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Games & Llamas :: Interview with Andreas Odendhal 'ode'

Isra C.
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Valdemoro, Madrid
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Hi everyone! As I promised, here's the interview we made to Andreas "ode." Odendahl!!



1. Introduce yourself a little
Hi, my name is Andreas Odendahl, but almost everybody calls me „Ode“. I am 40 years of age and live in north western Germany, close to the border to the Netherlands. I work as a personal assistant for a wheelchair driver. I am married to my wonderful wife Claudia and we have lots of pet animals living with us.


2. Are you actually live in a farm (or, at least, with a huge garden)? How many animals do you have (wooden and real ones)?

No, we just have a house and a big garden. We have three dogs of our own and three foster dogs from animal care. Another six cats living in the house or the garden. Two goats reside in our garage and the garden. And then there are six chicken and a rooster – also living in the garden…




3. Ok, donkey time! How many versions of the cards were made during the development of La Granja

Countless. When I was done designing the game I swore to myself that I would never do a game with multi-use cards again. But I am more experienced now. La Granja was not my first game, but it was the first one published and needed to be worked on seriously. I guess I made many mistakes I would be able to not do again. Maybe sometime there will be another game with multi-use cards.



4. Because of Twitter, we know that you have a really fine taste in music. Tell us more about your favourites.


I don't want to bore your readers with too many details about music they never heard of. Let's just say I like guitar-driven music. Mostly independent music like punk, hardcore, indie rock. But I also enjoy all other kinds of music. In smaller doses. Like pop music, jazz, blues, hip hop … sometimes even electronic or classical music. But all of the music I like normally has one thing in common: It is handmade by real people who want an outlet for their creativity. Music produced for the sole purpose to earn money is not my thing.

5. Theme or mechanic? Which goes first?

Life is not black and white. It depends. Sometimes the mechanic is first, sometimes the theme. It is important understand how they both work together and that they do in the end.

6. Show some pictures of the prototypes you have made and didn't get published!. It will be published any new game soon?

Right now I am working on a couple of games. All in different stages of the development.
There is one game called „Vamos a la playa“ which is a game by Harald Lieske. He asked me to join in on the development. I took over and it is quite some time now. I have a couple of new ideas I want to playtest eagerly.




Another game is a team work with my good friend Matthias Cramer. I played his small dice game named „Arriba!“ a couple of times and it has a unique dice draft. This was actually the game that inspired me to try a dice draft for La Granja as well, because before that in La Granja every player had a turn when he would roll the dice for a couple of times and had to deal with the result. I wanted something which is better with more players so I tried the draft.



Last year Matthias approached me and asked if I would like to join in on this small dice game. I loved that idea and I hope we will get there someday. The same here: I need to playtest a few ideas.


7. Which is the step you hate the most during the design of a game?
Wouldn't say I hate it. But what sometimes bugs me is that phase when you know you are not there yet and you keep on trying to desperately get there. In all of my games there was this turning point.



When I was unsatisfied with the elements, the design, whatever. Something is not yet feeling right. Sometimes it is best to put the game away for sometime – in some drawer, trying to forget it for a while. Or giving it to your publisher for some month like I did with the last game. And then, after a while you get closure and then you start working on it with a fresh mind, or some really good new ideas from my publisher, and then I can really feel that this is it! From this point on the development of the core of the game is done.



You know all the elements. Now the balancing part begins, finding the best way the elements intersect. It is a great feeling to finally get to that point.
But before finding that turning point it sometimes is very frustrating.


8. How do you work with Mike Keller? Who's always right? Because in every couple of designers, one is usually wrong and the other doesn't

Mike and I work over a long distance since he lives in Switzerland and I, as I said, in the northern part of Germany. We meet a couple of times a year when he visits Germany for some gamers meetings or to visit relatives. So most of the time is is e-mails, chats, video chat. It is kind of hard to work like this because we cannot discuss stuff on regular meetings eye to eye or just meet for a little playtesting. But I think we found a way. Mike is a very creative guy, full of brilliant ideas.



