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Balancing setup - 11/20/2008 2:35:13 PM   
hjaco

 

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It would seem to me that each Entente player now exclusively setup heavily in the south western part of Poland to make an all out offensive against AustroHungarian production. This in turn forces AH to setup vitually all their army against Russia making a western offensive more "bustlike". Apparently the consensus is that in an east first Russia won't be much more screwed with this setup than in any other way which i concur with.

Free setup at start gives players the option to pursue different strategies which is all fine. The only power i really see a problem with is Russia as France/Germany in any case needs to stuff their borders against each other.

Does it really make sense that Russia setup half their army in a precarious uncertain strategic position in some obscure part of Poland? Sure - set up everything against AH along their border if you feel like it but does it really make political and military sense with regard to historic data to make such a super offensive setup?

In other WW1 games I have played Russia has typically been restricted seting up forces west of Warsaw which IMO makes military sense. This would mean that most of the first turn is used to advance to the SW part of Poland.

Comments?
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RE: Balancing setup - 11/20/2008 4:18:35 PM   
EdinHouston

 

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I used an all-out Russian strategy against Vienna in a recent game and it was very successful. If you take Vienna, its pretty much game over. Given that there is no rail movement in August, its difficult for the CP to stop this attack unless they took it into account in their initial set-up.

That being said, IMO it is a risky strategy. It is pretty vulnerable to a German Russia-first strategy - the Germans can get to Warsaw as quick as the Russians can retreat there. Also, if the Russians attack towards Vienna, their line of supply can become very precarious, and vulnerable to a German advance. Finally, it takes a lot of offensives to make this strategy work for the Russians (at least 4 and maybe 5 or 6), which means they dont have HQs or troops to attack in force anywhere else. This takes a lot of pressure off the Germans in East Prussia if the Germans are attacking France, and allows them to rail in support to help AH if Vienna survives until Sept/Oct.

The bottom line is that there is no perfect set-up in this game. Every set-up is vulnerable to an opposing set-up that plans for it. So it becomes a guessing game, and there is luck involved. If the Russians use an aggressive set-up that aims to capture Berlin or Vienna, it is vulnerable to a Russia-first German set-up. A cautious Russian set-up that plans for a Russia-first attack by German is very weak if the Germans attack France, because you its hard to put enough pressure on the CP from the east before France is doomed. A lot depends on choosing a strategy that your opponent doesnt expect.

The caveat here is that both France-first or Russia first strategies have to be viable for the CP. If changes to the rules make a Russia-first strategy not viable, then it means that the Russians are free to set up very aggressively, which gives the TE a big advantage.

(in reply to hjaco)
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RE: Balancing setup - 11/20/2008 9:18:23 PM   
FM WarB

 

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This presumes that the Germans must play to knock out either Russia or France fast. What if the Germans try a more balanced setup, intending to go after certain economic and food targets to be able to hang on til the end?

I should hope as Austria I wouldnt be as stupid as Conrad. The Russains have one good all out offensive they can launch, due to their HQ issues. As a young officer at the time would do WWII, sometimes its best to hit the Russians "on the backhand."

(I should note that I have been running into certain oddities in 1.30, posted elsewhere, that have caused me not to play too far along.)

(in reply to EdinHouston)
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RE: Balancing setup - 11/20/2008 9:34:58 PM   
EdinHouston

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: FM WarB
This presumes that the Germans must play to knock out either Russia or France fast. What if the Germans try a more balanced setup, intending to go after certain economic and food targets to be able to hang on til the end?


I doubt that would work. I dont see how the CP can hold out against the entire TE. Even if the CP could hold enough food hexes to keep their morale from dropping, when the Americans enter the war (which IMO is usually too early), their extremely powerful corps (much too powerful, IMO) are difficult to stop. Later in the game, even level 4 trenches are taken rather easily.

Its just very hard for the CP to replicate what they did in the real war, in terms of holding out so long. And they had the advantage that the TE launched so many ill-advised assaults against German trenches that racked up huge numbers of casualties - assaults that most TE players would not make.

