Reviews made by DeskoveHry.com - Czech review site with english reviews
Dusan Vit
Czech Republic
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Deskovehry.com is an independent project of two young people, who enjoy playing board games. To this beautiful entertainment, we have dedicated over three years of our free time. The site is currently running for one year in English version. We have more than 100 published English reviews (will be all added here) and a long journey ahead.

Site was officially launched on 23rd May 2010 in Czech. The main contents are reviews, that should be a guide for potential buyers of board games. We have started english version on 30. January 2012. This geeklist should map all our reviews since then.

We thank Petr Šurý for illustrating our main theme - islands board games, which accompanies our readers on the whole website.

We provide independent reviews, in which we target on objectivity and balance assessment. We try to describe the contents and rules of game easily.. Also, we believe that reviews by the same authors have to offer more informative value than scattered articles on the internet by various authors.

New reviews will be added regularly

*Edit 11/2013: I am aware, that my English is scratchy from time to time and I apologize to native readers for this. I hope you still enjoy our reviews.

I guess you are all wondering, how are we assessing games? We test it ourselves with several groups of different size and then we let the game take its journey accross other groups. Each match is followed with a written form with ideas and complaints. The one responsible for putting them all together is usually me. And our reviews are usually a result of this kinda lenghty process (our review takes at least 8 weeks to complete).
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Dusan Vit
Czech Republic
Bystrice nad Pernstejnem
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Santiago de Cuba is an excellent and yet quite simple tactical euro game. Players are travelling together by one car around the city, trying to get as much goods for them as possible, so they can later sell it with profit to a ship waiting in harbor. Demands of captain are set by roll of dice and active player can decide, which four of five dice will be used. Precisely one car and three buildings hidden behind each stop (seller) are source of difficult choices, which are waiting for you every turn. Supplying of ship will guarantee you longed-for victory points. Every car movement is important, so you are paying closely even, when its not your turn. You have to constantly plan and shift your intensions based on events. Simple commercial game with difficult choices. Something, that can hardly exist. But let’s make an exception this time. Santiago de Cuba is a perfect pick for demanding or relaxation play.
 
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Dusan Vit
Czech Republic
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Schachen, or Chess Me, is a board game, which is based on popular Chess. It took the best of this game, this means tactical options and figure movement and made everything else simpler. This game does not use board. Your figures can move only there, where can it capture some other piece or to a place, which makes it adjacent to some other piece. Tactical options are multiplied by players not having all their figures right on the table. They draw it from a shuffled pile instead. This brings luck to your chess match, but also makes game more dynamic and forces you to adapt to new situations. Pawns have gathered whole new level of importance, because you can put other pieces in play only behind already active pawn. Schachen is a game, which is absolutely perfect for every chess fan and even those, who do not like Chess, because its too bound. Schachen presents chess for new millenium - modern, quick, original and thoughtful.
 
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Dusan Vit
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CO2 is a unique game about delicate topic – our precious environment. You will become a member of a powerful international company, which is building power stations across the whole globe. In effort to eradicate sources based on fossil fuels, you must buy permits, educate your scientists, but more importantly build green power plants. There is no way to success without them in the four decades, which the game consists of. Besides competition for victory points and badge of biggest green manager, the game has also a cooperative touch. In a moment, when CO2 concentration reaches a specific limit, its GAME OVER. Mechanics of this game are really unique and you have to follow paths to victory, which will no never find in other games. You can also add nice color scheme and beatifully designed board and CO2 is suddenly favourite of many board game players, who like to plan ahead. Breathe in properly and enjoy feel of fresh air, because as soon as you finis hone match of this game, you will always sense a carbon dioxide aftertaste in the air.. Forever..
 
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Wrong Chemistry is a game, where chemistry is not wrong, just fun. Simple fun, where you are struggling to fulfill card goals on a common board, where you create, move and destroy molecules of different crazy compounds. One of main attractions is in clever names and illustraions on the cards. But it would not be enough. Much more important is the whole gaming impression, which is based on a tug-of-war principle for task completion held secretly in hands. Unfortunately all these cards are randomly drawn, so luck plays a huge part in your choices. And scoring is even more luck-based, because you do not score only for completed cards, but also for straights in their numbers in periodic table. And those complicated cards can be finished only with extra move. To get it, you must throw away a less valuable card you have completed earlier. This might be noted as a pro or con, based on your preferences. It presents an interesting choice. Wrong Chemistry is not a bad game, its quite fun and looks nice. It just has few atoms on bad positions..
 
