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Subject: Mage Knight - Too complicated, should I choose another? rss

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Viking Chevalier
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I am thinking about buying the Mage Knight board game, but judging from the rules, it look very complicated, and I'm new to board games.

Do you think Mage Knight is too complicated for a new board-gamer, if so, why exactly? And any other game recommendations for games like Mage Knight (both single player and multiplayer)?

Thanks!
 
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Aaron Yoder
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Mage Knight is a very complex game. There are a lot of rules, and a lot of interactions between those rules. There is a lot to remember. But once you've learned, there aren't a lot of exceptions to rules that are in place, so they are easy to remember once you've got a good handle on the system. Be prepared to look through the book A LOT once you've read through it. Your first few games will be really long.

I also feel that Mage Knight is the most rewarding solo experience I've ever had. I do a lot of solo gaming.

If that sounds good to you, and you don't feel daunted by a ton of rules, then have at it.

But if the games you play have rules that occasionally (or ever) leave you reeling, I'd stick to some lighter fare, at least at first.
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Cyrill Lampart
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Let me start off by saying you shouldn't worry or limit yourself in anyway when choosing games simply because you are new to the hobby.

Mage Knight is a great game, as solo as well as multiplayer (although be very careful as a lot of people can confirm that the game can really become cumbersome with more then 2 or 3 people).

It is also true that it's not the easiest of games to get into and play, you might take a while to get understand the full game and the risk there being that you might get frustrated with the hobby as a whole due to that.

But there are helpful youtube videos and a "how to play" podcast episode that explain the game that are good resources.

In any case take your time to read some reviews here and player feedbacks as well as watching some videos..mostly it will be enough to either keep the interest up and then just get it or it will scare you off

There are a lot of solo games out there of similar calibre but you might want to look into some good cooperative games, many of which can be played solo as well and they are fairly straight forward to learn while providing a lot of game at the same time..some examples here:

Shadows over Camelot
Pandemic
Ghost Stories
Flash Point: Fire Rescue

welcome and good luck with your gaming, have a good time
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Ernest S
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I think it depends a lot on you. If you enjoy and/or are willing to read the rules a few times & are OK with looking up rules frequently for the first few of games, then MK could still be a fabulous game, even for a new gamer. The investment will be large, but if you like this sort of game (traveling around a board, killing monsters & building up your character) it will be worth it.

Another less complicated experience (and less fulfilling for me) would be one of the Dungeons and Dragons Adventure System Board Games.
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Thomas
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I held off buying Mage Knight for over a year because of some of the same concerns you are having. I finally broke down and bought it after watching some awesome videos by Ricky Royal that really put them into perspective. There are a lot of little rules but most are situational and all of them make "thematic sense" so after you learn the game you won't need to check them very often. My only regret is waiting a year for this one of a kind gem. Take a look at the videos:


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Alison Mandible
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Two questions:

What games have you already played and enjoyed?

If you spend an entire evening playing Mage Knight and finish it thinking "I have no idea what just happened or why I lost... this game is crazy!", will you set it aside to play other games, or will you want to learn the game just to prove that it's not too hard for you?

Whether I would recommend Mage Knight depends on your answers to these questions.

(Note: I'm not saying 'giving up' is a bad thing. I'm a born sampler; I strongly prefer games that grab my interest after one play.)
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Aaron Morgan
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The nice thing about MK is that one of the two booklets included is a walkthrough of the introductory scenario.

It instructs you to put the game tiles (which are usually shuffled) into order, and as you reveal each new tile, the booklet explains the new spaces and their rules.

That intro game explains most of the rules to the game. The rest of the scenarios may change the setup or add some rules, but they don't make the game much more complicated.
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Viking Chevalier
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grasa_total wrote:
Two questions:

What games have you already played and enjoyed?

If you spend an entire evening playing Mage Knight and finish it thinking "I have no idea what just happened or why I lost... this game is crazy!", will you set it aside to play other games, or will you want to learn the game just to prove that it's not too hard for you?

Whether I would recommend Mage Knight depends on your answers to these questions.

(Note: I'm not saying 'giving up' is a bad thing. I'm a born sampler; I strongly prefer games that grab my interest after one play.)


