David Kershaw
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Re: [WIP][2013 Solo p&p contest] Irish Freedom! Irish war of independence and civil war 1919-23 - COMPONENTS READY
maccaj6565 wrote:
Brilliant! You may have achieved the impossible and found a game my mother will play... she just asked me to print two copies. (This is the woman who will not play Ticket to Ride or Haggis with me. Apparently a solo wargame is the very thing, however, as long as it's themed around our beloved Irish and Northern Irish history. We're a weird family, what can I say....) I'll post here once we've both got a few plays under our belt. Go raibh mile maith agat!
Made me laugh out loud!
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Re: [WIP][2013 Solo p&p contest] Irish Freedom! Irish war of independence and civil war 1919-23 - COMPONENTS READY
kerpob2 wrote:
Made me laugh out loud!

Glad to be of service. Just printed out a few copies, read everything over again, and started a practice game, and I must say, as a lifelong student of Irish and Northern Irish history, you deserve *enormous* kudos for laying out such a complicated historical (and present day!) issue in a way that's clear to understand, as inoffensive as humanly possible, and really *works* mechanically. It's so *smooth*, and everything makes sense historically.

I have avoided most games about Irish and Northern Irish history up to now, simply because they always manage to oversimplify the actual conflict(s) in the name of gameplay; which makes sense from a gaming perspective, but drives me nuts from a "hey guys, these conflicts are still going on!" perspective. On the rare occasions I'd give one a go, I would always feel a little.... *dirty*/disrespectful after playing. This game isn't making me feel that way at all - in fact, I think it could easily be used as an introductory teaching tool vis-a-vis the War of Independence and the Civil War. Not an easy feat to have accomplished. I hope you can get this game noticed beyond the BGG community, for that reason.

A little story: Some time after the Omagh bombing, my mother went over there as a sort of "goodwill ambassador"... Atlanta and Omagh are twin cities in the Ulster Project, so we know about 80 people in Omagh due to our involvement in that, and my sister and I are disabled, so everyone thought mom might be able to... I don't know, help with the practical aspects of living with the aftermath of the bombing, moral support wise? A lovely thought, and she tried her best considering that being injured in a bombing is nothing like being *born* disabled/having children who were born disabled. Anyway, predictably, everyone we know over there (Catholic and Protestant, due to the nature of the Ulster Project) fought over having her stay with them, and she was trying to keep her head down and not say much about anything on the news, since it was marching season. One day her luck ran out, and the father of one of the teens we had hosted waved his hand at the TV and said to her,

"So, Kriste, what do you think of our situation?"

Trying to find the most innocuous and diplomatic way to respond, lest she come off as the stereotypical Arrogant American, mom replied hesitantly, "Well, I'm just an amateur *student* of Irish and Northern Irish history, so..."

The father threw back his head and laughed, answering finally, "Ah, Jaysis, aren't we all!" Another friend considered this, then chimed in, "You can say this for us though. We're great ones for the marching."

Anyway, I may get down to my local pub this weekend... if so, I'll bring it along and see if anyone else wants to give it a go. *Definitely* not something I'd dare to do with a less well designed game!
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Re: [WIP][2013 Solo p&p contest] Irish Freedom! Irish war of independence and civil war 1919-23 - COMPONENTS READY
maccaj6565 wrote:
kerpob2 wrote:
Made me laugh out loud!

Glad to be of service. Just printed out a few copies, read everything over again, and started a practice game, and I must say, as a lifelong student of Irish and Northern Irish history, you deserve *enormous* kudos for laying out such a complicated historical (and present day!) issue in a way that's clear to understand, as inoffensive as humanly possible, and really *works* mechanically. It's so *smooth*, and everything makes sense historically.

