I’m a little late to the party, however, I want to throw my two cents
When I first worked on the tic tac toe game I felt very much the same way you did.
Sure I could start with the gameboard, but don’t I have to connect the pieces to it? How am I keeping track of what the winning patterns are? Should I be integrating this while building the board? Screw that, how am I going to make this look PRETTY? All the moving pieces I had to consider completely overwhelmed me to the point I didn’t know where to start.
I quickly brought up repl.it and created my game board as a 2 dimensional array. Then I wondered how I could put a game piece in this array and used the assignment operator with the array and proper indexes. And let’s not forget how to determine when it’s the computer’s turn…
As you can see, all it took to get the ball rolling was starting as tiny as declaring variables and fiddling with arrays. Before you know it, you have a working tic tac toe board all through the console output of repl.it.