Background to the Beer Game

The Beer Game is a logistics game that was originally developed by MIT in the 60s and has since been played all over the world by people at all levels, from students to presidents of big multinational groups.

The purpose of the game was to show how the patterns we create in our relations with the world around us sometimes give unexpected and undesired results. This is an expression for what is called system dynamics. Jay W Forrester in the USA first developed the ideas and theories behind this branch of science.

The game shows how we (re)act in various situations, and how these situations lure us into standard ways of "thinking" that we accept without question, as exemplified by responses such as it has always been that way, hasn't it?

The Youtube video below shows what the effect, often known as the Bullwhip effect, is all about. But make sure to look at it after you have played the game.