Moshe Callen
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Recently, I was looking over my copy of Twilight Imperium, 3rd ed. and got wondering what was different about the 3rd as compared to the 1st and 2nd editions. So, I looked it up here on BGG and found the rules for at least the 2nd ed. What I found was that it was substantially not the same game. For example, the command counter system which is so fundamental to the third edition did not exist in previous editions. Likewise, in the second addition, any player can win by conquering a certain number of other players’ home systems. My immediate thoughts were, “Wow! I want to try the second edition!” Of course, unless I can re-construct it with the third edition, that’s not possible; because the 3rd edition has entirely supplanted it.

Similarly, I am a fan of the Axis & Allies series of games. I bought the Revised edition because, after downloading and reading the rules, I realized it was a new game—related clearly but markedly different—and not just something I could play with my old original A&A set with a few new units. Similarly the anniversary edition looks to be a radically different game. Yet, although I have friends who are not [yet] gamers but play games, I cannot buy them the classic Axis & Allies. Why? Again, that game—which I for one consider superior to the Revised “edition”—no longer exists in print but has been totally supplanted.

I could go on easily, but these serve to make my point. In both cases, later “editions” of a game have come out which are NOT in fact editions of the old game but a NEW game created but adapted and revising the old one. Whether or not one game is “superior” or “inferior” to the other is entirely a judgment call, a choice of the individual involved. Yes, there are people who want only the latest of the latest and think old “editions” should be totally abandoned, simply because they are not the latest and therefore—in their minds only—not as good. Such people will always exist.

Yet people like myself also exist who want games which are GOOD games. I for one frankly prefer OLD games, games which have stood the test of time and still hold player’s interest years or decades after the game first came out. I may well buy new games ina series I enjoy as well, as I will probably buy the anniversary edition of A&A and as I did already buy A&A Revised. What I ask though is that a game not be called an edition unless it really IS just a new edition of the same game—same rules except for clarifications, components and board perhaps of a different quality but really the same, etc.

People like me who like good games above new games are the ones who will buy your products year after year. Indeed, if I like a newer version enough, I’m quite likely to go out and buy an older game in the series—IF it’s still available.
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Barak Engel
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Yes, well, the problem is that for a publisher to care, they need to be reasonably confident they can sell several thousand copies (if they are small) to several tens or even hundreds of thousands of copies (Hasbro, who own AH and thus A&A) of the edition.

A new edition with some new tweaks has a decent chance of attracting a new audience, as well as some old audience who will buy the new version. The old version has already failed the basic test of selling well enough to justify a reprint.

I do think there is a business model for reissuing old editions of great games - look at Valley Games. If you are interested in war games, start a venture like that yourself, acquire the licenses, and do it.

Publishers owe you - or me, or anybody else - nothing. They owe themselves the best execution on their business plan, and that's it. If that means using "edition" as the word that will attract buyers, so be it. It's called a sequel in the flicks business. It's their marketing budget, they can do with it as they please, including not even bothering to call it a new edition but rather marketing it as the same exact game. They own the license, after all.
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Moshe Callen
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I never claimed they owed me anything. Rather, I presented why it does make business sense to not take games out of print that have a large following. Your response is flawed logically since the new "editions" are brought about precisely because there IS a pre-existing market.

lightnng wrote:
Yes, well, the problem is that for a publisher to care, they need to be reasonably confident they can sell several thousand copies (if they are small) to several tens or even hundreds of thousands of copies (Hasbro, who own AH and thus A&A) of the edition.

A new edition with some new tweaks has a decent chance of attracting a new audience, as well as some old audience who will buy the new version. The old version has already failed the basic test of selling well enough to justify a reprint.

I do think there is a business model for reissuing old editions of great games - look at Valley Games. If you are interested in war games, start a venture like that yourself, acquire the licenses, and do it.

Publishers owe you - or me, or anybody else - nothing. They owe themselves the best execution on their business plan, and that's it. If that means using "edition" as the word that will attract buyers, so be it. It's called a sequel in the flicks business. It's their marketing budget, they can do with it as they please, including not even bothering to call it a new edition but rather marketing it as the same exact game. They own the license, after all.
 
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whac3 wrote:

Yet people like myself also exist who want games which are GOOD games. I for one frankly prefer OLD games, games which have stood the test of time and still hold player’s interest years or decades after the game first came out.


You want something inferior to what is available and are having a problem seeing why this is so hard to get?
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See the comment in the original post about people whoassume a game is superior simply because it is newer.
 
