People can come in and out at any time. But it's not worth setting it up for less than 6 hours of play! (Theoretically, it could run 24 hours a day at a big con with lots of referees.) If it's only 6 or so hours, I just run the combat part . . . if it is longer, we get into the roleplaying.
It is best if the space is NOT shared with other games (that is, please try NOT to just stick this in one end of a larger gaming room). Please give me walls between this game and others. If I have to shout to make myself heard, I may not make it through the day. (And if all the pirates yell "Arrrrrrrr!" -- which they do -- it's distracting to others in the same room.)
If the rug is blue for ocean, that©–s neat. If not, well, we just pretend.
This space MUST be securely lockable, unless we are going to set up once, play, and break down, or else pick everything up and move it in between sessions.
Since the game is very visual, it is fantastic to have it in an open atrium, protected by velvet ropes, so everybody can see it as they pass. Good bait for news cameras . . . big Lego ships, cute Lego islands, people in costume. This just means that everything has to be picked up and hauled to a secure space when the game is not being played. But it's worth it for the extra visibility.
Or, if the weather is fine, we can play outside on the lawn!
I will need an electrical outlet for my computer!
I©–ll need at least three assistant referees at all times. Some can be trained from on-site volunteers; I can often arrange for local MIBs to come help, if the con gives them memberships. If the convention offers a companion plane ticket to its guests (note: this is highly desirable), I can use mine for someone who has helped me run the game before, either a staff member or a MIB. The longer the con wants this game to run, the more help is needed.
If it's in an open space or a big room, I like having a responsible person from Con Security present full-time. Not necessary, but desirable.
If the con assigns me a full-time liaison person, make it somebody who has a sense of humor and is willing to wear a bandanna or something while they're around the game, and I'll work them in!
If you want to charge an entry fee, you may want to offer bigger prizes to attract people (like a whole Lego ship, maybe a new one still in the box). If you want to offer prizes, tell me how much more you want to blow on it :-) I've got some extra ships, and if I don't have what you want, I'll tell you where to look. Some of the pirate ships are back in production now, and we Lego geeks have our sources for the older ones, too . . . (Hint: rec.toys.lego.) (One suggestion, never yet tried . . . charge an entry fee which includes a bandanna and eye patch for each player. I like that idea.)
Remember to do publicity, or it's not worth your investment or my time. (Games will also be publicized on both the Pirate Game web page and the SJ Games convention pages.) At the main Pirate Game page at www.io.com/~sj/PirateGame.html, you can download photos of ships and of people playing. You can publish that URL, if you like, so players can read the rules in advance.
Encourage people to dress up for the game; I give extra setup points for a good costume.