Rules for the Beer Game

Number of players

A maximum of four people can participate in the game. The players all take a role as either Retailer, Distributer, Wholesaler or Manufacturer.

You can also use ghost players to add up the game field if you lack players. Ghost players are introduced in the empty places by starting to play before each role is filled. The game can be played with only one game creator and three ghost players, but this approach is counteractive to the idea behind the game. The more human players, the better learning opportunities.

Several games can take place at once, and several teams can therefore play against each other at the same time with the goal to get the lowest cost and highest availability to the customer.

Conditions and limitations

All participants must be connected to the game at the same time. In other words, it is not possible to take breaks during the game and return later.

The aim

The traditional aim of the Beer Game is to minimize the total cost for everyone in the supply chain by maintaining low stocks but nevertheless managing to deliver all orders. It is in other words not the intention that you should try to reduce your costs at the expense of the other players. We have, in our new version, also added an income when a crate of beer is delivered. The overall aim in our version is therefore to make as much revenue as possible for the supply chain.

This is how you start/play the game

Before a game begins, the players must agree on:

  • Who is to be the game leader and with that responsible for starting a new game.
  • What the game is to be called.
  • The time at which the players are to log on, i.e. sign on as players in the game and what role each player shall have - retailer, wholesaler, distributor or manufacturer.

In good time before the others log on, the game leader must prepare the following:

  • Go to www.masystem.se/MA-system-Consulting/Play-The-Beer-Game and klick on "Play the Beer Game here".
  • Click on START A NEW GAME, whereupon you will be transferred to the form where you generate a new game.
  • Type in the name of the game and get started.
  • Select your role.

It is now possible for the other players to join the game. If you belong to the category "other player", proceed as follows:

  • Go to www.masystem.se/MA-system-Consulting/Play-The-Beer-Game and klick on "Play the Beer Game here".
  • Click on JOIN GAME, whereupon you will be transferred to a form where you select game.
  • Then select an available position and join the game.

When all player that shall be a part of the game has entered the game field, you can start the first week. If the game leader starts before all the positions have been occupied by a human player, automatic players will occupy the empty places.

The game starts in week 1, and you can begin to place orders.

Fundamental rules

A game extends over a fictitious year and covers 50 rounds of one week each in the standard setting. Each round takes 30-60 seconds and the total playing time is thus 30-60 minutes. The entire game must be played in one go. In other words, you cannot take a break during the game.

For the sake of simplicity, everyone sells only one product: Lover's Beer. One unit is one crate of beer.

There are two costs involved in the traditional version of the Beer Game, inventory carrying costs and backlog costs.

For simplicity the purchase cost and sales income is the same in all supply chain positions. That is a good gross margin, so it shouldn't be that difficult to make a good profit... or maybe it is for you?

In order to reflect reality better, two lead times are introduced between you and your fellow players: An order lead time and a transport lead time.

Course of the game

In each round, the following happens:

  • You receive goods from the supplier.
  • You receive orders from the customer.
  • You deliver to the customer as ordered.
  • You order new goods.

This order and goods flow is represented by letters and trucks in the game. And you can always see when all players has finished the week when the wheel stops spinning and a new week starts.

In the course of the game, we do all the calculations for you. The only thing you need to do is to decide how much you will order each week.

If for some reason you cannot deliver, the product is noted as backlog and you must deliver this order next time you have products in stock.

During the game, players are not allowed to exchange any information (with the standard setting) other than that constituted by the order itself.

End the game

The game ends after 50 weeks.


The results are shown in figures and diagrams when the game is over. Compare to other games just finished.