I am a completely new board game player, and I have only played the basics (monopoly, snakes and ladders, chess and so on). This will be my 1st serious board game.

I am willing to give this a good try, and will go thouroughly it.
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Jonathan Challis
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Honestly? As brilliant as Mage Knight is, forget it for now, and come back to it in 6 months or a year.

If you are currently at snakes and ladders and monopoly level, there's too much chance it will frustrate you and drive you away from a wonderful hobby. Do come back to it though, because if the game appeals then you will have a lot of fun with it. It is however one of the most complex games I own after 30 years of playing many hundreds of games.
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Dave Petrison
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I have very strong opinions on this matter.

I have an RPG background, and I was psyched about Mage Knight. I bought it and attempted to dive in.

First of all, the learning curve is incredibly steep. I hear it has one of the steepest learning curves in all of board gaming. I figured out how to play it, but I think the general workflow is very unintuitive.

Generating "movement points" is my least favorite mechanic in any of my board games. Basically, you pull five or so cards from your deck. If you are not on a city tile or next to an enemy, the only thing you can do is generate movement points to go somewhere. If you have no movement cards in your hand, you MUST sacrifice better cards to do other things in order to just move a minimal distance across the field. I hate generating movement points. I would rather spend my time fighting monsters than trying my best to figure out how to best sacrifice my good cards to move into the next hex over. I hate it.

But I also hate the combats. About 75% of the time before you go into a fight, you already know if you have the cards in your hand that would allow you to defeat an enemy. There is almost never any suspense in this game. The suspense comes from hoping I draw the cards I need to do what I need to do that turn. If you draw the wrong five cards in a turn, you find yourself in a hole that you have to continuously pull yourself out of. If you draw the exact right cards when you need them, the game is very easy. I dislike this balance.

There are times in the game where I have literally no options to attack and defeat anything. I pulled the last tile in a solo game and found that I had to fight one of three dragons. I literally had no cards that allowed me to fight any of them, as they had special defenses that only certain cards in the whole game could help me defeat the creatures, and I never had an option to find or buy them. I hated the ending so much, and since I knew there was zero chance of me being able to defeat one of these dragons, and 100% of me taking maximum damage from them, I didn't even attempt to fight, and ended the game early.

So yeah, the game is really difficult to learn, no one will want to play it except for advanced gamers, the game has a remarkable amount of downtime, generating movement points are frustrating, battles are boring, the map becomes predictable over time, and the game doesn't seem very well balanced. Plus, all of the enemies are nameless, storyless, and have tiny pictures on really small tokens. I really recommend going elsewhere for your first gaming experience.

Here are some games I would recommend instead:

Friday
If what you want is a single player board game, get this. It might not have the shiny production values of Mage Knight, but the gameplay is much more satisfying. It's easy to pick up and to set up. Plus, the whole game is actually exciting, and the theme seems to be woven wonderfully into the mechanics.

Sentinels of the Multiverse
I've played this one single player a couple times. It's built for about four players though, so you should probably play multiple decks of hero cards at the same time (probably 3 or so) to battle one villain.

Descent: Journeys in the Dark Version 2.0
This differs from Mage Knight, in that there is sort of a dungeon master that controls all of the villains, while the other players play against him. This will be my next big purchase. It can't be played single player, but can make a good single player dungeon crawl (vs. the GM) or a whole group of people can tackle the dungeons.

Mice and Mystics
The flip side of Descent, this game doesn't require a GM, but still offers plotlines and backgrounds to the scenarios. It's a dungeon crawler, sort of, with mice characters making the stand in for human adventurers.

Ticket To Ride
If you are brand new to gaming, you should get this. Not a single player game, but is great for pretty much any other situation.

Small World
Another game everyone should own. The 80 minute running time is a little bit of an exaggeration. It should only take 40 minutes two player. Picking your race and then conquering new regions makes for a fantastic and addictive experience.

Dominion
Before you play Mage Knight, you should play Dominion to figure out where the mechanics came from. In my opinion, this is a much better game and is really easy to pick up and teach to new players.