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whac3 wrote:
I never claimed they owed me anything. Rather, I presented why it does make business sense to not take games out of print that have a large following.

If the original edition had that large of a following, then it would simply be reprinted rather than revised. Do you think publishers make these decisions on a whim? Because some designer just wants to throw in a few more tweaks? While that may happen once in a while, it's not the norm - certainly not for relatively mass market game like A&A. Publishers look at their sales figures and see how much demand is still there for the old edition. If the numbers were significantly down, then they'll consider adding some new features to drum up fresh demand. Your argument that this is a poor business decision is based only upon your inability to recognize that you're a minority purchaser. Most people want new stuff most of the time, while you want to stick with the tried-and-true. Nothing wrong with that, but don't try to claim that the publishers are making a mistake. Just buy the old editions up on eBay for a fraction of their original price.
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In an ideal world where the games publishers make no bad busniess decisions and reprint games freely, this might be the case. Who else, for example, remembers the "new Coke"?

What i am arguing is fundamentally an economic argument arguing for a small steady but reliable market-- with the costs and business model geared toward that end. This is NOT an argument against new editions but a statement of why and how both new and old serve an economic purpose to the company.

tppytel wrote:
whac3 wrote:
I never claimed they owed me anything. Rather, I presented why it does make business sense to not take games out of print that have a large following.

If the original edition had that large of a following, then it would simply be reprinted rather than revised. Do you think publishers make these decisions on a whim? Because some designer just wants to throw in a few more tweaks? While that may happen once in a while, it's not the norm - certainly not for relatively mass market game like A&A. Publishers look at their sales figures and see how much demand is still there for the old edition. If the numbers were significantly down, then they'll consider adding some new features to drum up fresh demand. Your argument that this is a poor business decision is based only upon your inability to recognize that you're a minority purchaser. Most people want new stuff most of the time, while you want to stick with the tried-and-true. Nothing wrong with that, but don't try to claim that the publishers are making a mistake. Just buy the old editions up on eBay for a fraction of their original price.
 
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Moshe,
I agree with your basic point, and I think it's a valid request. When I look at a franchise like TI 1,2,3 - I don't know what to think. Logically, I'd expect TI2 to be more of TI1, with refinements and maybe more jazzy art and components. Same with TI3: More of 2 with refinements and a few new things. Finding out that there are substantial differences in game play between the between various versions, makes me want to look at them with fresh eyes. If I don't like version 3, perhaps I'll be more amenable to version 1 or 2.

My assumption when looking at A&A, would be that all of the various games in the franchise have the same core mechanisms with some small differences. Without proper branding, there can be lots of confusion and disappointment on the part of the consumer.

The same is true in the video game industry. Master of Orion 2 and 3 were very different. I didn't consider 3 to be part of the same franchise. It was an entirely different game. I would not have purchased the game had I known what they'd done to it.

While I expect companies to crank the games themselves in any old way they want, I would like to see some more standardized use of terms and labelling. We've already got fairly standardized labeling for "number of players", "age of players" and the like. Shouldn't be too far a stretch.

I think you're right on the mark.

 
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The idea that editions should be compatable is silly.

Look at books. New editions of non-fiction books come out that are extremely different from what has come before.

Mike Z
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Todd Pytel
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whac3 wrote:
In an ideal world where the games publishers make no bad busniess decisions and reprint games freely, this might be the case. Who else, for example, remembers the "new Coke"?

As I said, poor decisions are occasionally made. Certain designers are known for tinkering with their creations whether or not the old ones were lacking in any way. And sometimes the "improvements" don't end up being very appealing at all, as in the case of New Coke. But that doesn't change the situation in general. You drum up demand for a product by adding new features - that's elementary marketing and business, and the same strategies are used in every industry you can name. Do you really think that thousands of MBA's are confused about the basic soundness of this principle and that you have somehow seen something they've all missed?

Quote:
What i am arguing is fundamentally an economic argument arguing for a small steady but reliable market-- with the costs and business model geared toward that end.

