I have just recently held a 24 hour event with 400 players in the UK.
Here are my observations and lessons learnt:
A welcome pack is needed for every player. This should contain a map, timings and places to be during the event, such as safety briefing etc. A set of rules, a free glowstick etc etc.
We had a battalion command structure on both teams. This was naturally broken down into Companies, Platoons and sections. Each command element from platoon and above was issued with a 4 watt radio. Next time this would be done at section command level as well.
Regen rules are needed so the units can reform back again after regen.
We have some software that I call BATCOM. It is used in the two HQ's and is used in conjunction with a projector to project the map onto the wall. This aids command but more importantly it enables the players to see the big battle picture during regen. The map shows positions and current strength of friendly units as well as estimates on enemy units based on intel gathered from the field. My next objective is to have a wireless network setup so company commanders can have PDA's that show the maps feeding from the HQ.
Bit pyros and bangs. We used Copehill Down Village for the event, CDV is the largest FIBUA site in Western Europe. It has 88 buildings and there is a new Iraqi Village being added to it. The main entrance (for the game) to the village is Shrewton Street. This is where the main offensive began. The game started with the street being hit by Napalm. For this we used 5 fuel lift explosions. Each conisted of a 200g maroon with a uk gallon of petrol on top. They were set of 0.5 seconds apart. We then had two RPG's (line rockets) fly down the street hitting to more fuel lifts. Finally followed by a heavy artillery barrage. Again 200g maroon with a bag of peat and wood mulch on top to create flying dirt and debris. There was about 10 of them. We could of had more but CDV has an anti-digging policy and we was limited on the number of explosive chambers we had available.
In game artillery, yes commanders could call down fire-support missions. Consisting of multiple 40g maroons be used around the players. They consisted of a whistle units to make it sound like a falling shell. Absolutely great stuff and the players were terrified by them.
We had a lot of drop out by sunday morning. The game started midday saturday and finished midday sunday. I can not emphasise the need to put on your website about how to survive a 24 hour event. Sleep, eat, drink at EVERY chance you get. Most players are civies and do not appreciate these simple things. They all think they can go 24 hours non stop, well you can't, and this needs to be drummed into them.
Plenty of small sub-mission on top of the overall game objective is definately needed.
Sub-missions. These keep the commanders on their toes and creates some variation for the players.
Medic. A great add on to the game. Each section had a medic with a arm sleeve and a red cross on it. Each player had to bandages. The first time you are hit you have 5 minutes to get aid other wise you bleed out. Anyone on your team can take one of your bandages on tie it on your arm. Then you are back in. The 2nd hit requires a medic to fix you with your second bandage. Third hit and KIA. These rules kept the game flowing and stopped alot of potential cheating.
POW rules. All command elements could be captured. This would provide intel for the capturing side.
Sleeping. Most players wanted to sleep in the game area. Others did not. Make sure you have some areas of non-combatants to sleep. If you are using an urban site, then shut down some buildings after dark as designated sleeping areas.
Get enough marshalls to have a 3 shift rota. Divide them into 3 groups and shifts of 4 hours long. That way you can have a rota of 1 shift on and 2 shifts off. When not on shift they can either rest of play in the game. I used this method and did not have to pay the marshalls anything because they were getting free game when not on shift. I did however pay the marshalls that do not play.
First Aid. I had 3 x 1st aiders, 1 x Paramedic and 1 x Doctor. The Doctor was by luck, as he highlighted the fact during the safety briefing. For injuries we were lucky I guess. We had one popped knee, one dislocated shoulder and one minor heart attack. I say we were lucky because CDV has many hazard and I was expecting many more injuries.
Food. Some people like fast food at the events. But avoid a bog standard burger van. Players got totally sick of the small menu by the end.
Organisors. Try to get as many people helping you on the event. I found myself running it almost single handed, and that was a mammoth task. Try to have 5 or 6 people helping you run things (depending on the size of the event).
The event was Town Assault II and we are hoping to run it again next year. Only next time it will be much bigger with around 500+ players.
All the best,