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Posted on Apr 2, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Ice, Ice, Baby. High Flying Dice Games ‘Breaking the Ice: The Great Lakes Winter Fleet 1942’. Tabletop Game Review.

Ice, Ice, Baby. High Flying Dice Games ‘Breaking the Ice: The Great Lakes Winter Fleet 1942’. Tabletop Game Review.

Breaking the Ice: The Great Lakes Winter Fleet 1942. Publisher: High Flying Dice Games.  Designers: Paul Rohrbaugh.  Price $30.00-$41.00 (depending on version and options) Passed inspection: Presents a little told aspect of the Merchant Marine in World War II.  Offers a challenging series of decisions to the player. Failed basic:  You will learn to hate lake ice and unexpected work stoppages. By Ray Garbee Mention the merchant marine in World War Two and generally the first thing you think of is the Battle of the Atlantic. Allied convoys with columns of freighters facing off against the wolfpacks and aircraft. Possibly, you might think of the long trans-Pacific supply lines that supported the war against Japan. But you’d be forgiven for never thinking of the merchant fleet of the inland seas – the bulk carriers that cruised the Great Lakes of North America. Paul Rohrbaugh aims to change that gap in our knowledge with ‘Breaking the Ice: The Great Lakes Winter Fleet – 1942’. ‘Breaking the Ice’, a solitaire game...

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Posted on Mar 18, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“All jets scramble!  Intercept bombers!”  TS’ “262”  Board Game Review

“All jets scramble! Intercept bombers!” TS’ “262” Board Game Review

262  Board Game Review.  Publisher: TS Games  Designer:  Wojciech Zalewski  Price $38 Passed Inspection:    beautiful components; nice counters; only 1 page of  rules; very fun to play; solo and multiplayer scenarios, stunning box artwork; includes rules and scenarios in English, Polish, Spanish, Italian and Catalan. Failed Basic:     may be a little too simple for some gamers; wish it had rules broken in to basic, intermediate and advanced play; the Me262 is a little too maneuverable; fighters have to attack first and then bomber defensive fire occurs – this seems backwards based upon my experience in other games and in simulators. TS is a Polish war gaming company with an impressive catalogue of games (see the picture of their catalogue which I have included in this review).  262 is their newest game and it focuses on late World War 2 air combat –specifically the epic battles between the few Luftwaffe Me 262 jet fighter squadrons and the Allied day bombers and fighters.  The Messerschmitt Me 262 was the world’s first...

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Posted on Mar 16, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

The Fox is Cunning, But It Still Fears the Hounds. Consim Press/GMT Games, The Hunted. Tabletop Game Review.

The Fox is Cunning, But It Still Fears the Hounds. Consim Press/GMT Games, The Hunted. Tabletop Game Review.

The Hunted. Publisher: GMT Games.  Designers: Gregory M. Smith. Price $55.00 Passed inspection: Captures the experience of putting to sea in a German U-boat in the face of a capable and dangerous opponent.   Failed basic: Minor errors with the rulebook. Game brutally reflects the dangers faced by the U-boat crew in the latter half of the war. Most campaigns will not make it to the end of the war. Two torpedoes slammed into the unsuspecting merchant and detonated. The freighter’s back broke and the ship split apart. ‘A good start to the U-boat’s patrol. Now to evade the escort!  Just a couple of rounds of depth charges and we’ll slip away to find other targets. ‘ Those were my last thoughts as the British destroyer’s ‘Squid’ depth charge thrower bracketed the U-boat with three depth charges. The ensuing explosions crumpled the boat’s pressure hull like an empty tin can, ending the patrol along with lives of her crew. In early 2020 GMT Games’ released a reprint of Consim...

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Posted on Mar 9, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Stalingrad ‘42: Classic Mark Simonitch Board Game Review

Stalingrad ‘42: Classic Mark Simonitch Board Game Review

Mark Simonitch’s Stalingrad 42. Publisher: GMT Games. Designer: Mark Simonitch. Producers: Tony Curtis, Rodger MacGowan, Andy Lewis, Gene Billingsley, Mark Simonitch. Price: $75.00 Passed Boot: smoothest iteration of the “battle 4x” system so far, some nice chrome Failed Basic: somewhat bland map, nuts and bolts we’ve seen many times, offensive and defensive             Finishing the first game of Stalingrad 42 with a friend of mine, who also happens to be a big Mark Simonitch fan, he commented to me that the game was “classic Mark Simonitch.” I spent a lot of time thinking about this, and really, if I had to sum it up in only three words, “classic Mark Simonitch” are the best three for it. The two second review of the game is this- if you have played this not-quite-a-series before, and liked them, you’ll like this one! If you have played them before and thought they weren’t good, this won’t be the one that changes your opinion. Before we get into the details, let’s review what...

