To help make sense of the game, there are some additional terms you’ll want to be aware of. And, honestly, it’s not just to make sense of the game but to – more importantly – have intelligent conversations with your back-to-school student. If you don’t understand the game, its lingo and culture, then how are you going to effectively parent your gamer out of his/her Fortnite rut?


Sandbox – Fortnite is considered a “sandbox” game because it’s like a kid’s sandbox– it’s an open world that you’re free to explore and make your own choices. You don’t actually have to shoot at anybody in Fortnite. You can instead build… forts. Or ride golf carts. Or shopping carts. Players are literally free to make their own choices. Minecraft is another game you might have heard of that’s considered a sandbox game.


Money Matters


V-Bucks –  This is the primary Fortnite in-game currency. As of the writing of this survival guide, you can purchase 1,000 V-Bucks (which sounds like a lot, right?) for $9.99. Yeah, a dollar will get you about 100 V-Bucks. And obviously if you buy larger quantities of V-Bucks, they throw in bonus bucks. These V-Bucks can be spent on customization items, Battle Passes, and such. If you choose to look at the glass full (that’s the only way we see it here at Gamer Wellness), Fortnite can teach your gamer A LOT about budgeting, resource allocation, and saving.


Battle Pass – This is a *paid* feature in Fortnite. Players who purchase a season’s “Battle Pass” gain access to rewards such as cosmetic gear, sprays, and weekly challenges, with the opportunity to raise their character’s level by gaining experience points (XP). As of writing, Fortnite is currently in Season 5. The Season 5 Battle Pass will only cost you 950 V-Bucks. But wait! Fortnite states that you can level up your Battle Pass, “unlocking over 100 rewards worth 25,000 V-Bucks”! I mean, you’re basically making money by playing the game! Eh, okay, not really. But, Fortnite does you the favor of telling you how long it will take you to unlock these rewards, which “typically takes 75-150 hours of play.” Some of you at home are doing that math… I’ll do it for you. The Season 5 Battle Pass ends September 25. Let’s say your child purchased this pass on August 1. So, at worst, your child will need to average about 3 hours of gameplay a day to unlock all of those rewards.


Skin(s) – Skins are a purely cosmetic purchase that changes the appearance of our avatar or weapon(s). All avatars start out rather basic in appearance, but players can purchase additional skins with VBucks to alter appearances. The famous picture of an avatar in a rabbit onesie swinging a hammer that looks like it’s from Batman? All of these are skins purchased in-game.


The four main game modes are: Squads, Duos, Solo, and Playground


Squads – This is one of the most popular Battle Royale modes. Four players compete against 24 other teams of four for supremacy. Your squad can be made of any combination of personal friends or strangers. If you have a headset, you have the option of verbally communicating with your teammates.


Solo – Yeah, you’re by yourself against 99 others, every man (woman) for himself (herself). Good luck.


Duos – 50 Teams of two players each will duke it out to be the final survivor(s) of the map.


Playground – One on my personal favorite modes. No shrinking storm. Unlimited weapons and building resources. The main issue for parents is the fact it’s untimed (since there’s no storm to urge along the action). So if you tell your gamer, “play until the game is over,” he/she could be playing ALL night.


Other important terms


The Storm – The Storm is Fortnite’s way of forcing the action. The purple storm forces players to fight within a shrinking circle on the map. When the timer begins a safe space (the eye of the storm) will be randomly generated on the map and players will have a period of minutes to move to that zone. Get caught outside of the safety circle and your avatar will lose health points until it dies. Because of the storm, a Fortnite game can last up to 20-25 minutes (obviously, games can be quicker if you die quickly or are efficient at taking down the competition). Knowing how long a game can last is crucial in your parental armory–especially if you want them down for dinner (or ready for sports practice, or practicing piano, or really doing anything) in 30 minutes. Your child could play 8-10 three minute games in that time span or 1 twenty-five minute game. Make your dinner announcement then add, “if you start a match at the 25 minute mark, you better be prepared to abandon your squad after 5 minutes.” Boom.


Tilted Towers – Fortnite’s map consists of an island with multiple marked locations. Each game begins with all 100 players in a zeppelin flying over the island. After a brief countdown, players launch themselves towards the island, with or without their teammates. Salty Springs, Greasy Grove, Pleasant Park…no location strikes more fear (or joy) into the hearts of gamers than Tilted Towers. Hordes of gamers land there for just the thrill of encountering others. Surviving there earns you mad respect.