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All About Living Card Games

Introduced by Fantasy Flight Games  all the way back in 2008, the Living Card Game (LCG) model of distribution is an innovative alternative to the widespread collectible card game model.  Anyone who has played Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokemon will know the sting that competitive play can bring to your wallet, as you try and track down those rare competitive cards whose prices make money strapped gamers sad. The LCG model was the answer to this, beginning with A Game of Thrones and Call of Cthulhu back in 2008, with many more games joining the fixed distribution model later on.

For those who don’t know what the main draw of an LCG is, it’s quite simple; no random packs. Before you purchase a product, you know exactly what you’re going to get. No more chasing down those money cards and forking out ludicrous amounts of money just for the right to compete. Just work out which pack the cards you want are from and grab that. Or just grab everything; keeping up with an LCG is really not an expensive venture, and they combine excellent gameplay with their lowered barriers to entry to create a healthy and thriving scene.

If you’re not sure which LCG is for you, then you’ve come to the right place; I’ll be looking at each LCG that is currently in print and still continuing to release product (as well as one upcoming one), giving a brief rundown on my own thoughts on the game, as well as a quick recommendation on who I believe it’s suitable for. Note that this article doesn’t cover the LCG-like games of other companies (Doomtown: Reloaded and VS2PCG come to mind), but only those offered by Fantasy Flight Games.

I’m going to use the generic terms “Pack” and “Deluxe” to represent the smaller sixty card expansions (well, three times twenty different card) and the larger box expansions respectively. They are called different things depending on the game, but for the sake of simplicity, I will be using these two terms instead. If you’re thinking about getting into the LCG, click on the title just before their respective sections. Without further ado, let’s get into it, starting with:

Lord of the Rings: The Card Game (2011)

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

Lord of the Rings is an interesting product in that whilst it has been out the longest and has far and away the most product available for it (currently 33 Packs and 12 deluxe expansions), it is also the game that has the lowest barrier to entry, a virtue of the fact that the game is entirely co-operative. You need not be concerned with needing everything; you can grab everything at your own pace and slowly discover the game. In fact, the Core Set itself contains so many powerful cards that with the Core Set and even just a handful of packs, you can build decks to take on any adventure.

The game has really ramped up in the last few years. I found the initial quests in the early cycles to be a bit lacking, but the last three cycles have been absolutely amazing, as have the Fellowship adventures, which allow for a campaign mode as well. And boy oh boy have the quests gotten harder; even with well tailored decks and experienced players, the game is very difficult, just as a co-op game should be.

A great option for solo-play and even as a pseudo board game on its own, Lord of the Rings is definitely worth a look into if you’re looking for a readily expandable cooperative experience that’s thematic, challenging and innovative. Probably one of the further advantages of the game is that even if your area lacks a playgroup, you’re still able to enjoy all of the game by yourself, or even with friends; you don’t need a community for the game to be at its best. A good entry point would be two Core Sets and some of the Fellowship deluxes, Alternatively, one cycle of six packs plus the deluxe to go with it can replace the Fellowship deluxes. An important thing to note is that each cycle is tied to a deluxe, thus you’re better off not buying random packs without the corresponding deluxe. As far as cycles go, I was a huge fan of the Land of Shadow, and am really liking the interesting direction the designers have taken with the Grey Havens, so either of those would make for awesome places to begin your adventures in Middle-Earth.

Android: Netrunner (2012)

Android: Netrunner

I will freely admit that Netrunner is one of the few LCGs I haven’t had much experience with. An asymmetric card game set in a cyberpunk world, one player plays as the hacker trying to bypass all of the traps and blockades set up by the corp played by the other. It’s certainly a very unique game, forgoing much of the standard spend resources, play character of other games and replacing it with a game full of risk management, bluffing and constant tension. Sure, cards still cost money, but the main driving force of the game is action and risk management.

Netrunner has easily seen the most success out of all the LCGs, with hundreds of players turning up for its largest events.  Now many cycles in, the game is very deep and deck possibilities are vast and varied. That, however, comes at a cost, and the entry point at the moment is intimidating. In my own experiences, it’s the type of game that you have to make your main game to truly enjoy it;  the hidden knowledge component of the game means that not being up to date with the cards is going to cost you even more than in other games, and the risk management/math heavy nature of the game means that in order to get the most out of Netrunner, you have to invest yourself in it,

Thankfully, the community resources are far and away the most expansive of the LCGs, and you will likely have no issue finding tournaments or competitive-minded players to play against. I would recommend Netrunner to the competitive card gamer looking for something to throw themselves into, but definitely not for those looking to just dabble and play for fun; to me, the game just doesn’t quite do casual well, and shines brightest in the heat of competition.

