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Posted on Jan 18, 2021 in Armchair Reading, Front Page Features

Airpower Over Gallipoli: 1915-1916.

Airpower Over Gallipoli: 1915-1916.

If you asked a random reader about the Gallipoli campaign, they’d likely think of the Australian and New Zealand troops engaged in bitter combat with the Turks, or perhaps the French and British warships that tried to ‘force’ the Dardanelles, only to lose several ships to a Turkish minefield. Rarely would you have thought of how the war was being waged in the skies about those battlefields. There’s been a dearth of coverage of aerial operations in the Dardanelles, with much of what is accessible to be found in historical journals such as Over the Front, or Cross and Cockade International.  Dr. Sterling Michael Pavelec aims to change this lack of coverage through his recent book Airpower Over Gallipoli: 1915-1916. The result of decades of research, Dr. Pavelec has created an indispensable reference guide to air operations over Gallipoli. A professional historian working with the military, Dr. Pavelec approaches the subject through the lens of how well the aerial campaign was integrated into both naval and land operations during...

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Posted on Jan 6, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Hooker’s Brilliant Maneuver or Lee’s Masterpiece? “Chancellorsville 1863” Board Game Review

Hooker’s Brilliant Maneuver or Lee’s Masterpiece? “Chancellorsville 1863” Board Game Review

By Ray Garbee Chancellorsville 1863. Publisher: Worthington Games. Designer: Maurice Suckling. Price $75.00 Passed inspection: Fantastic introductory level game that will also appeal to seasoned gamers. An innovative approach to incorporating the fog of war that is critical to capturing the mind set of the commanders. Supports solo play by either side. A fast playing, easy to set up game. Failed basic: Units can feel almost generic when compared to a traditional board game approach. The solitaire bot for playing the Confederate player is unbalanced. At the start of May 1863, the Union was engaged in campaigns on two fronts. In the West, Ulysses S. Grant was in the midst of his latest maneuvers to capture the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. In the East, the Army of the Potomac’s latest commander ‘Fighting Joe’ Hooker was about to embark on a campaign designed to encircle Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia – the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia. With a numerical superiority, Hooker planned to ‘go around to the right’...

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Posted on Dec 28, 2020 in Boardgames, Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Top Reviewed Games of 2020

Top Reviewed Games of 2020

If 2020 was a pretty crummy year for the whole planet, at least we had some great games come out to see us through our Pandemic isolation.  I think a trend of 2020 that will continue is that more games will have optional rules for solo play.  Enjoy this list of the top reviewed games of 2020 and let’s all look forward to a better and safer year in 2021. Cold Confusion: The Soviet Raid on Iceland 1985. Publisher: High Flying Dice Games.Designers: Paul Rohrbaugh.  – AG Rating 95%   Small, fast playing game of a hypothetical Soviet raid on Iceland during the 1980s. Good replay value with variable reinforcements and set up. Card deck provides for a good fog of war. This is an affordable game on a unique topic with a variety of elite troops, that is easy to play for a solitaire gamer. With all that going for it, yes – it’s a game that will appeal to cold warriors and solo gamers alike. It sparked...

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Posted on Dec 27, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

One Last Big Push to Victory. “1918/1919: Storm in the West” Board Game Review

One Last Big Push to Victory. “1918/1919: Storm in the West” Board Game Review

By Ray Garbee 1917/1918: Storm in the West. Publisher: GMT Games. Designer: Ted Raicer. Developers: Ty Bomba and Chris Perello. Price $49.00 Passed inspection: An excellent update to a proven design. Good coverage of a pivotal year in the war. Excellent expansion covering the ‘what if’s’ surrounding the strategic decisions on both sides. Failed basic: A solid design that’s had all the kinks ironed out over the years, there’s nothing to not like about this game! GMT’s recent release 1918/1919: Storm in the West dropped onto the game table in December. This is a game with a storied past, dating back to its initial release in 1992 with Command Magazine. 1918/1919: Storm in the West was Ted Raicer’s first game design and it was an immediate success, earning a Charles S. Roberts Award nomination. Its popularity inspired the design of a Plan 1919 variant which assumed a German defensive strategy in 1918 with an all-out Allied assault to win the war the following year. GMT’s release presents this classic magazine...

