Running a LAN

Oct 12, 2018
Running a LAN
  • This section is concerned with how to run a LAN from the start of setup to the end of take-down, all things required beforehand are dealt with in the previous page.


    Running your first LAN can seem pretty daunting, it's a huge weekend-long event afterall, but correct planning you can have LANs running smoothly without too many hitches.

    In the run up to LAN, it's a good idea to ensure committee are on top of all their little jobs. You don't want the presentation to miss some of the events, or prizes to turn up too late, so making sure there isn't added stress a few days before LAN can help you be prepared and concentrate on the more important aspects of the weekend. So, it's a good idea to have a LAN to-do list:


    • Pay for hall and d block
    • All emails have been forwarded, just follow same blahblah
    • Book chairs + tables FM email
    • Book heating FM email
    • Waste management email, ask for bin liners
    • Tell security about visitors
    • Welcome and End talk presentation
    • Write quiz
    • Rules for quiz
    • Answer sheets for quiz
    • Committee rota
    • Make sign in sheets
    • Make do not enter signs for every door into the building bar the front entrance
    • Make do not enter unless private event signs for front doors
    • Make ‘fuck off and don’t touch/go here’ signs for the back fire exit, back fire extinguisher, the barricade for the stairs to the balcony, and the urn.
    • Order wristbands
    • Seat reservation map and print outs for tables
    • Tuck shop price signs (GO OVER THESE WITH THE TREASURER EVERY LAN)
    • Sign in desk PC/laptop
    • Print seat numbers and laminate them. Cut them up first then laminate.
    • Keep sec’s box stocked (Duct tape, blu tac, sticky labels, string, pens, paper, laminator sheets, raffle tickets, bin bags)
    Tech Team

      • Make tickets live on LAN site
      • Make seat res and LAN van booking live (normally two weeks before)
      • Close them ^ normally the Thursday before LAN (used to be Wednesday, your choice)
      • Book internet
      • Set up team (send email using LSU site)
      • JF minders during Friday (people to guard things)
      • Internet signs
      • Discord signs
      • LAN slideshow (the one that goes on the projectors during LAN, you can put the above two ^ on it ie: for internets, with the on duty committee or something)
      • LAN music
      • LAN website up to date (with LAN time table and committee rota, and make a blog post when tickets go live)
      • Sound/presentation in D block rooms
      • DC++
      • Get admin for those on sign in desk

      • Rough estimate for a budget (ie 1k tickets - van - prizes - raffle = this many freebie)
      • Make sure tuck shop stock is bought
      • Organise food order
      • Make sure bread rolls, hotdogs, ketchup and milk are bought
    Gaming Team

      • Buy prizes for tournaments
      • Iron LAN
      • Decide on tournament
      • Make forum threads for tournament hype
      • LAN servers

      • Buy freebies
      • Book Van
      • Buy raffle prizes
      • Labels for lan van
      • Talk to other universities
      • LAN van pickup rota
      • Get more attendees
      • Get key for storage
      • Sponsors
      • Printing (time tables, posters etc done at the printing services near EHB)
      • RAWs events and traditional games
    Once most of that is out of the way, you can concentrate on hyping events at LANs. Tournaments and 'what's on?' have a much higher attendance with a member of committee actively encouraging attendees to take part. Committee should also focus on keeping an eye on the event, as rules can be forgotten when other stresses are more important. Checking that members are okay and haven't noticed anything wrong is also a good idea, and can mean less negative feedback late on if problems have arisen and committee aren't aware.

    Welcome Talk(top)

    Welcome Talks are you time to show off everything happening at LAN, and making sure tournaments are hyped ready for signups. They're also a legal requirement for our room booking, ensuring members are aware of relevant fire and safety details in the event of an incident or emergency. Rooms will give you a safety leaflet that should be gone over in the welcome talk, detailing assembly points. You should also take an opportunity to have committee show their faces to members, as we often have new attendees at LAN, so ensuring everyone knows who to turn to with a problem is a very good idea.

