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Battlestar Galactica: Exodus Expansion» Forums » Variants

Subject: House rules we're going to use in our first game... rss

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Chris J Davis
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1) You can't get around resolving allies by using XOs. You resolve the ally when you move into a location whether it's your turn or not.

2) Cylons can ignore any negative effects of Crossroads cards played by humans and vice-versa (unless the card refers specifically to human/Cylon players).

3) Damaged basestars repair themselves fully whenever they are returned to the Cylon Fleet board.

4) Players receive the trauma token in Sickbay when they move there (not at the start of their turn).

Any reasons not to use these (apart from the usual "you should play at least one game with the real rules first")?
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Chris J Davis
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Also thinking about this one:

5) Hidden Cylons executed as a result of the trial are executed normally rather than being removed from the game.

Not sure about that one, though. Might just encourage hidden Cylons to pile all of their antagonistic trauma on to allies. But then they have to be sure they won't be ferreted out before the trial (though we won't be playing with Pegasus, so it won't be possible to actively execute them).
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J Chav
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You should buy games to enjoy them. If this is how your group enjoys it then by all means.
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Paul W
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Except for (3), I don't see any reason to use those house rules when you haven't played the game as is first. There's most definitely a problem with the basestar damage rules as written (and I can verify that from experience), but for the others...they're simply balance decision with no obviously correct answer...in those situations I'll also go with the designer's decision unless I've got play experience to indicate that another approach would be better.

You're free to do as you wish, of course.
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Joshua Reubens
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Sounds a bit "cart before the horse" to me. I assume you feel these will fix perceived problems?

 
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Cameron McKenzie
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thaos52002 wrote:

Sounds a bit "cart before the horse" to me. I assume you feel these will fix perceived problems?



#3 is more of a balance fix. There's no incentive whatsoever to "finish off" a basestar if it's damage tokens have already crippled it to the point where it is no longer a threat, because another basestar will simply replace it on the cylon fleet board. Better to just let the crippled basestar hang around then give them a shiny new one.

I would adjust it to say that if a basestar would be added to the fleet board but there are none in the supply, then the basestars on the fleet board heal completely. They still have to wait for the symbol to get their "new" basestar, but having a almost dead basestar doesn't prevent them from getting it now.


#4 is kind of a balance and a thematic issue I think. First of all, being executed at the start of your turn means you miss that turn, which might be a bit harsh considering you frequently have no control over whether you go to sickbay. Secondly, it prevents people from circumventing the trauma draw by getting an XO and leaving the sickbay (which is already a powerful strategy, and the trauma encourages it further).

As written, you could imagine the following dialogue, "Wow, that injury landed you in the sickbay? Must have been traumatic!" "Not really, since I decided to leave early." The idea here is that whatever incident that injured you (sending you to sickbay) induced the trauma. It would not be a result of merely being in the sickbay "Well, I didn't really mind getting blown up, but laying here on this bed is depressing!"
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J Chav
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MasterDinadan wrote:


#3 is more of a balance fix. There's no incentive whatsoever to "finish off" a basestar if it's damage tokens have already crippled it to the point where it is no longer a threat, because another basestar will simply replace it on the cylon fleet board. Better to just let the crippled basestar hang around then give them a shiny new one.



Maybe only have that happen when it has a launch raiders or launch tube damage token on it.
 
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Chris J Davis
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MasterDinadan wrote:
thaos52002 wrote:

Sounds a bit "cart before the horse" to me. I assume you feel these will fix perceived problems?



#3 is more of a balance fix. There's no incentive whatsoever to "finish off" a basestar if it's damage tokens have already crippled it to the point where it is no longer a threat, because another basestar will simply replace it on the cylon fleet board. Better to just let the crippled basestar hang around then give them a shiny new one.

I would adjust it to say that if a basestar would be added to the fleet board but there are none in the supply, then the basestars on the fleet board heal completely. They still have to wait for the symbol to get their "new" basestar, but having a almost dead basestar doesn't prevent them from getting it now.


#4 is kind of a balance and a thematic issue I think. First of all, being executed at the start of your turn means you miss that turn, which might be a bit harsh considering you frequently have no control over whether you go to sickbay. Secondly, it prevents people from circumventing the trauma draw by getting an XO and leaving the sickbay (which is already a powerful strategy, and the trauma encourages it further).

