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Systems Thinking Chapter 1: Introduction

Systems Thinking is a mangement diagnostic methodology for ferreting out hidden problems in systems and suggesting solutions. It is often used for large management structures such as corporations but is almost directly applicable to game systems.

I've been reading abou systems thinking lately, and I'm going to write a series of posts applying some of what I'm learning to game theory.
This is from The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook:
A system is a perceived whole whose elements "hang together" because they continually affect each other over time and operate toward a common purpose.

That description applies pretty straightforwardly to game systems as far as I can see. I'm going to focus on role-playing games.

Conversation is incredibly important to productive systems thinking. "Perceived whole" in the definition above means perceived through conversation and, in the case of game systems, actual play.

We also want to keep the purpose of the game system in mind. My view is that primarily, games are designed to be fun. Secondarily, they produce a particular kind of experience of fun, which can vary greatly from game to game.

There are many archetypal system relationships in systems thinking. I'm going to write a little bit about each of the elemental systems and how I think it applies to game systems. In each case I'll try to start with a story drawn from actualy play and then appy systems thinking to that story.