Serious Educational Games

Questioning existing teaching methods is part of every prospective teacher's studies. New methods are constantly being developed to bring learning closer to the students. One of these methods is learning through educational games. With the help of educational games, students can experience theoretical content in practice. They offer the advantage that students work independently and are more motivated to understand the course content.

Educational games are a useful way to engage students in the classroom. This way students can experience content first hand and learning objectives can thus be taught in a practical way. Games are a useful teaching method for different levels of education. From primary school to university, educational games can be helpful for the students to increase their learning success.

The classroom offers serious educational games especially for higher education. We provide games from different topics including economics, operations management and behavioral psychology. The simulations are useful to teach students strategic thinking as well as coordination and cooperation skills. There are both single-player and interactive games. Depending on the game machanics, students either have to cooperate or compete in order to reach a personal best.

To get a better impression of our educational games, here is a short overview of the topics and a sample of the available games.

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Operations Management

Inventory Management: Newsvendor Game

The Newsvendor game is a hands-on inventory management simulation that can be used for business school classes at the undergraduate, graduate or executive level. The player assumes the role of inventory manager for a perishable product, who must place an order at the start of a selling season. Students tend to order too much of low profit products and too little of high profit products. This systematic bias, known as the “pull-to-center effect”, motivates instruction in models of optimal inventory management.

Supply-Chain-Management: Beer Game

The Beer Game, created by Jay Forrester at MIT, is a hands-on supply chain management simulation. Players assume roles in a beer supply chain (ex., retailer, wholesaler, distributor or factory). ‘Downstream’ players order inventory from ‘upstream’ players, with the goal of minimizing inventory and backorder costs. The game illustrates how over-reactions to real or perceived demand changes, known as the “bullwhip effect”, can happen along an improperly managed supply chain.

Auctions: English, Dutch, Double Oral Auction

Auctions are a widespread method of selling. They can be structured in different ways. The principle of selling an object for the highest possible price remains the same, the approach can be different. One can distinguish between English, Dutch and Double Auctions. In the English auction, the participants outbid each other to win the bid. In the Dutch variant, the auction starts with a high price, which is then lowered until a bid is placed. The double auction is a mix of the two variants.


The Contracting Games are a suite of hands-on inventory management simulations that can be used for business school classes. The player assumes the role of a supplier who deals with a retailer. The retailer manages inventory for a perishable product. In a single-player version of the game, the retailer is programmed to place Newsvendor-optimal orders. In the interactive version of the game, the role of the retailer is played by another student. This simulation is designed to demonstrate the “double marginalization” problem: the Wholesale Price contract cannot be designed to induce the retailer to order enough inventory. The Buyback Contract can be constructed to solve the double marginalization problem through risk sharing, by providing the retailer with a rebate for unsold inventory.


Risk Preference: Holt/Laury Game

The Holt/Laury Game is used to determine the risk aversion of the participants. There are ten lotteries in the game. In each lottery, the player chooses between two options. Option A is the less risky choice, Option B is riskier. In lottery 1, the probability of winning the larger amount of money is 1/10. In lottery 2, the probability of winning the larger amount of money is increased to 2/10. The probability increases as well with all following lotteries. This means that the mentioned probability is 10/10 in lottery 10. This is where even a risk-averse person should switch to Option B, since with this option you will win more money. The first time the participants choose the riskier option is a measurement for a person’s risk aversion. The later a participant decides to change to the riskier option, the more risk-averse he/she is.

Public Goods: Externalities

In economics, externalities are uncompensated consequences that are passed on to the general public. These consequences can be costs (negative externalities), but also benefits (positive externalities) for that party. This game visualizes the functionality of externalities and the problems that go along with them. The players are divided into groups. Each player then has to decide whether to build a clean or a dirty factory. In each round, the players will make profits, but they will also have to pay healthcare costs. The profits depend on the number of clean factories that were built in the current round and the healthcare costs depend on the number of dirty factories that were built.

Coordination Games: Stag Hunt

Stag Hunt is a game that demonstrates a conflict between a guaranteed profit and social cooperation. It describes a situation between two hunters. When each of them goes hunting on their own, they are able to each hunt a hare. When they go hunting together, they are able to hunt a stag which is more profitable. While the two hunters are in the woods, they might encounter a dilemma. If one of them finds a hare, he/she has to decide, whether to keep hunting for a stag or to chase the hare and miss the opportunity to hunt down a stag together with the other hunter. The hunters always have to keep in mind that the other one gets into the same situation and has to make a decision as well. The hunters don’t know each other’s decision.

Market Equilibrium: Cournot Competition

In the Cournot Competition Game participants assume the role of producers in a competetive market. All players simultaneously choose a production amount. The market price is affected by the joined production quantity of the group. The profit of every individual depends on the own production amount and the price affected by the other participants.


Information Asymmetry: Market for Lemons

The “Market for Lemons” game deals with the problem of information asymmetry between two parties. The problem is represented by the market of used cars. Let’s assume that the buyer of a used car does not know its actual value. It might be a so-called “lemon”; a car of low value that has multiple defects although it was just bought. Then again, the car could also be a high-quality car that is accordingly expensive. The seller can assess the actual quality of the cars, but the buyer cannot so that he/she might be cheated on by the seller. The buyer will therefore most likely only pay a price that is roughly the average value of all cars on the market. This means that the buyer will probably not pay for an expensive car, even though it is worth the money.

This is only a sample of our games. Visit our games catalogue to view all available games.