As written, you could imagine the following dialogue, "Wow, that injury landed you in the sickbay? Must have been traumatic!" "Not really, since I decided to leave early." The idea here is that whatever incident that injured you (sending you to sickbay) induced the trauma. It would not be a result of merely being in the sickbay "Well, I didn't really mind getting blown up, but laying here on this bed is depressing!"


Exactly. I've always hated the fact that you can easily avoid the penalty of sickbay just by using an XO - it's simply cheap and cheesy. Now you can avoid the trauma *as well*??

What do you think about #5, Cam?
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#1 seems reasonable. It was really bizarre that the website made a point about how you need to encounter Zarek if you ever want to use Administration again, when the whole Movement Step business makes that claim patently false. It also doesn't make any thematic sense, though I suppose nothing about XO's ever has.

#2 seems odd in combination with some of the Crossroads cards. Under this rule, what incentive does any player ever have to choose the Draw Trauma option on The Opera House? Try to get one of your allies booted from the game in place of you? Or what about the choice that makes Cylons draw Trauma and executes the Admiral? Why would a Cylon ever choose that option now? The rules as written are severely broken - our first play had a Cylon enter the Crossroads phase with no Benevolent trauma and end up being boxed - but this fix alone seems insufficient. Something more drastic, like replacing the Crossroads cards with new ones (like you did in Razor Cut for the Cylon Leader agendas) seems necessary.

#3 is definitely needed. Last game, we got lucky and disabled a Basestar's hangar and lasers during the first jump cycle, which left the Cylons with only one Basestar for the entire game... until one Cylon's reveal turn off an XO was to fire another shot at it to kill it. When it is in the Cylons' best interests to destroy their own Basestars, something is wrong.

Something else that struck me about the new Basestar damage tokens was that, whereas the previous damage tokens only affected the Basestar itself, the new ones can affect other things. This leads to weird scenarios where it is better to damage a Basestar repeatedly than to outright destroy it; rolling a 1 or 2 on a Nuke can in some cases be better for the humans than rolling a 3 or 4, as it can then blow up Raiders and give the Cylons Trauma. (What, being hurt when a Basestar is hit is traumatic, but being blown to smithereens with it isn't?)

#4 is definitely needed. I at first thought one of the major points of the Trauma mechanic was to stop being sent to Sickbay from being such a slap on the wrist, since we assumed you would get Trauma upon arrival. Given our group's severe overuse of Apollo's ability, that seemed like a welcome addition, and it certainly solved the ludicrous "Injuries Don't Exist As Long As A Mechanic Yells At You" problem. Instead, all it does is make jumping people out of Sickbay before their turn even more vital.

#5 seems good - why should this type of execution stop a Cylon from resurrecting? I will recommend, however, that they still have a chance to be boxed after this happens. After they resurrect, count their Benevolent Trauma and see if it is at least as great as the negative Trauma of all other characters (not counting their own Antagonistic Trauma that got them executed); if it's too high, they're boxed. After all, if they're resurrecting, the Cylons should get a chance to judge them just like any other Cylon. (The rules will have to be reworded so that non-negative Trauma isn't outright discarded, since otherwise this second counting would always total 0, but that should be simple.)

Of course, that's assuming that you still insist on keeping the boot-players-out-of-the-game business in the first place.
 
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Chris J Davis
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Another one I'm considering using as well (though may wait till after the first game to see how it goes):

6) The "take two trauma" basestar damage token only affects Cylons on the basestar bridge location (for thematic reasons, as well as to give a disincentive to just sit on the basestar bridge all the time. Plus, it seems quite hard for Cylons to get rid of trauma...)
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Chris J Davis
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salty53 wrote:
#1 seems reasonable. It was really bizarre that the website made a point about how you need to encounter Zarek if you ever want to use Administration again, when the whole Movement Step business makes that claim patently false. It also doesn't make any thematic sense, though I suppose nothing about XO's ever has.

#2 seems odd in combination with some of the Crossroads cards. Under this rule, what incentive does any player ever have to choose the Draw Trauma option on The Opera House? Try to get one of your allies booted from the game in place of you? Or what about the choice that makes Cylons draw Trauma and executes the Admiral? Why would a Cylon ever choose that option now? The rules as written are severely broken - our first play had a Cylon enter the Crossroads phase with no Benevolent trauma and end up being boxed - but this fix alone seems insufficient. Something more drastic, like replacing the Crossroads cards with new ones (like you did in Razor Cut for the Cylon Leader agendas) seems necessary.


