Small-Sided Games

Meta Learning Part 2

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The Inner Game of Fortnite – Small-Sided Games

In the first edition of Fortnite Fundamentals, we talked about Meta Learning, seven repeatable steps you can use to scope any new skill down to the basics, going slow and nailing our reps before gradually speeding up and then applying it in a real-life situation. There’s a part two to that, called Small-Sided Games. Let me explain.

A Small-Sided Game is any game where we can practice skills and strategies used the main game by playing a scaled down version. Some examples:

  • 1-on-1 basketball

  • 3-on-3 soccer

  • Chess tactics

  • Practicing a tough conversation you need to have in the future

  • Knife-skills competition

What are small-sided games for Fortnite?

  • Zone Wars

  • Turtle Wars

  • Box fighting

  • Creative 1v1s

  • Edit courses (for speed or not, your choice)

  • Aim training courses

  • The Combine

Each of these allow you to practice and improve on sub-skills that help you get better in hundreds of different in-game situations.

Zone Wars and Creative 1v1s are probably the best examples of Small-Sided Games that yield the best results. But we should pick which Small-Sided Game we want to play based on what we want to improve upon in our game.

Let’s look at Zone Wars.

Many of us struggle with endgames and that’s totally fair; they’re the hardest part of Fortnite to navigate through successfully. They’re tense and fast-paced. In order to get to an endgame, we have to work and wait about 15 minutes and even then, we might get unlucky and have all of that time go out the window if we get into an engagement that goes wrong or we get sniped out of nowhere.

Zone Wars allows us to practice multiple, totally different endgame scenarios in 15 minutes! It might be the perfect Fortnite Small-Sided Game. Built into Zone Wars are the sub-skills of: playing a smart, methodical game, building quickly, Walls are Weapons, practicing with siphon so we get health or shield on kill, high ground retakes, box fighting, going up and downhill when it’s tense, breathing (don’t leave home without it!), dealing with performance anxiety, team communication, using multiple weapons in a firefight, and a bunch of things I’m probably forgetting about.

Look at all that! That’s basically all of Fortnite compressed into a mini game. And that’s what Small-Sided Games are. 1-on-1 basketball is a Small-Sided Game that allows you to practice almost every skill that you’d practice in a regular 5-on-5 game but with some relative safety. You’ve reduced your environment to lab – a place where you can try, fail, and learn, without much downside. Stakes are low, so experiment!

Creative 1v1s are similar. We’ve scoped a mid or endgame interaction on the map down into multiple fights where we can practice building, switching to shoot, Walls are Weapons, edit plays, gun switches, breathing, high ground retakes, and more. When we die, we just go back to the bottom, saving ourselves from re-queuing and waiting 10 minutes to farm, loot, travel to zone and then get into a build fight with someone.

I recommend taking that list of small-sided games and keeping it close by. As you warm up or realize a part of your game needs improvement, think about which of those you can play to work on the things you need to work on to get better. Maybe you want to improve your edit speed, so you do some edit course speed runs with friends (remember to go slow and controlled first; nail those edit reps before you get into speed). Maybe you want to get better at box fighting, so you hop into Creative with a friend and practice taking walls, edit plays, and trap kills.

Meta Learning, Small-Sided Games and Sub-Skill Drills will be the foundation of everything we do to get better here. It works in Fortnite, it also works at your job, in a relationship, in sports. The applications are endless!

Sub-Skill Drills – Competitive Warmups

Today’s drill is a warmup video I found on the Fortnite Competitive Subreddit from streamer Regan57 (Twitch / Twitter). It’s a good set of sub-skills to practice for five minutes each prior to getting into a game. Left 90s, right 90s, high ground retakes, a Creative version of Kovaaks’ Tile Frenzy, and more. He recommends competitive players use it to practice their foundations before they play, but anyone can benefit from this.

The Creative map he shows in the video is by donwozi_btw. Map code 0413-6471-5335.

I play a lot better when I warm up. It’s worth the 15-25 minutes I invest in waking up my brain and telling it that this is what we’re doing now. I generally do something similar to what Regan57 shows and then play a round or two of Team Rumble just to shoot some real, moving players rather than targets.

Let me know how it goes! If you have a friend or a squadmate who you think would enjoy Fortnite Fundamentals, forward this email to them!

Happy playing. Get those wins this weekend. Talk to you Monday.

Zack