Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby Moppy » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:51 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:45 am
[You jest
I'm not actually. Rulebook is badly broken.
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:00 am

Moppy wrote: I'm not actually. Rulebook is badly broken.
No role playing or board game I have seen have ever tried to exactly define what a die or a die roll is. Nor have they tried to define the exact meaning of the word 'is'.

If you consider that badly broken, I'm afraid most games are badly broken, including Monopoly. That doesn't stop people from playing them.

I can see that a casino, with massive amounts of money riding on dice rolls, have to specify exactly how it should be done.
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby Moppy » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:17 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:00 am
Moppy wrote: I'm not actually. Rulebook is badly broken.
No role playing or board game I have seen have ever tried to exactly define what a die or a die roll is. Nor have they tried to define the exact meaning of the word 'is'.

If you consider that badly broken, I'm afraid most games are badly broken, including Monopoly. That doesn't stop people from playing them.

I can see that a casino, with massive amounts of money riding on dice rolls, have to specify exactly how it should be done.
Most miniatures games have some regulation that covers dice and rolling. X-Wing tournament rules require players to bring only official dice, and allows any player to request that a single set of dice are shared (roleplayers tend to be anxious about others touching their dice; wargames encourage sharing dice). Most people play tournament rules in their casual games as that is where the squad (army list) composition is defined. However, most groups often relax the restrictions on official product when it's not enforced by FFG OP. People do expect an opponent to use their dice if they roll well - not necessarily because of cheating, but ancient dice religions passed down from player to player that govern the prayers made before rolling.

Monopoly is a terrible design. The game duration is overly long, there's little player agency, and if it was designed now it would too complex for the general market and too bad for the hobby market.
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:52 am

Moppy wrote: Most miniatures games have some regulation that covers dice and rolling.
Not any ruleset I have seen, but I haven't been looking for decades.

I'm not sure I would want to play in a gaming culture that has to have specific rules about not cheating with dice...

Moppy wrote: Monopoly is a terrible design. The game duration is overly long, there's little player agency, and if it was designed now it would too complex for the general market and too bad for the hobby market.
It may not live up to your standards, but it has been sold and played for many decades, and still seems to be widely available. At a guess more people have played Monopoly than all RPGs and wargames together.
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby Moppy » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:18 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:52 am
Moppy wrote: Most miniatures games have some regulation that covers dice and rolling.
Not any ruleset I have seen, but I haven't been looking for decades.
I'm not sure I would want to play in a gaming culture that has to have specific rules about not cheating with dice...
Moppy wrote: Monopoly is a terrible design. The game duration is overly long, there's little player agency, and if it was designed now it would too complex for the general market and too bad for the hobby market.
It may not live up to your standards, but it has been sold and played for many decades, and still seems to be widely available. At a guess more people have played Monopoly than all RPGs and wargames together.
Do you actually enjoy monopoly? I get the impression that most western families play it once a year on Christmas day and never otherwise. Playing it seems to be more of a religion than anything else.

You'll usually find the extra stuff in the organised play regulations and tournament rules. You could argue that regulations and rules are slightly different things, and they sometimes are (regs from come the governing body, rules are inherent to the game), but it's kinda arbitrarty since the governing body also writes the rulebook? I guess if it ONLY applies in organised play then it's a regulation?

As I primarily play other types of game, the only RPG organised play I am familiar with is Pathfinder Society, which has a specific rule against falsifying dice rolls, and another one that lets you re-roll a dice if you wear a shirt with one of their logos on. No joke. However they don't require the shirt to be official merchandise. :-)
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby Linwood » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:29 am

Not to drive this thread further into the (off-topic) weeds, but what about electronic random number generators? Dice-rolling towers?
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby Moppy » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:49 am

Linwood wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:29 am
Not to drive this thread further into the (off-topic) weeds, but what about electronic random number generators? Dice-rolling towers?
FFG has a dice rolling app that is legal for organised X-Wing play. There's no mention of dice towers in their rules so it would be down to the marshall on the day.

