A game system is a set of components that function together in multiple games. The StandardDeckOfCards familiar to almost everyone is a game system because it is a set of components (52 of them, 54 with jokers) that function together (a lone Jack of Hearts isn't very useful except to college sophomores as a poetic metaphor) in multiple games (such as Poker, Patience, Pinochle, and the weird concoctions of Parlett and Abbott).
Ron_Hale-Evans? has written a series of articles on game systems for The Games Journal that he is collating into a book. There are four articles in the series so far, with more to follow:
Game Systems, Part 1: Introduction
Game Systems, Part 2: Card Game Systems
Game Systems, Part 3: Board Game Systems
Game Systems, Part 4: Low-Tech Game Systems
The articles in this series have been popping up in academia:
- They were on the syllabus for an honors course at Ball State University in 2002 called "5000 Years of Board Games".
- Part I was cited in a 2002 Swedish Master's thesis on embedded computing in board games. (For an excellent, readable summary of the thesis, check out this Games Journal article.)
- They were cited in the first academic textbook on game design, Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals by Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman (MIT Press, 2003), and formed the basis of their discussion of game systems in the chapter "Games as Open Culture".
Ron's more recent pieces about game systems are available at his blog.
See also CategoryGameSystemPage? for a list of game systems known to this Wiki.
These are excellent articles. I am looking foward to the next ones.--IainCheyne?