    Despite a safety brief, you want to make sure the presentation is swift. Most just want to get going and playing games, so make sure you rattle through all the important bits concisely (food, sleeping, games, RAWs events, other general) and make sure that anything important is really stressed in the Welcome Talk (i.e. we're getting losses from tuck shop plsnu, or that the heating is broken).


    Largely sorted before LAN, a good idea for buying stock is to look at how much was sold at the last few and extrapolate based on predicted attendance. Another good idea is to keep some stock back and put it out on the Sunday to replenish stock, particularly stuff you know you're going to run out of (water, coke, diet/sugar-free drinks), this way people will use it more sparingly and if it does run out you can put out more stock.

    Key things to remember are to make sure you have a float, regularly check if there are notes in there and to plug the fridge on at the start.

    The union doesn't want us storing large amount of food, and with tuck shop bringing losses it's a big worry for Alison. Make sure you get the cash deposited after LAN ASAP, and go see Alison with any losses or issues so that everything is fully transparent. We don't want to be taking up valuable storage space storing water for 3 weeks, so don't go overboard when shopping.

    LAN Events(top)

    Tournaments have risen and fallen over time in terms of popularity. You might find the big tournament you run gets no attendence and the small side one gets everyone. You may find running that small side tournament next LAN doesn't get anyone. Popularity is a fickle thing.

    The only real rule here is, people won't play it unless you sound excited about it. Get people energised, go around and talk to people about it, grab people randomly and explain to them what they could win. And all in all, be as excited about it as you want them to be, and that way people will flock to it.

    Organisation is still important though, if things don't go well then people will not be happy. Make sure everything is as thought out as it needs to be, how long will the games take? Does it run over another popular event? Annoucements are important to make sure people know when their rounds are starting, but again, talking to individuals can also work great.

    Traditional Games
    TGS (Tabletop Gaming Society) are a regular sight at our LANs and usually host DnD at some point over the weekend, as well as just generally bring board games for people to come play and, since they don't generally have computers at LAN, are always there available to play something.

    Its organised usually by a member or two of our committee attending one of their meetings, on Thursdays, and making sure that everyone is aware of any changes to the normal route, such the venue, or a timetable schedule, as well as to check in with any potential new ideas for things they may want to run.

    Quiz can be the highlight of Saturday night, so long as everything is prepared beforehand. Make sure you have all questions, answer sheets, and prizes prepped before LAN, as trust me when I say that quizzes written at 5am on Friday really show, and not for good reason.

    Inevitably, something will also go a little wrong, whether your question is poorly worded, mis-numbered, or just incorrect. Expect a few boos, but you're the quiz master so what you say stands.

    Usually, the quiz is around 50 questions long, with multiple rounds. Don't be afraid to try new rounds or new ideas, as variety is appreciated by the attendees. Check out past quizzes on the Drive for an idea on what kind of thing to ask, and try not to have too many repeats.

    LAN Specific Events(top)

    Freshers' LAN

    Fresher's LAN is generally the biggest LAN there is, and can quite easily go over the normal limit at James France 128. However, by expanding the LAN under the balcony to rows I/J/K you can increase the capacity to around 158. Make sure you have spare working fibre and switches for this area though, as normally we have a few 'dodgy' extras, but you want everything running smoothly for the first LAN of the year. It can be made up after the rest of the LAN is set up, so then make sure you have a full LAN first, then worry about catering for extra people.

    Generally speaking tickets are usually free for this event, with nothing more than a £5 deposit. This is then given back to them either by paypal or by cash return. Cash return does involve getting a load of £5 notes from somewhere, which without a proper bank account may be difficult, whereas a PayPal refund isn't quite as tangible. There is a setting under the LANsite settings, called `Member Ticket Deposit (bool)' which enables this feature, and then the price will become the deposit. This will also put a message telling the purchaser how he will get their money back. You can change this by directly editting the template on the webserver.