It seemed to me that the idea behind The Opera House is that you are forced to choose option 1 if you *only* have benevolent trauma (a kind of nerf against being too much of a goody-two-shoes).

The other one you mention (Disturbing Vision) isn't affected by this variant rule. I think maybe I just worded it badly. The only two Crossroads cards I intended it to affect are The Opera House and Testimony.

The other option I was considering is that revealed Cylons are simply excluded from receiving Crossroads cards (as well as being unable to be the target of the two above mentioned cards).

salty53 wrote:
#3 is definitely needed. Last game, we got lucky and disabled a Basestar's hangar and lasers during the first jump cycle, which left the Cylons with only one Basestar for the entire game... until one Cylon's reveal turn off an XO was to fire another shot at it to kill it. When it is in the Cylons' best interests to destroy their own Basestars, something is wrong.

Something else that struck me about the new Basestar damage tokens was that, whereas the previous damage tokens only affected the Basestar itself, the new ones can affect other things. This leads to weird scenarios where it is better to damage a Basestar repeatedly than to outright destroy it; rolling a 1 or 2 on a Nuke can in some cases be better for the humans than rolling a 3 or 4, as it can then blow up Raiders and give the Cylons Trauma. (What, being hurt when a Basestar is hit is traumatic, but being blown to smithereens with it isn't?)


Good point. Might also include 7) "Destroying" a basestar is synonymous with "damage a basestar three times".

salty53 wrote:
#4 is definitely needed. I at first thought one of the major points of the Trauma mechanic was to stop being sent to Sickbay from being such a slap on the wrist, since we assumed you would get Trauma upon arrival. Given our group's severe overuse of Apollo's ability, that seemed like a welcome addition, and it certainly solved the ludicrous "Injuries Don't Exist As Long As A Mechanic Yells At You" problem. Instead, all it does is make jumping people out of Sickbay before their turn even more vital.

#5 seems good - why should this type of execution stop a Cylon from resurrecting? I will recommend, however, that they still have a chance to be boxed after this happens. After they resurrect, count their Benevolent Trauma and see if it is at least as great as the negative Trauma of all other characters (not counting their own Antagonistic Trauma that got them executed); if it's too high, they're boxed. After all, if they're resurrecting, the Cylons should get a chance to judge them just like any other Cylon. (The rules will have to be reworded so that non-negative Trauma isn't outright discarded, since otherwise this second counting would always total 0, but that should be simple.)


I was actually considering what you suggested. Will give it a try.

salty53 wrote:
Of course, that's assuming that you still insist on keeping the boot-players-out-of-the-game business in the first place.


I don't have a problem with it, as it's only for one jump cycle and is for the most part brought about by the player's own actions.

Thanks for the feedback! Was very constructive.
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Chris J Davis
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Oh, and yeah - I'm already thinking of re-writing the Crossroads cards. The amount of trauma they hand out seems ridiculous, making your decisions trauma-wise earlier in the game a little redundant.
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bleached_lizard wrote:
Another one I'm considering using as well (though may wait till after the first game to see how it goes):

6) The "take two trauma" basestar damage token only affects Cylons on the basestar bridge location (for thematic reasons, as well as to give a disincentive to just sit on the basestar bridge all the time. Plus, it seems quite hard for Cylons to get rid of trauma...)

Clever; I support entirely. Cylons in Exodus seem to have very little motivation to use any location other than Basestar Bridge, besides Caprica once to play their Super Crisis and perhaps Cylon Fleet when the time is right. And as you say, once a player has revealed as a Cylon, it's very difficult for them to get rid of Trauma - in fact, the humans can conspire to get all the Allies off of damageable locations and leave them in safe places to prevent the Cylons from ever losing Trauma, but even without things like that, Cylons losing Trauma is fairly random, and is best accomplished via Basestar Bridge (lower right), which doesn't exactly need to be made even more vital to them. I like it.

bleached_lizard wrote:
It seemed to me that the idea behind The Opera House is that you are forced to choose option 1 if you *only* have benevolent trauma (a kind of nerf against being too much of a goody-two-shoes).

I always assumed that it was designed to give you a choice between playing safe or attacking an opposing player at some risk to yourself. That seems to fit with the general trend of "more than half these cards make others draw Trauma".