I would prefer either to that guy who scoops up the dice in two hands, shakes them for half a minute to charge them up, blows on them 10 times and then rolls while yelling "<name of current popular player who lucked out at a major event> save me" (but no disrespect to that player; he is legimately good).

edit: The app is actually better than the official dice, which are badly made. Someone built a robot to test the dice and published a 62 (edit: 83) page report on the results.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1alv ... AYDQw/edit

that's the report. There's a picutre of the dice testing robot here

https://i.imgur.com/3CtiFWw.png
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:12 pm

Moppy wrote: Do you actually enjoy monopoly?
No, I just used it as an example since it is the only mainstream boardgame I could remember. I played it occasionally as a child.
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby Sigtrygg » Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:48 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:12 am
But that is not consistent with how a Fusion weapon is supposed to work;
Core, Equipment, Heavy Weapons, p126:
The ultimate personal firearm, the Fusion Gun, Man Portable is more like a piece of artillery. It includes a gravity suspension system to reduce its inertia, and fires what amounts to a directed nuclear explosion. Those without radiation protection who are nearby when a FGMP is fired will suffer a potentially lethal dose of radiation.
That particular description is cartoon physics at its best and is totally at odds with how plasma and fusion weapons have been described in earlier editions. Scrap it and go back to a more sensible description such as the one in original LBB:4...
The released plasma bolt is still bounded in space and time, else it could not damage a target at range, hence pressure/heat is still extremely high, theoretically allowing fusion to continue.
You could spin it to maintain cohesion but that would not preserve the conditions necessary for fusion. The fusing plasma is inside the weapon, the plasma leaving the weapon is no longer undergoing fusion
If the plasma bolt is no longer fusing, why would it be a Radiation weapon at all?
It wouldn't and nor should it be according to previous canon.

There is a CT adventure where an Imperial spook uses an FGMP15 on some goons - the spook is in civies not battledress, and the PCs are not injured. Under MgT rules the Imperial spook would have killed themselves and the PCs due to the weapon's radiation trait.
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby Moppy » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:40 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:48 pm
That particular description is cartoon physics at its best...

and is totally at odds with how plasma and fusion weapons have been described in earlier editions. Scrap it and go back to a more sensible description such as the one in original LBB:4...
There is very little in this game that isn't cartoon physics. How do you distinguish between game-invented physics and "stupid cartoon" physics? We use real physics to check them. Oh wait, we can't. They're all equally well supported by experimental evidence then, equally zero.

Personally, I realised that my gaming life became much simpler when I forget about other editions and just play one at a time. It's a difficult choice between Classic and Mongoose. Mongoose is still supported and has nice books, but a lot of their stuff is just plain broken. Also Mongoose's website and forums actually work (even if this is http and not https); I still can't create an account on COTI as they still ban gmail for "reasons". Also Mongoose censorship is high (the forum has a 4 letter word filter) but COTI is full on Space China.
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby AnotherDilbert » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:55 pm

Sure, everything that gets us off Earth at a reasonable cost is "Cartoon Physics".

If you want to play a game in space or worse yet in other solar systems "cartoon physics" is a necessary component. If you want to design a starship with less than thousands of man-years of effort, it has to be simplified to "cartoon physic". If you want to fly a spacecraft from a planet to a moon without an advanced degree in orbital mechanics, you have to simplify it to "cartoon physics".

It never stops amazing me what people find unacceptable. It probably shouldn't, I have my own hobby-horses... In this case "Plasma" weapons; basically flamethrowers with 50000 km range is ok, but "Fusion" weapons that keeps the thrown flames hot and dense enough to support fusion is completely unacceptable. So, a "bolt" of 1 MK plasma (less coherent than gas) without any containment system that is dense enough to smash through armour is ok, but the same bolt of plasma at say 100 MK is "cartoon physics". OK...

(Please don't take this personally, as I said I have my own hobby-horses.)

MgT2 has much worse examples of cartoon physics, e.g. tachyon cannons.


As stated earlier in the thread SciFi has to judged on internal consistency. I find Traveller reasonably good, and a reasonable compromise between realism and simple playability (with some exceptions like T5), even if feature-creep with successive editions have brought us plasma weapons and tachyon cannon.