An economic argument would be based on principles of economics and business, not your own personal preferences. For the particular market of board games, your argument is especially absurd. Board games have an almost negligible a relatively low development cost - the developer will often do the design and sometimes layout work merely for the promise of future royalties. Playtesting is frequently done by fans. The largest development cost is likely to be for new artwork, and in the grand scheme of things that's not very expensive. Overall, developing a new edition is cheap. Where the money comes in is in printing, whether it's a new edition or an old one, and that's heavily influenced by volume. So, by your "argument" a company should print, say, 2500 copies of the old edition that will sell at a slow but steady rate of 100 copies per month rather than 5000 copies of a new edition, half of which might sell in the first few months (as owners of the old edition update) and the rest which sell at 100 copies per month. In the latter case, the marginal cost for the extra 2500 copies was smaller in the first place (due to volume pricing on printing) and the publisher already gets back their profit on those, probably paying back the printing costs of the first 2500 and then some. In the former case, the publisher sunk capital into a reprint and has to wait to get it back. You can cite New Coke all you want as an example of this reasoning that was poorly executed, but it doesn't change the general truth that "slow and steady" is rarely a good business model, especially in an industry like board games where your costs are in production and warehousing rather than in development (unlike software, for example).

Quote:
This is NOT an argument against new editions but a statement of why and how both new and old serve an economic purpose to the company.

Old editions serve a purpose as long as they sell briskly, whether that's convenient to your personal gaming tastes or not. Your "reasoning" lacks even a slender foundation in economic reality, which you seem entirely incapable of admitting. Publishers that are still in business after a few games are generally not stupid. They have some business knowledge about what needs to be done in order to pay their bills. Perhaps you might consider that they know more than you about this issue.


edit: "almost negligible" is too strong
 
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Mike Zebrowski wrote:
The idea that editions should be compatable is silly.

Look at books. New editions of non-fiction books come out that are extremely different from what has come before.

Mike Z


Please cite an example. Your statement seems to be comparing apples and tire-irons.

Then again, you might just be comparing apples and second edition apples.
 
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To the OP, what your proposing would generate market confusion and cause reduced through-rate.

People with limited information on the titles won't know which one to buy.

Most informed people would buy the new version, anyway, because the assumption is that the new version improves upon the old, otherwise it wouldn't have been produced. It is almost irrelevant, whether this is actually the case.

In either case, the customer buys one version or the other. The company sees this as selling only 50% of their products, which is non-optimal, for obvious reasons.

They should put those development and production dollars towards a completely different title that may also sell, in addition to the current version of the title in question.

Companies are in business to make money and your proposal would not make money. You could argue that companies make money by pleasing their audience, but producing new editions is already doing just that.
 
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This problem is CREATED because of mislabelling the product as a latere dition, rather than a new game in the series. If the products are correctly labelled and marketted, no confusion ensues.

The basis of my argument is one of long-term dependable profits which are small but reliable vs. short-term profits which are higher but not reliable. Any well run company has BOTH.

djflippy wrote:
To the OP, what your proposing would generate market confusion and cause reduced through-rate.

People with limited information on the titles won't know which one to buy.

Most informed people would buy the new version, anyway, because the assumption is that the new version improves upon the old, otherwise it wouldn't have been produced. It is almost irrelevant, whether this is actually the case.

In either case, the customer buys one version or the other. The company sees this as selling only 50% of their products, which is non-optimal, for obvious reasons.

They should put those development and production dollars towards a completely different title that may also sell, in addition to the current version of the title in question.

Companies are in business to make money and your proposal would not make money. You could argue that companies make money by pleasing their audience, but producing new editions is already doing just that.
 
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Thedalek wrote:
Mike Zebrowski wrote:
The idea that editions should be compatable is silly.

Look at books. New editions of non-fiction books come out that are extremely different from what has come before.

Mike Z


Please cite an example. Your statement seems to be comparing apples and tire-irons.


The Boy Scout Handbook. In the US, it has been through 11 different editions (with a 12th in developement). Same basic ideas, very different in execution.

The differences between TI2 and TI3 are not all that great. You still have action cards, the combat system is almost identical, the planets still generate Influence and Resources, trade is important, the tech tree exists, etc... TI3 is still reconizable as Twilight Imperium.

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whac3 wrote:
This problem is CREATED because of mislabelling the product as a latere dition, rather than a new game in the series. If the products are correctly labelled and marketted, no confusion ensues.

The basis of my argument is one of long-term dependable profits which are small but reliable vs. short-term profits which are higher but not reliable. Any well run company has BOTH.

No, that's not the kind of confusion I'm talking about. This is a common problem that video game publishers must deal with. I'm saying the buyer has money for one of the two games, has no way to determine which one is "the best one to buy". It has nothing to do with mislabeling or even proper labeling.

Yes, I understand your point, and I'm saying that the long-term profit you mention is not just negligible, but actually detrimental, in that they would do this at the cost of not releasing a different, more profitable game.

What companies should do, in general terms, is a separate issue from this specific example that you are presenting. You suggestion would not be smart for a company pursue. Most people want the new version and, if they don't, then it was probably a mistake to make the new version anyway.
 
