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Subject: Geek of the Week #335 - pincao rss

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Alf Seegert
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Please join me in welcoming this week's Geek of the Week, pincao!

Paul Incao
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To me, pincao (Paul Incao) is a case study in the best that BGG has to offer: he is a dedicated player, a gracious, creative, and active contributor to BGG -- and he is a fantastic analyst of game design and strategy. I'll let him explain how he and I met on the Geek. Although we still have never met in the flesh, thanks to our rich BGG-mediated interactions I count Paul as a genuine, very good friend.

I'm delighted to see that Paul has gone from aficionado and game student to actual designer with his co-design of the Outlaw expansion for Don Lloyd's new game Dark Horse. I'm very excited to see what he will do next!

Here are some questions for you to get us started!

1 Plainly, you've given your dedication to games a lot of thought. Why do board games matter so much to you and your family?
2 Who are your favorite designers? Why?
3 What are some of your favorite games from recent plays, and why?
4 Which games are you most looking forward to playing? (Either from the past or the present -- or, I suppose, the future)?
5 How have your tastes changed in gaming over the past few years?
6 What do you see missing or under-represented in popular board games that you'd like to see better represented in future?


Please join in with questions of your own, fellow BGGers!


pincao wrote:
I am honored and humbled to be chosen as BGG’s Geek of the Week!


I am grateful that BGG gave me the chance to meet Alf Seegert. We met because of my interest in a proposed mini-expansion to his game Bridge Troll and my posting to this thread on BGG: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/4415679#4415679. As an interesting sidenote, adding Bridge Troll (sight unseen) to my OLFLGS order, on the day it was released, just to qualify my order for free shipping, has set me on a whole new board game related path...

Who am I and what has been my involvement with board gaming ?

The Family Guy
I am married with 2 preteen daughters.

The Business Professional

1- IT Business Process Re-engineering / Service Management Program Manager. Software Asset Management Subject Matter Expert.

2- Will be Unemployed as of March 5, 2012 after 25 years with one firm in the Banking Industry in NYC.

3- Currently pursuing the next phase in my career where my creative talents and professional experience can be leveraged on a daily basis. My approach to work is 110% and not just as a 9-5 assembly line.

The 9-11 Survivor

I had an office in the WTC tower 1. I was lucky to be visiting a colleague in a building across the street when the first plane hit. I was at the base of the WTC looking up when the second plane hit. It was the worst day of my life.

The Gamer

Over the past 4 years, my boardgame hobby has become a big part of my life. With lots of games purchased and played, I have found an activity to keep my mind and creativity stimulated. I really enjoy medium to heavier weight games but also have fun playing lighter games with family.

I find myself gravitating to BGG on a daily basis. I'm a big fan and supporter of the site and this great community. If not browsing the site, I am probably reading the rule book of some new game or watching the latest posted video reviews.

I have fond memories of playing science-based educational games with my family in the early 70s. At the age of 12, I was taught the great games of Bridge and Chess, which became regular activities growing up in a family of six. I can't thank my parents enough for introducing me to interesting games at an early age with the belief that games should be a learning experience. Now as a father of two young girls, I too believe that kids can benefit from gaming; by learning that life is not a roll and move experience but more about having to make tough decisions, while formulating a plan which will lead to success. In my college years, I was lucky enough to live with a group of guys who were very experienced Dungeon and Dragon players.

1- My "Gamer" Game Group Geekbuddies. An awesome group of guys.
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2- My FLGS - Timp Warp Comics in Cedar Grove, NJ. Thanks Dave and Jim for making board gaming accessible to the community.
http://www.timewarpcomics.com/

So what make me tick as a gamer? I enjoy medium to heavier games with simple and elegant mechanics and multiple paths to victory. I prefer games where the mechanics are heavily embedded into the theme of the gameplay experience. The ruleset should be intuitively integrated within the theme of the game.

As far as my likes and dislike in gaming, I don't like gameplay experiences where all players are strategically required to keep fellow opponents in check and someone drops the ball. While winning is not the goal, I am competitive and like to win and feel that the best player should win on his own merit, not because someone handed over the victory. I will play but mostly shy away from purely abstract or party games. To that point, I will play any game once. I enjoy the head to head 2-player or 2-team dynamic of wargames. My game group has helped me transcend beyond just the world of euros, which I still love and enjoy.

Playing games every week with friends and family is an important part of my life. I wish I had time to play all the games I own. This is an ongoing struggle for me.