Some things change in every edition, I would say accept the changes and house-rule the worst problems. In the end we all use house rules to some extent. Or build your own system, something I'm way too lazy for.
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby Moppy » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:22 am

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:55 pm
It never stops amazing me what people find unacceptable.
I find almost everything acceptable, because anything that introduces new physics is untestable, and all untestable claims are equally strong (in that you can't rate them for implausability as the rating system replies "unknown" for all of them)

So for me psionic FTL teleportation is as equally credible as the Traveller manevuer drive. All 3 are magic and magic is free to do whatever it wants. edit: I originally had "galaxy sized space monster" in here but thinking about it, that doesn't necessarily require new physics and would be at least theoretically possible.
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby msprange » Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:07 am

Moppy wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:35 am
It's irrelevant, because I will always hit, because Mongoose neglected to specifiy the procedure for rolling the dice (can I place them and them roll them manually to side I need?) nor do they even specify how the dice must be constructed or numbered. I believe the only requirement is that they have six sides.

Now before we say this is stupid and who even does that, casinos do.
In writing every rulebook, we assume:

1. The average reader is pretty smart.
2. The rulebook will be approached with a sense of sportsmanship.
3. Players will supply their own commonsense (kinda see point 1).

This is why we do not write everything out, chapter and verse.

Put another way, and I am quoting another games designer here (of the World Famous variety):

"If we have a rule where we can write one paragraph and eliminate 90% of misunderstandings or write four paragraphs and eliminate them all... we will write one paragraph."

Basically, if you apply the three assumptions above to that statement, you end up with a nicely flowing rulebook that does not get bogged down in terminology or side routes. This _can_ be a bit trickier in competitive miniatures gaming (though I would still advocate its use there) but fits perfectly for a story-telling game where there is literally no way to win and players are working in a co-operative rather than competitive manner.

Even more basically - play nice, and it all works.
Moppy wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:17 am
Monopoly is a terrible design. The game duration is overly long, there's little player agency, and if it was designed now it would too complex for the general market and too bad for the hobby market.
Player agency in Monopoly comes not from the board but the interactions between players.

In any event, Monopoly does exactly what it was intended to do (though people do seem to take the wrong lessons from it, I am guessing much to the chagrin of the designer!) and it has stood the test of time.
Moppy wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:40 pm
Also Mongoose's website and forums actually work (even if this is http and not https); I still can't create an account on COTI as they still ban gmail for "reasons". Also Mongoose censorship is high (the forum has a 4 letter word filter) but COTI is full on Space China.
The main site has gone to https, the forums will be following. Note sure a 4 letter word filter counts as high censorship.

* mutters * As a private company we cannot censor anything, only limit what happens in our own space * mutters *
AnotherDilbert wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:55 pm

MgT2 has much worse examples of cartoon physics, e.g. tachyon cannons.
This is worth picking up.

Bear in mind that Traveller does not automatically mean Third Imperium/OTU. Traveller, in and of itself, is a toolkit, and that is very much how we approach the likes of High Guard and Central Supply, and the intention is to support _all_ universes, including the OTU. I think I am safe in saying that the Gravity Hammer will never appear in an official Third Imperium book, but if you want to add a dab of Halo to your own universe, we have you covered.

I am not saying that things can't appear a little off-centre or 'require a deeper understanding of the universe' in the OTU but, at the same time, while we have plenty of science-based discussions behind the scenes, Traveller is not a hard-core, hard-science universe. There are elements of that approach in the game (and more so in 2300AD), but there is still a touch of the fantastical too.

I have gone on a bit longer than I intended. :) Hope that helps clarify our approach!
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby Old School » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:16 pm

Well stated, Matt!
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby PsiTraveller » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:20 pm

Matt! Thanks for chiming in. To expand the one paragraph written on radiation damage, do you want to give an answer as to whether or not the firer takes radiation damage?
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby msprange » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:40 pm

PsiTraveller wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:20 pm
Matt! Thanks for chiming in. To expand the one paragraph written on radiation damage, do you want to give an answer as to whether or not the firer takes radiation damage?
Well, I have been meditating on this :)

