I’m carrying on this month in taking some hyper-focus to a different layer of a game’s design. If last week’s focus was time, this week’s focus is on rules. Rules are some of the first things I learned about in game design, and it was probably the first thing you learned, too. When I was a kid I would yell at my neighbour, the one a year younger than me, to play pretend. “PRETEND I AM A PRINCESS,” I would declare. “AND YOU MUST SAVE ME FROM THIS ALIEN PLANET.” This was a game, and its rules were very simple: I was a princess, and my neighbour, Steven, had to save me from the alien planet. I would languish by the basketball hoop (alien planet) and recite poems about my princessly torment, stuck in a tower or something. It was a great game.