The Beergame

The beergame is a role-play supply chain simulation that lets students experience typical supply chain problems.

In the beergame students enact a four stage supply chain. The task is to produce and deliver units of beer: the factory produces and the other three stages deliver the beer units until it reaches the customer at the downstream end of the chain.

The aim of the players is rather simple: each of the four groups has to fulfil incoming orders of beer by placing orders with the next upstream party.

Communication and collaboration are not allowed between supply chain stages, so players invariably create the so called bullwhip effect.


The beergame (or beer distribution game) was originally invented in the 1960s by Jay Forrester at MIT as a result of his work on system dynamics.

While the original goal of the simulation game was to research the effect of systems structures on the behaviour of people (“structure creates behaviour”), the game can be used to demonstrate the benefits of information sharing, supply chain management, and eCollaboration in the supply chain.

A range of different versions of the beergame have emerged over the years.