I have avoided most games about Irish and Northern Irish history up to now, simply because they always manage to oversimplify the actual conflict(s) in the name of gameplay; which makes sense from a gaming perspective, but drives me nuts from a "hey guys, these conflicts are still going on!" perspective. On the rare occasions I'd give one a go, I would always feel a little.... *dirty*/disrespectful after playing. This game isn't making me feel that way at all - in fact, I think it could easily be used as an introductory teaching tool vis-a-vis the War of Independence and the Civil War. Not an easy feat to have accomplished. I hope you can get this game noticed beyond the BGG community, for that reason.

A little story: Some time after the Omagh bombing, my mother went over there as a sort of "goodwill ambassador"... Atlanta and Omagh are twin cities in the Ulster Project, so we know about 80 people in Omagh due to our involvement in that, and my sister and I are disabled, so everyone thought mom might be able to... I don't know, help with the practical aspects of living with the aftermath of the bombing, moral support wise? A lovely thought, and she tried her best considering that being injured in a bombing is nothing like being *born* disabled/having children who were born disabled. Anyway, predictably, everyone we know over there (Catholic and Protestant, due to the nature of the Ulster Project) fought over having her stay with them, and she was trying to keep her head down and not say much about anything on the news, since it was marching season. One day her luck ran out, and the father of one of the teens we had hosted waved his hand at the TV and said to her,

"So, Kriste, what do you think of our situation?"

Trying to find the most innocuous and diplomatic way to respond, lest she come off as the stereotypical Arrogant American, mom replied hesitantly, "Well, I'm just an amateur *student* of Irish and Northern Irish history, so..."

The father threw back his head and laughed, answering finally, "Ah, Jaysis, aren't we all!" Another friend considered this, then chimed in, "You can say this for us though. We're great ones for the marching."

Anyway, I may get down to my local pub this weekend... if so, I'll bring it along and see if anyone else wants to give it a go. *Definitely* not something I'd dare to do with a less well designed game!

Thanks very much for your response - it really moved me, and I feel humbled! Your mother sounds like a wonderful person (as do you - I read your profile).

I remember the Omagh bombing. Everyone was so despondent that day - in a way it seemed to galvinise the peace process though, which was something.

I made my own response to "our situation" in the form of a board game: Re-Route: The Marching Season Game which my friends and I played at the height of the Drumcree marching season stand off. Saw some seriously weird things in those days - a road blocked by a burning child's plastic pedal car; a one-armed orangeman directing traffic away; riots at 7am (seriously, I was barely awake and these lunatics got up early to fight). There was one local character well known in the area because he is a dwarf. When he went out to riot, he put on a balaclava...

So, as well as a fun hobby, boardgames do have a purpose - whether helping to deal with a stressful situation, or else learning and understanding history - which is the main reason I am a wargamer.
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David Kershaw
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Re: [WIP][2013 Solo p&p contest] Irish Freedom! Irish war of independence and civil war 1919-23 - COMPONENTS READY
Just made a travel version out of a pencil tin and a soft fridge magnet!
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Re: [WIP][2013 Solo p&p contest] Irish Freedom! Irish war of independence and civil war 1919-23 - COMPONENTS READY
Final, I hope, version of the rules/map: www.kerpob.com/games/IFv3.pdf

Will be a bit more commentry/design notes, and then it's ready!
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Re: [WIP][2013 Solo p&p contest] Irish Freedom! Irish war of independence and civil war 1919-23 - COMPONENTS READY
kerpob2 wrote:
Final, I hope, version of the rules/map: www.kerpob.com/games/IFv3.pdf

Will be a bit more commentry/design notes, and then it's ready!

Any big changes to the map, or small things I can just pencil in on the map I already printed? I don't have the old one in front of me.
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Re: [WIP][2013 Solo p&p contest] Irish Freedom! Irish war of independence and civil war 1919-23 - COMPONENTS READY
pelni wrote:
kerpob2 wrote:
Final, I hope, version of the rules/map: www.kerpob.com/games/IFv3.pdf

Will be a bit more commentry/design notes, and then it's ready!

Any big changes to the map, or small things I can just pencil in on the map I already printed? I don't have the old one in front of me.
Nope. Just looks better. Only rules change is the bonus victory point for ulster is now in war of independence.
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Game is now competition ready.

