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At first excited, then I read


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#1 sepayne7l

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 09:50 AM

The story fluff for the game:

It is the early 21st century. Having suffered a series of devastating terrorist attacks, the U.S. wields a newly developed and horrifyingly destructive weapon technology with desperate fury, lashing out mercilessly at any government suspected of harboring its hidden enemies. Entire nations are erased from the map. The world is stunned by the brutal display. Facing few options, an unlikely coalition of nations joins forces to attempt one final plan: the invasion of America.

Honestly, I think making America the bad guy in this as opposed to generic  bad guys from the original is just stupid. I'm seriously considering on passing on this out of principal. Maybe China will buy them.



#2 Zozimus

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 11:41 AM

I'll repeat my comment from the news forum here, too:  You're perfectly welcome to your opinion, of course, but I admit I don't understand it, or your reference to China.  

 

This looks really interesting. Can't understand why some people can't seem to engage in imaginative, speculative fiction unless it already matches their view of reality. That seems contradictory to me. It bears mentioning that a board game's fictional back story is not necessarily a political statement. This is a work of imagination, and I'm glad it takes a nontraditional tack. This is also a lot more interesting to those of us who live outside of the U.S., and have usually had little interest in playing the role of "defenders of America"-type games that have had the habit of portraying the defence of America as if it stood for the whole world. It's a way for us to break stereotypes and see the world a little differently, which is one of the reasons I like playing FFG games.

 

 


Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play. - Heraclitus


#3 sepayne7l

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 11:42 AM

Well, they changed the back story and flavor text.

Important note: Our initial announcement of Fortress America included flavor text that was interpreted by readers (quite justifiably) as politically inflammatory. That text has been since altered to correctly reflect our game's backstory. It was the result of an internal misunderstanding; our marketing department misread certain key thematic elements of the game, and took unauthorized dramatic liberties with the text. We apologize for any offense this may have caused. Again, we would like to stress: the text we posted earlier does not accurately reflect the theme of FFG's Fortress America.

 

In the 21st century, the United States unveiled a military defense system that completely changed global politics. Through a series of satellites and powerful lasers, the U.S. gained a flawless defense against intercontinental missile attacks. Misinterpreting the purpose of this defensive network and fearing that it might be used to launch an attack, the world united to demand that the U.S. dismantle it. A lengthy diplomatic stalemate gripped the globe. With the world at a crossroads, coalitions of nations were formed unlike any that had ever existed before. A plan was devised to destroy this perceived technological threat through military action. It involved attacking from three directions at once, for the nations of the world knew that every army dreads fighting a war on two fronts... and America was about to face three.

Much better.

 

Please ignore my original post.

 



#4 sepayne7l

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 12:02 PM

Zozimus said:

I'll repeat my comment from the news forum here, too:  You're perfectly welcome to your opinion, of course, but I admit I don't understand it, or your reference to China.  

 

This looks really interesting. Can't understand why some people can't seem to engage in imaginative, speculative fiction unless it already matches their view of reality. That seems contradictory to me. It bears mentioning that a board game's fictional back story is not necessarily a political statement. This is a work of imagination, and I'm glad it takes a nontraditional tack. This is also a lot more interesting to those of us who live outside of the U.S., and have usually had little interest in playing the role of "defenders of America"-type games that have had the habit of portraying the defence of America as if it stood for the whole world. It's a way for us to break stereotypes and see the world a little differently, which is one of the reasons I like playing FFG games.

 

 

Well, apparently even FFG has stated that the original text was "politically inflammatory." So I'm feeling pretty justified in my opinion. I completely understand why someone who is not a US citizen may not be as interested in a US centric game. But FFG is an American country and would be trying to sell this game to Americans as well. If the game title was "Blame Canada" I would not be surprised if Canadian boardgamers were less than excited.

I believe I can "engage" in fiction that may not match my view of reality. This reworking of the story felt like a political comment on recent events. Whichever side it took it was not something I would have approved of.

The new (or according to FFG, original) story is a lot more "neutral" in the blame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#5 Adam

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 12:15 PM

Of course they'll say that.  The customer is always right.  They want people to buy their stuff, not complain about it.  It doesn't mean they think anyone is right; it just means they want your money.  

It might have been a comment on contemporary events... but it seemed more like a cartoonish exaggeration of one perception of contemporary events.  The game didn't need it though, so I don't mind its removal, personally.   It works fine in this generic context.



#6 carnage4u

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 12:51 PM

Its sad they changed it back. People really love to complain about everything and its annoying when people that complain get their way. Worse then children.



