Here is the web edition of the book, totally free to read. If you would prefer the kindle version, you can get it here!
Or you can buy the paperback, very soon!
1.2 THE IDEAL TOURNAMENT
Here is a quick checklist for the ultimate tournament:
Comfortable, luxurious venue, situated away from the public
Too many setups
Pools into DE FT3
Late afternoon start, tournament finish in the early evening and casuals throughout the night
Well connected location so it’s easy to get home
Huge cash prize with top 8 split
Rare physical prizes
Celebrities with photo and signing opportunities
Achieving all of this is impossible or just financially ruinous. Some aspects, however, are manageable.
1.3 VENUE VS LOCATION
People need a place to play, but which is more important to the organiser? Comfort, accessibility, size or location?
Back in the day, and today in some cities, the only place to play games was in the arcade. Tournaments were no exception. Some video stores had enough space for a competition as long as it didn’t get in the way of their actual business.
Today the best bet would actually be hiring out a space. There are pub rooms, function halls, studios for artists and church halls and schools that would love your money. There are also venues that would let you use their space for no charge at all…
Education centres are especially good because they usually have projectors (note: do not play directly on projectors due to lag) or sound systems already in place. However they may be closed during the holidays and fully booked up for the actual institution.
Not to say it’s not possible to hold a tournament or even a casual session anywhere. Pubs and bars are often interested in hosting events but they won’t be happy if your players don’t eat and drink (a lot). One thing to do in this situation is to charge a higher entry free and include a free drink /and food. Eateries often have meal deals you can take advantage of, always ask for anything they can offer to help – it’s in their benefit to make the event as attractive as possible.
The problem with using a space that you share with the general public is that both them and the players can invade each other’s space, often leading to an unpleasant outcome. Players don’t like being distracted by normal people judging them and the public doesn’t like noisy gamers shattering their peaceful weekend. Worst case scenarios occur when alcohol is involved….
Sharing internet with the public is a no-no, unless you intend only to use non demanding apps such as twitter and challonge. You need a guarantee that nobody will suddenly start a video call and cause havoc to your stream- it’s not worth the risk. Logistics can also be a problem so make sure to have a look at the layout of the room and visualise where all your cables are going to go and how they will be secured– if some children trip over your power cables, a match being interrupted is going to be the least of your troubles.
If you’re lucky, some bars and pubs have a function space which can be closed off to the public (although you can probably still hear them). Remember to ask via email before you even visit to look, this can save you time. Call to follow up.
Certain bars with specific spaces for hire have been known to cancel your event if you have low attendance / low consumption of food and drink or when a more profitable event wants the slot eg: Hen nights, Birthdays etc. Be prepared for stories where the manager didn’t realise they had double booked. In scenarios like this it’s not a good idea to scream and shout but to negotiate a compromise: changing the date would be damaging but you could change the time. Most events in drinking spaces start in the evening (around 7pm) so make your event start early and finish at this time. On a weekend this is actually convenient for most, especially if your community has busy social lives.
This sort of timeframe is often the best for this sort of venue as they get their sports or after-work crowd in the evening, and your rowdy bunch of gamers aren’t exactly conducive to the pleasant atmosphere of a Sunday lunch.
A good venue is one with storage, where you can leave your stuff securely and then do the event regularly.
Location location location.
When you book your holiday, do you book a hotel that is miles away from anything? Well, unless you really don’t have any money and are prepared to walk miles home in the dark, people like to be close to the attractions. Inner city venues will be expensive unless you can find one that is new / unpopular /hidden and desperate for traffic. The further out you travel, the cheaper it should get but the more complaints you’ll get from the attendees due to travel costs and boring long journeys.
Saying that, a quick note here about complaints – you’ll always get them.
Ideally, nobody wants to walk far from a bus stop or station, especially if they’re carrying equipment. If everyone has a car, then great! You should encourage car pooling. There are even some website that organise car pooling between complete strangers.
Also note, that if the event itself makes people incredibly happy, a long journey home with new found friends is the cherry on the cake.
What impresses people about venues? Size is surprisingly not one, especially if you can’t fill it. Fancy halls with organs and drop down cinema screens are not making people orgasmate if they can’t even play a game or watch a high level match on it.
Super Versus Battle (SVB) 2012 took place in South Kensington Exhibition Hall and reeked of high class. Compared the venue capacity, it had (due to various reasons) a relatively small turnout. Hypespotting II was held in a hotel banquet room a quarter the size, and was relatively packed. Evolution 2013 was held at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. There were 3,538 competitors in attendance. When the event is heaving with people, it looks successful, regardless of size.
Let’s recap: the most important things are a comfortable spacious area for players to put their bags securely and sticks on a their laps or table without banging elbows.
Players prefer the general public being kept at bay to prevent distractions and worries about theft. Every tournament player knows he has to deal with a crowd either cheering or booing him but having a member of the public interrupt to ask if they can “have a go” is not acceptable.
On the other hand if you want to show the game to the general public, having space at a bigger space, like a convention, is a huge chance for exposure…
Anime Cons/ Game Exhibitions / Japan Expositions / Clubs + Sharing
The only thing to worry about at conventions is having money to pay for the space, normally charged per square foot, then having secure setups eg. locked console pods that you could leave relatively unattended. These can be hired from console companies directly. Try to select a space that is easily found, i.e. next to the biggest exhibitors, or on the edge or near an entrance. Of course, this will cost you. You could piggy back with another exhibitor, so ask! See ‘working with companies’ later on for more on exhibiting. Then make sure you spend even more money on attracting people to your stand: posters, cosplayers, guests, tournaments, freebies, raffles, and huge screens…
A quick note about attendance:
There are a billion reasons for people not to turn up – the primary one being laziness. How can this be beaten?
1. Leave them with a sense of regret (they missed the hype!)
2. Make the events less regular – otherwise people will think they can always go to the next one (which they then never do).
3. The event needs to have something exclusive/rare whether it be footage, a beta, guests or happenings.
All that said, a good venue in a good location is the most important thing. Everything else is secondary. Even equipment.