Granted, I haven't seen enough of the show to have any idea what The Opera House thematically represents, so perhaps in context that is clearly the intention.

bleached_lizard wrote:
The other one you mention (Disturbing Vision) isn't affected by this variant rule. I think maybe I just worded it badly. The only two Crossroads cards I intended it to affect are The Opera House and Testimony.

Ah, I see, so it just blocks "Target opponent draws Trauma" effects. Seems reasonable, though I do worry that those two cards will become too simple.

bleached_lizard wrote:
The other option I was considering is that revealed Cylons are simply excluded from receiving Crossroads cards (as well as being unable to be the target of the two above mentioned cards).

That certainly makes thematic sense (why is a Cylon on Caprica deciding whether Starbuck's Miraculous Return is real or a trick?), though I am concerned about robbing the Cylons of another way of getting rid of Trauma, since it's already so difficult for them.

bleached_lizard wrote:
Good point. Might also include 7) "Destroying" a basestar is synonymous with "damage a basestar three times".

Eh, I'd probably make it "damage it twice and then take it off the board if it's not gone already" (since a nuke roll of 7 having a full 50% chance of blowing up six Raiders while still leaving all good ships untouched seems a tad extreme, especially with Calculations and Build Nuke both available), but close enough. The idea is a good one.

bleached_lizard wrote:
I don't have a problem with it, as it's only for one jump cycle and is for the most part brought about by the player's own actions.

Eh, one jump cycle can take quite a while, especially since it comes with a Massive Assault-esque Cylon attack automatically set up, and the Cylons still have access to Basestar Bridge's FTL-regression button (which seems very useful for filling the Pursuit Track and allowing the previously assembled fleet of Raiders to join the battle). In a long social game like BSG, player elimination just feels wrong, especially considering that execution has never previously meant expulsion from the game.

Still, that's my reaction based on the standing rules of Trauma acquisition and Crossroads resolution, in which the Cylons are fairly helpless; if other rules changes make it so that pretty much any player can avoid being eliminated at Crossroads unless they are playing carelessly and recklessly, then I suppose it would be acceptable.

bleached_lizard wrote:
Oh, and yeah - I'm already thinking of re-writing the Crossroads cards. The amount of trauma they hand out seems ridiculous, making your decisions trauma-wise earlier in the game a little redundant.

Outright replacing the Crossroads cards seems like the way to go. They really need to have effects that aren't just affecting each player's chance of being immediately eliminated from the game (that's one thing that absolutely should be under players' control throughout the game) and seem to be badly-designed in general. A few, like Miraculous Return, seem good, but the vast majority are not.
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Cameron McKenzie
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bleached_lizard wrote:


What do you think about #5, Cam?


I don't think it's necessary. How often do you expect that an unrevealed cylon will have enough negative trauma that they are eliminated? A cylon player will probably just spend every negative trauma they get, whether they are revealed or not by this point.
Stocking up on negative trauma and not revealing is a bad tactic, with or without the change, so I don't expect that anyone is actually going to do it. Therefore, I don't see any need to change it.

I can sort of understand the reasoning behind 1, 2, and 5, but I'm not really concerned about those. It's a matter of preference. For the ally one, I think the fact that you can bypass an ally via an XO is kind of a nice thing, and it's not really that bad.

It makes thematic sense. If you give an XO, the target is acting swiftly to "carry out" those orders. Perhaps even the allies themselves are distracted in order to fulfill orders. If Boomer on her turn heads to the Hangar Deck and launches, Chief may intervene her in order to give her a little pep talk (or to unload his issues on her). Boomer is acting on her own time, so she is free to give him a minute.

While in another situation, Adama is giving an XO to Boomer. She has to move and take action in the amount of time which would normally take an action. Basically, she's in a hurry. She doesn't have time to talk to Chief. Chief knows she's acting on the Admiral's orders, so he stays out of her way. He may even be distracted as he is prepping the viper to launch, since they didn't anticipate Adama's orders.
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Regarding the basestars and damage, could an easy fix be that an option for revealed Cylons is to take an action to repair one damage token from a basestar? Seems reasonable, balanced, and fixes the problem, no?

Me
 
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jasonmiceli wrote:
Regarding the basestars and damage, could an easy fix be that an option for revealed Cylons is to take an action to repair one damage token from a basestar? Seems reasonable, balanced, and fixes the problem, no?

