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Subject: First time player against a group of vets. Need some general tips rss

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Brent Hughes
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I have watched videos and read guides and I understand the general idea but I would like some decent tips for good races to play and strageties to not get blown out of the water. If I dont come in last I will consider it a win. I asked the host if it was humans only and he said "Aliens. And no large alliances" Not to sure what that means. But its what I know of the game we will play. Any guides or tips would help a lit
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Jim Parkin
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It sounds like there is not much wiggle room for you as a new player, which is unfortunate on behalf of your host, since there are just enough systems in this game to make for a very unfair advantage over someone who is trying to learn the game for the first time.

That said, Improved Hull is your best friend. If you can research that ASAP, you'll have a good bit of momentum in the early game since you can slap several onto Cruisers or Dreadnaughts and last a while before weapons become really powerful. Plasma Cannon and Positron Computer or Gauss Shield make for the "trifecta" of sorts in outfitting your ships to easily take down Ancients. Speaking of which, drawing explore hexes with Ancients next to your area is NOT a bad thing. This is a good thing! Even if you cannot immediately expand there, having Ancients nearby means the opportunity to draw reputation tiles and unlock juicier sectors than otherwise.

"No large alliances" make it sound like you're playing with at least the Rise of the Ancients expansion, is this so?
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Jan-Willem van Leeuwen
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If you know the other players somewhat, try to sit next to players who tend to play 'nice'. Of course, in Eclipse, at some point nobody plays nice anymore but some people are faster to stab you in the back than others. If you have neighbours that you can make diplomatic relations with then it will give you a bit of extra income and at the same time give the other player a reason not to attack you (yet).

Also, when exploring, place the wormholes such that players that are warlike (or alien races that have strong initial ships) can't reach you easily.

Go for discovery tiles early by exploring ring 3. They give a nice boost at the start.
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Brent Hughes
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Not to sure what we are using. I thought it was just the base game but I think he has a expansion. The tips have been helpful so far. How bout a race to choose? That seems pretty important
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Jim Parkin
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Orion is all war, all the time. They have a big start advantage, but they have a poor economy. If you do not start pummeling Ancients and aiming either for another player or the Galactic Center (if you play your proverbial cards right with the standard GCDS, you can claim it by Round 3), you'll fall behind. Finding many advanced money planets and getting Advanced Economy is very helpful

Hydran is all about research. If you can manage wormholes via exploration to turtle for a while, you can safely build up a lot of points on your research track and and eventually have very, very sophisticated ships to come out of your shell and start melting faces. Early victories over local Ancients help ensure some solid reputation draws.

Planta is all about exploration. You get to draw two hexes each time you explore, so you can turtle very easily. Late game is harder to control as its very easy for other players to eradicate your population. That said, advanced ship schematics allow for early pressure on your neighbors and/or Ancients and late game can prove defensive with starbases and monoliths.

Mechanema is all about production. With the ability to build more ships for less cost each action, as well as strong upgrades, you can swarm through numbers rather than raw strength. Starting with nice computers is a great bonus. Some argue that end-game is all about building monoliths, but it can go either way.

Draco is all about Ancients. They (and the following Eridani) are tough to play when you don't have a lot of experience with the game. They score points for each remaining Ancient on the board, and they can move into and colonize Ancient hexes while the Ancients are still there. You're not going to get many early-game reputation draws since the Ancients are non-combative. This makes for early expansion into great hexes, but you have to press your advantage to make it work for you.

Eridani is all about administration. You start with a ton of money and some really nice technology, but your home sector is weak and you have fewer action discs than other players. This is arguably the hardest race to play "well" but numerous strategies exist on BGG. I strongly recommend you pass on this one for your first game! If you're able to negotiate your starting disadvantage for fewer actions, this race can prove to be very powerful.
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Brent Hughes
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this is exactly what I was hoping for! That really helps. I do tend to turtle in things when I can so that stragety will be for me.
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Jim Parkin
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Placing wormholes is critical to turtling. When you explore, you're allowed to position the drawn hex any way you like. In doing this, you get to dictate the exits for the hex by lining up or blocking the half-wormholes on hex borders. Hydran and Planta tend to prefer to limit the number of entrances to their territory as much as possible. Later in the game, you can afford Wormhole Generator technology, which allows passage from a half wormhole on your end into a blank edge on the other side. This lets those with the tech invade the turtle shell, but also allows for surgical attacks from the turtle player into other players' territory.

