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.
One complete educational "Beer Game" set consists of a 30" X 100" vinyl game board, printed instructions for leading and debriefing the game, the customer order cards, order slips, pencils, 600 plastic game chips, and an informational DVD showing the game being played at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the direction of Professor John Sterman.