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Cavemen: Playing with Fire is not about funny time with this flamy thingy, but revolves around putting it out. You become such a firefighter, which is trying to harm others by destroying their fire. You will use all your Odynauts to do that, because that is how your race is called. But their movement will be hidden in front of your enemy, you play cards as hidden to your caves and fireplaces - this means with picture down. When they meet some opponent in combat, then is their true identity revealed. Precisely these secrets together with special skills of different characters is what makes this card game tick. It has nice illustrations. Only moving could be a little more straightforward regarding neighbourhood of cards, although they are one card ahead (vertically) from each other, they are adjacent at the same time. Its a little counterintuitive and you might overlook it from time to time. And there are slight blank spaces in the rulebook. But if you like games with a little secret in them, this one is worth looking at..
 
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Dungeon Command: Tyranny of Goblins is expansion, which is worth attention of all fans of this miniature game. It offers lots of new options, tactics and skills, which can you discover and find, how they interact. There are also two new keywords for playing order cards. Excellent focusing on goblins unique abilities brings a whole new perspective into your match. Painting of creatures is quite dim and a little disappointing this time, but its still nice to look at and perfectionists can paint it over. But do not worry, it looks incredible compared to some gray figures, you usually find inside a box. You will gladly lead your units into battle, with Horned Demon as their leader. But to put goblin skills to better use and match advanced players, you will definitely need second box of this expansion. Only this way can you constuct deck with suitable tactics. But this is not con of this expansion, more of Dungeon Command as a whole. Tyranny of Goblins is excellent expansion, which is great addition to one of our favorite miniature games.
 
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Dusan Vit
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Amber is simple family game, where everything is bound to connecting square tiles to a bigger whole. This time, you need also a game board of a kingdom in addition to road tiles. There will be castles and villages there. And you must connect them with roads. You gather points for every castle or village, which is connected to your homeland. But only first, who gets there, gets also a special reward. This is, why building should be a race and fun. But there is no owner of roads and once your tiles meet opponents, you can use his roads to travel or ruin his plans. Motivation to expand these common routes then falls down and players have a tendency to look for their own paths. And there comes one-way roads handy. They are the most important part of the game. Unfortunately thanks to avoiding contact, because other player then can simply steal your winning move, game loses attractiveness. It does not matter, how many scenarios there are. It does not matter, that you have shovels to demolish. Players have more tiles to select from, bud even this idea does not save it from average. Amber will find its fans, but there will not be many of them.
 
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Das Letzte Bankett is a true and genuine party game. You will not doubt about it in a moment, when you first unpack it. The biggest hint is, that you will not properly enjoy it, until you gather up at least 11 partners to your table. Players will during the game split into different factions, each with its own task to accomplish. They can meet their goals only by exchanging seating order. But they have only limited time – until the third course, a dessert, disappears in stomach of all guests. Each of participants will enjoy three own turns (rarely more), which allow him to influence the story. But much bigger experience is coming from living the story, acting as their character and socializing with others. It is recommended, that players address themselves with their title and not the real names. Precisely the experience is the best motivation, why play one of available scenarios. You can start also with less than 11 players (at least 6), but each represents two characters. This spoils players impression. Biggest issue remains in players themselves – game is not exactly for everyone. If a player is too serious, cannot relax and enjoy the story, then he will not have that much fun while playing Das Letzte Bankett. But the rest will get fun, which cannot be easily forgotten.
 
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Circus Grandioso is a pleasant and simple card game about building pyramid of animals. Who would not visit a circus to see something like that? We would. Especially, when its a card game and you do not have to go anywhere. And that all with a distinct memory effect. You must get rid of all your seven cards by creating rows. Two animals carry another one on their back. But cards can be not only played from hand or drawing deck, but arealso put aside on table with picture down. You have to remember their picture and then in future use them for building. This is moment, when your memory comes in and leaves immediately. Remembering is not as easy as it might look. Match is quick and rules limit you only regarding animals order and duty to build from bottom to the top on both sides. But luck can spoil your fun, at least in some moments. It can even decide the whole match. Otherwise is Circus Grandioso nic game, but very intense on your memory!
 