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Posted on Dec 17, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

A Splendidly Unique Game!  The Mission – Board Game Review

A Splendidly Unique Game! The Mission – Board Game Review

The Mission –  Early Christianity from the Crucifixion to the Crusades    Board Game Review.  Publisher: White Dog Games   Game Designer: R. Ben Madison   Price $50.00 Passed Inspection:  unique subject matter, fun and challenging, lots of repay value, I learned a lot about Christian history from this game Failed Basic:   some rules need a little more explanation, map could be larger (fixed by the publisher), needs different victory conditions if you can’t play the main campaign all the way through (partial play victory points based upon what turn you ended on)             In 2017, I had the pleasure of reviewing R. Ben Madison’s game “The Mound Builders” which was a solo point to point system exploring twenty six hundred years of the Mound Builders culture in North America.  It was an excellent game design and helped me understand the culture of the original people who lived in my state of Ohio.  (http://armchairgeneral.com/explore-north-americas-mound-builders-culture-game-review.htm )  Now Madison turns his attention to 1300 years of Christian history from the crucifixion of Christ...

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Posted on Dec 4, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Reaping the whirlwind – Fortress Games’ 8th Air Force  Board Game  Review

Reaping the whirlwind – Fortress Games’ 8th Air Force Board Game Review

8th AIR FORCE  Board Game Review.  Publisher: Fortress Games  Designer:  Bob Phaneuf  Price $65.00 Passed Inspection:    easy to read map and counters, engaging game play, strong solo play, easy to learn, very challenging, many ways to win and lose Failed Basic:      a little rule confusion as to Luftwaffe set up, would like to see an optional rule for historically accurate Luftwaffe squadron set up, I didn’t understand the use of Squadron counters. “The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw and half a hundred other places, they put their rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind. “ Marshal of the Royal Air Force Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris. “Offense is the essence of air power.” General H. H. ‘Hap’ Arnold, USAAF Box Cover 8th Air Force’s designer, Bob Phaneuf, himself, sent Armchair General a prototype copy of this fine...

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Posted on Nov 20, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Leopards vs T55s – Who Will Survive?   Main Battle Tanks ‘4CMBG Expansion Board Game Review

Leopards vs T55s – Who Will Survive? Main Battle Tanks ‘4CMBG Expansion Board Game Review

MBT – 4CMBG     Board Game Review.  Publisher: GMT Games   Game Designer: James M. Day   Price $42.00 Passed Inspection: well researched, new units, great components, an important addition to the Nato forces Failed Basic:  a little light on components, solo rules would have added to the value of this set, difficult to the get maps to lie flat smokescreen 29 September 1987 – the third day of World War III – just before dawn Colonel Sergey Turgenev worked with his command staff on the upcoming attack.  The Soviet 18th Guards Motor Rifle Division was tasked to take a supply depot held by the 4CMBG.  The timing to the advance was critical.  Artillery would fire two smoke screens which should help to obscure the advancing IFVs and T55s.  While the Canadians were occupied, a Mi8T transport helicopter would land three squads of special force assault troops in the village square.  Colonel Turgenev lit up his third cigarette of the morning.  What would be the state of things this afternoon?  Who...

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Posted on Nov 15, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

‘Remember the Maine!’. Compass Games ‘Dawn of Empire: The Spanish American Atlantic Naval War, 1898’. Board Game Review

‘Remember the Maine!’. Compass Games ‘Dawn of Empire: The Spanish American Atlantic Naval War, 1898’. Board Game Review

By Ray Garbee Dawn of Empire: The Spanish American Atlantic Naval War, 1898. Publisher: Compass Games. Designer: Stephen Newberg. Price $55.00 (Holiday sale price $36.00) Passed inspection: Color, mounted map that conveys a sense of space and place in the Atlantic and Caribbean basin. A fast playing game that conveys the relative strengths of each side. Plentiful variant rules for exploring a number of ‘what if’ scenarios. Failed basic: Printing error on the gameboard mars what is an otherwise excellent effort. A number of typos in the rules that may cause confusion (All of which can be remedied by downloading the current errata from the Compass Games website.) Ask for a quick summary of naval operations during the Spanish American War and you’ll likely get a response along the lines of, ‘America, heck yeah!’. The two major naval battles of the war – Manila Bay and Santiago, Cuba were both decisive defeats for the Spanish Navy. The lop-sided casualty ratio – in terms of both ships and men –...