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Posted on Mar 5, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Nail Biting Solo Aircraft Action! – Fly an SM. 79 Torpedo Bomber in Quarterdeck International’s “278th Squadron – The Same 4 Cats” Board Game Review

Nail Biting Solo Aircraft Action! – Fly an SM. 79 Torpedo Bomber in Quarterdeck International’s “278th Squadron – The Same 4 Cats” Board Game Review

278th Squadron – The Same 4 Cats Board Game Review.  Publisher: Quarterdeck Games  Designer:  Marco Campari  Price $16 Passed Inspection:   small footprint, innovative solo system, easy to learn, strong narrative, addictive game play, excellent value for the cost Failed Basic:    final map size different from what the rules say, would like a chart detailing damage done to the target ships instead of just hit or miss Our SM.79 flew at near surface level as we prepared to pounce on the British destroyer Fearless.  Bright sunlight and nearly flat ocean made this approach almost perfect.  The torpedo launched as we pulled up and banked slightly to port to avoid colliding with the destroyer.  All hell broke loose as black puffs of flak and machine gun tracers danced across our flight path tearing holes in our starboard wing.  Just then over the increasing drone of our three engines, we heard a roaring boom and our top gunner reported Fearless listing to port with smoke and flames billowing from her.  As long...

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Posted on Feb 19, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

IMMERSIVE AND FUN  INTRODUCTORY  WAR  GAME! – DVG’s CASTLE ITTER  Board Game Review

IMMERSIVE AND FUN INTRODUCTORY WAR GAME! – DVG’s CASTLE ITTER Board Game Review

Castle Itter – The Strangest Battle of World War II Board Game Review.  Publisher: DVG  Designer:  David Thompson  Price $59.99 Passed Inspection:   Strong solo narrative, fast playing, easy to learn but hard to master, solo or multiplayer Failed Basic:    needs a little more explanation in the rules, have to buy a second product for $20 to get a history of the battle and designer’s notes, what are the colored cubes for? As the subtitle to the game suggest, this is definitely the strangest battle of World War 2 and one that I knew nothing about until researching this for my review of this game. Per the Battle of Castle Itter entry in Wikipedia: The Battle for Castle Itter was fought in the Austrian North Tyrol village of Itter on 5 May 1945, in the last days of the European Theater of World War II. Troops of the 23rd Tank Battalion of the 12th Armored Division of the US XXI Corps led by Captain John C. “Jack” Lee, Jr., a...

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Posted on Feb 18, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Back to the USSR! Frank Chadwick’s Thunder in the East. Tabletop Game Review

Back to the USSR! Frank Chadwick’s Thunder in the East. Tabletop Game Review

Frank Chadwick’s Thunder in the East. Publisher: Victory Point Games / GMT Games.  Designer: Frank Chadwick. Developers: Alan Emerich, Lance McMillan Price $ 149.00 Passed inspection: A more playable giant version of the Great Patriotic War. Big, gorgeous counters and huge maps. A glossy well-constructed rule book. Quality play aids. Multiple scenarios spanning the war and a massive campaign game. Failed basic: It’s so big it might not fit on your game table! Back in the days of my youth, Game Designers’ Workshop, or as it later came to be known, ‘GDW’ was a prolific producer of conflict simulations, a.k.a. – wargames. Even in those days, a designer’s reputation – or brand if you will – was a way for consumers to gauge their interest in a new title. My buddy Matt and I use to flip over the box of the latest GDW game to see if it was yet another design from the creative mind of Frank Chadwick. In the spring of 1983, Matt and I embarked...

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Posted on Feb 5, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“Advance at all costs!”  The Battle of Stalingrad by Turning Point Simulations – Board Game Review

“Advance at all costs!” The Battle of Stalingrad by Turning Point Simulations – Board Game Review

The Battle of Stalingrad Board Game Review.  Publisher: Turning Point Simulations  Designer:  Hjalmar Gerber and Jim Werbaneth  Price $33.95 (Ziplock Bag) or $39.95 (Boxed) Passed Inspection:   Beautiful Components, interesting perspective, broad scope, Axis objectives are different each time you play adding replay value, unique way of tracking unit strength and combat effectiveness Failed Basic:    extremely large footprint, manual was a “dry” read, takes an hour to set up, needs an index, rules don’t address how to swap out or upgrade assets, couldn’t find where to put the Axis allies This game is the 20th game in Turning Point Simulations’ Decisive Battles of History Series.  Like all the other games in the series, the game comes either in a zip lock bag or, for a few dollars more, in a box.  The cover artwork is a stunning painting by Terry Leeds of a Soviet soldier standing in the ruins of Stalingrad with a hammer and sickle overlaid in to the image recreating the artistic style of Communist propaganda from the...

