Sunday, March 17, 2024

Golden Sky Stories Review Part Three of Three

This is the continuation of my review of Golden Sky Stories. You can read the first part of the review HERE. You can read the second part of the review HERE.


Once you have established a connection with a character, you’ll want to be able to improve that connection in future scenes. You can’t use an impression check to do that. You only get one chance (per story) to make a first impression. This is where Dreams come in.

Anytime someone does something, cute, cool or funny during the story, you can give them a Dream. The game text recommends using playing cards to award dreams. Keep a deck of cards in the center of the table, and anyone can grab a card and award it to someone else when they do something cool.

You can’t award Dreams to yourself, only other players and the narrator can give you dreams. Likewise, you give dreams to the other players and to the narrator. That’s right, you definitely want to give Dreams to the narrator. The narrator has to use dreams to strengthen their connections to you. This is important because, if you’ll remember, these connections are where your character’s Feelings come from.

Dreams are awarded on the fly from anyone to anyone else besides yourself. These are spent between scenes to strengthen connections to characters, but they can only strengthen the connections to characters who appeared in the scene that was just completed.

(I like the idea of using playing cards to track: Dreams, Feelings, and Wonder. Just use face up red suited cards to track Wonder, face up black suited cards to track Feelings, and face down cards to track Dreams.)

While spending Dreams to improve a connection, you can also change a connection’s contents if it seems appropriate to do so. (You can change contents even if you didn’t improve the connection, if you think that’s a good idea.)

If you ever get both sides of a connection to 5 so that the filled in boxes on your sheet meet at that star in the middle on your character sheet, you get 10 Wonder and 10 Feelings for this connection at the start of a scene instead of just 5 of each! (But both sides of the connection must be maxed out, not just one!) In addition, at the end of the story you earn TWO Threads for this connection instead of the usual one!

What’s a thread? Glad you asked.


At the end of the story (game session) you lose all of the connections that you made and begin the next story with a clean slate. Why work so hard to build connections if they are just going to fade away? The answer to this is: Threads & Memories.

For each connection that you have at the end of the game session, you get a thread. You can erase this thread in a later story to increase a connection by +1 with that returning character without spending Dreams. This can be a huge advantage. Especially with higher level connections that cost a lot of Dreams to improve.


Finally, at the end of the story, for every point of strength that you have built in your connections to others, (except the one with the town) you get 1 point of Memories. Memories can be spent like Wonder or Feelings, but once they are spent, they are gone.

Only your connections convert into Memories. Any unused Wonder, Feelings or Dreams are lost at the end of the session. Be sure to spend all the Dreams you can to improve connections at the end of the last scene, so that these will become Memories.

Small Stories

The stories in Golden Sky Stories are small. The players aren’t heroes out to defeat a great evil or to save the world. Almost every story is built around the idea that someone the players encounter has some worry, concern, problem or challenge. The players should discover this problem and help the person to resolve it.

During character creation, the rules have an entire section on how to choose an appropriately Japanese name for your character. My initial reaction to this was that I would ignore it and just let players use whatever name they want, but I get why it's there. 

Golden Sky Stories is a Japanese RPG. It's attitude and approach is very different culturally than anything produced in the US. Picking a Japanese name for their character is going to encourage players to step into Golden Sky Stories' uniquely Japanese mind set. 

These stories are the heart-warming intimate slice of life tales of a Studio Ghibli film. Choosing a Japanese name is going to help players to "get into character" and to play a role that's different from anything they've ever tried before. 

Small Groups 

Golden Sky Stories is about role-playing. A game exclusively about role-playing tends to work best with smaller more intimate sized groups. Golden Sky story recommends two or three henge players plus the narrator. This will provide the best experience.

In my own experience, some of my fondest game sessions were games played with such small, intimate groups. Some sessions saw us play an entire evening without rolling any dice, because we were simply too busy role-playing. That’s the experience that Golden Sky Stories promises and I can’t wait to try it out!

Final Thoughts 

Golden Sky Stories has completely charmed me. I desperately want to get this game to the table. 

I do think that it needs the right kind of group to work. It's written for fans of Ghibli films like My Neighbor Totoro or Kiki's Delivery Service or Ponyo. And it's written for people who just want to enjoy telling a story without all the tactical combat baggage that so often goes with the RPG experience. 

I intend to play Golden Sky Stories as soon as I am able. I will write about that experience as soon as I can make it happen, but for me, for right now, I'm going to bask in the warm fuzzies that this game gives me just by thinking about it. 

If you are interested in Golden Sky Stories you can get it at Drive Thru RPG. (This is not an affiliate link. If you buy Golden Sky Stories, I receive nothing. I recommend the game because I love it for all the reasons detailed in this review.)

Facebook Group

Feel free to join my Facebook Group to discuss this post and anything related to RPG's and geekdom! Stay tuned!!

No comments:

Post a Comment