the Fog of War as well, as seen when Cobra defeated Sabretooth in the World Series - although Cobra was able to win the battle by Judges' decision and earn two points for a victory, the robot's focus on pushing could have presented Cobra with the opportunity for a knockout win worth three points, had the Pit descended in place of the Fog of War.
In general, the lack of enthusiasm towards the Fog of War was outwardly noticeable on the show. Dr Lucy Rogers admitted that the Fog of War confused the Judges who could not determine what robots were doing beneath the fog, and even Jonathan Pearce, who had praised the hazard during the early stages of Series 10, started to voice his disappointment with Fog of War as the series progressed.
- "They’re just about hanging on are they, out there? Let’s get rid of the fog, I can’t see!"
- — Jonathan Pearce, during the 10 Robot Rumble
The intense backlash towards the Fog of War throughout the otherwise highly acclaimed tenth series prompted Robot Wars to make an official response on its Twitter account, promising that the Fog of War would not return in future series of the show, had a prospective eleventh series taken place.
- "To summarise everyone's comments. No one likes the Fog of War (noted) but you did enjoy the ten robot rumble & the series (most important). Thank you all for watching it was a lot of fun to make. We promise if we come back there'll be no fog but more big battles"
- — The Robot Wars Twitter account on the negative reception towards the Fog of War
NOTE: Robots written in italics activated the Fog of War.
|Series 10, Heat 1||Sabretooth vs. Apocalypse||First televised instance of the Fog of War. Due to the fog, Sabretooth drove over the floor flipper and was lifted by the hazard.|
|Series 10, Heat 2||Eruption vs. Big Nipper||Big Nipper was involuntarily flipped into the Arena Tyre by Matilda.|
|Series 10, Heat 3||Rapid vs. Bucky the Robot vs. Track-tion||The first time Fog of War was activated, by filming order. During the Fog of War, Track-tion drove over to the Arena Spikes, which overturned it after the fog subsided.|
|Series 10, Heat 3||Terrorhurtz vs. Apex vs. Vulture|
|Series 10, Heat 3||Terrorhurtz vs. Vulture||Fog of War was activated twice by Vulture in the final minute of the battle: Vulture first activated the Fog first with no consequence, and moments later, Terrorhurtz pushed Vulture into the Arena Tyre to activate Fog of War again, causing Vulture to drive over the Flame Pit.|
|Series 10, Heat 5||Magnetar vs. Expulsion||During the Fog of War activated by Expulsion, Magnetar spun its weapon up to full speed, and delivered the knockout blow after the fog subsided.|
|Series 10, Grand Final||10 Robot Rumble||Fog of War was activated twice by Iron-Awe 6, which drove over the floor flipper during its second usage of the hazard, and immobilised itself. This broke the usual rule of each competitor being limited to only one press of the Doom Dial per match, while Iron-Awe 6 pressed the Arena Tyre three times with effect. Fog of War was also activated by Concussion.|
|Series 10, Grand Final||Nuts 2 vs. Carbide vs. Behemoth||Immediately after the fog subsided, Carbide backed onto a Nuts 2 minibot and was almost counted out.|
|Series 10, Grand Final||Eruption vs. Behemoth||Behemoth involuntarily activated the Fog of War by being thrown into the Arena Tyre by Eruption.|
|Series 10, Grand Final||Carbide vs. Nuts 2||The Arena Tyre was pressed by one of Nuts 2's minibots.|
|Series 10, Grand Final||Eruption vs. Carbide||The Arena Tyre was involuntarily pressed by Carbide after recoiling off Eruption's flipper.|
|World Series, Episode 1||Apollo & Gabriel 2 vs. Cobra & TMHWK||While the fog obscured the arena, Cobra ventured out of the CPZ to join its teammate TMHWK to gang up on Gabriel 2.|
|World Series, Episode 1||Terrorhurtz & Sabretooth vs. Diotoir & Rabid M8||After the battle, the Fog of War was used again to extinguish the burning Diotoir.|
|World Series, Episode 1||Cobra vs. Sabretooth||A combination of the Doom Dial triggering Fog of War and Rogue House Robot once each prevented both machines from achieving a knockout.|
|World Series, Episode 2||Thor vs. Tough as Nails||Tough as Nails could not rely on its usual tactic of pitting robots to win the battle, after activating Fog of War.|
|World Series, Episode 2||Eruption vs. Cathadh||During Fog of War, Shunt axed Eruption and the House Robot's weapon broke upon impact.|
- As the Fog of War was originally planned to appear in Series 9, the name of the hazard was leaked to online sources such as Reddit during the filming of the series. However, as the Fog of War's purpose as an intended arena hazard was not revealed, the Fog of War was mistakenly believed to be one of the competing robots in the series.
- Robots emitting smoke or CO2 in battle was often jokingly compared to the Fog of War, with Sam Smith telling Team RPD that Rapid had released its own 'Fog of War' after it caught fire following its loss to Carbide in the Series 10 Grand Final.