Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Phase Review

   Phase is an AEG self contained CCG that came in the 2016 Black Box.

   It plays two to five players and takes between thirty and sixty minutes to play.

   Inside of the box you will find six pre-built decks. 

   300 tarot sized phase cards. 

   150 tarot sized card sleeves.


   81 influence tokens.


   Double sided rule book.

   Everything in this game is double sided with one good side and one evil side. No two cards are exactly the same. 

   To set up, put ten good influence and ten evil influence per player into The Nexus.

   Each player chooses a deck of cards. The game comes with six pre made decks along with cards to help you build your own decks at a later time. Shuffle your cards well. You may at this time, if you so choose, take some cards and flip them over so you will draw both good and evil cards.

   Once your cards are shuffled, place them next to you in a draw deck. Draw the top three cards. When you draw your cards, you will use the face down side like when using a normal deck. Choose one of the cards in your hand to add to your barracks, which is where your warriors will come from. The other two will stay in your hand for the actions, which are located along the side of the card.

   Your are now ready to begin play. Whoever has the lowest cost on the top card of their draw deck goes first.

   Preparation Step

   On your turn, begin by unlocking any cards that were locked in your previous turn. This step is skipped in the first round since no cards have been played yet.

   Draw and Enlist. You will draw the top card, adding it to your hand. Remember, the face down side is the side you will be using. Take the card that is now on top of your deck and add it to your barracks. On this card, you will be using the side that was face up on your deck.

   Attack Step

   You may now declare if you are attacking. If the active player doesn't have any warriors out, this step is skipped. If the active player does have warriors, randomly determine who will be defending The Nexus. In a two player game, this will be the opposing player. Once this is determined, you enter the action phase. Players can now play actions on warriors. Take the cards from your hand and play them on the chosen warrior, paying any cost. You may skip your turn during this phase. Players may continue adding actions until every player has skipped their turn. If at one point you skipped your turn, then decide you want to add an action, you may do so when your turn comes around again. After every player has skipped their turn, this phase is over.

   Declaration Segment

   Next, the active player declares who they will be attacking. They can either attack The Nexus or another player. If you attack The Nexus, you will gain influence that matches the type of card you are attacking with. Good cards receive good influence, whereas evil influence will receive evil influence. If you attack another player, they will lose influence they have gained during previous play.

   Once the active player has declared who they are going to attack and assigned which warriors will be attacking, the player being attacked, or the person chosen to defend The Nexus will assign who they are defending with. Good warriors must be used to defend evil warriors and evil warriors must be used to defend good warriors. Warriors may not defend multiple warriors, but multiple warriors may defend a single warrior. 

   The warriors are now in a skirmish.

   Skirmish Segment

   The active player now chooses which skirmish they want to resolve first. No other warriors may be added to the skirmish after it has begun. Once the actions have been played, the warriors deal their damage simultaneously unless otherwise stated. If there is more than one defender, the player decides how the damage is divided up between the defending warriors. Warriors who's defense is now zero are destroyed.

   If there are any attacking warriors still in play, they have now successfully attacked either The Nexus or the opposing player. If they successfully attacked The Nexus, they receive one influence for each attack damage. For example: if the warrior was good and had three attack, the player will receive three good influence.

   If they have successfully attacked an opposing player, that player loses one influence for each attack. These influence are removed from the game, not returned to The Nexus.

   Once the skirmish has been resolved, the warrior is then phased (flipped over). This skirmish is now over. All actions played on the warriors are discarded. If a warrior is defeated, they are also discarded.

   Training Step

   After all skirmishes have been resolved, the active player can then choose to take actions and train warriors. When this is done, phase cards to pay the cost of bringing a card into play. Once the player is done training cards, you may enter another action round. Once this action round is completed, play then moves to the left.

   Game End

   Once either the good or evil influence is gone from The Nexus, you may no longer gain any influence of that type from The Nexus. This triggers the end of the game. Play continues until the last player has their final turn, making it so each player has an equal number of turns. Once this is finished, whoever has the most of any one type of influence wins the game! In this picture, my opponent has won since they have nine evil influence and I only have eight good influence.

After playing this game, I have learned one thing; I'm not very good at this game. At least not yet. There is quite a bit of strategy. Deciding when to phase cards to get out warriors and when to wait another turn or two so you have a better chance. Saving warriors in play so you can defend instead of always attacking. There are so many different choices and possibilities.

The cards are high quality and I love the fact that they provide card sleeves. The cards are bigger which makes it easier to read the cards that aren't right in front of you. The artwork on the cards is amazing and adds character and theme to the game. No two cards are exactly the same. There are multiple of each character, but they all have different characters on the other side, creating even more diversity.

And even though I'm still figuring out the odds and ends of the best strategy, I really enjoy playing Phase. Maybe some day I will even beat Hubby.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Day My Little Man Was Sick

   Last week, my little man was sick. We had taken him to the urgent care for a cough and a wheeze. We were told it was an upper respiratory infection, given prescriptions for an antibiotic and some cough medicine. The pharmacy was closed by the time we were done so we headed home with plans of filling his medicine the next morning.