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Posted on Jan 23, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Ten-Hut! Attention War Fighters! A New Expansion is on Kick Starter!

Ten-Hut! Attention War Fighters! A New Expansion is on Kick Starter!

DVG Games has starter a new Kick Starter campaign for expansion decks for their War Fighter game system. Warfighter is a fully solitaire or cooperative tactical card-based game for one to six players, where you select and equip a squad of soldiers, and execute the mission by fighting your way to achieve the objective. It is available in Modern and WWII eras, and each expansion set adds to the incredibly deep game play narrative with new cards for your Loadout. War Fighter Packs For more information go to:...

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Posted on Jan 22, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“Across the gulf of space…intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.” Tripods and Triplanes Wings of Glory Expansion Game Review.

“Across the gulf of space…intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.” Tripods and Triplanes Wings of Glory Expansion Game Review.

Tripods and Triplanes Wings of Glory Game Review.  Publisher: Ares Games Designer: Andrea Angiolino, Marco Maggi and Francesco Nepitello Price $45.99 starter set,  Individual Tripods $19.99, World War II Expansion $13.00, Additional Damage Deck $13.00 Passed Inspection:  Adds a whole new dimension to two great games systems.  Fun. Great looking components.  Beautiful artwork. Easy to learn. Failed Basic:  Nothing at all unless you don’t like aliens mixed with your historical aircrafts – in other words – “you got your Tripod in my Nieuport” From Ares Games’ own description – “March 18th, 1918: the nearest approach of planet Mars to Earth. The First World War suddenly changes into a War of the Worlds, when what appears as a meteor shower falls over a wood in Alsace. A few hours later, just after dawn, an army of giant alien fighting machines appear out of the trees and starts burning villages and houses with their lethal heat-rays, leaving pestilential trails of black smoke behind them. A truce is hurriedly signed between the...

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Posted on Jan 21, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Tap Your Inner Vampire with Masters of the Night now on Kick Starter!

Tap Your Inner Vampire with Masters of the Night now on Kick Starter!

Ares Games’ Masters of the Night Now on Kick Starter! Ares Games is most well known for their wonderful Wings of Glory, Sails of Glory and Battle Star Galactica tactical combat games but now Ares turns its attention to the vampires who haunt our dark dreams with their new design Masters of the Night!  This game is solo or co-operative with each player taking the role of a vampire.  From Ares’ description: one to five players play on the same side and will either win or lose together. You play as members of a vampire clan slowly regaining their former power. With the help of your minions, you will fight against the agents of the Inquisition, cast fear into the hearts of the people with your hunts, and shape dread sigils in different city districts, all in preparation for the grand Blood Moon ritual that will confirm your grasp on the city and its fate. But beware, the longer you prepare for the ritual, the harder it will be...

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Posted on Jan 16, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Tank Duel Puts You Right in to the Action! – GMT’s Tank Duel Board Game Review

Tank Duel Puts You Right in to the Action! – GMT’s Tank Duel Board Game Review

Tank Duel Enemy in the Crosshairs Board Game Review.  Publisher: GMT  Designer:  Mike Bertucelli, Jason Carr and Joe Aguayo  Price $78 Passed Inspection:   Immersive, Exciting, Solid Rules, Beautiful Components Failed Basic:    anti-tank guns and infantry can attack but there are no rules for attacking them, needs a campaign system (both of these will be addressed in an upcoming expansion), no King Tigers The two Panzer IV crews and the Stug crew were briefed and ready to go.  This morning’s operation was to establish a bridgehead across a river.  The infantry had reported that the bridge was overwatched by at least three T34s in hull down positions and their scouting had reported that there were not tank traps or mines on the bridge.  The Soviet Engineers must not have arrived yet.  Now was the perfect time to take and hold the bridge.  Hauptsturmführer Gotz was the senior officer and had the most experience of any of the men.    He told  Unteroffizer Helmut that his Stug should take an overwatch position...

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Posted on Jan 3, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

It’s a Red Storm on The Rise with Compass Games ‘Blue Water Navy’. Board Game Review.

