Ye Olde Game Nyghte
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Previous Session Reports

On March 1, 2014, the CBBS tried something a little different for Game Night - restricting the games played to those of yore, way back in the dark ages of 2010 and before. Four years may not seem like a long time to normal humans, but games are like computers in that regard, and there have been many gaming treasures lost to the mists of the intervening ages. So this was a chance to get games we liked back in the day to the table, instead of always pushing to play one of the hundreds of new games we all buy every week.

Of course, not everybody got the idea, and some of them failed to live up to the mandate, playing games released as late as 2013. They know who they are, and they are now BANNED from Game Night.

Anyway, the java drinkers, Zoot suiters, and hipster doofuses included Tim, Jerry, Nyck, Andy, Counterclockwise Scott, Tycho, Eden, Aaron, Leif, Shawn, Kory, Caleb, Tom, Ian, Lynette, Alan, Eryn, and, eventually, Darin.

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1. Board Game: Ricochet Robots [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:569] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 6:30pm
End time: 6:55pm


Fortunately for all concerned, Ricochet Robots was first published in 1999, so we weren't forced to violate any CBBS terms of service by leaving it out of Ye Olde Game Nyghte.

Here. You know what to do.



Jerry, Tim, Nyck, Andy, Counterclockwise Scott, Tycho, Aaron, and Leif all earned at least one chip. Bully for them.
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2. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:15]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 7:00pm
End time: 8:45pm


Puerto Rico was the first really big game of the BoardGameGeek era, the second generation of modern Eurogames that came after Catan and El Grande. It had been a few years since we had played it, and some of our regulars had never played it at all, so it was an obvious choice for Tim, Andy, Jerry, and Shawn to kick off the inaugural Ye Olde Game Nyghte.


Tim hadn't played this game to death like many old timers, and thus doesn't get all worked up about the standard openings and suboptimal moves. Still, he has played enough to know what to do when he gets two populated corn fields down before his first turn. The "problem" with a corn strategy is that there is no real trick to it - most turns you either produce or ship. Every once in a while you take a prospector to get money or build to get the harbor or guild hall down, but for the most part you just gather lots of those yellow tokens and then trade them for VP tokens, octogon to hexagon, lather, rinse, repeat. Of course, getting things and turning them into other things is something Tim really likes to do in a game - but the strategery was hardly overtaxing his old and withered synapses.

Andy and Shawn both played a Factory strategy, which is much more interesting and fun than shipping corn. Shawn started by concentrating in sugar, while Andy diversified from the start; but Jerry, who had the hospice, was choosing Settler often, so everybody had plenty of fields to work with. Jerry was the first to develop a cash crop (tobacco), and then started building for points. But the problem is that a corn strategy just chews through the VP tokens, and the game ended before the more developed strategies really had time to pay off. Tim finished with 56 points, while Jerry and Shawn scored 45 and Andy finished with 43.

Perhaps all you Puerto Rico experts already know this, but it seems clear that you can't just let one guy bogart all the corn, or the game will play out pretty much exactly like that. With five players the reduced ratio of turns the corn guy gets each round might cut into his efficiency, but with four you need to have someone (preferably to his right) with a couple corn fields as well, to fill up the boats and not let him ship so much. Alternatively, if you can start producing tobacco or even coffee soon enough, you might be able to block corn from the boats altogether, especially when you ship on the corn guy's left. That would force him to spend a couple turns getting enough money to buy a wharf or something, which would give you time to get your other strategies going.

I remember a lot of this dimly from the decade or so ago when I played this fairly often; playing it again was a lot like re-reading Dune or Lord of the Rings as you rediscover the good parts. Still, I think I'd rather be the guy trying to balk the corn guy next time, rather than the corn guy himself.
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3. Board Game: Chaos in the Old World [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:96]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 7:00pm
End time: CHAOS!


On Table Three, Kory, Caleb, Tom, and Ian played Chaos in the Old World, which, since it came out in 2009, was still legal - but it hardly seems like a true Ye Olde game. Then again, I was never much for the Warhammer stuff, so maybe I'm just being truculent.