   When I woke him up for school the next day, he sounded awful. I could hear him breathing rooms away. He had no voice left. My usually energetic 6 year old didn't want to get up off of the couch. I took his brothers to school, got hubby out the door to work and then settled in for a day of watching movies and kid shows.

   At about noon, we were talking about what he wanted to attempt to eat for lunch. I had given him his medicine a couple hours before and I was hoping he would now feel good enough to finally eat something. 

   He asked for a Lunchable which I don't usually buy. I told him I didn't have one and he got upset. Just the littlest bit upset. No meltdown, no tantrum, just disappointed that he couldn't have what he wanted.

   Then the scariest day of my life began. He started struggling to breathe. He looked at me and tried his best to say "I can't breathe very well."

   I grabbed him, slipped on my shoes and we hurried and jumped in the car. Urgent Care is just down the street. I carried him in from the car. They all remembered me from the night before.

   "He is having a hard time breathing."

   One person ran to get the oxygen monitor to see how he was doing. One person is signing us in. One person ran to get the doc.

   They hurried us back to the room where the doctor was, grabbed a breathing treatment and a steroid and got that going. Then they left the room to wait for it to finish.

   All of a sudden, he started hyperventilating. The look of pure terror came across my little mans face. "I cant breathe!" He was struggling to get any air at all. 

   He started pulling the mask off his face as I run out the door for help. "It's worse!" I yelled. "He can't breathe!"

   Next thing I know the doctor and nurses come running in. They hooked him up to oxygen. The doctor yelled down the hall "Call 911!"

   They got him stabilized and breathing again. There's people everywhere. I'm texting my husband because I wasn't able to call between all of the questions.

   Next thing I know, there's paramedics and firefighters everywhere trying to cram into this small room to check his vitals and ask me questions.

   I'm terrified. I'm doing my best to keep myself together and be strong for my little man. He can't see mommy panicking. I need him to stay calm and breathe.

   They got him loaded up into the ambulance. The medic starts asking me questions while trying to keep things upbeat. He listens to little man's lungs. "It's not an upper respiratory infection, it's croup. It's in the same family as RSV." I knew it was croup. My family has been dealing with such things since my 10 year old was 4 months old. We knew the drill. The drill just never ended up here.

   I called the school that the kids go to and where their grandma also works. I told them we were having a family emergency and I needed grandma to take care of my older two. Make sure she took them home with her. I knew they would be in good hands until I could get back to them.

   The medic was great with my little man. He told him everything that was going on. Taught him about the machine that shows his heartbeat and oxygen levels. He even gave him a little souvenir.

   When we got to the ER, he looked miserable but was sounding a lot better. He no longer needed his oxygen. Things were starting to calm down a bit.

   But then the medicine from the ambulance started to wear off. He sounded awful. He sounded like he was snoring while awake. They gave him another treatment and took some X-Rays of his chest. They needed to make sure it wasn't turning into pneumonia.

   He started feeling a bit better again. He had asked for a pillow and the nurse brought him one along with a special pillowcase someone had made for children that came in. One that he could keep.

   He started messing with me. My little boy was coming back. I was so happy. I was hopeful we would be out of there in no time.

   He had been in the ER for croup before. We were there for a few hours and then we got to go home. This time would be the same, right?

   He was up and moving around again. More than he had all day. He wanted to eat and play and walk as far as he could with a cord hooked to his finger.

   The nurse came in and informed us that the doctor decided we needed to stay overnight for observation. I was crushed. I was so hopeful we would get to go home. Instead, we got to spend hours in the little ER room while we waited for a room in the hospital to open up.

   We finally got moved to a room at about 10. We got little man as comfortable as we could. He was now not only wheezing, he was also whistling when he would breathe out. They brought him another breathing treatment and some steroids. 

   Hubby and I said goodnight and goodbye. We couldn't both stay and hubby had to work the next morning. Grandma offered to keep the older two overnight and take them to school so we would have one less thing to worry about.

   After hubby left and the nurses told me he was done with medicine until 4, I told him it was time for bed. He needed to rest so he could get better. He was out in no time.

   A couple times throughout the night, usually right as I was finally falling asleep, his monitor would beep. I would pop awake, check it, but he would be fine. It kept happening off and on until about 4:30. His monitor started beeping and didn't stop. I sat there for a minute watching it to see what was happening. His oxygen was fine but his heart rate kept dropping and then would go up again.

   I called for the nurse.

   She came in "I lowered the baseline for his heart rate to 45. I'm not going to lower it any more than that, but he's fine. He just has a low resting heart rate. Does he play sports?"

   "No, not really."

   "Wow! His heart is really healthy."

   After that, his monitor would still beep every once in a while. I couldn't sleep. I had worried myself too much to be tired anymore.

   I laid there in the silence that was only broken by the occasional beep. I couldn't hear him wheezing anymore. I could finally relax somewhat.

   It was almost morning. It was a new day. It was going to be great!

   A volunteer came in that morning to ask little man if there was anything he would like to do. She mentioned painting so of course he had to do that.

   "Do you want to play a game?"

   "King of Tokyo!"

   The volunteer looks at me confused, "What is that?"

