How to organize a small local event for the first time?

None of my friends are interested in fighting games, so I am looking to possibly create an event in my city if I can find enough people interested (specifically for Skullgirls which doesn’t really have a huge audience yet.) The first time would likely be small (5 people or less probably) but I don’t really want to invite complete strangers into my living room, not that I don’t trust people but I don’t want to open up the potential of theft, etc. It opens up too much potential for problems having 4 strangers in your house going off to the bathroom by themselves etc especially if these are people I’ve never even seen before and they end up a bit sketchy.

So what would you do to organize a small local event? Not really a tournament since I won’t be charging any kind of entrance fee or giving out prizes, it will just be casual games playing against each other. Where would you guys suggest I look for some kind of free public place we could get access to some TVs and play some games? Would libraries rent out rooms for free that you could use for events like this? I don’t think EBGames or any shops in my area would be willing to do this. Advice?

I guess if weather is good, I could drag my gaming PC outside and plug in a TV with an extension cord and sit around in lawn chairs… but I think noise would be a problem (both all the weird violent noises that come out of a fighting game, and also any general cheering and noise from spectators), and my backyard faces onto a park with a chainlink fence so not much privacy.

Running sessions is pretty fun. I constantly invite strangers to my home and I’ve had very few problems. Just some salt here and there. Just make sure you have some ground rules laid out and some friends on hand to help you enforce them. I’ve usually got at least 3 people I trust completely at my sessions. Its at the point now where I’m comfortable leaving my house with people there if my friends are on hand. The sessions will start small whether you want it to or not so don’t worry about it getting out of hand unless you’re running a tournament or some kind of promotion. You’ll meet lots of people with similar interest and make friends along the way. You can see my session thread in my signature (I think) to give you ideas on how to start a session. Also feel free to hit me up with any questions! Post something in your local matchmaking subforum and see what shakes loose. Best of luck!

Your primary issues will be setups and location. How many setups are you going to bring? TVs? Games? Tables and chairs? Basically the logistics need to be sorted out well before the venue gets figured out.

As far as venue goes, you can hold it anywhere where there’s enough room to fit people, has electrical outlets located nearby, and wherever people will allow you. Of course, you would want a venue that is either free to rent or costs only a nominal fee to rent out, which will require you to charge $5-$10 or more per player.

Ideally, college campuses are a perfect place for this. A majority of their rooms and club rooms aren’t being used on weekends, and usually allow free rentals to students as long as they approve of you guys doing this. But it can’t hurt to ask EBGames or any local shops if they’re willing to do it. You never know who might see a perfect opportunity to get a group of gamers together in one area as a boon to local businesses. Same deal goes with libraries, although it most likely won’t work out, since they pretty much require either a) absolutely silence, or b) a venue fee for renting out ballrooms, if they have any.

Electronics in outdoor environments don’t fare too well. Besides the danger of the elements, the glare off the TV is usually pretty annoying. Your best bet would be to hold it in a garage if you have one.

That’s sort of the first step. Once you get that sorted out, then we’ll deal with how to reach your local community and advertise.