I also recommend avoiding leaving your population cubes in hexes with only a single available planet. The drain on influence tokens is not worth the meager income from the planet. These tend to be hexes with discovery tiles. You can always influence the hex when you explore, claim the tile, then "tactically bankrupt" the sector to pull out of the hex without having to take an influence action. This takes place when you're doing end-of-round upkeep and you owe more than you make. You are allowed to remove an influence token from a hex and return it to your upkeep track, reducing the cost necessary to pay. This also means the population cube(s) from said hex are returned to your income track.

Influence actions are perfectly acceptable, but they are less efficient than planning on tactical bankruptcy. Just think about thematically as pulling out from less-than-productive territory.
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Riku Riekkinen
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Well first of all think the game as learning experince. The vets will probably win no matter how much you prepare. So don´t get frustrated if don´t do so well, but see what the others are doing in that case (for tips to next game). Enjoying the ride.

For races I would suggest Magellan as it seems you are playing with expansion. Just remember to convert not needed colyny ships to resources. And ask someone to remind you to take extra discovery when its time.
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Steven Townshend
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In addition to what others said, if you're not playing any of the (very flexible) terran factions I'd encourage you to look at Planta, Hydran, and Mechanema for your first games.

With Planta and Hydran you can kind of do your own thing. With Mechanema, your own thing usually involves building a giant fleet, so people are not as likely to mess with you.

I'd avoid Orion (war, war, war, bad at trade), Draco (you become a target), and Eridani (big head start but you have to understand how to use it or you will fall behind and never come back).
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Peter O
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I'd suggest Hydran above all others. Starting Adv Labs just makes the game easier turning on a full third of the adv planets you'll find. It also means you can buy "extra tech" out of ignorance and not have it effect you too much. (It's all useful somewhere, but some tech is better for certain situations than others). Look to get Adv Robotics early if you don't need to fight. Then buy cheap tech first to take advantage of the discounts. You should be aiming to fill all three rows of tech as Hydran.

Be sure to look at the odds of a dreadnaught vs ancients so you know what you need for early battles. Also, be prepared to be attacked. Play as a turtle with a single access point and get some Starbases there (which you need to research first). You want the starbases on the map to provide a visual deterrent for others. As a newbie, your group may initially lay off attacking you, but once they see you building up they will seek to take advantage. Starbases at your front door will prevent them from trying a sneak attack and wasting both your time. They may still attack, but oh well.

A good Hydran is in a race to build up a tech edge before others notice and then have a fleet capable of beating people back. Good players attack a competent Hydran player early to cripple them while their weak and hopefully they never fully recover.

Be sure to understand this concept: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/760874/eclipse-economic...
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Peter O
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Expansion races to play:
Magellan: Very flexible AND forgiving. A good beginner race. Don't forget to flip excess colony ships for resources.

Octanis: Can be played similarly to the Hydran. More flexible and therefor more complicated. But if Hydran are taken before you these can be an interesting race. Be sure to read about them ahead of time here: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1587094/defense-octanis


Shapers: Powerful yet a complicated extra game mechanic that may be too much rules overhead for your first game.

Pyxis: I would not suggest as a first play. Requires careful coordination. Can be powerful, but a lot more room to make mistakes.

Rho Indi: Aggressive race, you should avoid them

Exiles: Very tricky economically. You NEED to build materials as quick as possible. If you can do that and others leave you alone you can be fine. If you choose this race, connect to peaceful looking neighbors ASAP to get the trade cube selecting materials. Otherwise, turtle up and build orbitals.