It’s a Red Storm on The Rise with Compass Games ‘Blue Water Navy’. Board Game Review.

Blue Water Navy. Publisher: Compass Games. Game Designer: Stuart Tonge and James Derek Harris. Price: $109.00 Passed inspection: Provides a strategic overview of World War Three at sea, while retaining enough tactical detail of engagements to allow you to envision how the events unfold. The game does a good job of integrating all the aspects of naval warfare in a package that rewards coordinating attacks to maximize your strengths while minimizing your weaknesses.  Failed basic: Rulebook could be better organized for clarity. A table of contents and index would have been helpful. Including rule number references on the player aid charts would simplify looking up rules. You’ll need to be incorporate the errata into the rules and scenario book.   In 1979, General Sir John Hackett’s book ‘The Third World War’ laid out one possible scenario for what a war in Europe between NATO and the Soviet Union might look like. While written as a backwards looking retrospective of fictional events, it was a sobering look at the state...

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Posted on Dec 27, 2019 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Best Games Reviewed in 2019

Best Games Reviewed in 2019

2019 has been yet another great year for board games, card games and miniature games.  The sheer amount of product coming out has swamped our Armchair General reviewers and we’ve been fortunate to have new reviewers added to our little game review family this year.  The following are some of the highest rated games that we reviewed in 2019.  All of our reviewers have games released in 2019 still on our shelves or gaming tables with reviews that are not completed.  As such, I must toss a few titles out that haven’t been reviewed yet but look very promising – Ares Games’ Tripods and Triplanes (Rick Martin previewed the game based upon the prototype set but will be doing a review of the finished game ASAP!), Command & Colors Medieval by GMT, Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea by GMT, UBoot the Board Game by Phalanx, Tank Duel by GMT, Birds of Prey and its Expansions by Ad Astra Games and Highlander the Board Game by River Horse.  These...

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Posted on Dec 27, 2019 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“Don’t die a nugget! Be an Ace!” – Battlestar Galactica Starship Battles Ship Booster Packs  Game Review

“Don’t die a nugget! Be an Ace!” – Battlestar Galactica Starship Battles Ship Booster Packs Game Review

Battlestar Galactica Starship Booster Packs.  Publisher: Ages Games  Designer: Andrea Angiolino  and Andrea Mainini Price  $15 to $18 each Passed Inspection: Stunning miniatures, extra cards, different versions of each vehicle, sturdy boxes which can be used for display Failed Basic: Nothing at all Ares Games is famous for their innovative miniature game systems Wings of Glory (known in a previous release as Wings of War) and Sails of Glory.  Wings of Glory features World War 1 and World War 2 aircrafts while Sails of Glory is a game of sailing ship combat in the 1700s and early 1800s.  Last year, Ares brought out their Battlestar Galactica game which uses a similar system to their previous air and sea combat games.  This year, Ares is thrilling us with new fighters and support crafts for the game. As with the ships in the starter set, these new miniatures space fighters and support ships are beautifully sculpted and painted.  Each ship has a rotatable base and four stands as well as pilot...

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Posted on Dec 19, 2019 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“After several minutes of firing on the move, the attacking echelon of our 29th and 18th Tank Corps cut into the Nazi ranks with a thrust forward—a rapid assault literally through the enemy ranks.” ― Soviet Cmdr. Pavel  Rotmistrov  — Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel Kursk 1943 Board Game Review

“After several minutes of firing on the move, the attacking echelon of our 29th and 18th Tank Corps cut into the Nazi ranks with a thrust forward—a rapid assault literally through the enemy ranks.” ― Soviet Cmdr. Pavel Rotmistrov — Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel Kursk 1943 Board Game Review

Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel Kursk 1943 Board Game Review.  Publisher: Academy Games  Designer:  Uwe Eickert and Gunter Eickert  Price $80 Passed Inspection:  Beautiful components, easy to learn, logical well laid out rule book with plenty of examples, large easy to pick up counters, exciting game play, great value for the price Failed Basic:   Needs wrecked vehicle counters, needs unit values for player designed scenarios, rule 15.5 Vehicle Stacking needs clarification, the front of the vehicles should face the front of the counter “We were conducting a reconnaissance with our 3 squads of Sdkfz 251 mounted Panzergrenadiers supported by two Sdkfz 251/9 Stummel halftracks and our Panzer II.  The object was to get a clearer indication of what the Soviets were up to near a farm at a critical road junction.  Before the weather became overcast, a reconnaissance flight had reported activity there. As we approached, we noted what appeared to be dug in Ivans near the farm.  Suddenly Ivan anti-tanks guns opened up and our Panzer II...

