Brian and ViR raise some really good points and ask some good questions in this thread. I think ops-center will help a little bit. I also agree that in many cases, organizers are just doing what they can to make use of the time slots they can actually get.
In a big enough market, simultaneous games are just going to happen and to a certain extent I think this is a good thing for a few reasons.
Consider that there are many players have the luxury of organizing themselves into teams and choosing the types of games they will sign up for -- variety is good when you have some folks who are unable to rent a van as a team like our's can and need to be able to play at a venue that is transit-accessible and not too expensive. When my team (F242) plays at games, we generally sign up at least 4 names at once as early as we can confirm the date, and the explicit intent there is to help the game organizer secure their venue and assess their financial risk. We expect more, but for this we're willing to pay more and pay earlier.
So I think that's going to be one source of date conflicts, because venue owners will be planning far ahead of time, and by the time the conflict is detected, it's too late. How do you combat this potential thorny issue? Incentivize early signups so that all conflicting games can make their numbers.
Now on to the issue of "experience differentiation", which I feel is the big one. I am looking for a quality airsoft experience with a smile on my face at the end of the day.
At least in the GTA and surrounding communities, conflicts are going to happen due to the need for product variety. One thing organizers of in-city games as well as the creators of ops-centre need to understand is that even though I live in the core of downtown Toronto, games in the heavier paint-oriented paintball venues are not a product I'm interested in, so if there are 2 indoor paintball venue games in the city on one Saturday, they are effectively invisible to me and not in conflict with a third option. A third outdoor game posts up 45 minutes outside of the city -- now I have 1 game to select. Easy.
The thing is, this sort of product differentiation is also happening for outdoor games outside of the city and based on differentiation factors that are more subtle. Ones along the lines of ethics, aesthetics, or just plain community connections. I love playing with certain folks again and again. You call your hits. You come up and shake my hand. You help us jumpstart our van's dead battery or lend us a spare gun. We trust each other. You all know who you are.
As an example, I am no longer interested in attending the no-signup-required, "open airsoft" games that are happening at a given outdoor paintball venue 45 minutes from the city. These games have acquired a reputation of having a lot of new or young players who do not call hits and exhibit terrible ethics when it comes to MED, are chaotically organized, have unsafe practices when it comes to eyewear, and to boot somewhat on the pricey side. When this organizer decided to throw caution into the wind and try to grow his games into the bigtime, he decided to let the market do its work. And so be it.
Brian says the market may work its magic to cure this problem, and it definitely will -- but it's important to understand that that's all it is. The competing, sometimes datewise-overlapping games which are geographically close to these games are in no way meant as a "F you" to anyone, but simply represent groups of players wishing to organize and differentiate their own preferred experience.
I bet this pattern is repeating itself all over the country.
Now you know