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Posted on Nov 11, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

The Most Comprehensive World War 2 Air War Game Ever!  Wings of the Motherland – a Fighting Wings Game.  Board Game Review

The Most Comprehensive World War 2 Air War Game Ever! Wings of the Motherland – a Fighting Wings Game. Board Game Review

Wings of the Motherland – A Fighting Wings Game    Board Game Review.  Publisher: Clash of Arms Games   Game Designer: J. D. Webster   Price $135.00 Passed Inspection: stunningly beautiful artwork, covers the entire Eastern Front air war from 1941 to 1945, amazing levels of detail, well researched, tons of value for the price, fantastic replayability, solo and multiplayer scenarios, 3rd edition rules feature programmed learning of the system.  Failed Basic:   rules can be intimidating, has an index but the index does need a little more work as not everything is listed, needs to have on-line learn to play videos Wings of the Motherland is the long awaited 4th game in J.D. Webster’s Fighting Wings game series.  For an interview with J.D. Webster which includes links to two other reviews of games in the Fighting Wings series, follow this link:  http://armchairgeneral.com/j-d-webster-interview-designing-air-combat-games.htm Box Art Wings of the Motherland looks in intimate detail at the air war between the Third Reich and the Soviet Union.  If you play the scenarios in order,...

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Posted on Nov 6, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

The Great War Comes to Kickstarter!  Game Preview.

The Great War Comes to Kickstarter! Game Preview.

The former editor of ArmchairGeneral.com, Gerald Swick, contacted us to let know about a new game project he’s involved with, MacGowan and Lombardy’s The Great War card game, that hit Kickstarter this week. The two-player game, built around important weapon systems, commanders, and other historical aspects of World War One, was designed by Dana Lombardy, who has won awards for his Streets of Stalingrad and Russia’s Great War, 1914 games. Many of the card illustrations for M&L’s The Great War were done by Game Manufacturers (GAMA) Hall of Fame graphic artist Rodger MacGowan, Editor-in-Chief and Art Director of C3i magazine. Gerald sent ACG some sample card images and a link to the Kickstarter project, https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/680099836/macgowan-and-lombardys-the-great-war-fast-playing-card-game. Gerald says he got involved when Dana Lombardy (who was a consultant to Armchair General magazine and ArmchairGeneral.com) contacted him during the summer and asked him to bring his ACG web experience to Lombardy Studios book and game publishing company. The two long-time friends previously worked together at Game News/Game Trade News and later...

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Posted on Nov 2, 2020 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

HIGH FLYING PERSONALITIES –  IL-2 STURMOVIK: FLYING CIRCUS  VOLUME I COMPUTER GAME REVIEW

HIGH FLYING PERSONALITIES – IL-2 STURMOVIK: FLYING CIRCUS VOLUME I COMPUTER GAME REVIEW

IL-2 Sturmovik: Flying Circus – Volume I is part of the IL-2 Great Battles series Publisher: 1C Game Studios Price: At time of release it was $79.99 (sale price $39.99 at the time of this article) Passed Inspection: Flight modeling, graphics, game interface Failed Basic: No active in game guided tutorial to help you learn how to fly. LISTED SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS MINIMUM: Requires a 64-bit processor and operating systemOS: 64-bit Windows® 7 (SP1) / Windows® 8 / Windows® 10Processor: Intel® Core™ i5/i7 2.8 GHzMemory: 8 GB RAMGraphics: GeForce GTX 660/Radeon HD 7770 with 2GB VRAM or betterDirectX: Version 11Network: Broadband Internet connectionStorage: 35 GB available spaceAdditional Notes: DirectX®-compatible flight stick recommendedRECOMMENDED: Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system MY TESTING SETUP Intel(R) Core™ i7-2600K CPU 3.40GHz 3.7GHzWindows 1032 RAMNVIDIA GeForce GTX 960250GB Main SSD ATA, 1.5TB Secondary ATAThree Gateway KX2703 monitors using NV Surround video for 5760×1080 resRazor Nari Headset, Razor Blackwidow Chroma keyboard, Razor Viper miniThrustmaster 16000M Joystick INTROA mystique hovers around World War I aircrafts and pilots....

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Posted on Oct 29, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“They’re coming to get you Barbara!”  ‘Night of the Living Dead’ Board Game Review

“They’re coming to get you Barbara!” ‘Night of the Living Dead’ Board Game Review

Night of the Living Dead: A Zombicide Game  Board Game Review.  Publisher: CMON as licensed by Image Ten Productions.    Game Designers: Raphael Guiton, Jean-Baptiste Lullien, Nicolas Raoult and David Preti  Price  $89.99 Passed Inspection:  beautiful components, easy to learn, fast game play, very atmospheric, excellent replay value Failed Basic:   a few more rules could have been included to simulate the personality of the characters from the movie 1966 to 1968 were fantastic years for film even as America was undergoing massive cultural and political trauma.  Not only were young, new film makers flooding Hollywood with outside the mainstream ideas but independent film makers throughout the country were grabbing their 16 and 35mm cameras and trying new and different approaches to narrative entertainment.  The horror genre was not exempted from this new film movement as 1968 saw the release of two ground breaking horror films – Rosemary’s Baby and Night of the Living Dead!  These two films would shift the horror genre from the Hammer and AIP Gothic horrors of...