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djflippy wrote:
whac3 wrote:
This problem is CREATED because of mislabelling the product as a latere dition, rather than a new game in the series. If the products are correctly labelled and marketted, no confusion ensues.

The basis of my argument is one of long-term dependable profits which are small but reliable vs. short-term profits which are higher but not reliable. Any well run company has BOTH.

No, that's not the kind of confusion I'm talking about. This is a common problem that video game publishers must deal with. I'm saying the buyer has money for one of the two games, has no way to determine which one is "the best one to buy". It has nothing to do with mislabeling or even proper labeling.

Yes, I understand your point, and I'm saying that the long-term profit you mention is not just negligible, but actually detrimental, in that they would do this at the cost of not releasing a different, more profitable game.

What companies should do, in general terms, is a separate issue from this specific example that you are presenting. You suggestion would not be smart for a company pursue. Most people want the new version and, if they don't, then it was probably a mistake to make the new version anyway.


We'll have to agree to disagree I suspect but from my own business experience if planne right it could be done. GMT's P500 business-model is an example. Orders are accepted for some future printing and charged only if and when that happens, with notification beforehand. The business prints the games when they have enough threshold orders to make it worth their while.
 
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whac3 wrote:
djflippy wrote:
whac3 wrote:
This problem is CREATED because of mislabelling the product as a latere dition, rather than a new game in the series. If the products are correctly labelled and marketted, no confusion ensues.

The basis of my argument is one of long-term dependable profits which are small but reliable vs. short-term profits which are higher but not reliable. Any well run company has BOTH.

No, that's not the kind of confusion I'm talking about. This is a common problem that video game publishers must deal with. I'm saying the buyer has money for one of the two games, has no way to determine which one is "the best one to buy". It has nothing to do with mislabeling or even proper labeling.

Yes, I understand your point, and I'm saying that the long-term profit you mention is not just negligible, but actually detrimental, in that they would do this at the cost of not releasing a different, more profitable game.

What companies should do, in general terms, is a separate issue from this specific example that you are presenting. You suggestion would not be smart for a company pursue. Most people want the new version and, if they don't, then it was probably a mistake to make the new version anyway.


We'll have to agree to disagree I suspect but from my own business experience if planne right it could be done. GMT's P500 business-model is an example. Orders are accepted for some future printing and charged only if and when that happens, with notification beforehand. The business prints the games when they have enough threshold orders to make it worth their while.


Yes, let's do that, because your most recent example is not an example of what your are proposing. In that model, you know prior to printing the game how many sales you will have, so risk is limited. That is a business model that I participate in quite frequently, both from GMT and from MMP, but it is very different from your proposal.
 
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In my "proposal", previous "editions" would simply be listed as separate games with the bulk of the advertising going to the newest "edition" but older "editions" that are really separate games and hence not undermining the market for the newer one in a P500-type system.

The only business objections seem to me some unstated assumption on your part. I've identified a non-conflicting market, a viable product and a no-risk means of production. I fail to see the problem. The hi-tech company I currently work for does not do games but if we did, I'd be willing to take such a proposal to my boss.
 
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whac3 wrote:
In my "proposal", previous "editions" would simply be listed as separate games with the bulk of the advertising going to the newest "edition" but older "editions" that are really separate games and hence not undermining the market for the newer one in a P500-type system.

The only business objections seem to me some unstated assumption on your part. I've identified a non-conflicting market, a viable product and a no-risk means of production. I fail to see the problem. The hi-tech company I currently work for does not do games but if we did, I'd be willing to take such a proposal to my boss.


Where, in your original post, did you highlight a no-risk means of production? Obviously, my comments are based on your original proposal, because that's all there was. If you amended your proposal, based on my feedback, or had a "secret" secondary proposal that was not stated, that's fine, but please don't act like you don't know that, so that you can feel superior. At that point, you're just being argumentative and I'm not interested in having an argument.




 
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djflippy wrote:
whac3 wrote:
In my "proposal", previous "editions" would simply be listed as separate games with the bulk of the advertising going to the newest "edition" but older "editions" that are really separate games and hence not undermining the market for the newer one in a P500-type system.

The only business objections seem to me some unstated assumption on your part. I've identified a non-conflicting market, a viable product and a no-risk means of production. I fail to see the problem. The hi-tech company I currently work for does not do games but if we did, I'd be willing to take such a proposal to my boss.