Star Wars: The Card Game (2012)

Star Wars: The Card Game

Yet another asymmetric game, though not quite to the extent of NetrunnerStar Wars: The Card Game  has had a bit of a tumultuous history. After an excellent and interesting core set, the first cycle was rather weak, and that coupled with delays meant that many became disillusioned with it. As a point of comparison, Star Wars and Netrunner were released in the same year, but Star Wars is seven packs behind! This means that it’s much more difficult to find a tournament for Star Wars.

That said, the game is not without fantastic mechanics that, again, got much better as time went on (the second cycle was magnificent). If you’re a true fan of the license, you can have a lot of fun with this game, and there are a whole heap of viable options for deckbuilding at a casual, fun level. There is a bit of a thematic disconnect which a lot of people have taken issue with (an X-Wing blasting down Darth Vader, or the Executor being poked by Ewoks for example) but with two core sets and two Edge of Darkness expansion packs, a lot of fun can be had. It pains me that I can’t recommend this higher, given how interesting the game play is (really, if you like game design, try play a game of it) and how much I like the license, but you can’t win ’em all.

Warhammer 40000: Conquest (2014)

Warhammer 40,000: Conquest

Speaking of excellent game design, the LCGs continue to deliver with Eric Lang’s Warhammer 40000: Conquest. Much like Netrunner, Conquest really lends itself to tournament play above anything else; you can certainly play the factions you like, but due to the super tight game play, not playing with competitive options means you’re going to get crushed quickly. With a much more spacial aspect than the other LCGs (fitting given the license) and the extremely innovative and well thought out simultaneous decision making mechanic, Warhammer 40000: Conquest has a lot going for it gameplay-wise for a start.

What’s more, on top of the strong license, great gameplay  and fantastic artwork is the relatively low price point of the game at the moment. With only two deluxes and thirteen packs, you can have everything in the game for a relatively low entry point. Whilst recent developments on the game have been slow and it lacks the same consistent community which both Netrunner and the next game have in spades, you could do far worse as far as great, skill intensive competitive games go.

A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition (2015)

A Game of Thrones: The Card Game

Wasting no time after ending First Edition, A Game of Thrones: The Card Game Second Edition (AGOT 2.0) is running pretty hot at the moment. If you’re a fan of the source material, you’ll find all of your favourite characters faithfully represented in AGOT 2.0, which currently has a heavy focus on these unique fan favourite characters going into various challenges against one another as you struggle for the Iron Throne. With a healthy mix of luck and skill, relatively simple mechanics, a healthy and steadily growing community and the fact that it’s currently FFG’s youngest LCG, AGOT 2.0 is definitely the game to get into at the moment if you’re on the fence about all the others (or you’re just a mega-fan of the series).

Much like Netrunner and ConquestAGOT 2.0 is primarily a competitive game. The first of two game modes, Joust is the more common of the two and is  a traditional one versus one affair. In addition, casual play is much more encouraged mechanically than in any other LCG, at least in my opinion. This is further exemplified by the wilder, more chaotic Melee format, where three to four players struggle for the throne, forging alliances only to break them off just as quickly. The melee option even works quite well as just a family board game on its own, making AGOT 2.0 one of the easier games to sample first before committing.

Arkham Horror: The Card Game (4th Quarter 2016-Early 2017)

The only LCG not yet released that we’ll be looking at today is the mysterious Arkham Horror: The Card Game. Not too much is known about this game yet, but early reports point towards a hybrid LCG/roleplaying experience unlike any other game on the market. I’m incredibly curious to see how much FFG has learned about making a cooperative LCG from Lord of the Rings, and if they can get it right from the beginning, the popular theme and innovative design space may prove to be a winner!

Whichever LCG you do end up choosing, I hope you have an amazing time with the diverse, thematic experiences awaiting you in each and every box. Fantasy Flight Games have done a wonderful job with the core of each of their card games, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this innovative model of card games (there are two more upcoming LCGs, but they’ll have to wait for another article).