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Dusan Vit
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Slapshot is a card game, which is an advanced version of War. Base mechanic of hockey matches is only about, who has the higher value on his card. But there is a road beneath it, leading to these matches and victory. It contains trades, drafts and even right manager decisions. Each player has one team under his control, composed of six hockey players and can trade them not only on the market, but also with other players. And they cannot refuse that trade. Then, when it comes to a real hockey fight, each player can put his card in any order he likes in a way, which he thinks would lead him to victory. These matches and points from it will lead two best teams into playoffs, which is played in up to seven matches. But during the game playoffs, some players only watch others play and can be therefore bored. But its quite a short period of time. If you are not afraid, that a large luck influence will spoil your experience – everything from trades up to matches is based on chance, then Slapshot is magically easy game suited for family play with smaller children. This game belongs to every hockey-positive family.
 
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Dusan Vit
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Famous 500 is a tiny card game and the bigger is surprise of everyone, who gives it a try. It functions more than good and provides great racing fun for all players involved. Racers have no car of their own, they fight for dominating different sections of actual race track. And moreover their cars has its statistics, which can they set before the race. But as you ride faster, you also get more and more wear points for your car and get closer to crashing. You must therefore choose card really tactically. And there is one even bigger reason for this. You do not discard played card, but give it over to your opponent, who can use it in future for his move. Races are held for several rounds, with pit stops and tension on every corner. Famous 500 is excellent card game, although inconspicuous, but no racing fan should miss it.
 
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Smash Up is elegantly simple fun. Undemanding fighting for locations using your servants and sending them to places was here many times before and could be a little old-fashioned, if it were not for one substantial thing. You use combination of two totally different races to play the game and no matter, if it is robots, ninjas or wizards. Each nation has specific abilities, which guarantee very dynamic and unique experience with each shuffling. Match takes place in several locations, which are randomly uncovered and player with most army there gets points, when it reaches an breaking point (power of minions there). But you have no place to mark these numbers, so you have to use pencil and paper and also have to count very often. Whole game contains untraditional graphics and enormous variability, which makes Smash Up to a really interesting game. Lightning fast turns of each player consists of playing a maximum of two cards, while maintaining chance to largely influence enemy outcomes. And this puts Smash Up for one of leaders in a relaxing games genre. Yes some might find, that this game simplifies stuff too much, while others will be thrilled, that it has become game for families and even children. And then there is also a fact, that dominating over cards in nothing new. But if you are just a little tempted by idea of combining races, then you must definitely give Smash Up a try!
 
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Dusan Vit
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Dominant Species Card Game is nice lightweight version of big board worker-placement game. It maintains the basic idea of watching evolution during ending ice age. Players are not particular species this time, but they play for every creature and are trying to get advantage and help their survival the most. No matter, if you struggle for arachnids in round one, you can be a dinsinfector in the next one. Players are watching their success in victory points awarded for domination of active area, which is based not only on food, but also on population strength. Numbers are always better. Everything is decorated by nicely illustrated action cards offering more choice and interaction. But there are also predators, who can supress enemy creatures and even get them extinct! Individual biomes, for whose dominance are players fighting, are coming in a random way and award for supremacy is getting bigger. Besides, players draw randomly cards into their hands, which might seem random. But there are ways to mitigate this luck factore, because you can always use them in two different ways or keep them for future rounds. Dominance of the individual locations gets more important as the game progresses, while food is getting less crucial. Game is excellently balanced and contains lots of intriguing choices for a card game. All this means, that this game is no shame for a Dominant Species brand and guarantees lots of fun not only for fans of original game, but also families and every card games lover.
 
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Asgard is a tactical game for advanced players. But they must not let the game intimidate them with lots of its components and difficult looking rules. In reality, Asgard is very well thought-out and intelligent game base on northern mythology. You will support gods, use their skills and join them in battle at the end of the world - Ragnarök. You will hope, that they appreciate your effort in return and let you live afterwards. Elegant mechanic for secretly selecting gods on start of each round, together with their gradual occupying guarantees tension for each round. You will be constantly shifting some token in the game, so if you mind this, look for another game. But if you want clever and demanding fun with lots of options, then Asgard might be game for you. Its been inconspicuous until now, but that does not mean, that its bad. On the contrary, you should look for seat of gods, its nice and comfy..
 