My job was more to transform these ideas into something that could work for our games and have a general survey on everything. I found this very nice way of working because I could always contact Mike for new ideas and pick the ones I liked best. Because he has lots of them! I just think that it was sometimes quite frustrating for him to work with me because I am so picky…


9. La Granja: No Siesta, probably you have crafted A LOT of dice. It was too painful to do so?
Actually not. No. I have an early picture of the dice when I just wrote the names of the goods on the dice. And it hardly changed since then. I started using symbols later when I playtested the game with other people. But I used big wooden dice without rounded edges. They are actually from an online shop providing school supplies. Which was a great tipp from my good friend Ralph Bruhn who was working on OctoDice for Pegasus Spiele at the time I started fooling around with No Siesta. It's pretty easy to make the dice. Since they are big and have square and plain surface you can easily make stickers for the dice. And since the dice almost never changed I had really not much to do. This is a difference to La Granja, when I also used dice with symbols on them for a long time.



And back in those days I was stickering real dice and most of them have round surfaces. This is a very extensive way of stickering dice when you have to cut a lot of round stickers. I was so happy when Ralph gave me that hint about the big wooden dice from that school supplier. So easy to make custom dice now.



Using dice with pips was a late change in the development of La Granja. Which was good back then because there cannot be too many symbols on the side of a die. Productionwise.



And I needed more symbols to balance the dice in La Granja. The dice in La Granja went to many several changes and it was a heck of work to always change them. Actually finding a better balance by using moe complex dice results and the constant redoing the dice was the reason for me to start using cards for the dice result and dice with pips in La Granja. It is way more easier to just change one card instead of changing one side of each of the nine dice.



That is why I designed the dice for La Granja: No Siesta in very reduced way. Just one symbol expect for the one side – and this side has just two symbols. I wanted them to stay in this simplistic way because this time I wanted to have dice with symbols on them. I just love games with custome dice. Like Octodice, Roll through the Ages, Roll for the Galaxy, Seasons.




I used these easy to make dice for Solarius Mission as well. Since I have a lot of those wooden cubes now I am not afraid of handi-crafting dice any more!



10. Thank you very much and we expect to keep the Llama-Donkey love (but a llama beats a donkey, is a fact)
I don't know if we should really have a competition here. But if you insist I have to say that any donkey would take your llama! No, just kidding... I love all the animals! I am sending you a picture my wife took when we went to an animal park. It shows me and a lovely donkey! But that mule was a beast! Right after the photo was shot he bit me in the arm! Did really hurt! Llama beats donkey Pah! I don't think so!

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Today 10:35 am
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Icarus Must Burn :: Icarus Must Critique - An Experiment in Minimalist Video Reviews

Kent
United States
Massachusetts
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I finally kicked off a long overdue effort to capture my thoughts on each game that I play immediately after each play session.

Here’s the first installment:

Tiny Epic Quest - Icarus Must Critique #1

I chose a simple game that was new to me to start, Tiny Epic Quest, the idea being to fail fast and to iterate quickly.

Next video in the Icarus Must Critique series will be the Arkwright Spinning Jenny scenario. Will use AirPods instead of the built-in phone mic and break portions of the critique into sections with transitions and title overlays. Still plan to keep the workflow on the iPhone exclusively for now.

The goal is to keep the effort minimal until a core focus is discovered. To fail fast and iterate before even considering adding significant time and workflow to the video process.

I have better equipment and tools available. This is an exercise in minimalism.
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Today 10:08 am
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Már vagy 20 éve játszom, de... :: 574 pontos Kingdomino

Tamás Fischer (Plenni)
Hungary
Budapest
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Messziről indítok.

Sok blogot írtam már: volt köztük személyes (részben társasjátékokkal), könyves-szakmai és volt a húzópakli (csibuval közösen). Előbb-utóbb mindnél elveszett a kitartás. Van ugyanis az a pillanat, amikor már muszájból ír az ember. És a muszáj állapot nem sokáig tartható (még igazi munkában sem, nemhogy egy hobbiként írt blog esetében). Mindig elképedve figyelem azokat, akik évek, évtizedek óta hűségesen készítik posztjaikat.

Felvetődik a kérdés, akkor miért kezdek újra és újra blogírásba? Na jó, az újra és újra összesen 4-et jelent, de azért mindegyik megélt pár évet:

