I absolutely loved this piece by Cedric Chin about games and their metagames. Fascinating stuff to think about.
Every sufficiently interesting game has a metagame above it. This is the game about the game. It is often called ‘the meta’.
I’m a fan of games (who isn’t?), and every game I’ve ever really gotten obsessed with has had an even more interesting meta. Oh, and if you’re looking for some kind of a direct link to software development, here you go: