Running a Tournament: ANUCON2011 part 1 – When and Where?

Photos from

Mid-week post, less photo-y and more blog-y.This year I’m running ANUCON2011, the ANU Wargaming Society‘s annual autumn Warhammer 40k tournament, 2 days (24th-25th September), 6 games, 1500pts.

I figured I’d write a little irregular post series on running the tournament, and my experiences and tips and tricks as I go through the stages. I’m generally just going to be ranting, to give anyone who is interested an insight into the effort that goes into running a smallish (30 people) tournament.

These photos are from ANUWTF2010, the other tournament that ANUWGS runs each year.


The dates are both the easiest and, in my experience, the most annoying thing to decide for a tournament.

They’re easy because there’s only three things to consider:

  1. School and University holidays are the best weekends
  2. Make sure it doesn’t clash with another tournament in the gaming region (for us, that’s Canberra-Sydney, and other eastern Australian cities as a secondary consideration)
  3. Make sure the rooms you want are available

That last one brings me to:



You need somewhere to host it! You need to have big enough rooms for all your attendees, enough space to move around the tables (and cart around an army at the same time), and some space for you to do all your TO stuff that’s sufficiently private.

The teaching rooms at ANU are pretty good, with the only downside being that unless we want to hire out one of the halls (which costs money), we’re limited to 6-8 tables in each room, so we have to book two rooms, which leads to people having to cart their army from room to room sometimes.

Also, remember to leave some space in your arrangement of tables so there’s space for all the players to congregate, for when you need to make announcements. Trying to cram 30+ people into a space already filled with a labyrinth of tables is not a good idea, particularly if those tables have somewhat fragile miniatures on them.



You’ll need something to play on. Again, we’re lucky – some ANU rooms have nice flat tables which fit together nicely or are sufficiently big for a 6×4 foot gaming table. However, if you don’t have those, then mdf boards or similar are required.

Having a bit of extra space on each table for people to place their army, books, and other stuff is also a very good idea – we usually make tables either slightly longer or slightly wider so there’s space.

Another good idea is to have two chairs per side of the table – one to sit on, and one for a visitor or for the player’s army or whatever. Make sure you leave enough space between tables so people can actually get in and out of the chairs!

One of the most annoying things with using table mats on conjoined tables is a hole in the middle of the table. This happens when you put together a bunch of tables with rounded corners. The best way to solve this is to put a hill or a terrain piece with a sturdy base over the hole, so players don’t get miniatures falling down all over the place.


Easy access to toilets is a must – otherwise people lose time during and between games. This goes double if you’re providing drinks at the venue. ANUWGS tournaments also include a BBQ lunch, so we need to be near the BBQ courtyard as well.


Our club is lucky because we’re a university student club, so we can hire rooms for free. However, normally this will be one of the prime considerations for any tournament, since venue hire alongside prizes are usually your biggest costs.

TOs hide behind the desk...

Once that’s all done…

… you’ve got your location! Make sure it’s available on the dates you want to run the tournament, and book it.

Of course, it’s not usually quite so simple as that – for ANU, we have to make a preliminary booking for the rooms, get security approval (which involves notifying people who might be affected by the event, for noise and so on) , then confirm the booking, all up which usually takes about two weeks (and has to be done at least two weeks in advance). So, there’s a fair bit of organisation and legwork involved for me just to get the right rooms organised.

Next week, I’ll talk about the Player’s Pack for a tournament.

5 thoughts on “Running a Tournament: ANUCON2011 part 1 – When and Where?

  1. Pingback: Running a Tournament: ANUCON2011 part 2 – Players Pack | Luke's Short Gaming Blog

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  4. Pingback: Running a Tournament: ANUCON2011 part 3 – Advertising | Luke's Short Gaming Blog

  5. Pingback: Running a Tournament: ANUCON2011 Part 4 – Food! | Luke's Short Gaming Blog

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