The Game Student (my initial UberGeekBadge was "Game Student")

My approach to each gaming experience is very analytical. I pride myself on leveraging my 25 years of IT business process re-engineering experience to get my head inside the inner mechanics of each game I play. Games are like a good book and really challenge me mentally. I read game rules all the time, and never stop thinking about game design; either with my own game ideas or those I am play-testing and developing for others. In my spare time, I enjoy laying out all the pieces of a new game, examining the rule-set, and really getting inside the designer's head. What were they thinking when developing the inner mechanics? How do strategies change with a varying number of players? Many of the games I own have been played solo multiple times before ever getting to the table with others.

My formulated approach to new games -

1- Identify games that interest me by watching video reviews. Thanks Joel, Lance, Marco, James, Enrico, Tom, Ryan and Alex thumbsup

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2-Study rulebooks. To me this is great reading material. I am fortunate that many members of my game group are members of the "cult of the new" so I am exposed to a lot of new games.

3-For the first game, I don't play to win, I play to experience the inner workings of the mechanics and how all the elements of gameplay are layered. I focus on understanding the potential paths to victory from the perspective of how each player is approaching the game. Which path to victory are they each taking, and who needs to be slowed down? I love games that have multiple paths to victory and multiple win conditions. I used to buy several games a month but have put this on hold given my current job status change.

4- After playing a game the first time, I will discuss the game with group members and then read reviews and rules discussions on BGG. As is often the case with my "CotN" group many games I am exposed to are only played once or twice, unless they are a perfect fit for the group.

5- If a game really grabs my attention, the wheels in my brain never stop analyzing the interwoven mechanics. These are the games I must own. With that said many of my favorite games are designed by Martin Wallace.

The Playtester / Game Developer

My Philosophy on Playtesting - The best playtesters suggest how to tweak a game's design rather than over-complicating the ruleset with new mechanics or unecessary "if/then" gameplay conditions. A common error made by new playtesters is to make suggestions on mechanics that they think need to be added to a game. The worse case scenario of this is when new mechanics are suggested to address what is believed to be a break in the current gameplay flow. The best solution in these cases may be to question the initial mechanic which is causing the problem. It probably needs to be tweaked.

I believe that taking notes while play testing is very important. If a game has multiple paths to victory it is important to track these alternate routes. Count how many time a specific mechanic is used or a specific gameplay circumstance arises--every game is different. If there are rules exceptions, how often do they play out. If limited in execution it may be time to tweak the ruleset. Game balance feedback is the best advise a playtester can provide. When playtesting, I will play a game at least 15 times.



I can't thank Alf enough for allowing me to collaborate and contribute with creative development on the Z-Man release of Trollhalla. I have never met Alf in person or talked to him on the phone, only communicating via Geekmail and email, yet I have learned so much about game board design from him. To me, Trollhalla was my first game design learning experience and a great project to share with my family in the form of playtesting. Trollhalla is still one of my favorite go-to games. Alf has been a great friend and mentor. I hope to one day co-design a game with him.whistle

Through my work with Alf, I have also gained an appreciation for the art design aspect of producing a game. I am a huge fan of Ryan Laukat and can't wait to play his 2012 release Empires of the Void.



I am very excited about the 2011 release of Dark Horse published by Knight Works, LLC. Having the opportunity to exchange creative ideas with the game's designer Don Lloyd as part of his development and game editing team has been a great experience. I look forward to continued development work with Don and Knight Works, LLC with continued work on the first full box expansion to Dark Horse.

The Game Designer



My most recent design work includes the "Outlaw" mini expansion for Dark Horse (Dark Horse: Outlaw). All my game development projects as well my experience playing hundreds of games over the past 4 years have taught me a lot about game design.

Alf Seegert taught me that the key to great design is simplicity and elegance--not creating overly complicated designs by adding if/then complexity to a game. He's cautioned me to think twice before adding additional game mechanics to solve any issues with other elements of a game which are not quite working as anticipated. He also taught me many ruleset challenges can be simply remedied by making adjustments at time of game setup. Before I met Alf I thought I would only want to design games that have all perfect information. I now understand the need for randomness in a game; adding fun and re-playability while ensuring a non-scripted formulated approach to gameplay strategy. Finally, as Alf says, one approach to the art of design is to look at your work as a block of marble which needs to be chiseled away rather than a recipe to be followed where reusable game elements are just thrown together. His philosophy, which I find fascinating, is game projects are never completed, only abandoned so they can be released and enjoyed by others.

