Organizing a Beer Game Session - the complete guide

In this article, we compile all you need to know to organize a successful Beer game event with your team, clients or students. We will link to more advanced articles if you want to dive deeper into each point.

In this article:

1. Choose a scenario and template

We propose several game templates to show how the game can be adjusted for different industries and learning objectives.

You can select a template when creating a new session:

If you have no specific plans, we recommend starting with the default template. To support it, we have developed slides which you can use directly or incorporate into your own deck:

Download the Power Point: Beer Game training template

Our platform allows you to create your own session templates. It allows you to start more quickly with a customized scenario and share it with your team of instructors.

Read more in our article: Example of Beer Game session schedules

2. Determine the number of teams required

Each team will represent one supply-chain with several roles (between 2 and 8). In the default scenario, there are 4 roles :  retailer, wholesaler, distributor and manufacturer.

You should decide the proper number of teams to have positions for all players.

In general, and especially in a remote context, we advise to assign one participant for each role. So for example in the default scenario, if you expect 12 participants, create 3 teams. If you have less participants than the total number of roles, don't worry, the computer will play the roles where no one is connected.

If you are playing in-presence, you can assign several participants to a single role. In this case, 2, 3 or 4 persons can sit in front of a single computer and discuss together on the order to send every week.

3. Customize the scenario to your needs

The template you chose previously may fit your needs perfectly. In this case you can move on to the next step 🙂.

But if you want to adjust the scenario, head over the "Settings" of a session, where you can edit the rules for each individual game round.

You can adjust the role names and starting stock, lead times, allowing communication or not, the final consumer demand, etc.

It allows you to propose an experience branded to your own context / industry. You can also focus the teaching on specific topics that may be relevant for you, such as information-sharing, lead times, batch sizes, stock cost, etc.

When the session rounds settings are modified, all the corresponding games are updated accordingly.

4. Explain the rules to the participants

When joining a game, players will automatically see some onboarding slides, to give them instructions tailored to their role.

Before that, you can introduce the game by using our slides (to be used as-is or incorporated inside your own presentation). We also provide a 3-min "How to play" video which you can show before players join their role, so that they know what to expect.

Read more in our article: How to Explain the Rules

5. Invite participants

When it's time to invite the participants, don't forget to Publish your session, to make it visible to the public.

From the "Invite Players" session menu, you can extract a link to the session lobby:

From the lobby, players can easily choose a team/role or select "Join a random Position":

For more control, you can extract on Excel the links for each game/role. You can work on the file to write the name of the player in front of each role, then send the file to your audience by email:

6. Follow up the advancement

From the session follow-up page, you have an overview of the different teams advancement, for the different rounds.

You can first monitor if all the participants have successfully joined their game.

During the game, all the players of a team need to validate their order for the next week to start. It may happen that a team falls behind, if someone takes too long to decide. You can identify who hasn't validated their order yet by hovering your mouse over the "Orders" column of a specific team. And ask him/her to hurry up 😊

The follow-up page includes some quick-access buttons to manage the games. For example if the players are too slow to advance through the weeks, you can use the "Start Timer" button to allow a limited time (by default 1 minute) for players to decide their order. When the timer reaches 0, the computer plays automatically for the players that hadn't decided their order yet.

Read more in our article: Monitoring a Beer Game - tips and tricks

7. Debrief the results

Once the game is finished, players will reach a debriefing page, showing their team's result and their personal result compared with the other roles.

On the debriefing pages of the rounds >1, the results are compared with the ones of the previous rounds. Players can also click on a link to compare their result with the one of the other teams.

Players can also download their data to Excel or save the debrief as PDF.

As an instructor, once all the teams are finished, you can take other the presentation and share your screen on the session results page. It includes all the data and graphs to deliver key insights, such as showing the bullwhip effect, and animate a discussion with players.

Read more in our article: Perform a successful Beer Game Debriefing

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