Thunderstone
The next step after Dominion to Mage Knight. Build your deck of cards, and get better gear to fight bigger and badder monsters.

Legendary
Comic book version of deckbuilders such as Thunderstone and Ascension.

Forbidden Island and Pandemic
Similar games that allow for cooperative play. If you want to play one single player, you could do so by playing two different characters and swapping turns between the two.

Flash Point: Fire Rescue
Another light cooperative game that can be played single player.

Tales of the Arabian Nights
If you care more about the story and experience than you do winning or losing, this may be a perfect choice.
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Alison Mandible
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odinmamo wrote:
I am a completely new board game player, and I have only played the basics (monopoly, snakes and ladders, chess and so on). This will be my 1st serious board game.

I am willing to give this a good try, and will go thouroughly it.


Wow! It's pretty cool that you're on BGG and looking for advice so early in checking out modern board games! Welcome to the hobby, and I hope you have a good time.

I would honestly suggest a lot of caution if you haven't played anything else designed in the recent wave of board game creation-- Mage Knight has so many different details, I think it would be easy to get lost. It was too much for me, a year ago, and I had somewhat more experience than you do.

In particular, unlike the games you might be used to, two novices playing against each other are likely to BOTH be frustrated, rather than just enjoying the fact that they're equally matched. It's easy for two people to both get clobbered by the monsters in the game.

On the other hand, it's a wonderful game, and you have to start somewhere! I just wish I could suggest something which is similar but makes sense a little faster.

If you decide to try it, definitely watch the walkthroughs people are talking about, and ask on the Mage Knight forum when you have questions.
 
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Moe45673
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I jumped into Mage Knight too early (not as early as you) and sold it after about 3 attempts to play it. I did play with someone else once, their own copy, and the fact that they knew the rules meant that I could just concentrate on playing... I enjoyed the game immensely that one time.

If you want to see if you can play a solitaire game, I recommend going for something simpler, but not too simple. A game that I have found to be a good gateway into the more complex (ie beyond Friday, Onirim, Flashpoint, etc) solitaire gaming:

Zulus on the Ramparts!

This game isn't my favorite solitaire game and has limited (though decent) replayability. However, it allows you to break out of the learning phase and into the playing phase relatively quickly, while having you keep track of playing the board's turn and your army's state. Also, setup is relatively quick, games can be completed in as little as 30 minutes, the box is small, and the game costs about 30 bucks for the deluxe version. It's a fun game and I'm glad I own it.

Don't buy MK early and ruin it for yourself, like I did. Get used to the annoying rules/fiddly components some other games introduce first!

I'd buy one or two of the following after Zulus before attempting MK:
Dawn of the Zeds (Second edition) (has an intro scenario and may be a better game than Zulus if you're more partial to the theme... however it does have more rules and exceptions and fiddliness and playtime)
Field Commander: Napoleon (an amazing game, probably overwhelming for someone that's never even played a Euro but very light for a wargame)
Thunderbolt Apache Leader (Many say THIS is the best solitaire game they've ever played)
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Jesper Hansen
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While I do love Mage Knight and agree that the rules are very thematic, its a very complex game if what your used to is monopoly and the like.

Small World Was my gateway game, can really recommend this one.

For a coop gateway either Pandemic or Ghost Stories.
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Byron Campbell
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I think there are two dangers to buying games like Mage Knight as a new gamer. The first is, as you yourself have identified, the issue of complexity. Mage Knight is a complex game, and although I think the Walkthrough book does a great job of introducing rules bit by bit, it will be a lot more difficult if you haven't been introduced to some of these mechanics first in other games.

The second danger is that, as a new gamer, you might not know what you like or (equally important) what the people you'll be playing with like. Mage Knight is not a cheap game, and if you end up hating it, that's a pretty big loss compared with something in the $20-$30 range. Especially with a game like Mage Knight, it's important that the people you play with (unless you play totally solitaire, like me) are prepared to sit down and focus on one pretty mentally demanding game for 2-3 hours, and exponentially longer as you add more players.

