Running a Tournament: ANUCON2011 Part 4 – Food!

I’ve run out of pictures to put up from my friend’s photo album, so here are some random ones of mine (which you may have seen before already, sorry)

Just a note, although not ideal walk-ins are allowed and welcome for the tournament I’m running this weekend – so if you’re in Canberra and feel like a weekend of 1500pt 40k, feel free to drop in and register on the day! The main details are in the flyer above, and the player’s pack is here – although email me if you can, so I can buy enough food and drink for everyone! Note: all armies are subject to approval, as ANUCON2011 is aimed at being a “friendly” tournament.

So, continuing my series on running a tournament, here’s a final post before the tournament goes ahead this weekend! I promise to take heaps of photos on the weekend and have a massive gallery post next Monday – slightly delayed, since I’ll obviously be busy all weekend!

Anyway, this post will be on the one thing which makes ANU Wargaming Society tournaments special: FREE FOOD.

Trojan (not a horse)

Ever since the first ANUCON years ago, we’ve provided a free BBQ lunch and drinks for everyone participating (as well as any helpers). The original reason was to make sure people stick around and are on time for the after-lunch round on each day – as everything on the ANU campus is closed on the weekend, we thought that people would head over into civic and then possibly be late back for the next round.

Of course, it helped that we could market the tournament as including food and drinks for both days in the entry fee…


A couple of tournaments – I forget which – have copied this, but by and large food and drinks are still sold at ridiculously high prices at most tournaments. So, for the low price of $35 if you pay early or $40 if you pay on the day you get a 2-day 6-round tournament, bbq lunch on both days, and drinks as well!

But, here’s the advice for providing food and drink:



  1. Do not skimp and get no-brand drinks. There’s no substitute for coke, and there’s also no substitute for branded other soft drinks either. So, although you’ll save a couple of bucks if you get non-coca-cola/pepsi brand drinks, everyone will know that you’re a cheapskate. Spend the extra dough and get branded drinks.
  2. Buy LOTS of coke. No, not the drug – the drink. I screwed this up at the last tournament and had to buy more on the morning of the second day – and we STILL ran out of coke, and had heaps of other drinks left over. So, a 1:1 ratio of coke to other drinks is about right, and forget about buying diet – not enough people drink it to make it worthwhile, and anyone who drinks diet usually is okay with either the regular stuff or other drinks anyway.
  3. Buy a pack of water bottles – although not many people will drink it, you probably will because it’s the best for keeping hydrated and keeping your voice from going hoarse from shouting at participants all weekend. Anyway, it’s cheap, so even if it doesn’t get drunk you’re not out by much.

As for guestimating how many drinks you’ll need, 1 per person per round is about right. 30 people over a 6 round tournament = 180 cans or so, of which about 90 should be coke.

Previously, we’ve never been able to keep the drinks cold – ice and eskies is impractical for that many drinks, and costs too much. We’ve given up, and just have room-temperature drinks (keeping them under the aircon vent helps). However, this year I have a secret weapon…

Your players will look like this at lunchtime


  1. Don’t skimp here either. You don’t need gourmet sausages – no one expects a BBQ to be top quality – but get something that isn’t dripping fat and blood all over the place at least. We’ve found hardly anyone complains about the sausages from ALDI.
  2. Onion. Lots of. It’s cheap, so we cook up 1kg per day, just to make sure we’ve got enough.
  3. Plastic plates for keeping cooked stuff on is best. You’ll never be able to cook-as-you-go unless you’ve got a massive BBQ.
  4. Speaking of not being able to cook-as-you-go, make sure you start cooking early enough. Since the BBQs at ANU are small and weak (the kind you get a camp grounds and parks), we start an hour before lunchtime. Even if stuff gets cooked early, there are usually some people who finish early and head down anyway.
  5. Have more bread than sausages: some people like having a 1-sausage 2-bread sandwich. This is even more essential when you consider you not only have sausages, but also:
  6. HASH BROWNS. These are our “secret” weapon – nearly everyone loves hash browns. Every tournament I buy more of these than last time, and every year they all dissappear.

Food wise, we’ve found just over 2 sausages per person per day is about right, provided you also have many hash browns. Hash brown wise, I think I’ve gotten to 3 per person per day and they STILL all dissappear, even trying tricks like cutting them in half so there’s more smaller bits and things like that. I’ll try 4 per person per day this year and see how I go, although I reckon they’ll all get eaten again. 30 people and 2 days means 120 sausages and (at 3 per person per day) 180+ hash browns.

Don’t forget:

  • Napkins
  • Sauce (lots of tomato, token BBQ is sufficient. Use the squeezy bottles, they’re easier for everyone to handle. NEVER buy the large 1-2L bottles which require people to pour, it ends badly)
  • Paper plates
  • Oil
  • Cooking implements
  • Something to clean the BBQ with (both before and after cooking)
  • Chopping board and knife for onion and separating sausages


So after all of that, you should be ready to keep your players nicely fed and watered during the weekend! Wish me luck, and I’ll post pictures on Monday and an After Action Review mid-next-week.

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