Kory was Nurgle and ended up with 25 points, while Caleb as Tzeentch scored 11, Tom, the Slaanesh, finished with 12, and Ian, as Khorne, scored 7. Yet Ian somehow was credited with "Victory by Dial", and it was mentioned that he "won with gratuitous bloodshed and warfare". So, good for him.

(I don't know what the scoring numbers mean, though - was the "Victory by Dial" an alternative victory condition or something?)
 
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4. Board Game: Keythedral [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:681]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 7:00pm
End time: 9:30pm


Keythedral is a perfectly valid Ye Olde Game, and Eden, Nyck, Tycho, Alan, and Leif were well within their rights to play it on Table Two.


Alan scored 45 points and earned two stars in Eden's spectacular scoresheet calligraphy for the victory. Leif was second with 43, while Nyck scored 39, Tycho earned 35, and Eden rounded out the crew with 34.
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5. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:116]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 7:15pm
End time: 9:00pm


Finally, back in the lounge, Lynette, Eryn, Counterclockwise Scott, and Aaron played bona fide Ye Olde Game The Princes of Florence, as, shockingly, three-fourths of them had never played had the pleasure. Actually, it's not that shocking, as The Princes of Florence is the precursor to Puerto Rico, and we already know some people have never played that one, so, whatever.


First time player Eryn did a spectacular job by pipping veteran Lynette 58 to 57, while Aaron and Counterclockwise Scott finished with 47 and 46, respectively.
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6. Board Game: Finito! [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:3287]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 9ish
End time: 9:10pm exactly


As they waited for a critical mass to be free for the next reconfig, Tim, Ian, Tom, Andy, Kory, Jerry, Caleb, and Shawn engaged in three fearless and venomous games of Finito!.


Jerry won game won, Tim and Tom Finito!ed game two, and Kory completed game three. Hooray!
 
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7. Board Game: In the Year of the Dragon [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:219]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Splain time: 9:10pm
Start time: 9:30pm
End time: 11:00pm


It was a rare Game Night indeed, as Tim got to the table all the games he prepared for ahead of time. Accordingly, he forced Lynette, Jerry, Andy, and Shawn to join him on Table One for In the Year of the Dragon.


This game is a punishing experience for the players, as once you get past the first two months of peace and prosperity, it is a non-stop barrage of crises to deal with. But the really interesting thing about In the Year of the Dragon is that you can't be content to survive - you have to find a way to keep scoring points, as well. So you have to weigh the real cost of the crises versus the opportunity cost of not buying a privilege or playing a Princess or scoring your Scholars or getting fireworks.

Shawn's strategy was to buy a 2-point privilege on the first turn, then try to stay out in front on the turn order track, so he would always be able to respond to the upcoming crises. That initial double privilege is a very strong move - it strips you of all your money, but gives you 24 points for the game, which is hard to beat for a single action. Other players should also be building their engines during those first few turns, and you will miss the money, so it's not a complete game breaker - but it seems like a very hard move to beat for the first player. And once you do it, nobody else can do the same, and other similar actions are much less effective. Tim got a Princess on the first turn, which scores half as much (if you keep her all game) and crushes your turn order, and Jerry's early one-point privilege was similarly much less cost-effective.

Turn order is critical in this game, of course, especially if you have no money, so Shawn's early Monk and Magician and Military people were well considered. He never hit the scholars, and as he didn't have any Elder people he had to spend extra turns building his supplies for the events, but he was still at or near the front of the score track by the midgame, when two fireworks events happened over three months. He ended up winning both (tied with Lynette), and those 12 points catapulted him ahead of Tim and Jerry, who up to that point were marking him, and he never really looked back. He even managed to score two monks for full points in the end, and his final tally of 100 was a clear winner.