    Fancy dress
    As this LAN is the closest to Halloween, it makes sense to do something spooky!

    Fancy dress needs to be advertised way in advance, otherwise there's simply not enough time for people to prepare for it and nobody ends up doing it. Another great thing to do is make it required for committee, this way you have at least got some people involved, even if not all nine manage it, which is unlikely given that there's so much to do around LAN time.

    Christmas LAN

    Usually James France is decorated somewhat with Christmas-y things, normally this is just a large tree by the main entrance, using the decorations that are in storage. You could do more, such as put tinsel along the side of rows, and the such-like.

    Secret Santa
    Secret santa is usually run using a google form, where someone writes their name down and then this get input into a spreadsheet. The names are then randomly distributed to a partner and each one of them is informed on who their partner is through whatever means is easiest. Usually there is a email box in the link where one can be emailed their intended, though it should be fairly easy to setup a mailing system for this part to be automated. There are also probably a load of systems online which will do all this for you.


    While not always one of the bigger LANs, it certainly is one you want to get right. The whole idea is to raise as much money as possible. A suggestions thread, where people nominate their charity, goes up a couple of months in advance normally over the Christmas break and then all the suggestions are put into a vote.

    Under the LANsite settings there is a button called `Ticket Charity Donation (bool)', ticking this allows the purchaser to edit how much he pays, but doesn't allow it to go below the price stated, allowing people to pay extra as a charitable donation.


    Most likely the first full LAN you'll do as a committee, this one is probably the most stressful, if only because you'll be trying very hard to make everything work. Problem is, there will be things that don't work. Now is the best time to try something new, as a test before freshers, but if things don't go your way, you've gotta learn how to adapt to things going wrong. And that's probably the most important thing you'll learn this LAN.

    Cake started as a celebration of the 10th year anniversary of LAN's, and since became a staple of Formal LAN's. Usually ordered in from somewhere as one big cake, it can also be done as a series of smaller cakes.

    Food Safety and Hygiene certificates are a must for this. It is best to make sure these get sorted out early, or that you have someone how has them already. Get quick lighting charcoal, otherwise you'll be out there all day, buy roughly two peices of meat per person (baring in mind it is a large LAN), buy enough buns for each piece of meat and make sure to bring the tarpaulin, just in case it rains. Its always a good idea to buy some vegetarian options, stock up on ketchup, mustard, relish etc, and buy burger cheese.

    Committee Duties(top)

    This is something you have to keep on top of. On the drive is a duties list which can be easily printed and rotated between on-duty committee. Although is does sometimes get forgotten about half way through LAN, having an easy reminder of what you should be doing on duty is really nice. Shifts do tend to blur out a bit, as people don't take their jackets off or people who are meant to be on duty don't go looking for a jacket, so just take the initiative when you're walking about to pick up some rubbish, check the urn, and have a tidy up now and again.

    The most important duties are:

    • Keeping LAN presentable: namely the welcome area and tuck shop.
    • Taking money from float and locking it in not-money.
    • Emptying and replacing bins (take bin bags outside to the skip to save yourself hassle later!)
    • Filling the urn
    • Doing food orders
    • Wearing the vest and being available.
    It is important that people know where to go if they have a problem, be it big or small, and that's why people are on duty, and why people wear hi-vis jackets.

    Closing Talk(top)

    The closing talk marks the end of LAN, ensure it's quick but contains all the relevent information for tournament winners and the van timetable.

    Its a good idea to make sure the raffle is all set up, with tickets ripped up ready and prizes out on display. Make sure it contains the tournament winners and that everyone gets a free bag of Haribo. Its a good idea to ask people to stay behind and pack up, but if not ask them to at least tidy their own messes. Make sure people know where to put their PCs for LAN Van drop offs.

    You can hype up prizes by having some 'oos' and 'aahs' from committee, and taking pictures of tournament winners is normally a good idea!
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