Download here: Download link: www.kerpob.com/games/IFv4.pdf

25 pages:

11 = The rules
1 = map
1 = counters
2 = cards
1 = play-aid sheet
9 = design notes and historical commentary
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Christopher
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This really looks like an interesting game. Printing as we speak.
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just won 150 for playtesting this game, among others. Thanks Mo for all your help playtesting contest games. I know it's been greatly appreciated!
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teufen wrote:
This really looks like an interesting game. Printing as we speak.

I played a session yesterday. It was kind of fun to play.

The rules book is very good. The only thing missing are page numbers and chapter/section numbers for reference.

I spotted a text error:
- in "The Map", on page 2, under the listing of the regions, the second sentence has one 'the' too many
(in fact I spotted another one, which I don't seem to find now...)


I especially liked to broad background information and designer notes, very nice!

I think it is a bit too easy to win in the end: I finished the War of Independence in turn 6 with 0 blue Irish units on the board, and still managed to get a relatively easy victory in turn 7 of the Civil War, with 4 region's in control of the Free State, earning me a total of 7 VP's in the end, which is considered a Good Victory.

I'll give it another try soon!
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Georg W
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I like this game a lot. Especially the role change in between the wars, i.e. controlling both green and blue Irish in the first war, and just the blues (against the greens) in the second. There are some possibilities during the first war to weaken the position of the greens for the second, but it's balanced so that the first war is mainly about fighting the British as it should be. In a sense, it's a role reversal because, in the first war, you use guerilla tactics, while in the second your enemies do. I also appreciate that the game's simple "x moves per turn" system doesn't lead to a few powerful units doing all the work. There are several incentives for dispersing units over all regions of the map, among them the AI attacks that can occur everywhere. It's a fun AI, prone to decoys, traps and tactical retreats.

My scores:
0 -- In my first game, I went for the Ulster bonus; trying to challenge myself. I lost the first war. May have been some bad luck, too. I kept rolling my single Brit-free region for enemy movement. I was probably also too concerned about hurting my chances in the second war.
2+4 ("The Field")
2+5 ("The Wind...") -- I managed to put most of the greens in one region after the first war. That made things quite easy.
3+5 ("The Wind...") -- It does seem that I got better over time, which speaks for the game.

A few things I think could be improved, but in some cases I may not understand completely what is intended, in others it may be a matter of opinion. I could be wrong, too; I’ve only played a couple of wargames.

--
The Civil War seems too easy. Getting the best score isn't easy, but there's no threat of losing (more of a mop-up operation), and it's quite short. I wouldn't want to change that radically; just a bit.

The historical commentary says that the pro-treaty forces were initially outnumbered, then the tide turned and eventually the anti-treaty forces resorted to guerilla warfare. Maybe these phases could be more pronounced? In my three attempts, I found myself on the offensive right away: Evict them from Dublin, then from one other region. From there, it may well be enough to send units into every region and city. Not much guerilla warfare.

I understand the landing manoeuvres are something special about this war, but, in the game, naval movement mostly saves one action when attacking Limerick. I feel it should be more prominent.

I've tried this:
1) To reduce the mobility by land, roads don't connect to the whole region, but only to two of the areas within:


2) To let the greens make better use of clustered forces:
When an enemy movement roll results in a region with no enemies, move an enemy unit into that region from an adjacent one. Make it so that the strongest eligible enemy unit confronts the weakest player unit. (No move if there are no targets to attack, i.e. if the region is empty.)
As before, when rolling a region with an enemy unit but no player units, move the strongest unit into an adjacent region. I changed it so that, again, the region with the weakest target gets attacked, and ignored the numbers printed on the roads. It's slightly complicated when several attacks are possible. A numerical measure of unit strength may be needed for a tiebreaker. soblue

Anyway, I've played two games that way, and found the result promising enough to mention. There wasn't much impact on the War of Independence. I was a bit more restricted in my moves, but the second rule change didn't even come up. (It would have helped me in my very first game, though, where the British attacked me so rarely.) First game, I actually lost the Civil War (almost won); I think because the greens moved around more. Second game went until round 6, also with livelier resistance.