The original intention, for what it is worth and from what I can remember, was for the user not to get irradiated. However, there is a very powerful argument to force users to wear battle dress and the like, and if anyone wants to do that, they absolutely have our blessing. Nice way to put a limitation on such weaponry.
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby Moppy » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:33 pm

msprange wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:07 am
Put another way, and I am quoting another games designer here (of the World Famous variety):
"If we have a rule where we can write one paragraph and eliminate 90% of misunderstandings or write four paragraphs and eliminate them all... we will write one paragraph."
That makes good sense, but then there's also a good reason to have a regularly updated FAQ, or a second reference book with more detail. I've seen that in some recent boardgames that have a 4-page how to play, and a 32+ page reference book to look things up if needed.
msprange wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:07 am
Player agency in Monopoly comes not from the board but the interactions between players. In any event, Monopoly does exactly what it was intended to do (though people do seem to take the wrong lessons from it, I am guessing much to the chagrin of the designer!) and it has stood the test of time.
I can't believe multiple people are defending monopoly. If the main argument is "it's good with friends" then pretty much anything social can be, and the game design is mostly irrelevant.

Are you defending the game design, or the ritual of playing it once every year?

As a game developer, would you release that now, if it didn't already exist? How many would you expect to sell, and how many "walk away" would BGG give it?
msprange wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:07 am
Note sure a 4 letter word filter counts as high censorship.

* mutters * As a private company we cannot censor anything, only limit what happens in our own space * mutters *
It affects the way I write, which makes it annoying to write. It also reminds me of how the internet has transformed the from the open, deregulated space it started out as, and turned into walled gardens and monarchies. I do limit my participation with this section of the internet.

I was going to write something else, but I think the "mutters" implies some kind of ambiguity so I'll leave it.
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby Old School » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:43 pm

If you’re so unhappy with the game, the rulebook, and the fact that Matt has a few rules on behavior in his own space, perhaps you might be happier limiting your participation even more.

Or perhaps make a positive contribution by telling us how you adjudicate various ambiguities in the rulebook, and why your way works for you.
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby msprange » Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:01 pm

Moppy wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:33 pm
That makes good sense, but then there's also a good reason to have a regularly updated FAQ, or a second reference book with more detail. I've seen that in some recent boardgames that have a 4-page how to play, and a 32+ page reference book to look things up if needed.
A fair point for some games (and we have been discussing, for example, a Naval Architect's Handbook that takes High Guard and guides referees into what is appropriate and likely for the Third Imperium), but here is the thing. For RPGs we are very much aware that definitive answers to grey areas (rather than outright mistakes that _do_ need to be corrected) may be detrimental to the degree where we do not _want_ to give such answers.

I should explain that comment :)

At the end of the day, a pen and paper RPG is immensely flexible in a way that board games, miniatures games, and video games cannot be. They cannot come close. The moment we start saying 'you should do things this way', you lose a bit of what makes RPGs special.

Take the Radiation weapons being discussed here, for example. I really don't want to give a definitive answer, as the two extremes both work really well - allow the user to fire with impunity, and you get maximum player agency. Allow the user to be affected and you make a powerful statement about how mighty these weapons are.

Which is correct? Depends entirely on your own campaign and what you want to get across.
Moppy wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:33 pm
I can't believe multiple people are defending monopoly.
Well, if multiple people are doing so, there may be something in it...
Moppy wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:33 pm
If the main argument is "it's good with friends" then pretty much anything social can be, and the game design is mostly irrelevant.
It is not - however, you do raise a good point here.

One of the aims we have with our games (which Traveller is not best suited to when first starting out, but becomes so the more you play) is to make them 'invisible' during play. If you can play a game without thinking about the rules, then you have that social situation you mention. As soon as you have to break into the rulebook, the game comes crashing to a stop.

The example I like to use here is Warhammer Fantasy Battle 8th edition versus Age of Sigmar. 8th used to come to a sudden halt on a regular basis (normally during the movement phase...), but with Age of Sigmar you could go months without so much as sniffing a rulebook. In terms of immersion and modelling mighty heroes doing cool things on the tabletop, Sigmar was the superior game...
Moppy wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:33 pm
Are you defending the game design, or the ritual of playing it once every year?
A tricky one, as I do not know what was in the mind of the designer when she created it (it looks like she was coming from an anti-capitalist point of view!). However, looking at the modern game, the negotiation/deal-making between players that takes place away from the board is how you go about brutally crushing people (which has become the point of the game). You could call that meta-play, I suppose, but it is certainly a component of the game.

