Stars & Wishes is a tested method to get positive feedback and constructive criticism, helping you understand what your players thought of your TTRPG (tabletop roleplaying game) session.

Here is my adaptation of the method. I use these as my last two prompts at the end of every session (integrated into my custom End of Session move), encouraging each player to contribute:

  • “Award a star to someone for a great moment of gameplay.”
  • “Make a wish for what you’d like to see in a future session.”

I love these prompts as a formal way to unwind from a session and reflect on what happened and what people would like to see happen next.

I use Stars & Wishes to calibrate with my players about what they want to see in future sessions. The expressed wishes are a tremendous shortcut for prepping, highlighting things that I should prepare for the next session or sometime later. I keep a list of past unfilled wishes and review it as a part of my session prep. My new story arcs typically emerge from the rumor or rumors that players wish to follow up on.

One of the things I love about Stars & Wishes is that it just encourages us to be more in alignment with one another and to get used to asking for feedback. For instance, in Stars & Wishes early on, one of the players basically exhorted the others to not worry so much about the optimal approach but to simply wing it and have fun. That resonated, and he reminded them of that a few times when things bogged down.

In one session, I earned a star for using the prompt “Describe your death blow.” The victor loved the opportunity to embellish and that’s now a regular part of our narrative.

Some GMs grant experience points to the person awarded a star, but I’ve not felt a need to treat this as a formal game mechanic.

I’m a much better Game Master because of Stars & Wishes: I wish I had known about it when I first started GMing.

If you’re not using Stars & Wishes yet, my wish for you is to give it a try.

Photo credit: Neale LaSalle.

The Best-Delayed Plans book coverYou can download this and other essays in my free ebook, The Best-Delayed Plans.