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Dusan Vit
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Monster Factory is an excellent children game, which is not suited only for kids! Younger players will love excellent images, simple principle and enormous possibilities, when creating creatures of square tiles. Grownups then will cherish not only the same freedom of monster creation, but also option to add these tiles also to enemy creatures. They can easily get rid of unwanted body part in this way or even do some harm to other players. Victor is decided by number of used tiles, but moreover by number of eyes in his finished monsters. Only completed creatures add their points toward that cound – those, who has no tentacle or purple body part protruding somewhere. Few tiles may be found disturbing for children parents, but there is only a pair of them and they are really not that bad either. Otherwise the game has no cons at all, only pleasure and fun. Each match is entertaining and yet totally different. So if you are searching for a game, where you can have hilarious fun no matter of players age, which looks extraordinarily and on top of all that is funny, then Monster Factory must be your first choice!
 
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ARC is a card game about time travel, where two aeons are chansing across timeline consisting of four different eras. They set traps for each other and attack using cards. They pay with energy charged from their hand of cards for every played card, but they do not discard them to pay. Its sufficient to have them. That creates an excellent mechanic, which guarantees quicker matches and lowers luck influence from drawing shuffled cards. ARC is a Living Card Game and therefore offers one prebuilt deck for each character. But you can also change it and create your own combinations. Simple rules and mechanics have also other consequence - you really don't feel the time travelling feeling - game has not that sort of atmosphere, although it is filled with tension from player interactions. But the time travel is just a cloak. And you will not find any way to track number of lives during the match, so you have to use paper and pencil. Besides these minor shortcomings is ARC nice card game, which serves as a canapé filled of attacks, no matter is direct or foul ones. And all that in future, present and past!
 
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ExistenZ: On the Ruins of Chaos is nice living card game. It will intigue you with its perfect look, original board and marvellous illustrations. But fortunately, that’s not everything there is to it. Its a merge of card game with a board filled by six possible pawns under your control. They will move, attack and run. You fight on two fronts – trying to get your base into safety, while also impeding your enemy in his efforts to do the same thing on other part of the board. You can use magic to do that, based on four different energy sources. And this is source of tension and problems at the same time. Four different sources presume, that you will be at least a little luck. If you do not draw correct crystal cards (providing energy) in the beginning, you can easily get into trouble and lose because of it. You might also experience a slower beginning of the match. But besides these issues, ExistenZ is well done straightforward card game about direct conflict of several players. Let youself be infected by X-6-10-Z virus too!
 
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Slalom is a racing downhill game, which introduces skiing on your desk. And you even do not have to tilt your table for it. You will be satisfied with some cardboard tiles, which make up a whole racing course. And then, when your turn comes, you have to use cards to ride as fast as you can. The higher the number the better, but each section varies in difficulty on your technique. And then you add up your time bonuses in finish. Unfortunately luck plays a great part while skiing and your success depends on cards, you get into your hand. And you often get bad ones. For large part of the time will you just watch your opponents playing without any action for you. And it cannot be saved even by the cow bell included. But fans of downhill skiing will maybe forgive it all..
 
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Shadows over Camelot: Card game is very pleasant and interesting cooperative fun, which builds everything mostly on its simplicity and memory. Players have to watch cards, which are revealed and count their values according to different adventures in the deck. They can cooperate in remembering only parts of it, but only until Morgan character comes into play. Then all communication must stop for given period of time. Now players have to do their own decisions, which will affect everyone. This is how they become heroes. Swords are showing its white and black sides and balance is slowly leaning towards one side. Which will it be? It depends only on you and your skills. There can be lot of obstacles in your way, but even helpers, if you add expansion into the game. But in the first place, there is treason, which can be in your own ranks. Such player has different victory conditions, but can change identity during the match! This card game is excellent choice for everyone, who likes intense short card games.
 
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Dusan Vit
Czech Republic
Bystrice nad Pernstejnem
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Polis transfers you into period of wars. But you will rely more on tactics and moving of troops with emphasis on dominance, than on force and direct battle conflict. Great atmosphere and excellent gameplay awaits you in game designed specially for two players. It guarantees broad options for your choices, which can be used during rounds with no strictly given length and simple rules. Choice from twelve different actions and toll for military actions only raises tension of the whole match. Units can be moved as far as you want, but they have to have all the same destination. Moreover you must respect stacking limit of hoplites (soldiers) in these territories ,while moving them. Allowed numbers are raising as time in match goes by, which makes also for more tense experience to the end of game. Polis brings more scenarios from the same time period of greek history and guarantees real freedom in each of them and plenty of roads to victory. But only one can prevail. Do not leave it on chance and lead your men towards your vision on greater good!
 
