A production distribution board game
The Beer Game was developed to introduce students, managers, and executives to concepts of System Dynamics. The purpose of the game is to illustrate the key principle that structure produces behavior. Players experience the pressures of playing a role in a complex system and can see long-range effects during the course of the game. Each player participates as a member of a team that must meet its customers’ demands. The object of the game is to minimize the total cost for your team.
In the structured debriefing that follows it, the game illustrates a number of insights about management systems that generalize well beyond inventories. To play and debrief the game takes a minimum of just over two hours. The debriefing is the most important part of the game. Each game board accommodates up to 8 players (4 pairs) comfortably. Additional boards may be purchased for a larger group. If assistance is needed in facilitating the playing of the game, we can let you know of skilled facilitators in your area.
One complete educational “Beer Game” set consists of a 30″ X 100″ vinyl game board, customer order cards, order slips, pencils, 600 plastic game chips, and electronic access to the following: instructions for leading and debriefing the game, an informational video showing the game being played at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the direction of Professor John Sterman, and supporting articles. The cost of one complete set is US$150, plus shipping. Items can also be purchased separately. We offer regular and express shipping options nationally and internationally.
We prefer to fill orders upon receipt of payment but will invoice. Acceptable methods of payment include credit card, Direct Wire Transfer, (international) money order, or a check made out in US dollars, drawn on a US bank, payable to the System Dynamics Society.
International orders: All duties (customs) and taxes are paid by the recipient upon delivery.
NY and MA customers must pay sales tax or provide a tax-exempt form.
- For more information, the following articles discuss the deep insights related to System Dynamics that this experiential learning game bring to light:
- MIT’s ‘Beer Game’ Shows Humans Are Weakest Link in Supply Chains, Bloomberg Businessweek, 2021
- What MIT’s Beer Game Teaches About Panic Hoarding, Bloomberg, 2021
- Online game lets you experience the supply-chain crunch through beer sales, NPR, 2021
- MIT’s ‘Beer Game’ explains panic’s impact, Indianapolis Business Journal, 2021
- How to soften the bullwhip effect, The New York Times, 2021
The participants are always surprised by the bullwhip effects and the common behaviors exhibited in the ordering and inventory.
I bought the game before for a US company. I intend to pass it on to other companies.
One of my tasks was to improve their role as orchestra directors since they rely on a number of internal business partners and were struggling managing them. So I wanted to put the emphasis on the necessity of communicating as openly as possible with business partners. And it worked well.
I am a big fan of the Beer Game. I’ve run it several times in the U.S.A., Italy and Germany. The learning objectives are around leadership. For example: benefits of co-operation and information-sharing; how we behave when the rules are unclear. I always use the game as part of an organizational development intervention. What I’m trying to get across to the audience can’t be taught on a blackboard – it has to be experienced. The Beer Game is the perfect vehicle for allowing me to do achieve this. It has visceral impact on all my audiences; it is always rated 5/5.
My experience using the game has been very positive. Our employees love playing the game. Feedback has been extremely positive over the years. A number of folks have commented that it is the best training even that they have ever attended! Not only is the game enlightening, but it is also a lot of fun to play.
I will continue to utilize the SDS official game boards, the feedback I have is ‘hands-on’ works so much better than other options such as online or PC-based versions. I have delivered an ‘advanced Beer Game’ I created in several college courses, for persons who have played the original. I’m thinking of submitting this for the SDS conference in Cambridge.
Very good, great tool for educating people, understanding processes in supply chain and team building. We used the game a number of times with good success, educating purchasing people and branch managers on bullwhip effect. It was also good teambuilding exercise – as a side effect, everybody had fun each time.