That said, do your research on Mage Knight, and if you feel you must have it, go with your gut instinct. For example, one of the first 5 modern games I purchased was Android, which has a rules complexity and playing time similar to Mage Knight. I did my research and knew it would be one of my favorite games ever, and to this day, it is--but nobody else I know enjoys it. Still, I love the game so much that I don't regret the purchase, even if I will only get to play it once or twice a year.

Here are a few games (some have already been mentioned) that might help lead up to Mage Knight:

Friday - solitaire deckbuilding. Mage Knight has a minor deckbuilding element, and is a wonderful solitaire game if you like that sort of thing.

Gears of War: The Board Game - hand management and playing cards from your hand for movement/attack. Unlike Mage Knight, this has dice-based combat and is a bit more accessible overall, but the card play is similar in concept.

The Castles of Burgundy - dice-based action selection, building up an engine over time. This is probably the least similar to Mage Knight of the games I'm suggesting, but there are a few similarities, particularly how the dice (to a greater extent than MK) influence what you can do on your turn, but they never take you by surprise--you generate a strategy after you roll. Also, it is a good mid-weight, inexpensive euro game.

Good luck and welcome!
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Dutch Jones
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One of the first games i bought was mage knight. It is complex and i found i was playing a hell of a lot of rules wrong. This led to awful scores which then led to frustration and dislike of the game.

As someone mentioned earlier, watch the ricky you tube videos. It allowed me to pick up on all the rules i played wrong. The game is so much better when you play it right and more enjoyable.

I would say that even though it is expensive it is worth it. It will be interesting to see if it is still in the top 10 in a few years time.
 
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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kittenhoarder wrote:
Still, I love the game so much that I don't regret the purchase, even if I will only get to play it once or twice a year.

My third Android game in a year was yesterday. It is long though, and we had forgotten some rules in the mean time..

Anyway, on the topic. I have always played games, my progression into more modern times is from Blokus Trigon and Carcassonne through 7 Wonders and Battlestar Galactica to a wide variety of games so that I have something for all occasions: supported number of players, theme, mechanics, length and weight. (See my collection if you are curious about the details.)

The newest game is Small World:Underground, and I can recommend it or the base Small World for a game collection. It has fairly simple rules, but lots of strategic and tactical choices and replayability because of the random race and special power combinations. And it plays well from 2 to 5 players.

When you have played a few different games, you can start to figure what things you (and your group) like and dislike in a game so you'll get better suggestions and can evaluate more easily if a certain game would suit you or not.
 
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Kamma
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Mage Knight is the best boardgame of all time!!!
There are a lot of rules in it but it's not convoluted and the rules are intuitive so it's easy to learn them. give it a shot, you won't regret it!
and YES, i'm back finally after my exile yall!
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Moe45673
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devaloki wrote:

and YES, i'm back finally after my exile yall!


Who are you?
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Matt Brown
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odinmamo wrote:
I am thinking about buying the Mage Knight board game, but judging from the rules, it look very complicated, and I'm new to board games.

Do you think Mage Knight is too complicated for a new board-gamer, if so, why exactly? And any other game recommendations for games like Mage Knight (both single player and multiplayer)?

Thanks!


Watch the videos on it and see if you would like it. Take your time with the walkthrough if need be. You can even just try to complete it while skipping stuff just to make sure you get certain things right and take on more and more as you try different heroes. While it certainly does have a number of rules, I think the complexity of the game is overstated. Technically I got back in to board gaming by playing the board game version of Starcraft and that has a weight near what Mage Knight does, so there is nothing that says you have to build up to a heavy game.
 
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James Champagne
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I'm going to be honest with you. My first "designer" board game was Mage Knight. My very first one. I enjoyed it. I still enjoy it. I don't know that I would have continued down this hobby if that HADN'T been my first real game. (okay, full disclosure, I did receive a copy of Age of Mythology: The Boardgame a long, long time ago, but I've never really played it much, and it didn't make me interested in seeing more of the hobby).

All that said, there are many who would say my results are not typical. This game is tough to learn. It's harder to teach. Those are both skills that you will need to develop as a board gamer, but it's not always easy to do so. If you can, though, man is this game ever fun!

