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How to Throw a Gaming Tournament in Your Neighborhood

It’s finally summer – whether you’re hitting the pool, having a family barbeque or attending a local festival, you’re taking advantage of the season. At some point you’ll want to take a break from the heat and enjoy the shade. Instead of binge watching Netflix, why not throw a friendly gaming tournament for your family, friends, and neighborhood? A gaming tournament can be a terrific way to meet new friends and gather your local community. Here’s a quick guide on how to set up your own hit event.

Location, Location, Location

You don’t need a fancy venue to host your first tournament. Typical spaces accessible to most people include:

  • · Apartment complexes and houses: a free and cozy option, you don’t need to jump through the usual hoops event organizers face. If you’re ok with opening your home to a small crowd of gamers, this is the most attractive option.

  • · Restaurants: another free/low cost alternative, with the added bonus of food options that can satiate your attendees. One downside is a restricted schedule as other event organizers will also try to secure venue space.

  • · Local game stores: if you want to up your attendance, hosting a gaming tournament at a local game store (video or board) is a good option because they have the equipment and can help advertise your event. They may put rules in place that affect the tournament, however.

  • · Online: if for whatever reason you are unable to book a physical venue, using the internet may be the most convenient way to go. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to maintain a schedule and manage competitors.

Picking a Game and Setting Up

Before you pick your favorite game or the first popular one that comes to mind, there are a few things you need to take into consideration. The set up that is needed for a gaming tournament varies from game to game. A Super Smash Bros. tournament can be conducted in a small room with a TV and console, but a popular first-person shooter game like Overwatch can take multiple computers and a large amount of space. Make sure you have the resources to run the game of your choice and remember to pick one that you have at least a little experience with.

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to bring your own equipment and ask your fellow gamers to do the same. Controllers, laptops, a mouse, you name it. Check for lagging equipment, and make sure, if you’re using consoles, they are the same version and brand before the tournament, at least two hours before start time. Label everything so players are less likely to lose their equipment and make sure there is enough space to play and observe.

It goes almost without saying: provide easy access to the bathroom and food areas. As with most events, food will amp up attendance, so make sure to have a food option close by or supply your favorite gaming snacks and drinks. If you can splurge, think about using small cash prizes, gift cards, or imaginative rewards to get your gaming competitors excited and draw in even more attendees.

Setting the Rules and Bracket

You are most likely not the first person to set up a tournament for your chosen game, so it is easy to find a ruleset that is the standard with a quick browser search. Changing rules at a whim is an easy way to get pissed off players, so set your rules ahead of time and let your participants know beforehand.

Single and double elimination styles are the common options for small gaming tournaments. You can run a bracket on paper or using the various online software that exist. Changing the bracket up is a huge no-no, especially if your software messes up. Finally, stick to your schedule and don’t be afraid to disqualify someone if they are more than five minutes late and you’ve already tried to contact them.

What Are You Waiting For?

Start advertising your gaming tournament on community platforms (like the soon-to-launch Good Fences) and via flyers in your neighborhood once you’ve completed your planning. Remember, your event will not be perfect and that’s ok. What matters are the friends and community that you are bringing together to have fun and make memories.