I think you may be just considering dice rolls, spaces and cards - there is far more to Monopoly than that.
Moppy wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:33 pm
As a game developer, would you release that now, if it didn't already exist? How many would you expect to sell, and how many "walk away" would BGG give it?
I am completely the wrong one to ask. I don't know if I would have thought of it, I am not really one for board games (Monopoly and Talisman are about my limit), I almost never consider how many units will sell of any game we produce, and I think you could count how many times I have visited BGG on two hands :)
Moppy wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:33 pm
It affects the way I write, which makes it annoying to write. It also reminds me of how the internet has transformed the from the open, deregulated space it started out as, and turned into walled gardens and monarchies. I do limit my participation with this section of the internet.
Well, that is only natural, surely? We all tend to limit how and what we say in front of others. It is just polite...
Moppy wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:33 pm
I was going to write something else, but I think the "mutters" implies some kind of ambiguity so I'll leave it.
Nothing untoward intended, I was just remarking that a company cannot engage in censorship. Bit of semantics, I apologise.
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Re: Ship Combat: The Particle Barbette

Postby Moppy » Tue Sep 17, 2019 4:55 pm

msprange wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:01 pm
One of the aims we have with our games (which Traveller is not best suited to when first starting out, but becomes so the more you play) is to make them 'invisible' during play. If you can play a game without thinking about the rules, then you have that social situation you mention. As soon as you have to break into the rulebook, the game comes crashing to a stop.

The example I like to use here is Warhammer Fantasy Battle 8th edition versus Age of Sigmar. 8th used to come to a sudden halt on a regular basis (normally during the movement phase...), but with Age of Sigmar you could go months without so much as sniffing a rulebook. In terms of immersion and modelling mighty heroes doing cool things on the tabletop, Sigmar was the superior game...
In RPGs, we can look at Pathfinder and D&D 3.5 which certainly do not flow smoothy and is massively popular. In some ways this parallels the example of Monopoly. Whatever "faults" this game has in its design, either haven't stopped it, or are considered features by the player base (Paizoites like their deep crunch). I personally like Pathfinder, for Golarion, and for the fact that all their rules are digitally indexed. That digital index makes it easier for me to look things up in Paizo than it is in Traveller, despite the fact that Traveller is a much simpler system.

I like the example of AOS. It does play smoother than WFB did - at least today, but AOS at launch was problematic. I would say one of the reasons why it plays smoothly is that 1) it follows the principle of least surprise (things work the way you expect them to) and 2) they've taken a lot of effort to fix rules and balance in their frequent updates so that you don't encounter an edge case that stops you.

I don't think there's a right or wrong solution and you obviously will do what you think is best for Traveller.

However I've yet to see a robust defense of Monopoly's game design.
msprange wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:01 pm
Moppy wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:33 pm
It affects the way I write, which makes it annoying to write. It also reminds me of how the internet has transformed the from the open, deregulated space it started out as, and turned into walled gardens and monarchies. I do limit my participation with this section of the internet.
Well, that is only natural, surely? We all tend to limit how and what we say in front of others. It is just polite...
Could be a regional thing. Lot of western people tell me chinese are rude, lot of chinese people tell me westerners never say what they mean. And as for Russians, most four letter words aren't even rude there (edit: when they speak English, of course).
msprange wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:01 pm
Nothing untoward intended, I was just remarking that a company cannot engage in censorship. Bit of semantics, I apologise.
It's OK, I didn't feel upset so an apology isn't required, but thanks for offering. You probably noticed I _like_ semantic arguments so maybe the apology is for the rest of the BBS :-)

I hear this "only governments can censor" a lot in the west, and not much in the east. I don't understand where it comes from. When I learned English, the dictionary certainly didn't define censorship as requiring a government. And anyway, the moderators of a community effectively are their community's government.
Last edited by Moppy on Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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