Don Lloyd taught me how to leverage game mechanics to inject theme into a game along with the art of leveraging asymmetrical character roles to extend thematic and strategic re-playability. The concept of adding tension to a game with dual game end conditions as incorporated into Dark Horse, is something which I really love in many of my favorite games. I have really enjoyed my work with Don on Dark Horse and believe it is a game that belongs on every gamers shelf. Don also has given me an appreciation for the small-time publisher who knows that going into his first game production project will be hard to make a profit, and whose passion and confidence in his work is enough to take the financial risks to see his dream through. I also appreciate Don seeing the value of my design work and bundling it into the Dark Horse: Outlaw expansion. I look forward to continued development work with Don and Knight Works, LLC.

While my recent focus has been on sharpening my game design skills via my work as a game developer, my long term goal is to design my own game masterpiece--developing unique mechanics, creating difficult decisions, and ensuring game balance with multiple paths to victory. I am a believer that all great games need a narrative arc--a build up of tension--a critical turning point that gamers can talk about after the game is over. Game design for me is more about embracing the journey rather than focusing on a destination (or the actual publishing of my own game concept).


The Friend

Friends are important to me in life. I value quality over quantity. My game collaborations so far as a developer have been a labor of love (of the project) and friendship (with the designer).

For those that are interested this is what I beleive my greatest contribution to BGG:
A Comprehensive Review and Strategy Guide by a Playtester / Creative Development Contributor.

I am looking forward to a great week as Geek of the Week. I appreciate this opportunity to share a bit about myself with the BGG community.

Here is a caricature of me done for use as the Scoundrel Character Card in Dark Horse



Paul's Two truths and a lie:


Poll
Which is a lie ?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
1- Drove 5 test laps with Mario Andretti in a dual seater Indy racing car, reaching speeds of ~175 mph at the Brick Yard in Indianapolis as part of winning a FEDEX sponsored fan-based promotion.
30.3% 23
2- Had what might have been an out of body experience while waiting for a train in the NYC subway system...either that or it was the over the counter cough medicine I was taking.
38.2% 29
3- Met Bill Murray at the local gas station. He's a tall guy as compared to my 5' 6" height.
35.5% 27
Voters 76
This poll is now closed.   76 answers
Poll created by pincao
Closes: Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:00 am






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Rasmus H
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Congratulations pincao!

1 I'll drop a few questions:
2 How did you first come across BGG?
3 How many hours do you use per day on BGG?
4 What game are you most looking forward to in 2012?
5 What's your favorite book?

/hug
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Congratulations!
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Christopher Incao
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Congratulations Bro... Well deserved!!! ... Though I am disappointed in you removing the callout to me in Alf's original post.

Paul Incao
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Here is my question....

1 Not including any of your game development projects ... Name your three favorite games where the mechanics were unique and heavily embedded into the theme.
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I always enjoy seeing a local (or in this case, a semi-local) get honored. Actually, your twin brother and I live in the same PA county (though I don't believe I've ever seen either of you at EPGS; next meeting is this coming Saturday, if either of you are interested).

Simple question: what's "your" NJ beach during the summer?
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Congrats Paul.

Hope you will have a great week!

1 What boardgame has inspired (touched) you the most?
2 Have you ever tried live action role-play?
3 What type of gameplay do you enjoy the most?
4 Have you been traveling much and whats your favorite vacation?
5 Lots of snow or heatwaves?
6 In a perfect world - what do you do for a living?
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Hoopy congratulations, enjoy your week

Regards

Gnome
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Paul!

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Congratulations Paul, have a great week.
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Congratulations
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Congratulations!

What has been one of your most memorable games?

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I am humbled to be this weeks GotW and appreciate all the congratulatory welcomes from this great community. Thanks Alf for granting me this great honor. This is going to be a fun week.

So it looks like there are some really good questions already. I will try my best.

-Paul
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Slapz wrote:
Congratulations pincao!

1 I'll drop a few questions:
2 How did you first come across BGG?
3 How many hours do you use per day on BGG?
4 What game are you most looking forward to in 2012?
5 What's your favorite book?

/hug


Thanks Slapz. Neat avatar you have.