European Machines and Havoc in Space: The Latest Hotness

It’s not a secret that tabletop gaming has been experiencing tremendous growth for a number of years now, and whether you like it or hate it, Kickstarter has definitely been a large source of this. From allowing new designers to come out of the woodwork, to  acting as something of a pre-order system for established companies, opinions on Kickstarter games tend to be a very mixed bag. Today, we’re going to be looking a little deeper at two of the hottest upcoming games, Scythe from Stonemaier Games and Cry Havoc from Portal games, both of which fall into the broad category of area control games, and both of which have garnered huge attention this year.

Before we get into that, let’s take a brief look at the genre as a whole. As the name would imply, area control games are about just that. That being said, it’s difficult to think of the secret bidding game Revolution, the very Euro style El Grande and the mythical creature combat heavy Kemet as being part of the same genre. And yet, they all share the same basic idea; controlling areas yields you victory points (or other helpful benefits. Generally speaking, you want the most (or only) pieces in a space on the board. The diversity of the genre is leaps and bounds greater than games in other genres which tend to fall into tropes, but that is not to say that there aren’t dangers and pitfalls which certain area control games, particularly those involving combat, can fall victim to.

Scythe is  economic at heart, with combat still relevant but taking a back seat. The importance of area control comes from accessing resources on the board; area control is the means to the end, not the ends itself, as it is in other games. In fact, combat loses you popularity in the game, with low popularity limiting the amount of points you are able to score at the end of the game. This tension is of a truly different flavour to many other games, which promote constant conflict and invasions, and instead places much more weight onto the decision of which areas are important to control and whether they are worth the sacrifice.

Scythe, an area control game from Stonemaier Games

A game of Scythe in progress. The game really comes with some exquisite bits and pieces!

Cry Havoc falls into the category of games which promote constant combat, but don’t be fooled into dismissing it as too simple; clever implementation of deckbuilding and hand management had me intrigued (deck building games where deck building is not the whole game, such as Mage Knight or A Study in Emerald, are some of my favourites) but what I cannot wait to try out is the innovative combat system contained in Cry Havoc. In fact, from the sounds of it, it could be one of the simplest yet deepest combat systems in a game ever. Like Kemet, destroying all of your opponent’s units doesn’t necessarily win you the area, and in the same vein, it is not necessary to destroy all of your opponent’s units to win the battle. It’s no secret that one of the common pitfalls of area control games with combat related themes is the tedious, bogged down combat. As Kemet (and likely other games) before them, both Scythe and Cry Havoc have quick, simple yet rewarding systems of combat.  

While many games tend to offer small helpings of differing player powers (such as the aforementioned Kemet, where you slowly acquire unique powers over the course of the game, or Blood Rage, where the powers afforded to you each round change), Scythe and Cry Havoc begin ambitiously, with wildly varied player setups, powers and even ways to achieve victory. Scythe goes a step further than Cry Havoc in this sense, with twenty-five possible combinations of player power combinations in the base game (though my understanding, having not played the game, is that it’s the faction differences that are the largest, and there are five of those). Cry Havoc comes in with a modest four factions, though the differences between them are, again, vast.

Cry Havoc, an area control game from Portal Games

The Trogs of Cry Havoc are out in full force!

I for one am incredibly eager to try out both of these hot new area control games, but for entirely different reasons. With Scythe, the novel upgrade system and interesting mesh of area control and resource management, coupled with ever present threat of combat certainly entice me. Cry Havoc, on the other hand, offers a much more focused and what you may call “traditional” area control experience, but the impression I have leads me to think that they’ve merged the best of the old with some new twists; a combination with the potential to become a new golden standard for the area control genre.

Check out some of the games that I mentioned in this blog!

Fulfill Your Destiny with Star Wars: Destiny!

There has been an awakening!

For those of you who aren’t aware, Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) released an article about an upcoming dice-based collectible game. Oh, and it’s from a pretty cool IP too.

Star.  Wars.  Destiny.

I’ve taken the time to pull apart all the information from the original release article and the product page in order to extrapolate as much as possible about the rules of the game and what we can expect.  Without for ado, let’s get into it.

1. It’s collectible!

FFG is quite well known for creating new games using their existing LCG system. For those that don’t know, this meant that there were no randomised booster packs or collectible aspects to a game; instead, you simply purchase an expansion pack and bam, you have a playset of every card (most of the time). It’s a great system for fostering healthy game environments and keeping the cost barrier to card games lower than CCG counterparts.