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Posted on Oct 24, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“Cylinders are coming down in Japan, the United Kingdom and France!  We must fight a world war against the Martians!!!”  DVG’s “War of the Worlds France, Japan and the United Kingdom” Game Review

“Cylinders are coming down in Japan, the United Kingdom and France! We must fight a world war against the Martians!!!” DVG’s “War of the Worlds France, Japan and the United Kingdom” Game Review

The War of the Words – France, Japan and the United Kingdom  Board Game Review.  Publisher: DVG   Game Designer: Arnauld Della Siega with Kevin Verssen   Price  $59.99 each Passed Inspection: easy to learn, fun to play, covers strategic maneuvering plus tactical land and sea battles, can be played in an afternoon, tons of replay value, different editions of the game can be linked for a grand Earth wide campaign Failed Basic:  Rules need re-organizing and editing, needs an index, clarity issues, not enough plastic stands included in the game, plastic stands can damage counters if not careful, box not deep enough for easy storage of game components.   In the interest of full disclosure, Richard Martin has designed multiple games for DVG – Tiger Leader, The Tiger Leader Upgrade Kit and Sherman Leader.  While the United States battled the Martians in my 2018 review of the War of the Worlds United States East Coast edition, the war has spread to many other countries and DVG Games has released three...

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Posted on Oct 14, 2020 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

“Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”– IL2: Cliffs of Dover Computer Simulation Review

“Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”– IL2: Cliffs of Dover Computer Simulation Review

IL2: Cliffs of Dover    Computer Simulation Review.  Publisher: 1C:Maddox Games and Team Fusion Simulations   Lead Development Producer :  Ilya Shevchenko  Price $24.99 Passed Inspection:    a huge game with over 25 flyable aircrafts can set it from scary total realism to easy mode, beautiful graphics, sound and background music, totally immersive, can be played solo in individual missions or campaigns or on-line with hundreds of human players, incredible value for the price, constant updates, on-line help, just an amazing piece of work Failed Basic:      needs better tutorials, sometimes loses control set ups, screen shot function doesn’t work on my system  IL-2 Cliffs of Dover is the Battle of Britain simulator from the folks who brought you the excellent IL-2 Sturmovik flight simulator series.  While IL-2 Cliffs of Dover originally came out in 2011 and was a flawed release, 1C: Maddox Games and Team Fusion  Simulations have collaborated on this Steam release to give Cliffs of Dover the makeover it needed and they have made it a classic! To call Cliffs...

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

Can You Do Better than Alexander the Great? – DVG’s FIELD COMMANDER ALEXANDER Board Game Review

Can You Do Better than Alexander the Great? – DVG’s FIELD COMMANDER ALEXANDER Board Game Review

Field Commander Alexander  Board Game Review.  Publisher: DVG  Designer:  Dan Verssen  Price $54.99 Passed Inspection:   Easy to learn, fun to play, challenge level can be adjusted through lots of optional rules, small foot print, beautiful game boards, delivers a perfect solo experience, an entire campaign can be played in 2 or 3 hours Failed Basic:    needs an index, some minor typos Field Commander Alexander was originally published by Dan Verssen Games back in 2009 but it quickly sold out and was unavailable.  It was recently reprinted as part of a Kickstarter campaign and now it’s time for Armchair General to review this classic solo game! Box Cover Field Commander Alexander is a solo game featuring 4 campaigns which can be played as stand-alone games or as a giant linked campaign which simulates major campaigns of conquest in the life of Alexander the Great.  The four campaigns include Granicus, Issus, The Siege of Tyre and Gaugamela. The game comes in a sturdy and attractive box featuring artwork by Hokunin.  The...