#7 sepayne7l

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 01:36 PM

Well, this is the first time I've ever made a complaint like this.  I've been referred to as being an FFG fanboy or cheerleader in a few posts, so hearing that I complain about everything is a new experience. Also, being called worse than a child is also new for me to hear.

Have a wonderful day.

 

 

 

 



#8 Tromdial

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 02:40 PM

What does this say about freedom of speech? I did like the dystopian view of America. Hasn't anyone heard of John Carpenter's Escape movies? Are those going to get banned now because each one makes the President shady? I am supportive of the ideaologies America stood for, and what was previously stated was not defamatory; in fact, it took a glass darkly look at a hopeless future. That description asked tough questions. When I buy a game from FFG, one of the core reasons is theme. The second one they got now approaches more from the laser use in the original game but it didn't have that scope of a world whose morality had gone gray and was bent on nationalistic ideals to the point of absurdity. I enjoy an atmosphere where no side is right but the men and women behind those lines who have something to fight for have decent morals, cross boundaries, and take risks to survive.

I think FFG made a mistake listening to the minority: what they had was a very imaginitive and taut thriller on their hands in the guise of a simple game board. If anything, make another game with that concept and just change America to some make-believe place. At least then you would have both the majority and minority support in purchasing a dystopian game.

Oh, and your game needs mechs and Snake Plissken. You know what, just make Metal Gear Solid the board game. Thanks :P



#9 Zozimus

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 03:48 PM

I'm having trouble now remembering the original wording, other than that I thought it was intriguing.  There are a couple of points that you made that make me feel like we're speaking different languages (I often feel that way when I'm in the States, though:  our cultures are similar in some ways, but I do feel like an alien a lot of the time).  Maybe because we're not a superpower, I don't think Canadians would really care all that much about a board game in which we were portrayed as a rogue state.  That's just amusing, really, as the South Park song you quote points out.  We're not really that sensitive about such things.  The kind of nationalism I see in the States (reverence for the flag, investment in the person of the President, etc.) are not part of the Canadian identity at all, so I find it hard to relate.  I'm not thrilled with our current government, but if a game showed up based on current events, the major reason I might not like it would probably be that it would be dated within years or months.  I like a more timeless theme.  It wouldn't be for specific nationalistic or political reasons.

That said, the term "Fortress America" must have a very different feel from within the U.S. than outside.  We all look at the fortress-ification of America with a great deal of bemusement, when it's not making us uneasy or inconveniencing us.  It's so unpleasant to even change planes over there nowadays that I'll do just about anything to avoid it.  "Fortress America", from the perspective of a non-American, is a term that has a ring of truth, or at least sardonic resignation.  I liked that the "evil forces invading America" seemed to have a legitimate motivation for doing so, that, given a dystopic exaggeration of real modern themes, didn't just make them 'bad'.  And of course nobody can claim not to UNDERSTAND the whole security kick the U.S. is on, even if they don't like it or agree that it's necessary.   I'm not into demonizing anybody, including the States, but it seemed to me that if rational, believable motivations for all parties in the fantasy WWIII scenario are to make sense, then the U.S. can't just be seen as pure and good.  Why would anyone attack that?  If the States WERE, in a dystopian future, to be invaded by other nations, it would really have to take an act of imagination to think of a scenario wherein that would make sense.  The one described in the blurb seemed at the time to me to be a good shot at creating such a scenario (again, I don't remember it perfectly).  

Anyway, not being an American, as they say, I have no dog in this race, and I doubt I'll buy the game anyway, but it just seemed like an interesting speculative fiction plotline that was gelded for reasons that don't really matter to me, and wouldn't even if it were about Canada.  

 

 


Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play. - Heraclitus


#10 Adam

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 04:35 PM

I'm American and find it amusing, but my principles have better things to do than object to the fluff piece for a board game.  However, I think the concept of this game is really funny and perhaps better suited to a less serious story (not that I understand the need for a prescribed story at all) than the one originally posted with the announcement.  The title and concept always made me think it was a parody of the way Americans supposedly see themselves in the world, and that is how I will play it no matter what the back of the box says.


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#11 sepayne7l

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 04:48 PM

I really don't want to keep on this thread, because every time someone posts, it moves to the top and REAL discussion of the actual game belongs there, but...

@Tromdial,

This says nothing about freedom of speech. In fact, this entire debate is a tribute to it. If you're suggesting I should not have posted or felt the way I did, then it would make me wonder about you.