   So I explain. "It's a board game. They probably don't have it here since it's a hobby game. It's his favorite game to play."

   "I've never heard of it."

   "That's fine. If you have Candyland or something, we can just play that. He likes most games."

   She returned a bit later with Connect 4.

   "Do you know how to play this one?"

   "No, but my mommy can teach me"

   We played games, watched cartoons and movies, and did a lot of snuggling. Every 6 and a half hours they would come in and give him another breathing treatment and more steroids.

   A couple ladies came in and asked if he wanted an owl. Someone had dropped off a bunch of them for the kids. Another hospital keepsake. He kept telling them no, he didn't want one, but I insisted he take one anyway. Once he got it, he snuggled up with it and finally drifted off to sleep.

   The doctor finally managed to make it to our room sometime mid afternoon. She told me she wanted to wait and see how he did at night. Since he had been on medicine every 6 hours and croup gets worse at night, she wanted to wait. She told us we may have to stay another night. She was going to change the medicine to "as needed" and we would go from there.

   My oldest had his very first orchestra concert that night. I asked my parents if they would come hang out with little man so I could run home to shower, eat, go to the concert and grab a few things from home just in case we had to stay another night.

   When I got back to the hospital, I gave him his University of Utah square I made him. The night before was the first time he's slept without it since I gave it to him. He was so excited to have it again and decided it was bedtime.

   Until he was asked if he wanted to play a game. His dad and brothers came back with me to see him. We all needed some time to be together as a family. We played a couple games until the doctor came back in. She said we were free to go. He was doing much better and he should be fine now. I was so happy we all got to leave together.

   The next morning, little man was very happy to be home with his brothers again. They didn't have school that day so he was able to make up for lost time.

   It's times like these when I am so grateful to live close to family. Both of his grandpa's came to visit him in the ER. My mother in law was there to help with the older boys. My mom brought me lunch since the hospital only provides breakfast to those staying with the patient. My parents were able to watch him so I wouldn't miss my oldest son's very first concert. So many friends asked if they could help. They made sure we were able to get kids to and from school. They offered to bring meals so hubby wouldn't have to worry about it. They were there to help lift us up and support us when we needed it most. And for that, I will be forever grateful.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

My New Favorite Crochet Pattern

   A while ago, there was a picture circulating Facebook of a cute little baby blanket with a bear on it. It kept popping up on my news feed since I know a few crocheters and all of my friends know I crochet. After about the 3rd time someone shared it with me, I thought I would look into this thing called corner to corner (c2c) crochet.

   I did a quick google search and found how to do it. It looked easy enough so I figured I would try it out. All I needed was a graph with a picture.

   Now, those of you that know me, know that I don't ever do anything the easy way. When it comes to crafts, I'm of the "go big or go home" club. I grabbed some graph paper and a pencil and got to work.

   I wasn't really sure how the sizing would work, so I just guessed and made myself a little graph.

   My brother in law and his wife both went to University of Utah so I figured I would make my first one for them. Plus, my littlest one idolizes said uncle and so if it turned out small, I had a fall back person to give it to.

   It turned out small (of course) so I made a few measurements, tweaked the graph, and got back to work.

   I had two super happy people when I was done!

   Once I finished the Utah ones, I decided they were the perfect size for a baby blanket. Since my sister in law was pregnant, I decided to make another one. I didn't have a ton of time to get it done before the baby shower, but I gave it a go; and I finished it the night before.

   Then my very own sister got pregnant. My sister and her hubby had been waiting for this for years. They were super excited and they both LOVE Batman. So, of course, I had to make them one as well.

   So, how do you do this corner to corner crochet? Let me show you. Once you get it down, it's so easy. I have one that doesn't have any color changes so it's pretty mindless work while you are watching tv.

   First, decide what you want. You can do a solid color or you can find a graph; or make one if you're into that kind of thing.

   To begin, chain 6

   Double crochet into the 4th one from the hook.

   Then do a double in both of the remaining 2 stitches. This is your first square

   Flip your square and chain 6

   Double crochet in the 4th, 5th, and 6th stitch. You now have 2 squares.

   Slip stitch into the chain space on your first square in the first row and then chain  3.

   Double crochet 3 more times in the chain space. This completes your second row.

   You are going to continue in this way. Every time you flip, chain 6 to make the growing square. Always slip stitch into the chain space of the next square from the previous row, chain 3, double crochet 3.

   As soon as you have your square as long and wide as you want, you are going to slip stitch into the chain space of last square on the previous row.

   Slip stitch across the square you just made.

   Chain 3

   Double crochet 3 and then slip stitch into the next square. This part is the same as the growing squares.

   You are going to continue back and forth until you close your square. Then you tie it off and weave in the ends. You now have a square!

   This is my new favorite crochet pattern. There are patterns to go around and finish off the sides if you want a boarder. I added one to the small Utah blanket and the SF one. The other two I left as is. Both ways turn out great! I love the look of it and it's so simple. You can make all sorts of designs and pictures on it. The possibilities are endless and I can't wait to start my next one. I just need to decide what I want to make and then graph it up. Any ideas?