(in reply to FM WarB)
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RE: Balancing setup - 11/20/2008 9:44:46 PM   
hjaco

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: EdinHouston

Its just very hard for the CP to replicate what they did in the real war, in terms of holding out so long. And they had the advantage that the TE launched so many ill-advised assaults against German trenches that racked up huge numbers of casualties - assaults that most TE players would not make.



Why not? If losses are fairly evenly matched you will merciless attrition the life out of CP.

And the key to a holdout strategy for the CP is to get raw materials and not food. The latter can be secured largely by taking out minor countries.

(in reply to EdinHouston)
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RE: Balancing setup - 11/20/2008 11:11:54 PM   
anarchyintheuk

 

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Southwest Poland was as good a place to launch an offensive from (transportation-wise) as any place else in Russia. Warsaw had rr links west to Posen and Breslau and sw towards AH through Olmutz to Vienna. Russia didn't have to launch its offensive through Galicia.

The only thing I would say in support of your argument is that it would be doubtful that Russia could mobilize more than one of the armies in Galicia (3rd, 4th, 5th and 8th) west of Warsaw due to transportation limits.

In any event, this is what houserules are for.

(in reply to hjaco)
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RE: Balancing setup - 11/20/2008 11:23:50 PM   
ILCK

 

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The anti-Vienna strategy works very well and perhaps too well unless the AH player sets up to defend the core of Austria. This really means, as in real life, likely not devoting enough resources to smashing Serbia quickly because of that threat.

Still, Russian mobility is lousy because of their lack of OP's. The Austrians with the Carpathians have a solid barrier. It should not be a gimmie for the Russians to win unless the CP's really mismanage the deployments. This approach by the Russians likely requires German help and will mitgate against the everything in France approach but, again, that is a real problem from the war.

(in reply to anarchyintheuk)
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RE: Balancing setup - 11/21/2008 11:45:12 AM   
BK6583

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: FM WarB

This presumes that the Germans must play to knock out either Russia or France fast. What if the Germans try a more balanced setup, intending to go after certain economic and food targets to be able to hang on til the end?



Well as you've stated, you haven't gone too far into the game due to 1.30 issues. When you do get to that point, you'll find what look like well defended stacks of German corps sitting in level 4 trenches on the Western Front getting steam rolled by TE assault troops, tanks, and artillery that's probably at level 3. The only defense in that situation is to counterattack, which is a guaranteed attritional losing affair for the German player. The end game really sways to the TE - as the CP you have to really put some hurt on the TE to have any hope of still standing at game's end.

(in reply to FM WarB)
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RE: Balancing setup - 11/21/2008 7:51:53 PM   
EdinHouston

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: hjaco

quote:

ORIGINAL: EdinHouston

Its just very hard for the CP to replicate what they did in the real war, in terms of holding out so long. And they had the advantage that the TE launched so many ill-advised assaults against German trenches that racked up huge numbers of casualties - assaults that most TE players would not make.



Why not? If losses are fairly evenly matched you will merciless attrition the life out of CP.

And the key to a holdout strategy for the CP is to get raw materials and not food. The latter can be secured largely by taking out minor countries.


well obviously AH can get food from Romania when that country enters the war, but unless Germany captures some food hexes, food can be a real problem. I am not sure what neutrals Germany can attack to get food, that would be worth the US entering the war sooner... when there is no other reason to attack them (ie, a path to France). If Germany is going to get resource points from TE countries, then it seems to me that food is best gotten there also (especially from Poland and Ukraine).

(in reply to hjaco)
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RE: Balancing setup - 11/21/2008 8:46:21 PM   
FM WarB

 

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When does Romania usually enter the war? Is it best for the CP to wait for their DOW before snapping up that Romanian breadbasket?