My original post does not even suggest you should not buy it, or that the story should be changed. It said I thought it was stupid, I did not like it and was considering passing on purchasing the game because of it.

I didn't think the original back story "asked tough questions." I didn't think it was ambiguous. Although I love theme and story in games (which is one reason I love FFG) this is a theme/story I didn't want to take part in - and I said so.

Also, I may not have been in the minority. 

@Zozimus,

You've made some interesting points. I wouldn't mind more conversations with you about this, but this is a board game site and it's starting to feel a little out of place. My original China comment was pretty lame I'll admit. I was making a connection that it would sell better in that country if they were depicted as good and the Americans as evil. Also, it still kind of bugs me that the Red Dawn remake was changed to make the North Koreans the bad guy after China got upset. It just wasn't appropriate for this forum.

As far as the term Fortress America I guess it would have a different connotation now than when the original game came out.

Although Fortress Quebec could be an interesting game.

 

 

 



#12 sepayne7l

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 04:49 PM

Adam said:

I'm American and find it amusing, but my principles have better things to do than object to the fluff piece for a board game.  

Good for you Adam, although apparently your principles don't have better things to do than to object to people who object to fluff pieces for a board game.



#13 Adam

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 04:51 PM

 I didn't object.  Unless by commenting on someone's objection I'm objecting, in which case you are now objecting to my objection of your objection, and I'm not objecting to your... nevermind, I lost my place.

Some people have said they don't like the theme because it portrays America as a bad guy or because it seems too political.  I'm just saying it seems irrelevant to me; the story FFG imagines for the game won't have any impact on the one I imagine when I play it.



#14 Yanma

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 06:36 PM

I honestly can't believe that people are making an issue out of this, the ONE time they release a game where America happens to be the bad guys. And where were these people when DUST was released? Or is it only bad when "we" are the bad guys?



#15 Tromdial

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 06:41 PM

sepayne7l said:

I really don't want to keep on this thread, because every time someone posts, it moves to the top and REAL discussion of the actual game belongs there, but...

@Tromdial,

This says nothing about freedom of speech. In fact, this entire debate is a tribute to it. If you're suggesting I should not have posted or felt the way I did, then it would make me wonder about you.

My original post does not even suggest you should not buy it, or that the story should be changed. It said I thought it was stupid, I did not like it and was considering passing on purchasing the game because of it.

I didn't think the original back story "asked tough questions." I didn't think it was ambiguous. Although I love theme and story in games (which is one reason I love FFG) this is a theme/story I didn't want to take part in - and I said so.

Also, I may not have been in the minority. 

@Zozimus,

You've made some interesting points. I wouldn't mind more conversations with you about this, but this is a board game site and it's starting to feel a little out of place. My original China comment was pretty lame I'll admit. I was making a connection that it would sell better in that country if they were depicted as good and the Americans as evil. Also, it still kind of bugs me that the Red Dawn remake was changed to make the North Koreans the bad guy after China got upset. It just wasn't appropriate for this forum.

As far as the term Fortress America I guess it would have a different connotation now than when the original game came out.

Although Fortress Quebec could be an interesting game.

 

 

 

sepayne7l said:

I really don't want to keep on this thread, because every time someone posts, it moves to the top and REAL discussion of the actual game belongs there, but...

@Tromdial,

This says nothing about freedom of speech. In fact, this entire debate is a tribute to it. If you're suggesting I should not have posted or felt the way I did, then it would make me wonder about you.

My original post does not even suggest you should not buy it, or that the story should be changed. It said I thought it was stupid, I did not like it and was considering passing on purchasing the game because of it.

I didn't think the original back story "asked tough questions." I didn't think it was ambiguous. Although I love theme and story in games (which is one reason I love FFG) this is a theme/story I didn't want to take part in - and I said so.

Also, I may not have been in the minority. 

@Zozimus,

You've made some interesting points. I wouldn't mind more conversations with you about this, but this is a board game site and it's starting to feel a little out of place. My original China comment was pretty lame I'll admit. I was making a connection that it would sell better in that country if they were depicted as good and the Americans as evil. Also, it still kind of bugs me that the Red Dawn remake was changed to make the North Koreans the bad guy after China got upset. It just wasn't appropriate for this forum.

As far as the term Fortress America I guess it would have a different connotation now than when the original game came out.

Although Fortress Quebec could be an interesting game.