Other ideas: Don't give the blues an artillery right away. Give Limerick and Cork city 2 chances in 6 to be selected as targets (to make cities more contested).

I'm aware that the Civil War should be shorter than the War of Independence. I'm guessing that the three actions per turn are already a measure to put more action into the Civil War without increasing the number of turns. Not sure what to do ...
--

Too much die rolling. Not a complaint about randomness, just the physical act. Rolling once per region is tiresome, but that happens only twice a game (Civil War setup and Reprisals event). I’m more looking at recruitment and retreat rolls.
* Recruitment: Could the area roll also determine blue or green?
* Retreat: To a random empty area; if none, all eliminated? I like the simplicity of your rule, but, apart of the repeated die rolls, the shuffling around of units can be a bit goofy. Maybe I should interpret it as prolonged fighting within the region (and not as a single battle where the loser retreats, runs into another enemy force, which, in turn, retreats after another battle etc.).
--

Something is odd about the turn sequence. As I'm sure you're aware, the player can't win anymore after the treaty check on turn 10. Similarly, if I plan to win, say, on turn 6, I need to wrap things up on turn 5. Can't the check be at the end of turn?
--

"Attacker" and "defender" in combat: Is there no easier way to distinguish the combat parties? Like "left" side vs. "right" side, with the counters that happen to be placed farther left being the left side. I mean, to avoid extra rules for opposing units being placed simultaneously in one area and for battles triggered by retreats.
--

Rules clarity:
* After elimination in combat, the victor "may upgrade". The upgrades that green units earn in the second war surely can't be optional.
* I don't think it's stated that mobs are the weakest units.
* The optional rule about high combat modifiers confuses me. I think it means that the weaker force always at least has a chance to retreat. Why would one use this rule?
* The play aid says the "Republicans move to the weakest British or green unit". Should be "blue unit".
* Reprisals: What if an area contains several units? (I assumed they all move independently.)
* Dublin Guards: What if the unit doesn't attack? (I assumed: no mob.) When does the mob materialize; will the player have a chance to attack the mob on the same turn? (It didn't come up; I'd assume the mob appears only after combat.)
* The Big House: I can't connect the flavor text with the card's effect. If protestants are killed, why does a green unit get removed?
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David Kershaw
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firpo wrote:
My scores:
0 -- In my first game, I went for the Ulster bonus; trying to challenge myself. I lost the first war. May have been some bad luck, too. I kept rolling my single Brit-free region for enemy movement. I was probably also too concerned about hurting my chances in the second war.
2+4 ("The Field")
2+5 ("The Wind...") -- I managed to put most of the greens in one region after the first war. That made things quite easy.
3+5 ("The Wind...") -- It does seem that I got better over time, which speaks for the game.
I have managed once to get the best rating "Michael Collins" with a 9.

Quote:
The Civil War seems too easy. Getting the best score isn't easy, but there's no threat of losing (more of a mop-up operation), and it's quite short. I wouldn't want to change that radically; just a bit.

It was a bit of a walk over historically, I'm thinking once the contest is over to add some variants around the treaty that might bolster the anti-treaty forces.

Quote:
I understand the landing manoeuvres are something special about this war, but, in the game, naval movement mostly saves one action when attacking Limerick. I feel it should be more prominent.

I use it quite a bit - remember you can only raise new troops in Dublin in the Civil War

Quote:
I've tried this:
1) To reduce the mobility by land, roads don't connect to the whole region, but only to two of the areas within:

This is an interesting idea. I have toyed with a stricter version in another game (just 1 area to 1 area), but in Irish Freedom it would probably limit the British too much.

Quote:
2) To let the greens make better use of clustered forces:
When an enemy movement roll results in a region with no enemies, move an enemy unit into that region from an adjacent one. Make it so that the strongest eligible enemy unit confronts the weakest player unit.

