A networked Minecraft game is a great theme for a kid’s party. Each participant brings a laptop or tablet and the host sets up a server. If you haven’t set up a multiplayer game before, have no fear: with a little legwork before the big day, you can create an atmosphere worthy of a kid’s 10th birthday. The following tips apply to groups of 10 to 12 players on a local network.

When you send the invitation, ask all attendees to have the same version of Minecraft you’ll be running, preferably the most recent version. Odds are that members of this MC party crew already have a relatively recent version and updates are free. The Windows 10 version is in beta but it is not compatible with other versions, so you should not use this version for the party. Having everyone on the same version before game day will cut down on setup time.

Make sure the computer you plan to use has enough RAM to run the server and allow you to play. If you have the current version, you’ll have 2GB already, but Mojang recommends 4GB. Upgrade your memory now if necessary so you have that recommended 4GB—it will ensure that you can smoothly run the game with a lot of plug-ins and a minimum of lag.

As the person running the server, you will create or select a world for all the players. You can give them a lot of room to roam or populate it with cities and structures and create more of a theme. You will also determine whether everyone plays in survival, creative, or adventure mode.

Come party time, to get everyone on the game, first make sure they are all on your home network. You’ll enter the world, hit Esc, and then click on Open to LAN. Select the playing mode and, if you want, turn on cheats. Then click Start LAN World and wait for the message that a local game has been hosted. Players should now start their own games and select Multiplayer. They should be able to see the title of the world you’re hosting and join.

Before you know it, your pack of Steves will be off and running amok in the world you’ve created. They might not even want to stop for cake.

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