There are two ways to answer the question "how much space is needed to play laser tag?" depending on if you are planning on playing indoors or outdoors.
In determining the best answer to the question "how much space is needed" there are several criteria to consider.
When trying to work out how much space you need to laser tag first consider the number of gamers who want to play simultaneously.
Do you want a small group such as 5 on 5? Or do you want to cater to a large group such as 50 versus 50?
Second, consider how "dense" the terrain is (in order words how many things there are to hide behind). Are you planning to play in a small indoor arena? Or acres of open woodland?
Another consideration is your immediate drawing population. We consider your drawing population the number of people who live within a 30-minute drive from your location. (Or if you are a tourist destination the number of visitors you have in season.)
If it is a downtown high-profile location of a capital city then you'll want a bigger arsenal then if you operate in a small country town.
Consider how much Arena Space just for the battlefield playing area you will need.
It is common for indoor arenas to separate the armory/kit up area from the battlefield. When considering space requirements you'll also need to factor in space for the foyer, party rooms, restrooms, offices, and food and beverage will be added to these figures.
Regarding the minimum area in which to play, we have squeezed into 30ft x 30ft area (that was inside a pavilion as part of a Comicon, where space was at a premium!).
In this small area, we only had 10 players at a time. And we kept the games short, around 5 minutes in duration.
Recently we created a pop-up laser tag arena in a shopping mall. The indoor laser tag maze was 40ft (12m) by 50Ft (15m). In this maze, we had up to 18 people playing at once. We ran 10-minute games every 15 minutes all day.
A good rule-of-thumb for laser tag battlefield is to allow for 100-120 square feet per gamer (or 100m2) on the floor foot-print of your playing area or battlefield.
The key to squeezing into small areas is to have LOTS of things to hide behind.
For a normal outdoor festival, we would recommend 65ft x 50ft. So you could have up 20 players at a time.
Alternatively, if you are running a longer session for a birthday party or a team-building activity in an outdoor location then you can afford to have a bit more space.
We operate within a Gold Coast resort and we only have 2 or 3 acres of rainforest in which to play outdoor laser tag. For a 2 hour session, we book up to 100 gamers at a time.
If you have a more spread out area for games can be of a longer duration.
For example, our regular battlefield is 3 acres of rainforest within the campus of a resort.
Here for a public session, we run 4 by 15-minute games over a 2 hours session.
When the areas are very small, then ideally your games would be short. Say 5min. Or for a clan war even 3 minutes, tops.
For a 5 minute game at a festival, we would charge $5 a go. But every market is different, so it would be a good idea for you to check what overrides / attractions charge and match (or beat) that ticket price.
Most festival organizers are concerned about space.
People might question space an extra laser tag attraction could squeeze into. This is a tip for new operators: absolutely, positively demand that your attraction squeeze into the main area, right at the heart of side-how alley.
Otherwise, you might find yourself far far away from everyone else's site.
Worse still you might have to shuttle people to the arena about 500 yards away. This is a death-knell. As they say, "out of sight, out of mind". People need to see the action so they will be excited to play.
When you are running a fun event, keep the games simple. In fact, many battlefield operators play one game, over and over.
The two most popular games are Team Death Match (also known as Elimination Match) and the Domination Game (also known as Capture & Hold).
Whatever you label these missions as by keeping the games simple this enables you to streamline staff training.
In general the more space you have then the more complex scenarios you can run.