All you need to know about hosting a #play14 event
How to become an event host?
The main condition to become a #play14 host is that you have participated in at least one event as an attendee. The reason for that is that we want you to feel what it is like to be part of the family, and comprehend the mindset that we are looking for before you can become a host.
As a host, you will commit to carrying on the philosophy of the original event and providing a rich experience to your future attendees.
Most of what you will have to do as a host is to provide:
- A venue
- A date
- Food & drinks
- Some material for playing
- Your good mood
The rest is up to the players.
To make sure that it is not too much work, we recommend that you have at least 3 local organizers. This is especially true if you need to look for a venue.
How to choose a venue?
The venue should be big enough to hold 30 to 70 people, depending on how many people you expect. Our venues are usually special locations, with a sort of nice “je ne sais quoi”.
The venue should have at least
- A common area
- where the whole group can gather for icebreakers and warm-ups
- where the marketplace will be hanging visibly on the wall
- A food corner
- where people can grab a bite
- where drinks & snacks will be provided at any time
- 3 or more separate gaming areas
- with tables & chairs
- with a whiteboard or a paperboard
- big enough so that people can walk around tables
Obviously, the number of people you can host depends on the size of the venue.
What materials and supplies should we plan for?
The following is a non-exhaustive list of all sorts of things you should foresee for a well-organized #play14 event
- Tables & chairs (should come with the venue)
- Whiteboards & paperboards
- Lots of sticky notes
- Large stickies for the marketplace
- Square (yellow & colors)
- Long (yellow & colors)
- Sharpies & Markers
- At least one Sharpie for each player
- Paperboard markers
- Whiteboard markers
- Large paper roll for the marketplace
- Masking tape
- Measuring tape
- Paper (white & color)
- Game material
- A box of plastic balls
- Poker chips
- Card decks
- Any other game you can think of
What about food and drinks?
If you want people to maintain a high level of energy throughout the event, you need to feed them and get them drinks. This is one of the major responsibilities of a host.
Lunch and dinner
We usually foresee 2 lunches and 2 dinners
- First dinner: Welcome dinner, should be festive, usually asking a caterer
- First lunch: Light lunch, but copious enough so people can last the whole afternoon playing
- Second dinner: Usually pizza and beer. No fuss.
- Lunch: Light lunch, if possible different from the day before to provide a variety
Diversity is good, also in food. Be sure you pay attention to specific diets, like vegan or gluten-free.
Always have hot and fresh drinks at the ready. Everyone should be able to serve themselves a drink at any point in time.
- Orange juice
It’s your decision as a host to serve alcoholic beverages during the meals or not. We usually recommend it for the dinners at least, to make things a bit more cheerful. People are responsible enough to pay attention to their consumption and not get hammered.
It’s always a good thing to have snacks around, for breakfast and during the day, in case people need some energy
- Pasteries (for breakfast)
- Fresh fruits
- Cereal bars
- Chocolate bars
What can I expect from the #play14 global organization?
#play14 global organization will provide you with some shared resources and the co-founders will help you host your event. You won’t be alone in this adventure. We have a Slack account that helps us keep in touch with all local organizers and we keep ourselves available for video conferencing if need be.
One of the co-founders at least will be present during the event to help you with the organization and to make sure that the spirit of #play14 is respected.
Website and registration
We will create a page for your event on the #play14 website and provide all the necessary information: location, dates, and registration. We can handle ticketing and financial aspects for you.
You can also use your own registration system if you have one.
Marketing and communication
We have different communication tools and marketing services already in place
- Newsletter (Mailchimp)
You will mainly be in charge of communicating about your event and bringing people to register. However, at any moment you may ask for help and have one of the co-founders provide you access to the tools & services in place.
Merchandising and welcome kit
Every participant gets a #play14 t-shirt. It's part of the “brand” and people are pretty attached to it. Ideally, the t-shirt should be
- printed locally
- on a black t-shirt
- organic cotton is recommended
Aside from the t-shirt, we usually sometimes provide some goodies. Examples of things that were included in the welcome kit are
- A #play14 sticker
- A LEGO Serious Play window kit
- Sticky notes
- Story cubes
- Venue or sponsor merchandizing
What about the budget and revenue?
Generally speaking, we try to keep the ticket price as low as possible, because we want as many people to participate as possible. The money is mainly spent on food & drinks, welcome kits, materials & supplies. It may also be spent on the venue if it is not free.
Ticket sales are the main source of income for a #play14 event.
Depending on the location and the decision of the local organizers, the price of the tickets might be adapted.
Some events manage to get a venue for free. This makes things much easier in terms of budget. If you need to pay for a venue, the price of the tickets will have to increase significantly and you might have to save some money on the rest.
The types of tickets can also be adapted. Some organizers want to sell only tickets for the whole event, some sell tickets per day. Some organizers set up some type of evolutive pricing: early birds, normal birds, and late birds.
Depending on your context, this can be discussed with the co-founders and any of the other local organizers who can provide some ideas and feedback.
Ideally, you should find sponsors to help you organize a quality event.
Sponsoring can take many forms
- Free venue
- Food & drinks
It’s up to you as a local event host to find some sponsors for your event.
Presence of your mentor
As a rule, we want to have at least one of the #play14 mentors present at any new #play14 event. This is to ensure that you are not alone and that everything is running smoothly.
Because it incurs some traveling and accommodation fees, a part of the budget of a #play14 event has to be dedicated to that extent. You can pick any mentor you want out of the many mentors. We would however recommend finding one who lives as close as possible to your location, to reduce latency in discussions, and reduce travel costs.
Profit and loss
#play14 is and always will be a non-profit.
Therefore, any benefit you make on your event will be either:
- reinvested in the next event
- given back to the global organization to support other events
- used to buy games and materials for the next event
On the opposite, any financial loss you might endure will be supported by the #play14 global organization. All our events usually break even, and so far we haven’t had any major financial issues.
#play14 is built on trust. Therefore, we will ask you to be as transparent as possible regarding your finances.
What about eco-responsibility?
It's up to you as a host to make your event as eco-responsible as possible.
We usually recommend to:
- Provide reusable glasses and tableware instead of plastic
- Sort waste
- Pay attention to eco-labels when buy supplies and stationery
Some teams decide to make their event carbon-neutral, by compensating for the carbon footprint of the event.