Thinking about hosting a scrimmage but not sure about logistics… here are some thoughts. Feel free to ask questions, post (on community forum) what has worked for you (for those that have run scrimmages).
The 2 most important things: space (where) and time (when).
SPACE: Need an open space that can fit the “tournament pair” (ie 2 challenge tables “back to back”) plus space around them. We like at least a 25′ x 25′ open space – more is better. Then you will need space for teams to have their stuff – it is best if each team has a place like a table to set their stuff on.
TIME: We recommend somewhere between 2 and 3.5 hours, typically on a weekend. It is hard to get momentum going if you do less than 2 hours and people get hungry (and then start to get cranky) if you run for more than 3.5 or so hours. It is harder but not impossible to do a weekday event.
After these two items, next comes, how many teams and how to organize the day. We are big fans of the “stone soup” model – where everyone contributes something to the success of the “event” instead of considering themselves as being “hosted” by someone.
A couple of people can bring field setup kits, a couple more can bring challenge tables. A couple more can bring power strips / power cords. A few others can volunteer to be the “referee” for the day (we do try to get volunteer referees to be there but they may not be comfortable being an official “referee” for the entire time, etc) Perhaps someone can bring a music / sound system. You get the idea.
We find a “first come, first served” type of scheduling model to work well – you are not ever quite sure how “prepared” the individual teams will be. We have seen two models of this type work well: In the first, teams that are ready to run a match, come up to a “ready queue” and matches are run when there are at least 2 teams ready.
A second way that works well is to breaking the total time into equal parts (say every 15 to 20 minutes) and then allowing teams to sign up for no more than half of the slots or something similar.
We don’t find merit to prescheduling the rounds or stressing about when teams run and “against” which other teams. The important things at a scrimmage are not related to this aspect.
The next question then typically is how many teams to invite?
Assuming space is not an issue and that the site can handle as many teams as you want…. if the site has limitations, well, then only invite as many as will fit into the space that you have.
Generally think about running a match every 10minutes or possibly 15 minutes. [you could run faster than 10 minutes but it ends up being more stressful than needed for the couple of minutes of time savings but you may also find that teams will want to go slower, like 15 or 20 minute cycles.]
This means that you can reasonably run between 4 and 6 matches, every hour. Assume on average, most teams would want at least 3 to 4 “matches”, that gives you some things to think about. If you have 2 hours, you can support, 6 teams, possibly 8 teams. If you have 3 hours and 2 pairs of tables, you can support, 12 teams, and possibly a few more teams.
We would recommend somewhere between 8 and 12 teams is a good number of teams. This is enough to have an “audience” but not so much that you generally have to worry too much about logistics and parking, etc.