2 How did you first come across BGG? My brother who introduced me and my family to Settlers of Catan got me into modern boardgames. He also told me about the site...although I created an account first. whistle

3 How many hours do you use per day on BGG?In my mind you could never spend too much time on BGG. There is so much great information. Between my laptop Ipad and Iphone I am aways plugged in and BGG is my second stop after checking personal email.

4 What game are you most looking forward to in 2012?
I think the re-release of Wallenstein (second edition). I really enjoyed playing Shogun (haven't played it enough to place in my top 10). I think the Wallenstein map may be more interesting and contentious. devil

5 What's your favorite book? Richard Bach - The Bridge Across Forever. A great piece of fiction about soulmates and astral projections (out of body experiences).

Thanks for the questions.
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Hoopy congrats, Paul!
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Bravo
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » BoardGameGeek Community » Geek of the Week
Re: Geek of the Week #335 - pincao
Congratulations, have great week and have fun.

Matt
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Congratulations!
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Congrats Paul!

d10-1What is your favourite colour when playing a boardgame?
d10-2Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter?
d10-3Do you play an instrument? If yes, which one and for how long already?
d10-4Having fun?
d10-5What would have been your name if your parents didn't name you Paul?
d10-6What is your favourite snack?
d10-7 What is your favourite day of the week?
d10-8What is your favourite time of day?
d10-9 What character would you be in a Star Trek setting?
d10-1d10-0 What makes you "tick" (inspires you, why do you get up in the morning)?
d10-1d10-1 What is your life-long dream?

Enjoy your week!
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Congratulations Paul!

Some questions for you:

d10-1 What are your favorite Board games, Video games and RPG?

d10-2 What is your favorite contribution to the site that someone else made (since you listed yours already?)

d10-3 What is your favorite part of the site?

d10-4 Do you have any gaming goals for this year?

Have a great and well-deserved week!
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And now come the questions:

How's your family game-wise? Which games does your family prefer?

What's your favourite and least favourite TV show?

Are you into any sports?

What would you like to change in the world's history?
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Congratulation pincao! Have a great week!
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alfseegert wrote:

Here are some questions for you to get us started!

1 Plainly, you've given your dedication to games a lot of thought. Why do board games matter so much to you and your family?
2 Who are your favorite designers? Why?
3 What are some of your favorite games from recent plays, and why?
4 Which games are you most looking forward to playing? (Either from the past or the present -- or, I suppose, the future)?
5 How have your tastes changed in gaming over the past few years?
6 What do you see missing or under-represented in popular board games that you'd like to see better represented in future?


These are some great questions. I'll do my best.

1 Plainly, you've given your dedication to games a lot of thought. Why do board games matter so much to you and your family? I think interacting with ones kids is very important. Many kids today are overly plugged in electronically between chatting and talking on cell phones or playing portable video games. I think board games are a great social vehicle and an important way to spend quality time with family. The whole social dynamic and gameplay interaction is something I value greatly. I also think that there is a lot of merit to the amount of learning a child can get out of modern board games. Teaching kids to formulate a plan and make difficult decisions toward achieving a goal is invaluable. Continuing on this thought, I would like to see games used more as a learning tool in schools. I had the opportunity to teach a class in my daughters middle school on boardgame design. It was a math class and each student was asked to design a game. I thought it was interesting that most of the game concepts that the kids thought up were either trivia math problem games or roll and move. I personally created my own math related game project for the class which I titled after the schools motto "Meet Me at the Summit". It was a dice game which required student to perform simple multiplication and addition of dice as they attempted to race up a mountain factoring in the use of dice to determine which grade slope and distance they wanted to tackle. The kids were fascinated with the interesting decisions they had to make as they raced up the mountain. This was a great experience for me as I value the education use of games to inspire creative thought amongst kids.

2 Who are your favorite designers? Why? Not counting the designers I have had the honor of working with, I have a few favorite designers and for different reasons. For game I want to play with my family, I am a big fan of Bruno Faidutti and Alan R. Moon. I love the role selection mechanic and random elements of Bruno's games and I believe Alan's TTR series is the most approachable gateway series which needs to be owned by every family. For deeper strategy games I am a huge fan of Martin Wallace and Stefan Feld. I personally want to own every Martin Wallace game. I love the historical integration of theme embedded within his gameplay mechanics. As a designer, I personally think about unique mechanics first then try to find a theme, which I believe is more in line with Stefan Feld's approach. He has introduced some of the most elegant and unique gameplay mechanics. I admire the uniqueness introduced in every new game he releases.

