Both the App Store and Google Play are awash with Chess and Checkers games. Some may look better or load faster than others, some are even in 3D, but they all basically offer you the same two games that humanity has been playing for centuries. This is where the new app Fertang comes in. Claiming to be a pleasant and refreshing mix of chess and checkers, Fertang is vying for a place on our phones and in our hearts as our new strategy board game of choice. Is this app as fun to play as it is to say or is it just another thrown-together money grab trying to capitalize on today’s healthy app market? Read on to see what we think.
- While claiming to be a mixture of checkers and chess, there is almost no aspect of the gameplay that can be attributed entirely to the game of Checkers. At first, you can only move pieces one space at a time, but that’s just as much pawn as checker behaviour. Just like chess, pieces cannot jump one another in Fertang.
- Instead of the usual varying kinds of chess pieces, it has been simplified down to three in Fertang: rooks (squares), bishops (triangles), and queens (circles) and instead of the usual one-side-each, each player gets two sides of the board to command. While these pieces correlate directly in the manner in which they move, how far they can move off the bat is different. Each piece can only move one square at a time, unless they’re on a corner and then they can move as far as they want. The scope of your movement increases as you capture other pieces (i.e. a stack of two pieces made by capturing another piece can move two squares at a time in its prescribed directions.)
- As you capture pieces, your stack not only becomes more powerful in how it can move, it also becomes more vulnerable because once a stack hits the size threshold of 5, it becomes immobile and the square that it occupies can no longer be used for movement. The object of the game is to be the last person to capture/create three of these immobile stacks.
- Overall, the gameplay has a very chess-like feel to it and doesn’t seem to be more simplified or streamlined as it claims to be. This is not to say it isn’t fun, though, but there is a ton of strategy involved, and perhaps too much for checkers-type people.
- There are three difficulty levels offered when playing against the computer. On Easy I was able to best the computer in under 5 minutes, on Medium I was able to just barely beat the computer on my second try (you can see a screenshot of the game’s aftermath below), and on Hard I have had a couple of close games, but essentially have my butt handed to me every single match.
- The graphics in Fertang feel like they were designed by the coders instead of actual graphic designers. As you can see above, they get the job done, but only just. As this app matures, I would like to see it patched with more modern and appealing graphics even though they don’t really hamper the gameplay in its current form.
- While kind of techno-like, the soundtrack becomes repetitive very quickly. I muted the sound on my iPhone about a third of the way through my first round of Fertang, so I can’t comment on whether or not the sound effects follow suit.
- Being a board game, sound isn’t a terribly important consideration, but there’s definitely room for improvement.
- Like any board game, Fertang is essentially made out of Usagi factor. Just like with chess and checkers, there’s essentially a never-ending potential for fun, as you can always develop new strategies and find new people to play against.
Fertang, as a new board game in general, is quite impressively well thought-out. The game flows smoothly and is “easy to learn, impossible to master” in much the same way as checkers and chess. If you want a refreshing take on the classic chess set-up this app is not without its technical flaws, but at the price of a cup of coffee, Fertang is an easy choice for some fun strategy board game action to go on your phone.
A review code for this app was provided by the game’s publishers.