Andy ended up building a lot of pagodas and held on to most of his people; an early privilege and Princess gave him points during the game and the end game push put him at 89 points. Jerry had only two palaces for most of the game, but he bought an early privilege, was hitting the scholars, and was the only one to score significantly in the second military event, which got him to 88 points. Lynette lagged in the early scoring, but the Fireworks allowed her to catch up, and she handled most events well, which allowed her to score a fair amount at the end to finish with 83.

Tim ended the game with a miserable 61 points. Part of this was "bad luck", as he had finally fought to be second place in player order just in time to take a big payday from the tax collections and set himself up for the second half of the game - when the coins and fireworks were grouped together and, of course, Shawn (way out in front on turn order) took fireworks and balked Tim out of his desperately needed money. But, like in a car race, getting hosed when you aren't in front isn't simply a matter of luck - Tim had made decisions early on that kept him in back of the turn order (usually to get those nice Elder characters), and when you are behind (even in second place), getting balked comes with the territory.

But, actually, the real problem for Tim is that he didn't build enough early. That was a natural result of being behind in turn order (as building pagodas is a very popular early action), which was a natural result of going last while choosing characters and not being able to get a good starting combination with a doctor (as the Plague was the first crisis coming in March). So he had to spend one of his early characters getting the Elder Doctor, as the Younger Doctors went early, and that put him behind in turn order. For most of the early rounds he kept up by hitting his Scholar and scoring points on the April Mongol invasion, but he had to get Tax Collectors and Elder characters to maximize his actions, as he was always having to pay money to do the things he needed to do - and those characters don't move you very far on the turn order track. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Still, having a stable of Elder characters would be a real asset going forward, allowing him to get some extra turns hitting the Scholar or buying a Privilege - but Tim only managed one build all game, so by midgame he was having to dismiss characters to make room for new ones. So he didn't get the full-game benefit of those slow but effective Elder characters - and when the second crises of each type rolled around he had to waste turns getting money rather than gathering resources or hitting the scholars. And even that wasn't enough to keep up, as the final plague wiped out everybody but his Princess, and killed his final score.

In the Year of the Dragon is a game where you can get into that kind of vicious cycle; if you get behind on resources you can struggle to catch up, which prevents you from getting ready for the next crisis, and drops you farther and farther from the pack. The midgame windfall would have helped a lot with this - but Tim really needed to have more room to hold on those Elder characters, or to have taken Younger versions to catch up on the turn order to save some money (at the cost of some action efficiency).
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8. Board Game: Aye, Dark Overlord! The Red Box [Average Rating:5.93 Overall Rank:3653] [Average Rating:5.93 Unranked]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 9:15pm
End time: Possibly around 9:45pm


For the reconfig, apparently Table Three or maybe Two decided to play a seven player game of Aye, Dark Overlord! The Red Box - of which your humble author knows nothing other than that it was published in 2005 and thus is Ye Olde certified.

There is no score and no notes given, so we can only assume that Eryn, Caleb, Tom, Kory, Aaon, Counterclockwise Scott, and Ian spent the next half hour doing absolutely nothing.
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9. Board Game: Innovation [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:277]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: The scoresheet says 9:00pm, but the only way the chronology works is if it was more like 9:45pm
End time: 11:00pm


Next, Table Two chose a game that barely fit the Ye Olde criteria, as Innovation was published in 2010. Still, it was within the rules, so we shall have no choice but to allow it. Caleb, Aaron, Ian, and Counterclockwise Scott were the Innovators.


Caleb's Monotheistic Vikings won with raiding and oppression, using a level 1 tech. Sometimes the old ways really are the best.

Aaron eventually got to invent flight (level 8), scored 14 points, and finished 3rd - according to some accounting procedures which this reporter does not fully understand.

Ian eventually got the highest tech but couldn't convert into points; he finished with 13 in fourth place.

Counterclockwise Scott scored 3 achievements, but then Caleb's religious dictatorship declared a fatwa on pottery, which shut down his engine.
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10. Board Game: Eight-Minute Empire: Legends [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:658]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 9:45pm
End time: 10:30pm


Avast! This game is neither eight minutes long nor an official Ye Olde game, having been published just last year. Harrumph! I say, harrumph!