3 What are some of your favorite games from recent plays, and why? I recently had the opportunity to play Mage Knight Board Game and really enjoyed the depth of the gameplay mechanics. There are not many games I would consider playing solo but this game has a lot to offer. There is a lot for a player to think about in terms of the sequencing of card play. I just would never play it with more than 3 (unless I was playing with very experienced players). This game is not in my top ten yet as I have only played it once. Eclipse is another game I am very impressed with. I am not a fan of games that require me to perform a lot of housekeeping and the mechanics which track a player's technology tree are just so innovative and clean.

4 Which games are you most looking forward to playing? (Either from the past or the present -- or, I suppose, the future)?
The number one answer has to be FANTASTIQA...if I can only get my hands on a prototype. whistle
Sensing the passion you have for this project, I know it is going to be great. thumbsup
Other games high on my want to play list are:
1- 1812: The Invasion of Canada (This is #1 on my list to save up and buy). This is a perfect fit for me. I love the clean design the scalability between 2-5 players. The integration of card play and unique dice mechanics seems to be so elegant. I love that there is little downtime as players don't necessarily wait until their next turn to enter play. The cardplay element of this game reminds be a little of Popular Front which is my favorite light abstracted multiplayer wargame.
2- Strike of the Eagle - I received this last month for my birthday and am really looking forward to getting this to the table. I love block wargames and really appreciate the additional fog of war element which the order tokens introduce.
3- Wallenstein (second edition) - I really enjoyed my one play of Shogun and think this map will promote some really great interaction.

5 How have your tastes changed in gaming over the past few years?
This is an interesting question and one I have not considered. Upon being reintroduced into gaming a few years ago I became a crash course game student. I bought many of the top 100 euro games and really studied each one on my own. Not having a formal game group outside of playing games with family, many of these games while appreciated and valued never made it to the table other than as a walkthru on my own. At this time the games I was playing were with my kids which was promoted as a non-confrontation and family friendly interaction. Having joined a local game group about a year ago has introduced me to a whole other side of gaming. Playing most games now with the maximum number of highly competitive players creates a whole new level of interaction and gameplay. While I used to value games from a design perspective I have learned to appreciate the gameplay interaction and narrative arch that is present with a more cutthroat and interactive group. I think I now value the gameplay experience in gaming more than just the appreciation of interesting mechanics which comprise a highly rated euro design.

6 What do you see missing or under-represented in popular board games that you'd like to see better represented in future?
Having two daughters, I would like to see more universally appealing game themes which would help draw in woman wanting to enter the hobby. I think that designers should always keep this in mind. In the case that player characters are introduced into a game, I think female characters should be factored into the mix. This is something I would have never thought of myself but is very important to my girls.

Thanks Alf these were fun questions to answer.

-Paul
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Jan
Belgium
De Haan
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...come and join me in the tavern I buy you a mug of beer.
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Congratulations!

My usual questions:
- Ever played any RPG's?
- Have you ever visited the RPG side of the site?
- Will you congratulate you're RPGG and VGG counterpart?

Have fun this week and may you play many games.
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Paul Incao
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pennincao wrote:
Congratulations Bro... Well deserved!!!

Here is my question....

1 Not including any of your game development projects ... Name your three favorite games where the mechanics were unique and heavily embedded into the theme.



1- Automobile - Love the thematic use of R&D and loss cubes which reflect innovation in the game.

2- Caylus - Love multiple paths to victory, the interactive game play as player compete for positions on the board and the overall depth of interwoven mechanics in this the original worker placement game.

3- Popular Front - Love the card driven mechanics with player possessing the same deck of card abilities. The bluffing aspect of this game to me takes it over the top. A truly underrated game.

Thanks Christopher.

-Paul
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Paul Incao
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Coyotek4 wrote:
I always enjoy seeing a local (or in this case, a semi-local) get honored. Actually, your twin brother and I live in the same PA county (though I don't believe I've ever seen either of you at EPGS; next meeting is this coming Saturday, if either of you are interested).

Simple question: what's "your" NJ beach during the summer?


Thanks Mike,

Unfortunately my two daughters are not fans of the beach. Personally, I could ride waves all day long. Having grown on up on Long Island and still having family there, the only beach going I continue to do is on the south shore of LI. Would love to game in the future. I usually get down to PA every other month.

-Paul
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