This is a very good idea... pity the competition is under way!

Quote:
Other ideas: Don't give the blues an artillery right away. Give Limerick and Cork city 2 chances in 6 to be selected as targets (to make cities more contested).

Also good ideas, and ones I've independently considered.

Quote:
* Recruitment: Could the area roll also determine blue or green?

No, or you'd end up with Greens in the top-left areas all the time!

Quote:
* Retreat: To a random empty area; if none, all eliminated? I like the simplicity of your rule, but, apart of the repeated die rolls, the shuffling around of units can be a bit goofy. Maybe I should interpret it as prolonged fighting within the region (and not as a single battle where the loser retreats, runs into another enemy force, which, in turn, retreats after another battle etc.).

An alternative I considered was a retreat to a higher numbered Area, but then I preferred the fun of the possibility of retreat to another enemy unit, or even the same one for a re-match!

Quote:
Something is odd about the turn sequence. As I'm sure you're aware, the player can't win anymore after the treaty check on turn 10. Similarly, if I plan to win, say, on turn 6, I need to wrap things up on turn 5. Can't the check be at the end of turn?

It's because the random card draw at the turn start can affect morale.

Quote:
"Attacker" and "defender" in combat: Is there no easier way to distinguish the combat parties? Like "left" side vs. "right" side, with the counters that happen to be placed farther left being the left side. I mean, to avoid extra rules for opposing units being placed simultaneously in one area and for battles triggered by retreats.

It actually doesn't matter, as the odds are the same whether attacker or defender (not really clear in low intensity warfare anyway) - the terrain is already taken into account in the strengths.

Quote:
Rules clarity:
* After elimination in combat, the victor "may upgrade". The upgrades that green units earn in the second war surely can't be optional.
* I don't think it's stated that mobs are the weakest units.
* The optional rule about high combat modifiers confuses me. I think it means that the weaker force always at least has a chance to retreat. Why would one use this rule?
* The play aid says the "Republicans move to the weakest British or green unit". Should be "blue unit".
* Reprisals: What if an area contains several units? (I assumed they all move independently.)
* Dublin Guards: What if the unit doesn't attack? (I assumed: no mob.) When does the mob materialize; will the player have a chance to attack the mob on the same turn? (It didn't come up; I'd assume the mob appears only after combat.)
* The Big House: I can't connect the flavor text with the card's effect. If protestants are killed, why does a green unit get removed?

I'll try and make these clearer after the competition ends. On the last one, the "ethnic cleansing" was not popular (except among the extremists) so the removal of the green unit signifies support ebbing away due to this policy.

Thanks very much for your comments - I believe they will end up in a much better and polished game when the competition ends.

Dave
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kerpob2 wrote:

An alternative I considered was a retreat to a higher numbered Area, but then I preferred the fun of the possibility of retreat to another enemy unit, or even the same one for a re-match!

I enjoyed that rule in my one play so far. It resulted in some confusing and entertaining events, like the British army attacking from a city, forcing my unit to retreat to the city, lowering British morale by 1 despite them winning the battle. Also had some accidents with retreating units being forced to attack other units.

Don't think I had any unit upgrade as a combat result, but I might have just forgotten the rule when it could have applied, or possibly it just don't happen a lot.
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pelni wrote:
Don't think I had any unit upgrade as a combat result, but I might have just forgotten the rule when it could have applied, or possibly it just don't happen a lot.
I know I've forgotten these occasionally. On a related note, I'm skeptical of war games raising the stakes of battle by granting the winner additional rewards -- eliminating the losers is often already a big swing. Seems okay here, though, as battles happen frequently and between small stacks. I rather like the upgrades (and looted equipment) all in all; they're flavourful.


kerpob2 wrote:
Thanks very much for your comments - I believe they will end up in a much better and polished game when the competition ends.
Oh, if something sticks, great, if not, fine too. I think the game is very good as it is.