I believe that FFG saw the incredible success of Wizkids’ Marvel Dicemasters (which literally sold out everywhere and became impossible to acquire initially) and began to ponder the viability of a collectible dice game. The strength of Marvel Dicemasters was definitely its license (some may say that designer Eric Lang was also a big drawing point, but lets face it; Generic Heroes Dicemasters would have faired far worse), and if FFG has anything going for it at the moment, it’s access to some of the biggest licenses possible (Game of Thrones and Star Wars most prominently). The little spiel by the designer about the game only working as a collectible game is certainly a stretch, as the success of Quarriors (of which Dicemasters was a successor) can show.

Regardless, I personally have no issue with FFG experimenting with a collectible game again, and from a business perspective, it makes absolute sense. I can see people easily going nuts over it, just as they did with Dicemasters.


2. It’s NOT a Quarriors or Dicemasters Clone

Star Wars: Destiny has eschewed the Quarriors model of “dice-building” and replaced it instead with something more akin to a miniatures game. You begin with all of your characters in play, and as the battle goes on, you get rid of your opponents as they try and get rid of yours. You win the game by eliminating all of your opponent’s characters. Let’s take a quick look at a character card:


Now, the article mentions a few things regarding the cards in the game. There are three colours of characters (red for Commanders, yellow for Rogues and blue for Force Users) split between Heroes and Villains. Apart from the Hero/Villain divide, you are free to construct your force as you please. However, also note that there are point values in the bottom left (two in fact, separated by a slash). From viewing videos and thinking logically, I predict that the higher point value allows you to play a second dice of the same character (in one of the videos, you can clearly see a second Kylo Ren dice being rolled). Point Values also implies a build limit, again, much like a miniatures game. A key aspect of the game will be attacking the units which are key to the strategy of the opponent; do you focus on taking out lower health units to take them out of the game and cause your opponent to have fewer actions to take, or do you try and take out the bigger, more powerful units? Colour me intrigued.

3. Destiny is a hybrid card/dice game.

Continuing in their trend from Imperial Assault, Destiny features not only face-up open information character cards but also a deck of extra supporting cards, mixed with support and event cards. One of the dice faces in the game provides you resources which presumably you can spend to play these. Like the characters, they are also split into colour and faction. Note below the spoiled card “The Best Defense…” is a Red Villain Event:

The BEst Defence

This means that, like Imperial Assault, there are lots of hidden surprises just below the surface of what may appear to be a mostly puzzle-like experience (that is, simply calculating the best play given there are no tricks to be seen). I applaud this move; adding this extra element to the game not only vastly expands customisation options, but also adds tension and far more replayability to the game. I haven’t played Dicemasters at any competitive level, but I can easily see it becoming incredibly samey each and every game. Destiny, however, just like any other card game, allows you to see different outcomes and options each and every game.

4. It Features Characters from All the Star Wars Movies

Some may hate on Episodes I. II and III but no-one can deny that there are characters from it which are extremely popular. While it’s easy to cite Jar Jar as one of the most annoying characters in the series and a permanent stain on the series, it’s hard to find any fan who doesn’t think that Darth Maul and his double-bladed lightsaber, or Mace Windu and his purple lightsaber are not iconic parts of the franchise. Forget the flavour; I look forward to taking Jango, Boba and other villainous rogues into dice-chucking combat!

In summary, Destiny might look like the type of game that will be quickly be brushed aside (anyone heard anything about Warhammer Diskwars in a while?) but given the strength of the license, the excitement of finally being able to crack packs, and the simple yet innovative looking gameplay, I know that Star Wars: Destiny is something that’s going to be on my radar. As soon as I get my hands on some starters, there’s gonna be dice flying all over the place!

Excited about Star Wars: Destiny? You can pre-order it and check out some of the other games mentioned in this article:

Watch this space

Don’t mind the mess, our blog is undergoing a revamp and will soon be active again.

XCOM: The Board Game


alien invasion

XCOM: The Board Game is a cooperative board game of global defense for one to four players.


Placed in command of the elite military organization known as XCOM, you and your friends must find some means to turn back an escalating alien invasion. As UFOs appear in orbit and worldwide panic threatens to undermine national governments, the game’s free companion app and its push-your-luck dice rolling mechanics immerse you deep in the tension and uncertainty of a desperate war against an unknown foe.


You are humanity’s last hope…

Where Others Have Failed, You Must Succeed.