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Posted on Dec 11, 2019 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

It’s the 4th Armored Division’s Iron Will versus German Steel in ‘Patton’s Vanguard: Arracourt, 1944’. Board Game Review.

It’s the 4th Armored Division’s Iron Will versus German Steel in ‘Patton’s Vanguard: Arracourt, 1944’. Board Game Review.

Patton’s Vanguard: Arracourt, 1944. Publisher: Take Aim Designs and Revolution Games. Game Designer: Michael Ringella. Developer: Roger Miller. Price $ 30.00.  Passed inspection: An easy to grasp area movement game that showcases a key Western Front tank battle during late summer 1944. A solid game with easy to read counters. Failed basic:  Organization of the rulebook requires a careful reading to extract all the relevant rules for each scenario. After Allied forces broke out along the Normandy front, they raced across France. In early September, the Third Army was nearing the German border. General Patton’s orders were for the 4th Armored Division to strike northeast into Germany. But at the same time, the German Army was preparing a major counterattack in the same area. This would be the first combat for Germany’s newly raised Panzer brigades and the ensuing battle would be the largest tank battle between the United States and Germany until the Battle of the Bulge. On paper, this looked like a tough fight for the Americans....

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Posted on Dec 6, 2019 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

303 Squadron is Live on Kickstarter!

303 Squadron is Live on Kickstarter!

The Hobbity Company of Poland in conjunction with Ares Games has just put their new World War II Battle of Britain aviation game on Kickstarter and it looks fantastic!         The Hobbity Company was founded in 2002 by board games fanatics and hard-core gamers, for whom games are not only an excellent way to spend free time in the family circle but also an important Hobby with capital “H”. They have years of experience in the market and work with such companies as Eagle-Gryphon Games, What’s Your Games, Asyncron, Ares Games and many more.          303 Squadron promises to be an intense, fast-paced solo or cooperative board game that will push you and your plane to the limits. It is a  1-4 player experience and  is  inspired by true events: players take the role of legendary pilots from the 303 Squadron, to experience epic dogfights against Luftwaffe pilots, and – most of all – to create unforgettable stories. This is the kind of game that sparks those “Remember the time when…” conversations....

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Posted on Dec 4, 2019 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“It’s Not Christmas Until Hans Gruber Falls Off the Nakatomi Tower!”. Die Hard Board Game Review.

“It’s Not Christmas Until Hans Gruber Falls Off the Nakatomi Tower!”. Die Hard Board Game Review.

‘Die Hard. Publisher: The Op. Game Designers: Patrick Marino and Sean Fletcher. Price $ 39.95 Passed inspection:  Light rules with good explanations of objectives and actions. Captures the feel of the original movie. The game is scripted but at the same time players have flexibility in how they go about achieving their goals.  Failed basic:  If playing with more than two players, the additional players on the thieves’ ‘team’ often do not feel fully engaged with the game play. Luck is a factor – like other card-based games, Die Hard relies on you having the right cards, at the right time to achieve specific goals. There are few more iconic action movies made in the past 30 years than Die Hard. The tale of New York cop John McClane’s trip to Los Angles to visit his estranged wife quickly transforms into a high-octane action film with a generous amount of humor mixed into the narrative.  Released in July, 1988, the advent of home video media quickly made this corporate...

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Posted on Nov 22, 2019 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

A Glorious Return of Four Classic Aircrafts!  Wings of Glory Booster Packs Review

A Glorious Return of Four Classic Aircrafts! Wings of Glory Booster Packs Review

Wings of Glory World War 1 Aircraft Booster Packs  Game Review.  Publisher: Ares Games Designer: Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Paglia Price:  Booster: $11.00 to $15.00 Passed Inspection:  Reissues of out of print (very expensive on EBay) planes, stunning pre-painted miniatures, added value through additional content Failed Basic:  Nothing at all. Ares Games has hit the bull’s eye again with the re-issue of four more styles of out of print aircrafts – the French Breguet 14 two-seater, the Entente S.E.5a (and one S.E.5) and the German Rumpler C.IV two-seater and the Pfalz D.III.  Each plane comes in three different paint schemes representing different historical pilots’ planes.  The S.E.5a also includes one S.E.5 representing a plane flown by Billy Bishop. Each plane comes complete with a fully painted miniature aircraft, altitude pegs, plastic aircraft base, maneuver cards and special cards for ace pilots and special ace skills.  You must have the base Wings of Glory game to get full use out of these aircrafts. Let’s start with the two-seaters which...

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