- íráskényszer
- az önkifejezés és véleményalkotás és -megosztás iránti vágy
- egyfajta társas- és kultúrmisszió
- pőre szórakozás
- hiánypótlás: meggyőződésem, hogy hiányzik a szubjektív, klasszikus értelemben vett napló-szerű blog a hazai társas-kultúrából. Remek videóblogok vannak, ahol szabályokat vagy játékrendszereket, esetenként játékpartikat ismerhetünk meg. Bár ez utóbbiak többnyire túl közvetlenkedők, mesterkéltek nekem (meg azt hiszem túl konzervatív és öreg vagyok hozzájukblush és a humor-típusukhoz). Emellett vannak szakmai elemző-blogok(thumbsup), illetve van a facebook, amely szintén tekinthető "egyfajta" blognak/hír- illetve helpdesk-blognak elsősorban.
Nagyon hiányzik a kínálatból az olyan blog, mint amilyen a Holtidő volt, amely döntően pármondatos, "egyképes" posztokkal töltötte ki a munkahelyi vagy útközbeni szünetek "párpercét" és döntően könnyed, érdekes, humoros tartalmakkal jelentkezett nap-mint-nap. Nem akart több lenni, mint egy mosoly vagy egy szemöldökrántás, ezért számomra az igazi telitalálat volt...

- és a blogírás egyik - a sorban nem utolsó - indoka az emlékhagyás, mint amilyen ez a poszt is lesz döntő részben: a szép emlékek rögzítése, amelyekre visszatekintve az ember a nehezebb időkben vagy - a remélhető - idős korban lelkileg erősödni tud. Jól eső érzésként tudja feleleveníteni a szép pillanatokat.

És megérkeztünk a poszt valódi tartalmához

A kisebbik lányommal, Lizussal az utóbbi időben rákaptunk a Kingdomino-ra. Esténként, egy gyors partit játszunk 7x7-es keretre, így két fővel is elfogy az összes dominó és nagyobb területek is kialakíthatók a királyságainkban. Már az első alkalommal is megpróbáltuk a játék után kirakni egy királyságba az összes dominót, de úgy, hogy az azonos tereptípusok mind egymás mellé kerüljenek. Többnyire az időszűke miatt nem sikerült. Most idő is volt és addig-addig rakosgattuk a lapkákat, míg össze nem jött. Így kiraktuk - egy képzeletbeli solo-játéban - az elérhető legnagyobb pontszámot, ami, ha jól számoltunk: 574

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Today 9:42 am
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The Daily Dope Presented by The Gaming Gang :: A Look at 'Night of Man' on The Daily Dope for January 17th, 2018

Jeff McAleer
United States
Illinois
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Jeff gives an overview of the gameplay of Flying Pig Games' Night of Man and discusses introducing his nephew Cameron and his friends to the classic Fletcher Pratt's Naval War Game. Plus news from GreenBrier Games, Draco Ideas, and SlugFest Games.

01:08 Show open
13:00 Gaming news of the day
24:45 Jeff talks about introducing his nephew Cameron and his friends to the classic Fletcher Pratt's Naval War Game
43:00 A look at Night of Man from Flying Pig Games

Be sure to get your geek on at thegaminggang.com!
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Today 7:57 am
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Every Man Needs A Shed :: Fox News

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
Unspecified
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Couriers? You gotta love 'em! With their chirpy smiles and wry whistles, they carry the very lifeblood of our hobby from door-to-door (OR from door-to-wheelie bin OR from door-to-neighbour-with-whom-one-has-fallen-out's door). If you're lucky, they won't have thrown it off a tower block just to record the impact as a text ringtone or driven a fork-lift truck over it because no-one was there on the Induction Training Course to teach the 'How To Use A Fork-Lift' module. Indeed, my favourite FB group has a regular post appear - every fortnight or so - that exhibits a fresh, new MyHermes' maltreatment of some unfortunate's hard-worked-for hotness.

To be honest, you're lucky if the bloody thing turns up at all; I mean, it took FIVE attempts to get a box of Counter magazines from Kent to my house and each time the website took the Tracking Number and told me it was 'In Transit to Main Depot' when I knew, for a fact, it was still in Derek's porch! And there's the depressing thought of some shady streak-of-piss driver half-inching a couple of those 'tasty lookin' boxes' only to find something nerdy and valueless (to him) within: "What the f*ck is Gloom-f*ckin'-Haven?!" and cue dumping the evidence in a quarry.

It was with a sigh of reassured pleasure, then, when my latest impulse purchase of The Fox in the Forest (just £20 incl. P&P) plopped on to the door-mat surrounded by proportionately as much packaging as an apple pip is surrounded by apple:



God Bless You, Karl! And better luck next time, Mr so-called Postman!
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Today 6:19 am
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Browsing the Gaming World :: ...gaps and infectious abstract beauty...

Alexandre Correia
Portugal
Lagos
Algarve
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Day 376. January 11, 2018. Lagos...