I would play Fortress Quebec :P

The point was the company couldn't publish something I felt was PG-13 material. The irony is FFG comes up with a dystopian concept and then must censor it (ala 1984); I find that to be a humorous and a frightening conundrum. Opinions are valid, and I do respect that patriotism to some goes higher than a game, but it sounded like FFG was getting browbeat to publish something it didn't want to, and that's why I questioned what freedom of speech is (the announcement page had a few people threatening boycott; the boycotts are my reason for saying what I have said). The same is as if parental leagues told FFG to stop printing Arkham Horror media, and FFG did so to eventually only create games like, "Hey, That's My Fish," as their best and only seller, along with a whole spectrum of other companies following suit because someone was offended by the horror genre, or stop making Battlestar Galactica because people are offended by interstellar warfare because it conjures frightful ideas. Having my own personal beliefs, unless absolutely defamatory (i.e. Game-Revolution, a videogame reviewer site a few years back, coincided some of their videogame reviews to DIRECTLY belittle a particular religion off-topic, which I did take offense to), I believe FFG wasn't out of line with their first thematic paragraph. As an American on my side of the fence, I invite speculative fiction that criticizes the logic of my nation and other nations so long as they are not to belittle; if the release said something more akin to stereotyping Americans in offensive and poor comedic-taste, I could back that. Instead, the theme was more underlining potential situations that escalate from fear and suspicion that cause radical effects and political decisions to take place. The only reason it had to be censored was "America" was the topic, and I didn't think that was right. Didn't go with my core beliefs in what freely speaking is. FFG though has every right to make an ECONOMIC decision and change it to make better sales. If that was their intention, which I do believe that was how they rethought to hastily market it, then a moral and financial mission was accomplished. Albeit, I felt the former descriptor was OK, and the action to rewrite edgy and interesting fiction frightens me because it closes off our imaginations. I personally vouch for that as an aspiring writer. I couldn't imagine Ray Bradbury being told he would have to fictionalize his setting outside America or he couldn't publish; to conclude, that's what I felt was witnessed: dystopian censorship.



#16 Tromdial

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 06:42 PM

Huh, somehow I got a double-quote...



#17 Tromdial

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 06:45 PM

Ray Bradbury's Farenheit 451 was setting in last sentence above.



#18 Julia

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 02:38 AM

My two cents on this issue... I found the subject of the game to be very interesting, and also interesting were the consequent reactions. I posted a comment in the news section, but it was rather quick and easy to misunderstand.

Basically, history should teach us that there are no "bad" or "good" guys. Not only because very often politics is influenced by economy (gimme some oil-rich land, and everyone will go there as soon as possible) but because many Nations, during their history did terrible things, as well as heroic acts. As someone wiser than me once said, "history's sea has a crimson tide".

The US had a very long story, filled with shades and lights, but since their economy is very strong, and their political influence is very strong as well, all the things they did had a greater echo across the land. I don't see any good reason for having the US playing the part of the "good" guy, nor the one for the "bad" guy (even if, in my personal view of the history, they did more "bad" things than "good", from Hiroshima to the war in Vietnam, passing through helping Pinochet coup d'etat and blacklisting intellectuals during the McCarthy era. But anyway, we cannot judge the facts without considering what caused these things to happen, so we should figure out the true meaning of "Cold War" and so on). The main point is that we need a game with some faction playing the part of the "good" guy and the other the part of the "bad" guy. So, who cares who's the good and who's the bad? Shall we imply that by playing "Axis and Allies" the Axis player should be grown in the nazi faith? It's a game. And somebody has to be the bad guy. If it's not the US, then it's another State, and somebody from that State should be allowed to say as well "hey, why should I be the bad guy?".

Hence, we should ask ourselves: am I interested in this kind of Scenario? If yes, then accept the game for how it is, regardless of who's the good and who's the bad. If not, no probs, just go somewhere else, and leave other players free to play this.

For some instants, this reminded me of the neverending debates around the RPG "Kult - In nomine Satanas". Another case of non-sense.

As for the flavour text... I wasn't offended by it. Often we had games with strong text just to stress the climate of the game, and the flavour text FFG posted was very good to present a certain kind of game. I'm wondering if the people who felt offended by that text, would also feel offended by the "Better dead than red" motto of "The Price of Freedom" (an old RPG (?) of the 80s) or other propaganda things made for celebrating the US as land of freedom over other countries.


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#19 Steve-O

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 03:35 AM

Julia said:

 

Basically, history should teach us that there are no "bad" or "good" guys. Not only because very often politics is influenced by economy (gimme some oil-rich land, and everyone will go there as soon as possible) but because many Nations, during their history did terrible things, as well as heroic acts. As someone wiser than me once said, "history's sea has a crimson tide".