(in reply to EdinHouston)
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RE: Balancing setup - 11/22/2008 2:04:26 AM   
EdinHouston

 

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Just off the top of my head, maybe late 1916 for Romania to enter the war? When I play the TE, I almost wish there was a way to make them *delay* entering the war... maybe my diplomats could insult them or something ;)

(in reply to FM WarB)
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RE: Balancing setup - 11/22/2008 4:57:28 AM   
FM WarB

 

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would the USA mind a CP attack on Romania as much as they seem to do on Belgium or Holland?

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RE: Balancing setup - 11/23/2008 12:47:17 AM   
lordhoff


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quote:

The only thing I would say in support of your argument is that it would be doubtful that Russia could mobilize more than one of the armies in Galicia (3rd, 4th, 5th and 8th) west of Warsaw due to transportation limits.

In any event, this is what houserules are for.


Ditto that. Initial set up is quite free and it would be a royal mess to write in historical limits (I think the game would have to have its rail based on both overall capacity and each hex's rail capacity plus initial set up would have to be via rail from some off-map area - what a mess to write!). One must simply not do certain things. The Russians had their armies scattered for a reason - rail nets were not such as to allow concentrating in one area so doing so for an all out Vienna attack is a no-no in my book. Another strategy I find historically horrifying is a first-turn sea invasion of Petrograd. There is a reason the Russians did not defend it - it would have been suicide to attack it even with only the intrinsic garrison. Sea invasions are IMO probably a bit too easy in the game but I seen no reasonable fix. One could simply add +4 entrenchments and consider the city a fortress for invasion purposes but then what about Galipoli? The fortress was not the point of the invasion - it was the southern tip of the peninsula - as an assault against ANY defended position was suicide. To allow a historical invasion of Galipoli within the parameters of the game would be all but impossible if the fortress was a six entrenchment. Only house rules handle this sort of thing (and a real test of player diplomacy getting agreement on them).

< Message edited by lordhoff -- 11/23/2008 12:52:26 AM >

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RE: Balancing setup - 11/23/2008 10:35:55 AM   
hjaco

 

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Right then.

I respect your point of views although you are all wrong of course

No one is going to call me stubborn so I hereby challenge each and every of you to try winning with the CP if I make this all out setup against Austria with say at least 20 Russian infantry Corps.

Any takers?


(in reply to lordhoff)
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RE: Balancing setup - 11/23/2008 1:43:25 PM   
FM WarB

 

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I consider it ahistorical for the Russians to achieve such concentration on turn one. Give me six NEW German armies to deploy in Austria, and I'll meet that Angriffski.
Do I detect tongue in cheek?

(in reply to hjaco)
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RE: Balancing setup - 11/23/2008 5:54:14 PM   
FrankHunter

 

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Can not the path to Vienna be guarded in those first critical months simply by not trying for an Austrian knockout blow of Serbia? Its not like the Russians start with a lot of Offensive points.

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RE: Balancing setup - 11/23/2008 10:01:57 PM   
hjaco

 

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Problem with the short path to Vienna is that not only has AH to fully stack the western most hexes no nearby reserves are also necessary to plug holes when Russia penetrates with multiple attacks disregarding own losses. And mind you 14 activation points can bring Russia quite a long way and they will also build some.

I can not stop a determined Russia with 75 % of AH armies deployed in the fortress line with the remaining protecting the front to the Ukraine. A strong German setup in that corner is also necessary in conjunction with defensive forces in Eastern Prussia if Russia is to be stalemated.

So some 30 German Corps is left against France with an empty front against Serbia. So if that approach is pursued France virtually has to fall or CP is left vulnerable at all fronts.

Which brings me to my point. If such a strong defensive garrison is needed what option is there really to a Russia first strategy?

Sure I may have overlooked something or pursue bad strategy which is why I challenge others to show me how to do things

(in reply to FrankHunter)
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RE: Balancing setup - 11/24/2008 5:36:15 AM   
FrankHunter

 

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I see, so what you're saying is that after 16 months you believe the "perfect plan" has been discovered?

I'm going to try it hotseat.

