Does anyone else design games for fun, without actually making them?


I, like millions of others and probably every single person on this website, have a lot of ideas for games that I think would be interesting and novel. Unfortunately, I have no dev experience, and the games I’m thinking up are beyond the scope of a solo project anyway. I made a resolution this year to start committing these ideas to paper - I want to make the most professional and intensive game design document I can, really JUST to get the idea out of my head. This includes all game mechanics, story, writing, and art. I’m wondering, has anyone else done this for fun?

I’ve found some great resources for putting something like this all together, but it seems like every community for game design and development is for mutual help with coding, asset creation, and other hands-on things. So I’m wondering if anyone else puts effort like this into pipe-dream games, and if there’s any discord or community out there to dish about game mechanics and whatnot in the abstract?


I grew up in a community making fan games, and now as an indie developer trying to make their first real game, I feel like I probably shouldn’t think about fan games anymore. But if we’re being honest, if it was at all possible for me to remain financially stable, legally, I would probably just make fan games for the rest of my life. Honestly, it’s a lot of fun.

I do have a few design documents I’ve written for games I’ll never get to make because of licensing deals or whatever. They’re more like outlines, really, but it’s just a place to channel those thoughts.


I’m not sure about this. I think a lot of people seem to turn pipe dream ideas into 15 year indie projects.

Personally, I started designing board games.

Not sure if you don’t want to make it because it’s not feasible or because you just don’t want to, but an interesting exercise is to try to translate game mechanics into other media. A graphic novel or book or tabletop game is a thing a single person could conceivably do in high quality solo.


Given my current work and school loads, teaching myself serious game dev just isn’t feasible, though I’d absolutely love to at some point. I’m planning to start toying with Pico-8 this year, but for very different kinds of games. I also admire board game design a lot, it takes a sort of clarity that really blows me away. But the idea I’m writing out can really only be expressed as an online PVP game. Mostly I want to get it on paper in case a cigar-chomping ubisoft exec walks into my local bar and asks if I have any ideas.

Really though, it’s mostly just to clarify the vision and to have something concrete to point at, I get a sort of peace of mind from that. Kinda like writing a screenplay for no one in particular. Idk I’m surprised this isn’t more common!


I often have ideas for card games or tabletop roleplaying systems that I jot down, knowing that I’ll almost certainly never finish the planning stage. It’s a relief to get the ideas on the page instead of buzzing around in my head, and means that when I do want to finish something (like a Powered by the Apocalypse game for Digimon-esque monstrous partner games that I need to get back to), I can keep chipping away at it.

I feel like it’s worth noting these ideas down, just in case you want to return to them with more time or a better understanding. I’m sure I have notes on games that I’d be able to improve a great deal now, if I felt like it, having read a wider variety of game systems. And if I ever develop skills in illustration or using digital game-making tools, having a half-dozen game ideas to draw from and tinker with will only help in actually sitting down to finish a small game, digital or physical. At least, I hope so!