Lyra: Not recommended for a new player. To make the most of them you need a temple every turn. This takes a LOT of advanced planning. They can be very cool when done right. Just not something you want to worry about on your first game.
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Rich Charters
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Tip?
1) Go through the reputation tile bag before the game begins.
2) Put all the tiles with a 4 on them in your pocket.
3) Pull them out at final scoring
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ackmondual
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make it well known to the group that you're new, and remind them that you're not a threat.


richcharters wrote:
Tip?
1) Go through the reputation tile bag before the game begins.
2) Put all the tiles with a 4 on them in your pocket.
3) Pull them out at final scoring
For extra credit, sharpie them: write 8's on top of them
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Reuben Lam
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There's an IOS version of the game.
Download and practice robot
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ackmondual
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fuzynblue wrote:
There's an IOS version of the game.
Download and practice robot
Note that it's for iPad. Won't work on iPhone nor iPod Touch.
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Anthony Heman
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The way I typically teach the game is to at least make sure the player has some idea of good openings.

If you get the first research and improved hulls is up, you research that pretty much as anyone as your first action.

Assuming you can't get improved hulls (or with the expansions some of the other early options), you probably want to do one of these:

First move as Orion or Draaco is to explore your I hex and hope for aliens. Draaco just move in and take more 1's and 2's with aliens if possible. Orion base their next decisions on their first draw. If you draw no alien, that's fine, that means you expand into your 3's, maybe your 2, and try to maximize materials production. Your goal is to get enough for two cruisers or a dreadnaught in round two, ideally with plasma cannons or improved hulls, and take the center. If you did get an alien, you can build a cruiser and send two cruisers into a single alien with fairly good odds of victory in round one. Don't gamble double aliens unless you got improved hull as well would be my thought.

First move as hydran is to research the extra disk if possible. Otherwise you might just buy two cheap techs with a research. After that you're playing pretty normally.

Everyone else is probably prioritizing (1) don't get cut off from the center, (2) connect to other players if possible for trade early (I always prioritize money on the diplomacy piece), (3) try to get materials for a dreadnaught in turn 2 or 3 at worst to trim aliens, (4) get those discovery tiles if any show up they can give you a huge lead.

The most basic successful attack is to add hull to the blank spots on your interceptor and dreadnaught with an upgrade action and send both of them into a single alien. This has good odds, way way better with improved hull or plasma weapons, but it will at least prevent you from getting locked in.

The worst case scenario is that you get entirely surrounded by aliens or low value systems and can't get out till round three. That's fine. Don't stress yourself out over it. Well actually there's one step worse, you get into a situation where someone takes you off the board by diving you. Starbase research is a good counter to this (and terrans start with it). Note that in this game a little bit of trading systems is actually totally effective. It's fine to lose some systems and take some. It may even be profitable for both sides.

You also have to read the table. Some groups turtle, some groups go hyper aggressive. If it's the base game, plasma missiles are kinda strong, though a counter does exist in heavily hulled ships, possibly with shields, or starbases with missiles themselves defensively.

I'm sure your friends will give you some advice, as they don't want you to be in a weak position either, as they ideally want you to present a threat to their other enemies on the table so nobody else gets too much of an advantage.
 
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Peter O
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The iPad version will get you the mechanics, but I haven't heard great things about the AI. So even if you d well there, don't be overconfident vs experienced humans.
 
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Chris K.
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DomeIsTheName wrote:
I have watched videos and read guides and I understand the general idea but I would like some decent tips for good races to play and strageties to not get blown out of the water. If I dont come in last I will consider it a win. I asked the host if it was humans only and he said "Aliens. And no large alliances" Not to sure what that means. But its what I know of the game we will play. Any guides or tips would help a lit


First of all: Shame on the host for not facilitating an all human game when there is a new guy. He seems to prioritize his fun this game over getting a new player hooked and excited and hence being available for plenty of future game.

That said:

Assuming you are not playing to win, but playing to not loose:

Pick Humans or, if they are available, Magellan.

Both are very flexible, so no matter what Hexes you draw they can turn it into a decent score. The human trade rate and the magellan "Flip a ship for a resource" ability are god sends for beginners. Also personally I LOVE the human ability to get three moves out of a Move action.

They sometimes struggle to win since they rarely reach extremely high scores, but they are extremely forgiving in regards to plenty of beginner mistakes or unknown tactics (bad Resource mix, bad influence management, bad ship mix, etc.). Humans in particular also tend to be disregarded as a threat by other experienced players. Hydran and Octantis for instance are often attacked early by competent players, because it is the only way to stop them from winning in competent hands.