I knew this was going to happen eventually. Setting my mind and will for a full year of no new games bought or backed, was bound to be met by some board game essential gaps in the shelves. The first to hit that list of lost games I would have bought/backed are the Neanderthal/Greenland duo, making a debut reprint run on Kickstarter yesterday, with minor redesigned elements and cards. Having played only one game from Eklund ever (Neanderthal), and having first got the Madre disease when I first laid my eyes on Pax Renaissance, now I am all over these types of board game designs that really stand out from your average lavish just another euro scene...


Two of the faces that will not see our shelves anytime soon.

And just to prove a point, the KS project was fully funded in less than 30 minutes...


The newspapers this morning brought the following headline "Plan B's making sure it has a Plan C!". A creation/partnership with Next Move Games to develop and create Plan B's abstracts with some of the most amazing art and components these types of games has ever seen in recent years. Save Santorini... I'm not sure there was ever a low period for abstracts games, but Plan B might be creating a golden age for the Go/Chess/Checkers lovers all over the world that have still to discover the abstract universe of modern board game design.


The new abs on the stat block!

Just take a look at the cover of the first announced title, Reef! Excellent! An abstract that scores points based on how beautiful your reef is?!? I guess Azul would also fit this line of products coming out from Next Move Games. (Edit from the last BGG News. I guess it does fit the line!)

Following the bread crumbs on Reef, I came upon other titles from the designer, Emerson Matsuuchi. Century: Spice Road was not new news to me or any of the upcoming Century titles. What was news, to me at least, was that the same mind that created friendly robbing of contracts from the opponents in Spice Road was also part of a Zombie world, in Specter Ops, set in the Dead of Winter universe... To be fair, there are no zombies in Specter Ops, but still...

Emerson's sure making a statement for easy to play, hard to master game design, so now I'm curious to see if Specter Ops fall behind the same abstractish designs...


Where to Sherlock?


Finally, I managed to find the time to play a new game. I'm starting to feel that I might need two sabbatical years to play all the new boxes that have arrived lately or will arrive eventually in 2018... Anyway, tonight I prepared to battle with a virus, in Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp!


Tonight's enemy.

The game's setting screams Pandemic, but it is not. If in Pandemic you're fighting the plague running around the world, in Infection, you're putting the hermetic lab suit on and entering the confines of your lab, where not only you'll find the opportunity to mingle with batches and Petri dishes of molecules, but also shop online for equipment such as the Aspirator Mk II or Absorption SPM Mk III! Not to mention, check CVS for an extra pair of competent but moody hands to help you in your fight against the Morbusian virus!


Death and heroes.


Cumbersome J...


The rat is out of the cage?


Marvin you naughty boy!


Another good day at the lab.

I played the easy side of the board and, predictably, it felt... easy! The Death Toll never reached Stage III, there was only one time when a molecule reached the C ring and I was quite lucky on some of the Containment phase rolls. Nonetheless, I really liked the experience. How many games out there put you in a lab fighting virus! You can read the flavor text on the Status Report cards to flesh out the theme even more. But I'll have to play it on the "real" side soon and check it's difficulty setting. No matter how thematic a solo game is for me, if it doesn't provide a challenge, it will rarely hit the table.

One year ago: ...tales for the 2017 keyflower...
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Photo & Image credits: ZombieBoard, swYck, W Eric Martin, AnalyticGamer
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Today 6:05 am
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Birth of a Game :: #4 - Player interaction (part 1)

Ian Walton
United Kingdom
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(Story so far - new game under development in which players buy ingredients and complete recipes for points, competing to be the best restaurant in the city).

So far with this game, we’ve conducted about 20 playtests. As a result of that, we've changed the number of ingredients cards, added Resources (through which you can buy unlimited access to certain ingredients, eg a Mill gives you Flour), put more variety in the recipes, added in staff Recruit cards and generally tried to speed the whole thing up a bit.

One of the main issues so far in developing and testing this game has been how to increase the amount of player interaction; all the best games have plenty of interaction between players and I’m conscious that this doesn’t end up being ‘multi-player solitaire’. At the moment the main ways in which players interact in TMC are these:

- Competing for the recruits (there are only one of each type of recruit that you can bring into your kitchen)
- Working on shared/common recipes (there are always three recipes that everyone can see, which gives you extra ways to use your ingredients but with the risk that someone else gets there first)
- Sabotage (throwing ingredients at an opponent’s recipes in the hope of ruining them, but with the risk that they can in fact use them).

