Good rules are golden. They bring forth order from chaos and cut the chance of costly error. Well-crafted rules are:

The best rules are also extensible to meet unanticipated challenges.

Rule 1-1 for golf is a fine example of how to set out on the right foot:

The Game of Golf consists of playing a ball with a club from the teeing ground into the hole by a stroke or successive strokes in accordance with the Rules.

Golf puts chess and contract bridge to shame; their rule sets begin with disorganized prefaces and uninspirational definitions. Likewise basketball, which starts in the mundane by describing the dimensions of the court and the mandatory measurements of the ball.

Baseball, by contrast, has a brilliant constitutional framework. Rule 1.01 reads:

Baseball is a game between two teams of nine players each, under direction of a manager, played on an enclosed field in accordance with these rules, under jurisdiction of one or more umpires.

Note that both golf and baseball properly commence their fundamental frameworks with a metarule—as does the United States of America:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Sound statements of goals can help the players keep their eyes on the ball.

(cf. RulesVersusPrinciples (1999-06-23), MissionStatement (2001-11-02), TheMetagame (2003-02-18), ActionMovieRules (2003-08-10), HardyLittlewoodRules (2004-06-14), ...)

TopicThinking - TopicSociety TopicRecreation - 2005-06-16

(correlates: MissionStatement, SuboptimalPerformance, GrowingUp, ...)