Quote:
I have managed once to get the best rating "Michael Collins" with a 9.
I've played two more games, to see if I could improve my score and how much naval movement I'd use. I scored 9 and 10 points. Lucky, I guess, but I think it's easy to overestimate the part of luck in the game. The treaty check, for example, seemed quite unfair to me at first, but now I see that one can often use the extra time well enough to make up for a lost victory point.

In one game, I won the first war on turn 2, the other game, the second war. Here's how that worked (just in case somebody wonders):
Game 1: The British reinforced Ulster and conveniently attacked in the Midlands. I used my newly promoted unit from the Midlands and the Guerilla in the West to take Limerick. Finally, the Tom Barry event kicked the British out of Kerry, putting them at morale 3, which sufficed to win.

Game 2: The first war took five turns. The penultimate turn, I had enough leeway to move a Flying Columns into Limerick (where they are defenseless) and have a green Guerilla make a hopeless attack against Cork city, still held by the British. During civil war setup, I unexpectedly received a blue Guerilla in Cork. The green Guerilla in Dublin died during setup. Reinforcements upgraded a Guerilla in Kerry and the enemy move caused the British to defeat the greens in Ulster. This left three Flying Columns in Kerry, the Flying Columns in Limerick and another Guerilla in the West. All I had to do was move my Guerilla in Cork into Cork city, and use two Regulars (one with a car) in the Midlands to attack both units in the West. That put green morale at 2.


As for naval moves, none in the second game, but that was hardly typical. Three times (2x Limerick, 1x Emmet Dalton event) in the first. I think 2 to 3 is about average for me. One could perceive moves Dublin --> Cork city as naval. At any rate, 2-point-something naval moves in 12 (or so) moves total is 20%, maybe close to 25%. A higher fraction might be going overboard. Not a good reason to change the movement system.

Quote:
This is an interesting idea. I have toyed with a stricter version in another game (just 1 area to 1 area), but in Irish Freedom it would probably limit the British too much.
It sure counteracts any efforts to increase the mobility of the enemy.

kerpob2 wrote:
firpo wrote:
Other ideas: Don't give the blues an artillery right away. Give Limerick and Cork city 2 chances in 6 to be selected as targets (to make cities more contested).
Also good ideas, and ones I've independently considered.
Well, looking at it now, luring the greens into cities would probably make the player's job easier in the civil war. Anyway, I'm convinced you know or could find effective ways to make the civil war tougher if you intended to.

kerpob2 wrote:
firpo wrote:
* Recruitment: Could the area roll also determine blue or green?
No, or you'd end up with Greens in the top-left areas all the time!
My thinking was that this could give the individual areas more character. (Connections between areas would also work towards that end.) Some areas would be green, some blue and some mixed, which may be in line with history or not -- I wouldn't know. The target numbers could be permuted, so the greens wouldn't have to be top-left everywhere. Not sure if less uncertainty about spawning locations is desirable from a game mechanics point of view.

That's just trying to clarify what I meant. Your die rolling policy is at least consistent: no hidden (stochastic) dependencies; always make independent rolls.

Quote:
It's because the random card draw at the turn start can affect morale.
The card draw could move too. I'd move card draw and treaty check behind player movement and before turn end. That would also make it unnecessary to skip phases on the first turn.

Quote:
It actually doesn't matter, as the odds are the same whether attacker or defender (not really clear in low intensity warfare anyway) - the terrain is already taken into account in the strengths.
I still have to make up my mind who the attacker is so that I can interpret the die roll. And if I roll before deciding who attacks, I can't just say, "I'm not sure who the attacker would be. Let's assume I am." It would feel like cheating because I'd know the outcome already. A minor concern to be sure.

Quote:
On the last one, the "ethnic cleansing" was not popular (except among the extremists) so the removal of the green unit signifies support ebbing away due to this policy.
Thanks for clearing that up. And thanks for making the game!
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STEPHANOS KOLOVOS
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Thanks a lot ,I am going to try it soon.

Stephanos
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