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Several different approaches to playing the beergame in a class room setting exist.

Traditional board game

The traditional version is a board game (photo) in which tokens are physically moved on the board to represent orders and stock.

The upside of this is that people relate well to moving actual objects.

However, there are two downsides: firstly, the board game is too slow, cumbersome and complex to administer; secondly and more importantly, because physical objects are used to represent inventory on the board, people enjoy an unwanted transparency of inventory levels of other supply chain stages and can thus strategically act upon their knowledge of incoming stock.

Table version

The table version of the beergame was originally developed by a team at the University of Klagenfurt.

It is much leaner and shows a more pragmatic approach to moving orders and stock in the supply chain (using paper slips on which numbers are written by the players).

It still shows administrative overhead such as a bookkeeping person that takes stock of all things happening.

Adapted table version

The beergame version discussed here is an adaptation of the Klagenfurt design, which eliminated the bookkeeper in order to achieve a more straightforward game.

I use a spread sheet (see figure) and a laptop computer on each table for people to fill in their play sheets; this eliminates risks of people miscalculating inventory levels and ensures a quick progression of the game.

Software versions

Existing software versions of the beergame do not support interactive class room situations.

They are either one player simulation demonstrations (without multi-player interaction) or web-based transformations of the game to be used in a dispersed context.

To this end, we have developed our own software version!

Overview

This section provides an overview of the beergame, its history, rules, and different versions of the game. It also describes the bullwhip effect.

Please note that all explanations given in this section are based on the modified table version of the beergame, for which I also provide the materials in the respective section.

 

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