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Dusan Vit
Czech Republic
Bystrice nad Pernstejnem
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Antike Duellum is a seamingly usual war board game, but with a little specialization - for only two players. But this duel will be happening not only via force, but also politics and influence. All that on two-sided board with different maps and nations. But besides other region distribution, there is nothing different on second side. There is not any sign of luck in Antike match and whole battle outcome lies just and only on your shoulders. You are using famous rondel to choose actions. You rotate around, but are limited only to few slices ahead, unless you are ready to pay some materials. You gain these from cities under your control, where you can choose their specialization, once you build them. But you have a large economical machinery to put to work and moving. And this should bring you on its wings to victory. Everything is wrapped inside excellent balanced coat and winning chances will be travelling as on moonshine. Let yourself be splashed with one wave of fun and succumb.
 
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Dusan Vit
Czech Republic
Bystrice nad Pernstejnem
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Sheepland is essentially very simple family game, which has large tactical options. You walk across land with a pawn representing a herdsman and make sheep cross over roads, herding them together. You can buy shares of your neighbouring lands, which can be really valuable at the end of the game. Whole match lasts until you lay last fence on the board. Players are then rewarded according to number of sheep on tiles, where they have shares. There is only one luck factor in the whole game, when you move black sheep according to throw of the dice. Everything else depends solely on decision of players. Result is therefore totally your work and you have nobody else to blame for your success or failure. Each turn consists of three actions, which can be chosen by you, although you might get little heavyheaded, when it gets to rule about repeating one action twice. But the game itself contains really nice tactical concepts and players are constantly stealing sheep from each other. Sheepland is game, which deserves more attention, than it gets and not only with families, but also among advanced players. They can discover surprising tactical options here.
 
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Dusan Vit
Czech Republic
Bystrice nad Pernstejnem
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Kippit is board game for two players only, where everything is swinging on scales of handiness. Players have their set of cubes each, and try to put them on this wooden swing. While your goal is to getr id of all your colorful cubes of different four sizes and weights, you are trying at the same time, for the bridge not to tip over. And more importantly – to set up a trap for your opponent. If any cubes fall down in a moment, when the swing is tipping over, all those will be added to your opponent cube pool. All other cubes, which you throw down without swing tipping over, you must take it back. This is what makes this wooden game such fun. You must take a swing too!
 
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Dusan Vit
Czech Republic
Bystrice nad Pernstejnem
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Legacy: Gears of Time is a game, where you will become a time traveller. You will change history, but mainly try to keep it on track. All inventions you bring into history and anchor it there, will bring you legacy points. But because time is an unstable quantity, you must constantly maintain them and strenghten their position in history in future rounds to come. Inventions are dependent on some other, older ones, so you have to go right from the start of human skills. For every technology played, you pay with cards from your hand, which you must throw away knowing the risk, that you may not see them again. But each time window has only a limited space for inventions and you consider carefully, where you put which card. Travelling is allowed only deeper into history and you return to present only, when round ends and evaluation kicks in. This scoring round is interesting, but also a little lenghty at the same time. And it interferes with game pace. Players have their secret assignments, but there are only four in whole game, which is a little low number. There is also luck meddling with your intensions, when you play action cards and temporarily change some rules. This might seem inapropriate and overpowered to some players, but you simply do not add these cards into deck and that’s it. Legacy: Gears of Time can be proud about its simple rules and extraordinary experience, which makes the whole history crowded around one table. And when you feel the elektricity around you, do not forget to play its card to tame it! Your track in history just got bigger. Prepare to write your own legacy!
 
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Dusan Vit
Czech Republic
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Alcatraz: The Scapegoat expansion with subtitle Maximum Security adds more of everything we liked about original Alcatraz. Primarily there are new sites, which enlarge the whole prison area, but also add new options for players. But we will chill your hopes instantly, because there is a new chief of security post in the prison. And guards become more aware in his presence. Expansion also adds five players option. And there is more to all that cheating and backstabbing in that number, than it was in four. Besides scapegoat, there is a new sidekick – sucker. With similar options, but changing hands regularly and foreseeably. With new Alcatraz expansion comes a large dose of new fun and new level of difficulty and conflict. Alcatraz: The Scapegoat is only a half game now without its Maximum Security!
 
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