I spent a lot of my wise years hosting and attending LAN parties – but I’ve also spent 80% of them bored out of my mind, or just waiting on everyone else. I said no more, and today I decided to compile a checklist for you Den Dwellers on how to have an amazing, kick ass LAN party – that the host is still being slapped on the back for 3 years later. Before you ask me what kind of Authority I have on this, I’ve held a 72 hour LAN with over a dozen people – and it was gaming from start to finish.
If you have a table that only fits 6, do not invite 10 people to your LAN party. Just don’t do it. The best LAN parties have been everyone in the same room, or better yet, around the same table. There is yelling, screaming, punching, kicking and most of all – a great atmosphere. It allows you to see your opponent in real life as well as in the virtual world, and stare at them evily as your cunning plan comes to fruition. I was playing Sins Of A Solar Empire, and betraying my so called “allies” was a million times more enjoyable – I could watch their facial expression change from “I’m tucked away in a corner with a massive superpower of an empire as my buddy.” to “What is that giant warhead flying towards my planets?” to “Why is there four of them?” to “OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD, SCRAMBLE EVERYTHING! JUST FIGHT!” to “I FUCKING HATE THIS GAME.” to utter despair.
Self explanatory, but include drinks – it makes life easier. When it comes to food, don’t be shy ordering Pizza – nothing wrong with getting everyone to chip in a tenner and be done with it. Try to encourage everyone to bring a bag of chips, or a case of soft drinks, it makes for a deliciously filling experience.
This is one that falls through the cracks and runs away from you. A lot of time can be spent setting up everyone’s rigs, sorting out power, space, seating arrangements and so on. Most of the time can be solved by increasing the space you have, but that’s not the really crucial point. The real pendulum swinger is the time it takes to install games. Every game change will require fresh installs/purchases for everyone involved, this bring me to my next point.
A week or two before the actual LAN day, send out a finalized but informal list of games that people NEED to have ready to go (including a version, if it’s not handled by steam), a list of games people SHOULD have installed, and a to bring an extra game or two themselves. This means when the fateful day comes, once the rigs are set up and networks are established – it’s hit play and go. This is what’s missing at every LAN so far that has failed. Be very watchful of this one
But most importantly, choose good company and good games to play. A party ain’t ever going to be fun with lame, boring people – apply the same fundamentals here. I’ll even throw in a list of games that were really a hit at all of my LAN parties:
Zombie Panic – Definitely have everyone in the same room for this one.
Sins Of A Solar Empire – We played for 7 hours and hadn’t come close to finishing it, but make sure everyone knows how to play!
Dawn Of War – The original series makes for some heated and intense battles.
Counter-Strike – Not explaining this one to you, come on now. Are you really a gamer if you need a link too?
Crysis Wars – Power Struggle is amazing 4v4, having everyone stacked in a car and literally nuking the car is too much fun. This is the standalone multiplayer half of Crysis Warhead.
Now get out there, and have the time of your lives.
No, I will not be your Ethernet Maid.