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RE: Balancing setup - 11/24/2008 7:52:18 AM   
FrankHunter

 

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In a hotseat game in 1914, Russia massed every corps on the Krakow-Vienna line except the few down in the Caucasus. I left Vienna wide open except for the stack that sets up by default in 28,19. The Russians spearhead attacked from 28,18 to 27,19 while at the same time the Austrian stack at 28,19 moved to 27,19. The Russian attack was beaten back.

That leaves 3 remaining impulses to move 4 hexes to Vienna which can't be done. Meanwhile the Russian army is in a terrible position once rail movement is available in September.

In future it would seem wise for an Austrian player to put a couple of corps north-east of Vienna to stop this Russian strategy. The Russians would have low readiness by the time their spearhead reached them and any attack on the Austrians would therefore be disadvantaged.

Overall I think its as risky as the Schlieffen Plan, maybe moreso.

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RE: Balancing setup - 11/24/2008 8:19:41 AM   
hjaco

 

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Right thanks for that input Frank

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RE: Balancing setup - 11/24/2008 8:24:42 AM   
AdmSpruance


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My last 2 games as CP had the TE player mass for a Vienna attack and both games ended in early 1915 with virtualy the entire Russian army surrounded and destroyed. More troublesome for me are the new 1.30 rules that allow food tranfer to Russia through the North Sea. It was extremely difficult before to play as the CP against the overwhelming economic advantage of the TE....with the new 1.30 transfer rules it seems as if the CP must do an all out France first or die strategy.

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RE: Balancing setup - 11/24/2008 8:45:02 AM   
hjaco

 

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It is intended that shipping in the Baltic is also required

You can send your SUBS on unrestricted subwarfare in the Baltic as well as raiding cruisers. But I guess you have to do this consistently and with all your arsenal to stop it.

If you take Poland and the Baltic states up to and including Riga/Minsk then Russia should fall early 16'. With this new rule perhaps summer 16' at the latest. You could also be aggressive in the Ukraine paying the price to hasten the downfall of Russia.

But this is still theory as I have not tested it with 1.30.

(in reply to AdmSpruance)
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RE: Balancing setup - 11/24/2008 3:36:01 PM   
ILCK

 

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While I agree the Russians can be blunted and stopped the problem is that the price for stopping an aggressive Russia is one that almost certainly puts the CP's on the road to ruin. Russia faces precious little penalty for risking their entire mobilization army as hjaco recommends.

The destruction of all 20 mobilization corps means almost nothing in terms of morale and the cost in OP's for the CP's to knock even a Russia battered by that loss out of the war is still astronomically high.

Frankly the Russians can put the CP's in a bad spot with the all out for Vienna or an all-out for Berlin push because there is really no good counter blow- in game terms- that the CP's can land on the sprawling Russians.

Basic truism, the TE has 3 powers and 2 of them can not effectively be put out of the war in short order.

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RE: Balancing setup - 11/24/2008 4:51:17 PM   
hjaco

 

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I don't see the Berlin push as a great danger for a number of reasons.

1) It takes precious turns where France can be crippled.
2) You don't hurt CP production. Food can be acquired elsewhere and is not a consideration the first critical year.
3) Russia needs to secure one flank in this operation taking steam out of the offensive.
4) The only worthwhile target is Berlin itself.
5) German Corps being 33 % stronger than the Russians are extremely more difficult to beat than the Austrian toothpick conuterpart.

So its more difficult to accomplish tiwh a succesful result and if botched leaves Russia with an extremely long front to defend.
Why as Germany bother to take it back? attack through Austria and Romania instead.

But such a strategy should not be underestimated especially when being carried out largely with cavalry forces to gain cheap ground.

