This brief chapter provides an overview of what it means to work as a systemic game designer. While getting started on a new game design can be truly daunting, by breaking down the game into its parts, loops, and wholes—not necessarily in that order—you can begin to get a handle on defining the game at each of those levels.
The coming chapters add more detail to the topics discussed here. Chapter 6 examines the whole of the game experience in more detail—how you discover it, document it, and set up for creating the underlying systems. Chapter 7 revisits the game’s functional loops, this time using the knowledge of systems thinking and game loops to specify the particular loops for your game. Then Chapter 8 looks again at the game’s parts and how to create these “spreadsheet-specific” tokens, values, and rules.