Last edited on April 3rd, 2012 by gnat
Finding a Location
Your location will determine how many people can have at your event. The most essential requirements for a LAN party are:
A comfortable spacewith heating and/or air conditioning.
Minimal noise restrictionsif at all possible! You need to be able to yell the smack or scream in frustration!
Adequate power.Computers require power. If you do not have adequate power, your party is sure to fail. Rental halls with plenty of space may not meet your power requirements.
Location accessibility.Big pluses: Free parking and close public transportation routes. As with the nature of bringing big PC's to a LAN party, most guests will be carpooling or driving. No accessible parking = No LAN.
Renting a Location
If your party is large enough, you're probably thinking about renting a meeting hall. As mentioned, often these halls will have tables and chairs included in the rental. Unfortunately, rental fees often put standard meeting facilities out of the reach of most LAN parties. Bargains can often be found, so if you need to find space, don't leave any stone unturned! Good candidates include:
- Schools (High School, College, University). Free or cheap space is usually available for former students/alumni.
- Community spaces. (Community centers, youth centers.)
- Banquet halls. Lodges. Churches.
- Cyber cafes.
- Local NPO's or businesses with abundant space (Ex: Art galleries, offices with vacant space, etc.)
- Fire Departments sometimes have halls available for rental by the community.
- Hotels. More on hotels below.
There are a number of considerations when making the jump to renting a meeting facility: Key issues:
- Size and safety.
- Power capacity. Make sure you have access to the circuit breaker panel at all times.
- Air conditioning and/or heating.
- Noise restrictions.
- Location accessibility and parking.
Look at your potential budget and decide how much you can spend. Make sure that whatever contract you sign that you are not liable for additional fees that are not stated and itemized in advance. Above all: Do not spend money you can't afford to lose. If you are going to stress about cashflow the entire party, it's going to suck for both you and your guests.
It's possible and very common to overestimate your attendance count, particularly if you do not pre-confirm your guests a night or two before the event. Don't be stuck expecting 300 gamers and only having 30 show up!
Note on Alcohol.
If you are going to have alcohol at your LAN party you may need to get a temporary alcohol permit for your venue. It's possible that a venue at a wedding banquet may already have one for you. Find out by asking venues under consideration what local ordinances apply. If this is a large event you may also want to get event insurance.
Tables and Chairs
If you're holding your event at a meeting facility, tables and chairs are usually included. If tables or chairs are not included, and you cannot borrow them elsewhere, you'll have to rent them, or buy them if the long term investment is viable. Tables can be inexpensive if you get them from a warehouse store. Another major consideration of whether or not to buy is if you have the storage space available for your wares.
If you must rent tables or chairs, strike up a friendly acquaintance with a local party rental store. If you're interested in delivery and pickup, it is usually offered for an additional fee.
Get 8 foot rectangle tables, or 5 foot round tables if your planning on 4 guests per table. This is good if you do not want to rent/move a lot of tables. Get 6 foot rectangle tables if you're planning on 2-3 guests per table. Stay away from 10 foot tables because the weight of gear will cause them to sag.
If your LAN party spans more than one evening, sleep accommodations will become a priority in choosing a location. If your guests are traveling long distances they will need a place to sleep.
Dedicated LAN party "Quiet Room"Depending on the space available this can be a great option. Dedicate a room where everyone can throw their sleeping bags and come back to crash later. Having sofas or other comfy furniture available is a big plus.
Provide a list of Hotels and Motels in the area within walking distance.If you publicize the hotels well in advance this is a reasonable option.
Home of a Friend or other Guest.Use a forum or social networking page for your attendees to communicate with each other. Requests for a place to crash always seem to be met with a "Hey I've got room for 3 at my place." This can work out well for everyone involved.
Should I host my LAN party at a hotel?
Many large LAN parties are held at hotels for two good reasons:
- They have large meeting rooms that are immensely adaptable to LAN parties.
- Meeting rooms can be had free of charge or at a substantial discount if your guests book enough room nights.
Hotels make money from booking rooms and serving food and alcohol. Meeting/Conference rooms are generally loss leaders for the hotel to entice groups. This is great news for the medium to large LAN party!
Funds are a very important consideration when going for a hotel. You may need to gamble that you will have enough guests to offset the meeting room fees. The gambling usually takes the form of a non-refundable deposit. Be careful!
The bad news about hotels.
Hotels have hardcore noise restrictions, expensive food service, and they may restrict hours of use. If you're going to take this route, make sure that the hotel managers are mentally prepared for what you're gonna lay on 'em!