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

A Different Side of the COIN. ‘The Siege of Orgun’. Board Game Review

A Different Side of the COIN. ‘The Siege of Orgun’. Board Game Review

By Ray Garbee The Siege of Orgun, Afghanistan 1983. Publisher: Revolution Games. Designer: Patrick Ruestchmann. Price $33.00 Passed inspection: Quick playing game. Accessible rules. Requires players to synthesize a strategy using a blend of kinetic combat, operational event cards, unconventional warfare and tactical misdirection. Failed basic: Failed assaults seem too bloodless. It seems like ancient history now, but in the early 1980’s, if you spoke about the war in Afghanistan you were referring to the war between the Afghans and the Soviet Union. In 1978, the Soviet Union engineered a coup that installed a communist government (the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, or DRA) in Kabul. At the end of 1979 the Soviets intervened directly in Afghanistan by sending the Red Army to facilitate a change of leadership. The Afghan tribes had been resisting the communist state, the Soviet invasion brought foreign aid that supported the Mujahadeen in a bloody war against the communists. Foreshadowing what the future would hold, DRA forces pursued a classic counterinsurgency strategy to build support...

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Posted on Sep 25, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“… we are going to hold the line.  We are going to win.” General Walton “Bulldog” Walker – High Flying Dice Games’ “Victory in Hell The First Battle of Naktong River August 5-19, 1950”  Game  Review

“… we are going to hold the line. We are going to win.” General Walton “Bulldog” Walker – High Flying Dice Games’ “Victory in Hell The First Battle of Naktong River August 5-19, 1950” Game Review

“Victory in Hell – The First Battle of Naktong River August 5-19, 1950” Board Game Review.  Publisher: High Flying Dice Games  Designer:  Paul Rohrbaugh  Graphic Design: Tim Allen  Price $12.95 (unmounted counters)  $18.95 (mounted cardstock counters)  Exclusive Victory in Hell card deck $9.00 Passed Inspection:    fun game; easy to learn; beautiful graphic design; high level of solo playability; small footprint; fantastic value for the price Failed Basic:     a rule clarification was needed for the supply points High Flying Dice Games is known for high quality low price games as well as for focusing on military topics not often addressed by other game companies.  When you speak with Paul Rohrbaugh, High Flying Dice Games’ (hereinafter HFDG) owner and principal game designer, you can feel his passion for the hobby.  “Victory in Hell The First Battle of the Naktong River August 5-19, 1950” continues the great tradition of high quality and low price! From the introduction to Victory in Hell:            North Korea’s invasion of the South in June was swift...

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Posted on Sep 11, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

US Airborne Assaults an Island Fortress in Revolution Games ‘Return to the Rock: Corregidor, 1945’. Board Game Review.

US Airborne Assaults an Island Fortress in Revolution Games ‘Return to the Rock: Corregidor, 1945’. Board Game Review.

By Ray Garbee Return to the Rock: Corregidor, 1945 Publisher: Take Aim Designs/Revolution Games. Designer: Mike Rinella. Price $ 33.00 Passed inspection: The game packs a lot of action into a small footprint. It’s a solid 2 player game that has good solitaire potential. Excellent graphics that incorporates a period map. The game nicely captures the asymmetrical aspects of the conflict between the United States and the Japanese Empire. Failed basic: Nothing that would dissuade you from buying the game. A player aid chart for combat processes and movement costs would be welcome. The airdrop had gone off without a hitch. The columns of C-47 were right on target over the drop zone and the jump masters earned their pay. The 3rd Battalion of the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment drifted down on the lightly defended golf course and parade ground that sat atop the western end of Corregidor Island. All the parachute artillery batteries landed in good order! Even the landing craft transporting the troops onto Black Beach had...

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Posted on Aug 24, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“Peace was without confidence and war was without mercy.” Edward Gibbon.  Commands and Colors – Medieval.  Board Game Review

“Peace was without confidence and war was without mercy.” Edward Gibbon. Commands and Colors – Medieval. Board Game Review

Commands and Colors – Medieval     Board Game Review.  Publisher: GMT Games   Game Designer: Richard Borg   Price $75.00 Passed Inspection: well researched, easy to learn rules, great replay value, strong solo experience, beautiful components, new rules for inspired actions and excellent value for the money Failed Basic:  must put stickers on the all the blocks – hundreds of blocks … 330 blocks …, also found it difficult to figure out how to create some scenario fortifications with the terrain included in the box Commands and Colors – Medieval is the newest entry in the venerable Commands and Colors series.  It covers the 5th and 6th Century battles between the Byzantine Empire aka the Eastern Roman Empire and the Sassanid Persians.  It is expected that this will be the core game that will then be expanded upon to cover conflicts from the 7th Century to the 15th Century. The components in Commands and Colors – Medieval are: 1 Medieval Core Rule Book and 19 medieval battle scenarios 1 Oversize Mounted...

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