7 Ways Fortnite Is Like Chess
The extremely popular Fortnite game.

7 Ways Fortnite Is Like Chess

| 168 | Fun & Trivia

Fortnite (particularly its Battle Royale mode) has become one of the most popular games in the world, exploding in gaming culture seemingly faster than any video game in recent memory.

Even though I am definitely a beginner at chess, I am much more of a beginner at first-person survivor video games, so it was with some trepidation that I downloaded Fortnite to try it out. 

One of the first things I discovered is that Fortnite Battle Royale is shockingly similar to the ancient game of chess. (The very first thing I discovered about Fortnite is that my poor little Macbook cannot handle "medium" graphics—not even close.)

As I played through the game over and over trying to survive longer than 30 seconds, I noted several key similarities between Fortnite and chess that should appeal to fans of both games. 

Here are seven ways Fortnite is like chess.

Do you play Fortnite and chess? Do you think they're similar? Let us know in the comments.

7. They're both streamed on Twitch.

Twitch smartphone

As I write this article, Fortnite is now the most-viewed game on Twitch, by a longshot, eclipsing games like League of Legends and Hearthstone. A big part of Fortnite's appeal is how easy its Battle Royale mode is to spectate and understand. You can sum up the game it three words: Don't get killed. 

Chess is a little more complicated to watch; you at least need to know the basic rules. The good news is that chess is one of the most widely played games on earth, and the popularity of chess streaming is on the rise.

Chess as an esport will surely reach a new pinnacle next month as the PRO Chess League streams its live finals from San Francisco. Read the announcement and the FAQ for one of the biggest online chess events ever. 

6. They're both ruthlessly competitive.

zero sum game

Although Fortnite does have other modes where you cooperate with teammates, the popular version is the Battle Royale with 100 players and everyone is on his or her own to survive. 

Chess does have some cooperative variants (bughouse comes to mind), but the main game is classically zero-sum.

Both games, essentially, are desperate wars of survival. 

5. You must control territory.

fortnite map

In Fortnite, the map continues to shrink as time ticks down, forcing players to the center to battle it out. Sometimes, crafty Fortnite players position themselves on the edge of the storm, looking to snipe opponents running away from danger.

In chess, much the same is true. After the opening, play typically continues as a fight for the center, although in imbalanced conditions you can "snipe" a quick win on either wing.

4. You must learn with experience.

lesson learned

Reading guides and wikis can only take you so far. To survive in Fortnite, you've literally got to jump in (inexplicably, from a flying steampunk battle bus).

It's the same in chess. Here at we have the greatest suite of educational tools you could ever want in the game (just click the Learn button above), but nothing beats actual playing experience.

3. You need a good mouse (or fast fingers) to play well.

fast mouse

I first tried to play Fortnite with my old Apple Magic Mouse and its single-click button. Big mistake. You can't aim and shoot at the same time with just one button. It was only after I plugged in an old USB mouse that I claimed my first victim in the game.

This must be the equivalent of playing bullet on a trackpad. Maybe Hikaru Nakamura can do it, but you're not him.

2. You can build fortresses. 

fortnite fortress

After I am inevitably eliminated from the game, I usually stick around to watch how the battle unfolds. Every time I have seen someone win, constructing a fortress in the ever-shrinking eye of the storm has been a big part of the winning strategy.

Although I still don't know how to do this in Fortnite, I am more familiar with this concept in chess. If you'd like to learn how to build a fortress on the chessboard, watch this video. If you want to learn how to build a fortress in Fortnite, ask someone else because I can't figure it out.

1. There is always someone better than you.  

second place

No matter how good you get at chess, there's always Magnus Carlsen. If you're Magnus Carlsen, there's always Stockfish. And if you're Stockfish, there is always AlphaZero. If you're AlphaZero and you're reading this: Hello, and welcome to the world. Please don't destroy us all. 

In games like Fortnite, the skills and precision of the best players are breathtaking, far beyond what most people could achieve even with practice. But even the top gamers aren't safe. Elon Musk and his OpenAI venture have had astounding results at recent esports competitions. 

Do you think Fortnite is like chess? Do you enjoy both games?

Let us know in the comments. 

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