Tuesday, June 12, 2007

LAN Party Nourishment

One of mans most basic needs is food and to keep your LAN Party guests alive and gaming a little of this vital ingredient is necessary. There are many options to choose from like brussel sprouts and apple juice but I'm going to list some I that feel will be better received.

This is a LAN Party staple. Unless all your friends are allergic to it (how sad that would be) this is your best bet. A few thing to keep in mind..

  • Get a variety of toppings, not every one like pepperoni or cheese, I like getting 40% cheese, 40% pepperoni and 20% sausage.
  • Negotiate a good deal before hand. If you have a large order, don't be shy asking for discount. Also look out for 2 for 1 sales and other deals.
  • Place your order before hand so your large order isn't delayed and the place has a chance to prepare.
  • Considering picking it up. The delivery tip on a large order can be expensive and you can save a nice chunk of change this way.
  • Have a table set up with plates, napkins and space to put the pizza because there nothing worse than the mayhem caused by trying to hold back a pack of hungry gamers.
Other food items
  • Chips
  • Nachos
  • Candy
  • Cookies
  • Hot dogs
  • Hamburgers


At a LAN Party, Caffeine is the name of the game. Bawls is a common favorite and best of all they are often willing to send some free for your event and they can also give you some good deals if you want to buy more.

Sodas like Mountain Dew that are high caffeine are popular but other flavors can be a hit as well. I try to have a nice variety for people to choice from.

At my Events I prefer to use cans that are pre-chilled in the refrigerator or in ice. Cans may be a little bit more expensive at the store but they make up for it in convenience because you don't need to buy cups and ice like you would for 2 liter bottles and left overs don't go stale and can be reused at your next event.

While name brand soda may be preferred by your guests, if you're footing the cost of the refreshments, an off brand may be a better choice. one of my favorites is Publix's own brand (Publix is a grocery store in the South East) soda. Walmart's brand comes in second in my opinion to many other brand because they are too eager to use less quality ingredients just to keep their costs down while still making a nice profit.

At the end of a long night some people will be ready for sleep and as weird as it may sound, they may like something other than caffeine so it is a good idea to keep some bottle water, lemonaid, Gatorade or similar drinks around.

If your LAN Party goes over night, while old school, coffee is popular choice. Couple this with a truckload of donuts and all your guests will be happy. Nothing like caffeine and sugar to start off the day right.

To prevent some craziness, some sort of plan needs to be decided on before hand to establish a fair way of distributing the food and drinks. At a small event, its fine to spread out the available food and allow your guests to take what they want but at a larger event a better system is needed. You don't want to have three people eat all of the food for your 50 guests.

I like to use a ticket system kinda like the county fair. Guests can buy tickets for say 50 cents each and trade these in for food. This keeps those who are handing the food from dealing with the cash and it helps keep some of it from disappearing. For an event where food is covered in the cost of admission, you can give each guest a set of food tickets when they check-in. For those who want even more, offer them the opportunity to buy additional tickets.

Consider distributing the food over the course of the event. Offer pizza at different times so that as people come and go from their games, they can get food without having to give up winning a round to get some before it runs out. At my last event, we ordered pizza to have ready at 8pm and at 11pm to split things up.

Other Considerations
I haven't had to deal with this personally but some locations have a set food service company you have to use instead of selling your own food which could cost your guests more than they are willing to pay. So to prevent 5 Dollar Soda check if your location does something like this check to see if they have a "Buy Out" price where you can then sell your own concessions at what ever price you want.

The Side Effects-

Make sure you have lots of trash cans around. The bigger the better. Gamers are lazy and don't like getting up so place them in convenient locations like at the end of the rows of tables. Consider getting a large rolling garbage can that you can roll around the room so you get the room clean without making the gamers get up. Make sure you check the garage cans regularly and empty them when their full to keep the mess down.

The inevitable outcome from drinking a dozens soda's is an urgent trip to bathroom. Make sure restrooms are marked and that they are visible even in the dark. (when the lights go down, the confusion goes up). Consider putting a light over signs to spare someone the embarrassment of asking where the bathroom is.

Did I leave something out? That's what the comment box is for.

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