Make sure that you do not miss out on research rebates too often. Using them effectively can mean a 5-8 point difference.

Unless you are Magellan, do not give in to the temptation of taking the treasure of the discovery tiles. Unless you have an awesome idea what you will do with the treasure, 2 VP is more valuable.

Generally try to avoid maintaining control over systems with 1 or fewer usable resource slots unless you have plenty of money to spare.

In the first 3-4 rounds use "tactical bankruptcy" to loose control of systems you don't want to keep into the next round.

Make sure your combat VP track is filled by the end of the game. Even sending a weak interceptor into the galactic center to be eaten will win you VP this way, if you have the ship and move to spare.

Also: Don't aim for "not being last".
Aim for a "decent" score. For a beginner in a veteran round anything above 20 is decent. High twenties is impressive and anything above 30 is truly formidable.
Even mid teens is nothing to be ashamed off, depending on how actively your neighbours worked against you.
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Brent Hughes
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I really apperciate everyones great and detailed responses. I havent beeing gaming for long but I want to try all the games I can to get a feel for what I like. And these tools will give me a fighting chance
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Peter O
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Chrisdk has some good advise. The thing with humans is that to shine they actually need to be aggresive. Human advantages are 1) Trade rate 2) additional move 3) better starting system.

The trade rate is a new player bonus. Any trade is at a loss so unless you're doing some niche strategies most players attempt to build their economy so they don't need to trade. But as a beginner it's hard to know what that is. Combined with a good starting system (all 3 basics and 2 adv) you should always be able to do something. Unfortunately they are not really a turtle race. Their other benefit is movement which tends towards aggression. This is fine for new player games with all humans as the designers wanted to incentivize interaction. But in a game of mixed races you probably aren't the best turtle on the board. And Eclipse combat math is not as intuitive as some other games. I've seen whole fleets thrown away because the attacker had no clue what they were getting into (this includes me on occasion in unfamiliar match ups). So humans should eventually need to be aggressive making it hard for a new person to operate totally.

Of course, as Chrisdk pointed out, you could operate under the radar hoping for the aggressors to plow into the turtles and stalemate each other. But actively moving forward humans are a challenge.

I like Magellan better for new players. Their bonus for using a discovery tile instead of keeping it for 2 vp means you are more free to explore the discoveries something many new players like to do. The colony flip keeps you flexible like humans, but instead of mitigating a trade, it's a positive increase on a turn you couldn't otherwise use your colony ships.

However, they are random (or middlish) on the aggressor/turtle scale due to being heavily dependent upon the discoveries drawn. Lots of ship blueprints usually means more aggressive. Lots of other stuff usually means more turtle. The reason I like their aggression better than human aggression is early on the right discoveries can be a HUGE boon vs ancients getting you combat experience setting you up for later. The three movement for humans is great in experienced hands, but can be wasted in less experienced hands.
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Peter O
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Regardless of who you choose. Have an eye towards building a dreadnaught. Upgrade the dreadnaught and interceptor the best you can and they should have at least 80% odds, if not better vs single ancients. Get plasma guns, positron computers, or improved hull on it and the odds go into the 90s.
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Chris K.
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tranenturm wrote:
Chrisdk has some good advise. The thing with humans is that to shine they actually need to be aggresive. Human advantages are 1) Trade rate 2) additional move 3) better starting system.

The trade rate is a new player bonus. Any trade is at a loss so unless you're doing some niche strategies most players attempt to build their economy so they don't need to trade. But as a beginner it's hard to know what that is. Combined with a good starting system (all 3 basics and 2 adv) you should always be able to do something. Unfortunately they are not really a turtle race. Their other benefit is movement which tends towards aggression. This is fine for new player games with all humans as the designers wanted to incentivize interaction. But in a game of mixed races you probably aren't the best turtle on the board. And Eclipse combat math is not as intuitive as some other games. I've seen whole fleets thrown away because the attacker had no clue what they were getting into (this includes me on occasion in unfamiliar match ups). So humans should eventually need to be aggressive making it hard for a new person to operate totally.