Leif scored 12, Tom had 11 and Tycho and Eden finished with 7 apiece. But they all lost, as they failed to follow the rules. Harrumph!
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11. Board Game: Lectio [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:2266]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 10:00pm
End time: 10:32pm


Back in the Lounge, Alan, Nyck, Eryn, Kory, and Darin played a five-player game of Lectio, whose non-horrible original name was Lexio.


Nyck, Alan, and Darin were winners, scoring 198, 161, and 152 on an original bankroll of 149. Eryn and Kory funded their exploits, finishing with 139 and 96, respectively. Also, somebody miscounted, as those scores add up to 746, rather than the 745 they should add up to.
 
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12. Board Game: Martian Dice [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:1843]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 10:35pm
End time: Who knows


2011! Harrumph!

Tycho scored 22, while Eryn and Kory scored 2, and Eden was simply crossed out on the scoresheet.
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13. Board Game: Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:568]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 10:55pm
End time: 11:10pm


Nyck and Alan somehow found the time and space to play Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age. Yay.

Nyck beat Alan, nine to three. Really? Even if you rolled nothing but disasters, you ought to be able to drum up some points with all those goods.
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14. Board Game: Click Clack Lumberjack [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1439]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 10:55pm
End time: 11:05pm


I was all set to "harrumph!" again, but apparently Toc Toc Woodman was originally published in 2008. So I guess Tycho, Eryn, and Kory shall be harrumph-free this time around.

Kory scored 6 pieces of bark, Tycho scored 2, and Eryn finished with -1 point.
 
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15. Board Game: Kingsburg [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:266]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 11:00pm
End time: 12:30pm


Eleven o'clock is not all that unusual a time to reconfig, although we generally don't do it much later than that. On Table Two we see that Eryn, Caleb, Ian, and Kory gathered to play Kingsburg, exactly the kind of Ye Olde game we had in mind when thinking of this Game Nyghte.


Eryn got lots of building points on her way to 39 and the victory. Caleb built up his merchants and other economic abilities, but it wasn't quite enough, and he ended up with 36 points. Ian ignored the lucrative but otherwise useless religious building track, but was still competitive at 35 points. Kory's Cathedral was sacked by Demons, which caused him to fall to 23.
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16. Board Game: Endeavor [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:200]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
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Splain time: 11:15pm
Start time: 11:45pm
End time: 1:30am


Over on Table One, Tim, Lynette, Andy, Shawn, and Alan broke out Endeavor, just because.


I don't think it took half an hour to splain this game, but it might have taken that long to set it up - you have to put out something like 150 little chits onto specific spaces on the board, then sort seven six-card decks and put them out there.

Once we got started, though, the game rolled right along, modulo a serious rules fubar that Tim realized he got wrong halfway through the first round - it usually costs at least two disks to do most things with a building, one to activate and one to place. Tim, for no real reason, took a shipyard to begin, which worked out well since everybody else took either the workshop (to increase the build track) or a Market, to start getting those European asset cards.

Tim took a second shipyard the next turn, and was shipping heavily to India, as the Indian tokens were doing the things he wanted to do - increase culture, primarily, to get extra disks for later turns. Meanwhile, everybody else was settling all over Europe, so Tim forwent any settling and simply shipped until India was opened. By that time, a couple other players were shipping, but Tim was the first Colonial Governor, and his massive presence in India ensured that he could get any Indian asset card of any level, when they became available.

Those asset cards were key to Tim's strategy, as most of them gave shields and coins, moving him up on the politics and money tracks, and allowing him to store more cards and get all his disks down. Everybody else was busy building connections, getting three tokens (and lots of end-game point equity) per two actions, so Tim had to build up his tracks in order to compete.

The colonies were all open by round six, so shipping became less valuable; fortunately for Tim, he was able to get a few cannon tokens, so he could kick Alan out of some key spots in the Far East to get some last minute city and connection points. Tim got above the 10 line in every track except the build track, where he was at 7. Along with his card points, that put him at 61 points, enough for the victory.