Where, in your original post, did you highlight a no-risk means of production? Obviously, my comments are based on your original proposal, because that's all there was. If you amended your proposal, based on my feedback, or had a "secret" secondary proposal that was not stated, that's fine, but please don't act like you don't know that, so that you can feel superior. At that point, you're just being argumentative and I'm not interested in having an argument.



My original post made no "proposal". I only identified myself and others like me as a market for a pre-existing product. Thus, the comment makes no sense. YOU described the P500 system as a no-risk means of production. By arguing with you I developed this into a full-scale proposal which it was not to begin with and was not intended to be.

You can't have it both ways. If you're addressing my original post, there is no "proposal" made. If you're addressing the totality of what I've said up until you posted, then the P500 system is included in a de facto proposal, one made simply to point out that this is not pie-in-the-sky day-dreaming by someone with no knowledge of business.
 
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whac3 wrote:
djflippy wrote:
whac3 wrote:
In my "proposal", previous "editions" would simply be listed as separate games with the bulk of the advertising going to the newest "edition" but older "editions" that are really separate games and hence not undermining the market for the newer one in a P500-type system.

The only business objections seem to me some unstated assumption on your part. I've identified a non-conflicting market, a viable product and a no-risk means of production. I fail to see the problem. The hi-tech company I currently work for does not do games but if we did, I'd be willing to take such a proposal to my boss.


Where, in your original post, did you highlight a no-risk means of production? Obviously, my comments are based on your original proposal, because that's all there was. If you amended your proposal, based on my feedback, or had a "secret" secondary proposal that was not stated, that's fine, but please don't act like you don't know that, so that you can feel superior. At that point, you're just being argumentative and I'm not interested in having an argument.



My original post made no "proposal". I only identified myself and others like me as a market for a pre-existing product. Thus, the comment makes no sense. YOU described the P500 system as a no-risk means of production. By arguing with you I developed this into a full-scale proposal which it was not to begin with and was not intended to be.

You can't have it both ways. If you're addressing my original post, there is no "proposal" made. If you're addressing the totality of what I've said up until you posted, then the P500 system is included in a de facto proposal, one made simply to point out that this is not pie-in-the-sky day-dreaming by someone with no knowledge of business.


You made an initial post.
I, and others, pointed out the flaws in that post.
You then reshaped your comments based on that feedback.
You then acted like that's what you meant all along.
This is pointless, from your end, because anyone can read the previous posts and see that for themselves.
Enjoy your holier-than-thou existence, because I'm not returning to this thread.
 
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Richard Sullivan
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The publishing of new editions is intended to increase sales, period. By releasing a new edition of a game the publisher hopes to sell the game to the owners of the previous edition as an "upgrade" in addition to any new sales they would have made by just reprinting the original game.

Labeling a game as a new edition is an attempt to say to owners of the original: "This is not just a different game, it is a *better* game".

Richard
 
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TuringTest wrote:
The publishing of new editions is intended to increase sales, period. By releasing a new edition of a game the publisher hopes to sell the game to the owners of the previous edition as an "upgrade" in addition to any new sales they would have made by just reprinting the original game.

Labeling a game as a new edition is an attempt to say to owners of the original: "This is not just a different game, it is a *better* game".

Richard


Obviously. This is a poor business tactic in my own experience because it forcibly removes the market for a pre-existing product rather than ADDING sales of the new product TO those of the old product.

My point is made and those to whom the open letter was addressed can see it.

As for whining to save face about how what I initially said WAS a "proposal", i'll say only bull s---. I put out a letter saying to whom it was addressed identifying a market for a pre-existing product. How they addressed that market is their business. I've been doing business in one manner or another for a few decades. The only time I've told a company how to supply what I wanted or had in mind was when i worked for that company. I just came to them with want I wanted, asked if they could do it and for how much. If they could, we negotiated details and price. If not, I went to somebody who could supply what I wanted/needed. Expecting anyone who posts to propose a detailed business model is silly. This is a games website and I said to the sellers, "HEY!! I want to buy!" The rest is up to them-- full stop.
 
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Martin Rundkvist
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I'm reminded of the role-playing game market. Publishers of a popular RPG system will rarely let more than three years go by without issuing a new version of the basic rule kit. This is because active players who own one version of the rules will not only buy adventure and campaign settings for it, they will also for some reason buy every new rule kit.

Though I suspect many RPGers buy stuff just to read it.
 
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Stephen Shaw
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whac3 wrote:

People like me who like good games above new games are the ones who will buy your products year after year.


Um, nope. Its the people that like the newer games that will buy new products year after year, pretty much by definition. Hence, your problem, or at least your perception of one.
 
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