On the subject of teaching games, I should warn you that most people just will not want to play games with you. Your friends will consist mainly of people who will do things like complain the entire time, keep saying why this hobby is inferior to video games, play on their phones between turns, and rush you through the rules explanation then call you a cheater for not explaining all the rules. You may even see some friends start avoiding you because they're afraid you're going to ask them to take part in this thing you enjoy. That sucks, but that's just the way people are. If you're going to play board games as a hobby, you SHOULD NOT assume your friends will.

That said, Mage Knight is perfectly fine for the first game you buy, but don't make it the first game you PLAY. Find your local game shop. Find the board game group there. Meet some of the other board gamers and play their games. After they've introduced you to the hobby, and after you're sure you'll have a regular group of people to play with, THAT'S the time you want to think about buying games.
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Byron Campbell
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JorduSpeaks wrote:
On the subject of teaching games, I should warn you that most people just will not want to play games with you. Your friends will consist mainly of people who will do things like complain the entire time, keep saying why this hobby is inferior to video games, play on their phones between turns, and rush you through the rules explanation then call you a cheater for not explaining all the rules. You may even see some friends start avoiding you because they're afraid you're going to ask them to take part in this thing you enjoy. That sucks, but that's just the way people are. If you're going to play board games as a hobby, you SHOULD NOT assume your friends will.


JorduSpeaks speaks the truth.
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Matt Brown
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kittenhoarder wrote:
JorduSpeaks wrote:
On the subject of teaching games, I should warn you that most people just will not want to play games with you. Your friends will consist mainly of people who will do things like complain the entire time, keep saying why this hobby is inferior to video games, play on their phones between turns, and rush you through the rules explanation then call you a cheater for not explaining all the rules. You may even see some friends start avoiding you because they're afraid you're going to ask them to take part in this thing you enjoy. That sucks, but that's just the way people are. If you're going to play board games as a hobby, you SHOULD NOT assume your friends will.


JorduSpeaks speaks the truth.


And yet I have experienced none of what they say.
 
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Rafael M
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Yeah, I wouldn't jump right into one of the most complicated ones around, specially if you're planning on bringing other people into this gaming hobby with you. I would first get them comfortable and exited about your gaming sessions. Besides this thread, Geeklists are a good place to start too. Look for the term "gateway games". Also this

Though not like Mage Knight, and as others have mentioned, Ticket to Ride:Europe (or Airlines Europe), Settlers of Catan, Pandemic, and Dominion are great to get going. The last one is a fast-paced original deckbuilder which you can try/play online without needing an account at the Goko portal.

I would add Summoner Wars to the suggestion, a pretty cool 2 player tactic cardgame, as you appear to like the fantasy combat theme. Also, Thunderstone Advance is a take on the deckbuilding genre with a fantasy dungeon theme.

Check video reviews and gaming series like the Watch it Played(great to learn the likes of 7 Wonders and Small World) and TableTop (great to get what the game is about) videos on YT.
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Kevin M
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I think that if you're interested in Mage Knight Board Game, then you should definitely pick it up. The fact that you're posting on here is a sign to me that you'd like to get it but are hoping for some validation.

Mage Knight was the first board game that I picked up back in September of last year and is the reason that I'm hooked on board games now. Yes… it is way more complicated than the usually fare of traditional board games but that's one of the many reasons that I wanted to get it. Not only did I love the look and feel of the game but it was so very different from the board games that I grew up playing and hated so much. There was so much going on with the game, so many variables and possibilities, and you actually had to use your brain and think out strategies, etc.

Like other people here, I'd watch the great walk through videos on this site. My personal favourite was from "Box of Delights" as well. At the very least, by watching the videos, you'll know whether the game still interests you or not.

It's an amazing solo experience and a great 2-player game. I wouldn't play with any more than 3 people though unless they're all very (and I mean VERY) experienced players and don't suffer from analysis paralysis... otherwise it'll take you 5+ hours to finish a game.

To me… it's a must buy for anyone interested in board games… but I might be a little biased given that it was the game that got me in to board games in the first place.
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Tim Landry
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Runebound (Second Edition)

If you can get a copy... It's less complex and scratches the same itch.
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