Andy actually colonized better than Tim - Tim had thought at midgame that India was a mistake, as the connecting cities in Europe were all taken early. Andy also used some early cannon actions to cement his position in Europe, and was close to getting that 5 asset card which would have abolished slavery. However, in this game that wouldn't have mattered much, as Shawn was the only vile slave trader, and he only took one slave card in order to get the labor to buy those big buildings. I think taking the slavery cards might have been a good strategic decision for the European powers; with four people colonizing cities there, it was hard for anybody to get five tokens down which would allow them to take the Abolish asset - and by that time they probably could have used their own cannon to keep it from happening.

Anyway, Andy got lots of connection points and finished with 54; Shawn lost a bunch of cities in Andy final cannonade, but had good progress on his tracks and ended up with 50. Lynette didn't get very many asset cards, so didn't score well on her board and finished with 47. Alan never got any cannon actions and was the victim of Tim's late game imperialist barrage; he scored 44.
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17. Board Game: Powerboats [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:1326]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 11:30pm
End time: 1:00am


Jerry was itching to play Ye Olde Powerboats, and was joined by Nyck, Darin, Tycho, and Eden in the Lounge for that very purpose.


Jerry and Darin have played this game at Rosy's a lot, so it is no wonder that they creamed everybody else, scoring 12 and 11 points, respectively. Tycho finished with 5, Nyck had 4, and Eden scored 3.
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18. Board Game: Condottiere [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:789]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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Start time: 1:52am
End time: 2:37am


The final game of the evening was a four-player game of the venerable Condottiere, which is so Olde it is actually a contemporary of the grandaddy of them all, Catan. So it is something like the great uncle of them all. Whatever.

Only Andy, Nyck, Tim, and Shawn had the intestinal fortitude to stick around for this final game.


This is an interesting filler, although the spatial aspect doesn't come into play until the final rounds, and the cards can be quite unforgiving. In the second round Tim had five ones and a 2, while Andy had three 10s and two 6s; Tim kept sticking around, playing his dinky ones, hoping someone would dump a Winter card - which Nyck did, twice, just after Tim decided to cut bait and get out. Grr. When finally Tim was the only one with a substantial card hand left, Shawn played his final card - the key - to end the round before Tim could take the lead. Double grrr.

Still, it seems like there is likely a right way to play the cards you have, and if you can figure out when you need to get out and when you need to stay in, the card values themselves can sort of self-regulate - like in most card games, maximizing the value of your winners and figure out how to promote your losers is key. And, of course, it is a card game, so you have to expect a certain amount of luck.

Andy managed to get three regions down first, but Shawn's three regions were contiguous, so he claimed victory. Nyck won twice, while Tim somehow managed one win, despite never seeing a card above value 4.
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19. Board Game: Miscellaneous Game Accessory [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:3754] [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:71]
Tim Shippert
United States
Richland
Washington
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We had only eight registrations the day before Ye Olde Game Nyghte, so the food trough was not quite as packed to the gills as it usually is. I blame society! Anyway, most of this junk was consumed, as one might expect when overbooked by 125%, except, weirdly, the perennially favorite Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos. The Peanut Butter M&Ms, Beef Jerky, Zingz, sugar free dipped wafer cookies, spice drops, BBQ Wavy Lays, Russell Stover Assorted Chocolates, Digestive health mix, Fig Newmans, and Orange Cranberry cookies all did not live to see the light of day.

In addition, someone brought the largest box of Cheezits allowable under Washington State and/or Maritime law, as well as two giant bags of plain and peanut M&Ms. There was probably some other stuff, too.

The only special soder available this week was a Sioux City Sarsaparilla. Otherwise, you had to drink water, Light Lemonade, Diet Sunkist, A&W Rootbeer 10, Dr. Pepper 10, or some random Coke Zero donated by somebody or another.
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