Hosting a session with The Beergame App

Discover the principal features of The Beergame App and learn how to design, create and host your first session !

Ressources

I have put together a few slides which you may integrate in your own deck :

1) Explain the game rules, objectives, and how to connect : Download the Introductory slides (.pptx)

2) Get tips on how to use the Debriefing views and graphs. Read more about the theoretical concepts behind the Beer Game and the key learnings for participants : Download the Debriefing slides (.pptx)

Determine the number of games to create

Each game represents one supply-chain with 4 roles : retailer, wholesaler, distributor and manufacturer. The participants will be dispatched between these roles.

In general, and especially in a remote context, I advise to assign one participant for each role. So if you have 8 participants, create 2 games ! If you have less participants than the total number of roles, don't worry, the computer will play where a participant is missing.

Of course, you may alternatively create games with less than 4 roles, or more.. The Beergame App is flexible !

Configure the games

Defaults

By default, each role starts the game with a stock of 12 units and incoming orders of 4 units for the next 2 weeks. The total lead time between each stage is 3 weeks : 1 week for the order + 2 weeks for the delivery. Example : an order week 0 is applied on your supplier's stock on week 1 and will arrive to you on week 3.

The stock cost is $0.50/unit/week and backorder cost is $1/unit/week. In the Free plan, games last for 12 turns (/weeks).

Supply-chain flow icons sketch for instructor guide

Advanced Parameters

From the Premium Plan, you can customize several parameters in the games to fit your training needs :

  • Number of Turns : a 20 rounds game will last around 30 minutes (excl. intro & debriefing time).
  • Transparent mode & visibility : you may play a first game with no communication/visibility, then compare when players can see all the games data. We typically see students adjust their ordering behavior and collaborate more.
  • Delivery Lead time : you may play a first game with a long lead time (4/5 weeks), then compare when lead times are reduced following process improvements. The Bullwhip effect is usually reduced as the chain becomes more reactive.
  • Minimum Order Quantity / Batch sizes : you may apply MOQs or Batch Sizes on specific stages (on the manufacturer for example). Batch Sizes enforce orders to be of a certain multiple. This simulates a pack of x items produced at once. It will increase a lot the bullwhip effect.
  • Customer Demand : more variability and a more erratic demand typically generate even more perturbations in the upstream chain.
  • Other parameters : Stock & Backorder costs, Starting conditions (each stage stock & orders), Computer ordering behavior (variability, stock target) when a player is missing.

Demand configuration panel : Screenshot config Demand

Stages configuration panel : Screenshot Config Stages

Create a Scenario

With the Premium Plan, you may customize the games to fit your industrial context, brand, products.

Example of an Harry Potter theme : Screenshot config Harry Potter theme

You can also program messages to be sent to the participants at a specific turn during the game. It may announce a sudden promotion or a change of situation in the game - in order to reinforce your scenario !

Messages in an aeronautics context : Screenshot config aerospace scenario messages

Share the Games with participants

Games are by default Private. You may share them with participants by sending them their url (such as https://app.beergameapp.com/game/xxx).

You may also activate your own Instructor page to list all your games. Simply share the url of this page to participants (such as https://app.beergameapp.com/user/xxx), they will access all your games.

Host the session in-person or remotely

Planning Example

Find below a proposition for a 2-hours session. Depending on your teaching objectives, the background of the participants, and the time available, you may of course adjust it. The Beergame App is a flexible tool !

  • Pre-assign in advance participants to games and roles on a spreadsheet.
  • At the begining of a session, introduce the game context and rules to the participants (10min)
  • Start a trial game with screen-sharing, and send a few orders as one of the roles, to explain the interface. (15min)
  • Share the link to your instructor page (or to each individual game) - and let the participants connect to their role. (5min)
  • Let the participants order and advance up to the point when demand increases. Then announce that a big promotion has started leading to a demand increase 😱. Wait until the total number of weeks are reached and the game is finished. (30min for 20 turns)
  • At the end of the game, show the debriefing stats, compare the competing supply-chains, discuss how they could work better together. (15min)
  • Play a second round, with another setup : allow communication between players ("Transparent mode"). Participants will feel they have much more control over the different stages stock levels, and will perform better. (30min)
  • Perform a final debriefing on supply-chain optimization, collaboration, system design.. (15min)

Manage several games at once

It is totally possible for a single instructor to manage several games at once, either when playing in person, or remote.

From the Dashboard, or from your Instructor page, you have an overview on the advancements of all the games at once. Some games may run faster than others - this helps you identify potential concerns and make sure all games go on.

For more details on a specific game, you can access the stage with all its data, even if you're not connected as one of the roles. Just click on the link "access the game stage as a guest" on a game page.

If needed during a session, you can force-remove a participant from a role, or modify the game parameters, this happens in the "Game Settings" window.

With the Premium Plan, instructors can activate a timer. This forces participants to validate their order before a certain period of time (you may typically leave 1:30 per turn)

After a session, you can archive the old games from your Dashboard - then they won't be available anymore for the participants and won't appear in your public instructor page.