Beer distribution game

Beer distribution game

subject_name=Beer Game
image_caption=An example of players at a game board.
players= Multiple teams with a minimum of 4 players
ages= Recommended for graduate students and members of the business management community.
setup_time= 10-20 minutes
playing_time= 60-90 minutes plus another 60-90 minutes for debriefing
footnotes =
The Beer Distribution Game (Beer Game) is a simulation game created by a group of professors at MIT Sloan School of Management in early 1960's to demonstrate a number of key principles of supply chain management. The game is played by teams of at least four players, often in heated competition, and takes from one to one and a half hours to complete. A debriefing session of roughly equivalent length typically follows to review the results of each team and discuss the lessons involved.

The purpose of the game is to meet customer demand for cases of beer, through a multi-stage supply chain with minimal expenditure on back orders and inventory. Communication is against the rules so feelings of confusion and disappointment are common. Players look to one another within their supply chain frantically trying to figure out where things are going wrong. Most of the players feel frustrated because they are not getting the results they want. Players wonder whether someone in their team did not understand the game or assume customer demand is following a very erratic pattern as backlogs mount and/or massive inventories accumulate. During the debriefing, it is explained that these feelings are common and that reactions based on these feelings within supply chains create the bullwhip effect.

External links

Computer-based tools for running Beer Game Sessions:
* [ The Near Beer Game Web Simulation]
* [ The Beer Distribution Game online]
* [ A classroom friendly online version]
* [ A Beer Game implementation in Netlogo by Owen Densmore]
* [ A Numerical Solution to the Beer Distribution Game with Local Visibility Using Agent-Based Models]
* [ The MIT Forum for Supply Chain Innovation's Collbaorative MIT Beergame for up to 4 players] Non computer-based kits for running Beer Game Sessions:
* [ The System Dynamics Society offers kits for running the beer game]
* [ ASU materials (score sheets, hints, etc.)]
* [ Low-budget kit for running the beer game (in Spanish)]

UFV BeerGame that is a software for playing the Beer Game, a role-playing simulation developed at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The homepage of the project is available at and the software can be downloaded at It was developed in Brazil. Use version 1.3, that is more recent.

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