I had also originally looked at trade between players (ie you can sell your ingredients and equipment to other players rather than just back to the market), which I'd still like to have in there, but it’s so far fallen down on the basis that no-one would sell to another player for fear of giving them an advantage. But I like the idea of bidding for sales (eg “anyone want to sell me some spices for 2 gold?”; “I’m now offering wine from my Vineyard at 5 gold a time”, etc…)

Are there any other ways in which interaction could be increased/improved? See previous posts #2 and #3 for a full explanation of how the game works.

Next time – more on the sabotage mechanic, and issues with sorting versus shuffling cards...
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Today 6:03 am
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Party Cards :: January 2018 Update

Josh Jones
United States
Utah
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Happy New Year!
This post is short because of the holidays and because I have been spending all my time prepping for Global Game Jam.
If you haven't heard about it, here is the link to the site I am running this year.
https://globalgamejam.org/2018/jam-sites/ggj-usu-center-wome...
Take a look and come try making a game with us if you like!
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Today 5:46 am
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Pigeon Roost Dice Massacre :: AAR: January 17, 2018 (Guns of Galicia, Falling Sky & Unconditional Surrender)

Ric Manns
United States
Scottsburg
Indiana
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We had a snow day, so I had an opportunity to play games most of the day. The women went shopping, so I decided to relearn a game that I had not played in a long time. Guns of Galicia is a light game based upon the 1914 open battles of the Great War. The rules are eight pages. They are well written and organized. The art work is very good. The game at the heart is a chit pull system. Combat is straight forward and fun. It’s too bad that Worthington Games no longer prints this fun little game!

The scenario that I played was Galicia 1914. The Central Powers had a good opening as the AH 1st Army was able to decisively win a few opening battles pushing the Russian 4th back to Lublin. The other Austrian armies gave ground picking places to fight. The Russian 8th was able to drive to the Carpathian Mountains, but that is where the AH 2nd army held their ground.

The mid game saw a huge battle at Lublin and Cholm where the Russian 4th army was decimated. The Russian push in the center reached Lemberg. That ended in tears as both the Austrian armies bloodied the invaders. The game ended with a victory for the Central Powers. Definitely a good game!



Later that evening I went to New Albany for the regularly scheduled game night. We returned to Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar and Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe. The Gallic rebellion continued as Nick and I were fighting for victory. The Romans turned their attention towards the Averni. The Audei began to rebuild, but the Belgae had consolidated and were able to get its 16th victory point right before the Winter card. That sewed up the victory. We decided to set it up and play it again.



Unconditional Surrender continued with the Axis assault on France two turns earlier than the actual conflict. The Allied player really did a good job holding out as France fell as it did historically. The British tried pushing into Libya, but were thwarted by the Axis defense. The Turks joined the war as a full minor ally to the Germans. The Axis player is setting up for Barbarossa to begin next week.

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Today 4:54 am
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A Gnome's Ponderings :: Binging on PnP

Lowell Kempf
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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The other night, I noticed that I had been printing out PnP projects but I hadn’t actually been getting around to making any of them. To be fair, December was pretty crazy and I did spend half of it in other states. In fact, my last crafting was for the Mini PnP Secret Santa (which was a blast and totally worth doing)

So, I sat down and started cutting, followed by laminating and then more cutting. None of the projects were remotely big but I really had let them pile up.

Over the course of a couple days, I have made copies of Pentaquark, Jasper and Zot, Elevens for One, Pocket Landship with the Second Front Expansion, Garden of Zen, Zone Runners, Bento Blocks, Raiders in My Pocket, and the original edition of The Name of God (which is a micro RPG)

Some of these games are ones I’ve made before but I’ve given the earlier copies away. And, in some cases, I’ve also gotten better at crafting since I made the first copies too

Raiders in My Pocket was easily the most annoying to craft. When I first printed it out, I thought it was really neat that they fit all the tiles and cards, plus the tokens, on one sheet of paper. However, in reality, that means all the pieces are really tiny which make them a pain to cut. That might also make them hard to use too.

I also want to note that I made a copy of the first edition of the Name of God, as opposed to the greatly expanded and much more colorful second edition, because it consists of basically six cards and minimal, ink friendly art. I eventually will make a nice copy of the second edition but I now have a good RPG that game can fit in its entirety in my wallet.

I doubt that this will be the shape of things to come, that I’ll end up crafting a whole bunch of games all at once on a regular basis. However, over the last few years, I have been doing more and more PnP crafting. And I’ve gotten into PnP solitaire games more and more. So we will see what 2018 holds in store.

Originally posted at www.gnomepondering.com
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Today 4:39 am
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