Me


Personally, I think that ruling is too pro-human...it makes life even easier pre-sleeper. As a compromise between that and automatically repairing damage, I favor the following:

If both basestars are on the cylon fleet board and at least one is damaged, when a basestar activation comes up replace the most damage chips basestar with a fresh one, rolling for location as usual. If the basestars have an equal number of damage chips, remove the one at the lowest numbered space. If still tied, current player chooses.
 
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Cameron McKenzie
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jasonmiceli wrote:
Regarding the basestars and damage, could an easy fix be that an option for revealed Cylons is to take an action to repair one damage token from a basestar? Seems reasonable, balanced, and fixes the problem, no?

Me


Seems like a monumental waste of an action.
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Just finished our first game and used 1, 4 and 6. Unfortunately, the humans died just short of the Crossroads phase (distance 7 due to morale), so the other rules didn't really come into it. Seemed fine, and I definitely liked that you couldn't get around allies by using XOs - made the decision to go to a location or not much more tricky.
 
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jasonmiceli wrote:
Regarding the basestars and damage, could an easy fix be that an option for revealed Cylons is to take an action to repair one damage token from a basestar? Seems reasonable, balanced, and fixes the problem, no?

Me

Compare activating the Basestar Bridge location to plop down a brand new Basestar and also use another of the bridge's functions. Removing one measly damage token from one Basestar is pathetic compared to a basic move like that.

fizzmore wrote:
If both basestars are on the cylon fleet board and at least one is damaged, when a basestar activation comes up replace the most damage chips basestar with a fresh one, rolling for location as usual. If the basestars have an equal number of damage chips, remove the one at the lowest numbered space. If still tied, current player chooses.

That makes it take much longer for a Basestar to jump in from the Cylon Fleet board with its space area, and makes it much better for the humans to, say, minorly damage two Basestars - even with damage that doesn't impair their functions - than to destroy one Basestar. That doesn't seem right.

I think a free repair, or at least something cheaper than these, is the only thing to do that won't drastically impair the Cylons.
 
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See, now I always figured that XO-ing someone out of sickbay represented expedited medical care more than Adama coming into the sick bay to scream at his son after his viper got shot down.
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Oh, one more that I felt should be included after our first game:

8) If a player is executed and holds an incomplete personal goal, the resource on that goal is lost immediately.

I was executed twice and got out of completing two personal goals because of it.
 
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I don't think that's necessary. It's not like we were doing really well on resources when you were executed.

If you flub a personal goal because of execution, the missed opportunity to protect a resource seems like punishment enough. Also, executions seem much more likely in this expansion, if only due to the two splotch trauma tokens and Cally.

 
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kamchatka wrote:
I don't think that's necessary. It's not like we were doing really well on resources when you were executed.

If you flub a personal goal because of execution, the missed opportunity to protect a resource seems like punishment enough. Also, executions seem much more likely in this expansion, if only due to the two splotch trauma tokens and Cally.



I'm not sure what you mean by the above. Under the RAW, if you're executed while holding a personal goal, you don't lose the resource at the end of the game. As far as I'm concerned, there should be NO upside to being executed. If you were trying to achieve a personal goal and you got executed, then the goal failed and the resource should be lost. Get on the case of the person who did the executing as to why they're going around killing people who are trying to protect resources!
 
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Ah, I must have misunderstood that rule. Thanks for the clarification.

Nonetheless, if we learned anything yesterday, it's that in the expansion, execution is not always a choice someone's making, it's often just a game effect.

If there were no splotch tokens or Final Five execution cards or cards that require successful skill checks to avoid execution, and there were no characters who may not have a choice as to whether or not to execute - in other words, if it were always or even often a choice as you allege - I would totally agree with you about the resource hit.
 
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kamchatka wrote:
Ah, I must have misunderstood that rule. Thanks for the clarification.

Nonetheless, if we learned anything yesterday, it's that in the expansion, execution is not always a choice someone's making, it's often just a game effect.

If there were no splotch tokens or Final Five execution cards or cards that require successful skill checks to avoid execution, and there were no characters who may not have a choice as to whether or not to execute - in other words, if it were always or even often a choice as you allege - I would totally agree with you about the resource hit.


It *is* a choice. You chose to examine those loyalty cards knowing what the consequences could be. Sending Kat and myself to the Brig was a choice, knowing that we could get splotched. Don't go around moaning about the consequences of execution and then saying "oh, the game did it to me!"

(There are few, if any, crisis cards that result in execution. There are some in the Pegasus expansion, but not in Exodus).
 
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