Of course, as Chrisdk pointed out, you could operate under the radar hoping for the aggressors to plow into the turtles and stalemate each other. But actively moving forward humans are a challenge.

I like Magellan better for new players. Their bonus for using a discovery tile instead of keeping it for 2 vp means you are more free to explore the discoveries something many new players like to do. The colony flip keeps you flexible like humans, but instead of mitigating a trade, it's a positive increase on a turn you couldn't otherwise use your colony ships.

However, they are random (or middlish) on the aggressor/turtle scale due to being heavily dependent upon the discoveries drawn. Lots of ship blueprints usually means more aggressive. Lots of other stuff usually means more turtle. The reason I like their aggression better than human aggression is early on the right discoveries can be a HUGE boon vs ancients getting you combat experience setting you up for later. The three movement for humans is great in experienced hands, but can be wasted in less experienced hands.


To actually win with Terrans you are absolutely right and they need to be agressive. But I would say that for a beginner pulling that of successfully is an immensely tall order.

I would have to agree that Magellan is probably "more fun" for a beginner, since you get to play with all the discovery "toys". Just make sure to make yourself a huge reminder card that says "Have you flipped your colony ships for resources yet?". At the very latest in the "use remaining colony ship" phase you should use all of them up. Just about all players keep forgetting about that at least half the time.

Also, Magellan are generally strong contenders for the win, so expect more pushback and aggression from your neighbors than you would with Terrans.
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Jim Parkin
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Magellan are quite nice. I forgot to mention the RotA races in my initial post. Out of those available, Magellan is the bomb for new players (they're fun for experiences players, too!).
 
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Austin Henning
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A few things I like to keep in mind while playing:

1. I try to use as many colony ships as I can each turn to grow my economy. This is a game about collecting resources to turn into points, so the more resources you have, the more paths to victory you have.

2. Each of the 3 resources offers a way to expand your economy if you have a lot of it. Money allows you take take explore actions for new systems as well as attack other players after they have passed and can't do anything about it. Research allows you to take advanced technologies as well as upgrading your ships to be better and getting +disc techs. Finally production can expand your economy through war and orbitals.

3. I generally value the resources like this: Research>Money>>Production. Though I am an aggressive player, and my neighbors always cut me off, so my production can aggregate even at low levels.

4. There are generally two ways to build your ships, high energy or low energy. High energy ships trump low energy ships but take more resources and actions to set up, where all you really need for low energy builds are plasma missiles and computers, which get stopped by any anti missile tech. With high energy builds you definitely need to get either the 9 point or 12 point source to compete, the ship with the most energy generally wins with the exceptions of counter built ships and plasma missile ships.

5. Contest ancients close to you, especially the center hex if another player moves into them, if you are able to stop them from taking it that turn, you delay their economy and give yourself more time in order to defend or take it for yourself

6. In my group Planta tend to lose by the least, they are on average only 5 or 6 points behind the leader. With Planta you can either turtle or be the most aggressive race on the board. To win combat you'll probably need Missiles or lots of hull and shields, as your ships lack initiative.

7. Some secondary races that are good in my groups are Lyrans (Focus n turtling and exploring after you shrine your wormhole generators), Draco (Make sure you use your influence actions to take over ancient systems other players have explored, and especially move into the center with your ship round 1 so you can take all the T1 ancients, and focus on your military and defending yourself, and Orion (focus on killing ancients and taking the center early).
 
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David Barlowe
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This was a fun read.

It reminded me though that Eclipse is a deep game that really cannot be fully appreciated without several plays. It opens up as you go, and lends itself well to many repeat plays.

The iPad app is indeed a good way to learn some of the more advanced strategies. When you can will with all six starting races in the hardest game mode (giving AI opponents a dreadnougt to start instead of an interceptor!), you've probably mastered most of the techniques.

But humans play far differently (and much better) than an AI, so you'll enjoy many sessions leveraging you mechanic knowledge against the complex dynamics they bring. Not to mention diplomacy, which ultimately can really decide a game of Eclipse.

This is not chess. Psychology can play a large role, and can keep your neighbors away, or encourage them to smash you instead of others.

Have fun!
 
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