 

 

I concur. I read the original flavour text and I did not think of America as the "bad guy." In particular, the part about America being hit by multiple terrorist attacks and lashing out in desperation made me think of them as a victim, not an antagonist, in that story.  The message was certainly politically charged, but it was also showing us how violence and anger on one part (the terrorists, btw) could lead to global warfare and disaster.  This sort of "what-if" scenario building is the crux of truely good fiction, IMHO.  It allows us to explore alternative realities and consider the consequences thereof, the better to avoid disaster in the real world.

I can understand Sepayne's position in his original post, and I can also vouch for the fact that he has been a staunch supporter and generally positive-minded member of this community for a long time. He's allowed to dislike ONE GAME in FFG's lineup for personal reasons if he feels that way, that's his right to freedom of speech.  (Only ONE GAME, though, Sepayne - you're on notice! =P)

I think the saddest part about the whole debacle is that it's only fluff text. There's no difference to the actual game, so who cares? I wasn't especially offended by the original fluff, and I probably would have preferred if it remained intact (personally), however, I don't blame FFG for taking a less inflammatory position, especially among their primary constituency.

sepayne7l said:

 

But FFG is an American country and would be trying to sell this game to Americans as well. If the game title was "Blame Canada" I would not be surprised if Canadian boardgamers were less than excited.

 

 

As a Canadian myself, I wouldn't be particularly offended if a game like this came out portraying Canada as "the villain."  However, to be entirely fair about it, I am only one person.  I can't say that the Canadian population at large would share my enthusiasm.

I can also think of a few Canadian gamers who would revel in playing Fortress America (with the original fluff) just so they could poke fun at how America is a big, evil, bomb-the-****-out-of-everything powerhouse.  Not that I think such a portrayal of America is fair-minded, but some of us Canucks do seem to enjoy thinking of the US as a big bully.  Probably because it makes them feel like Canadians are saints in comparison, and really, that's basically the same line of reasoning as Americans not wanting to be the villains in this game, so I guess we're all the same after all.



#20 LynchMob

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 04:14 AM

Love this old game, and love this thread. It’s not much about the game play itself, but sure got a heated (or warm) argument about the game politics. That being said, I want to add my rant to the list.
Being an American who was born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia (We live in North America too, and are also Americans), makes me from CanaDUH. But I love the U.S.A. and I’m glad they did change the theme of the game back to its more original version. I’d not refuse to buy it if they didn’t (I’d just ignore the “New” back-story), but the first description of the U.S. as the “Bad Guys” just made me think “Oh, No….why did they do that???”
Remember that this game came out during the Cold War and also when the documentary “Red Dawn” came out as well (that’s a joke). Obviously the US was never invaded by Commies, but people still thought it could, or might happen. I doubt anyone took it real seriously; folks were more worried about nukes then, anyway.
But, I do remember that here in CanaDUH what few gamers there were in Halifax in the mid-80’s didn’t really like the game, thinking it was jingoism. That’s probably because a lot of CanaDUMB’s are prejudice vs. USA’ers (Yeah, I just opened the Top Secret envelope, I expect lots of death threats with Hockey sticks). Personally, being right-of-center, gunning down hoards of Commies was enjoyable, and the NRA card was always my favorite card to receive.
Maybe bouth the 1980’s game and Red Dawn were a parody of the way some USAmericans saw what was going on, oddly though, there were enough people, like myself, that took it seriously.
One other person here said that “It would have a different connotation now than when the original game came out”. I agree, and the first thing I looked for in the pictures and site was to see if the enemies had changed to something else (I’ll leave that up to your imagination.
There have always been games folks thought were offensive. I have S.S. Amerika, and people found that offensive. Maybe someone here can help me out, because I remember seeing (in the late 80’s) a wargame where the USA was a conquered Nazi state and was being invaded by the Soviet Union. Anyone know what this was called???

 

Lastly…”Fortress Quebec”? I would LOVE to see this…maybe I’ll draw a prototype map, with funky cards (Justin Trudeau rallies for or against Canada on a certain die roll, or “Vive Quebec Libre! shouts the René Lévesque Legion in Montreal”, How about an FLQ card?) and try it my self. But friend, you don’t even want to THINK of starting a war of words in CanaDUH with that one. I can’t think of a good analogy for this one…but talking about Quebec separation in English (or even French) CanaDUH, would be like asking Osama Bin Laden to sing the national anthem at a Basebell game (or something).

Marketing department misunderstanding? Did they all get sent to Git-Mo after this? (That’s another joke!)
 






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