MIT Beer Distribution Game - Supply Chain Simulator
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Beer Distribution Game Simulator

This project uses Node.js + to provide a modern, browser-based, real-time simulation of the Beer Distribution Game developed by MIT Sloan in the 1960s. This simulation is easy to setup and has been successfuly used to quickly teach people the key principles of supply chain management. The included graphs and tables allow you to rank groups and observe the bullwhip effect. You can try out a live demo here.



All the game requires is a Node server to run (i.e., you can just upload to a Heroku instance and be on your way) as it doesn't persist any data outside of memory. Dependencies can be installed using npm install and the server can be run using node index.js.


The source code is pretty simple. The server is wholly contained in index.js and the client is in /public, split into the user side (client.js and index.html) and admin side (admin.html and admin.js). There's a couple of font styles contained in style.css.

This code uses the excellent animate.css, CountUp.js, and Bootstrap Validator libraries.



Once the server is running, users can connect using a desktop or mobile browser. They must create a unique username at which point they are assigned to a group. To prevent collusion that could ruin the simulation, users don't see who else is in their group until the end.

The game requires at least one group of 4 players, but can theoretically support an unlimited number of groups. All groups need to be filled with 4 players for the game to start. If a user drops out, their seat is saved and they can relogin with the same username to get back to their group.

An administrator can login using the admin.html page with the password admin. From there, they can control the game, manage groups, and.


The game is turn-based, with every turn representing a "week" of gameplay. A turn consists of users receiving orders, fulfilling orders, and then submitting an order request up the chain. Each group can advance from week to week independently, but a group must wait until all members have submitted a new order before auto-advancing to the next week. A typical game should run around 30-40 weeks but the game has no set limit.


There are a number of outstanding features that would be nice to add. In addition, there are likely still some bugs with the mechanics. All changes are welcome! To contribute, you can follow the standard GitHub flow:

  • Submit your issue, assuming one does not already exist.
  • Clearly describe the issue including steps to reproduce when it is a bug.
  • Fork the repository on GitHub
  • Create a topic branch from where you want to base your work.
    • This is usually the master branch.
    • To quickly create a topic branch based on master; git checkout -b fix/master/my_contribution master. Please avoid working directly on the master branch.
  • Make commits of logical units.
  • Check for unnecessary whitespace with git diff --check before committing.
  • Make sure your commit messages are descriptive.
  • Push your changes to a topic branch in your fork of the repository.
  • Submit a pull request to this repository referencing the issue.