(in reply to ILCK)
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RE: Balancing setup - 11/24/2008 5:24:04 PM   
EdinHouston

 

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If the Russians attack towards Vienna, they either need to take Vienna on impulse 4 of August, or they need to be positioned so that they can attack in overwhelming force on impulse 1 of Sep/Oct. By impulse 2 of Sep/Oct, rail movement will allow the Germans to ship in a stack of infantry and the chances of taking Vienna then are not so good. True, if the Russians dedicate nearly their entire army to this offensive, they may still do a lot of damage, but that allows Germany to withdraw some units from east Prussia as well as takes away the threat to Turkey in the Caucasus.

Also I wouldnt be too quick to discount a Russian offensive against the Germans. If they can reach Berlin, its a knock-out blow of course. But just taking some of those food hexes in Prussia could devastate Germany in the long run.

And of course both of those Russian strategies are very vulnerable to a Russian-first strategy by Germany.


(in reply to hjaco)
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RE: Balancing setup - 11/24/2008 6:20:48 PM   
hjaco

 

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The whole purpose for me to begin this discussion with a havey Russian setup against Austria is my claim that:

A) Austria needs to deploy nearly all of its army towards Russia with at least half of it in the western end of the line.

B) Germany needs to help Austria fast with enough forces taken from France.

C) If its a Russia first then Russia is strong enough to move eastwards with their army as Austria alone is not capable of stopping them. So the price is to give Germany free hands in the north.

Given these preconditions how good are Germanys chances to achieve a lasting result in the west with remaining forces barring a Paris or bust strategy?

NB I am not discounting a Berling first strategy but that I would rather face that Russian strategy

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RE: Balancing setup - 11/24/2008 6:34:21 PM   
ILCK

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: hjaco

I don't see the Berlin push as a great danger for a number of reasons.

1) It takes precious turns where France can be crippled.
2) You don't hurt CP production. Food can be acquired elsewhere and is not a consideration the first critical year.
3) Russia needs to secure one flank in this operation taking steam out of the offensive.
4) The only worthwhile target is Berlin itself.
5) German Corps being 33 % stronger than the Russians are extremely more difficult to beat than the Austrian toothpick conuterpart.

So its more difficult to accomplish tiwh a succesful result and if botched leaves Russia with an extremely long front to defend.
Why as Germany bother to take it back? attack through Austria and Romania instead.

But such a strategy should not be underestimated especially when being carried out largely with cavalry forces to gain cheap ground.



All excellent points IF you care about Russia winning. Since the TE rises or falls as a unit, the fact that the Russians aggressively push forward towards either the vulnerable Vienna or Berlin (5 hexes away vs 4 for Vienna) force the CP to turn resources east and anything that saps the strength of the push west will harshly punish the CP.

Really any Russia forward strategy hinges on the TE is a unit part of the design. Since the Russian generals cared about Russia winning the war and worried about being cut off they didn't push large amounts of troops into far western Poland. In this game, the Russians are really a tool to preserve France since if Germany doesn't knock out France then in the long run they are done for.

(in reply to hjaco)
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RE: Balancing setup - 11/24/2008 11:32:50 PM   
EdinHouston

 

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I guess the bottom-line is that not everyone is convinced that an all-out attack towards Vienna or Berlin is necessarily a winning strategy for Russia. I certainly am not convinced. Nor do I think it takes the entire Austrian army to stop it, or that the Germans must necessarily divert troops from the attack on France. A lot depends on the CP set-up, and if it is flexible enough to defend against attacks on Berlin or Vienna.

(in reply to ILCK)
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RE: Balancing setup - 11/25/2008 9:21:28 AM   
hjaco

 

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Right as earlier mentioned I would like to test that assumption playing the evil Tsar with such a strategy.

You care to prove me wrong with this preknowledge

Same offer goes to the rest of you guys to try stop me or be forced to commit heavily against Russia?

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RE: Balancing setup - 11/25/2008 10:33:58 PM   
CG_Gamer

 

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Actually, hjaco, I would like to do that.  I've never played MP before so if you have the patience to walk me through the process I'd take a whack at it.  Hot seat or PBEM is fine, though if PBEM is the debacle it was for EiA I won't last long.

(in reply to hjaco)
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