A Digitally Enhanced Experience

The most notable aspect of XCOM: The Board Game is the way that it incorporates a free digital companion app into the core of its gameplay. The companion is easy to access, available both as an online tool or as a downloadable app.Within your games, the app heightens suspense as it both coordinates the alien invasion and permits a dynamic turn structure, something that would be impossible without its use.

In XCOM: The Board Game, the alien invasion has begun. Early encounters have only served to prove that the world’s militaries are hopelessly outgunned. Panic leads to riots, and governments struggle to maintain any control. Human civilization is on the brink of collapse…

As the department heads of XCOM, you and your friends must succeed where the world’s militaries have failed. You lead the elite members of an international, military organization, which is funded by a secret coalition. It is your job to destroy UFOs, research alien technology, uncover the alien invasion plan, and find some way to turn back the alien invaders. You must do this all while preventing the collapse of the governments that secretly fund your organization, and you must do it quickly. You do not have the luxury of time.

Each game of XCOM: The Board Game requires the cooperation of XCOM’s four department heads: Commander, Chief Scientist, Central Officer, and Squad Leader. Whether you play the game solo, with one friend, or with three, you must always include all four roles. Each department head manages a specific set of responsibilities, and each is vital to the world’s defense.

xcom gameplay

Toy and Games Expo 2014 and the Australian Boardgames Championships ACT

Toy and Game Expo 2014

2014 looks like its going to be a big year for the Toy and Game Expo. After a huge attendance last year, TAG14 looks like it will be the biggest one yet. Heaps of new exhibitors like Moose Toys will be there and there is the usual huge amount of board games to play and too buy.

We plan to bring a bigger and better stall this time around with the usual awesome selection and value prices.

Check out what else is on:

Join in on the 5-6th of July!

Australian Boardgaming Championships

Think you are hot in Carcassonne, Dominion, Ticket to Ride and Settlers? There is only one week left to try your hand in the ACT Family Tournaments.
Prizes include paid trip and accommodation to the Australian Boardgames Championships during TAG14 in Sydney.
Play with the best and see how well you go. I also hear that the winner of the Ticket to Ride Championships gets offered a trip to Paris.

Live in the ACT? Check out the details here:

Join in on the 20-21st of April!

A New Year and CANCON 2014

We have a new year with heaps new games and more gaming done!


Aside from picking up the newest titles; there is stacks of games to play and things to do. Personally I challenge myself to stay in the Wargaming Hall for increasingly longer periods of time before I pass out from the ambient body heat.Love gaming and checking out the newest releases? Get to Cancon 2014, Australia’s largest board gaming convention. Our stall will be our biggest one yet and we are bringing in our A- Game with exclusives and the newest of loot at the best of prices.

If you are interested in more info on the convention check it out at the link here :


New Loot

We have stacks of new games to ring in the New Year.Star Wars LCG : Balance of the Force to transform
Galaxy Trucker: Latest Model allows you to free from crash your spaceship into heaps more debris.your sprawling LCG into a sprawling team based game. I do feel I have to keep picking up expansions due to my love of anything Star Wars related.

Freedom for you hard core period strategy gamers.

Euphoria for that awesomely themed worker placement Euro game action.

Finally Space Cadets Dice Duel to add to the growing arsenal of dice games (ala Dungeon Roll).

What did we play?

Nations. Nationsnationsnationsnationsnationsnationsnations. Nations.

Picked it up before Christmas due to the hype. Never looked back after picking the game up. It feels like a cleaner version of through the ages and you can really feel it in the design. I loved the large amount of options you are given every turn which means every game becomes pretty different every play through.

Pathfinding & Commanding is How You Roll

What’s New

Stacks of new games as we gear up for Christmas!

New Queen game Lost Legends – drafting action mixed with semi cooperative themes. The rules reminds of 7 Wonders and Cutthroat Cavern to create an experience where you need everyone’s help but don’t want anyone to steal the kill.

Munchkin Pathfinder for all you role players out there. I’m sure that it adds heaps of roleplaying jokes not already covered by 8 Munchkin expansions.

Dungeon Roll is a nice new small game. It plays fast and it has that cool mix of management and push your luck. I love the fast gameplay too so it really fits that niche of 10 minutes do something gameplay.

Magic Commander 2013

Talking about massive release before Christmas is the huge Magic supplement of the summer.
The Commander sets have always been pretty massive releases and this will prove to be no different.
These sets tend to have a bunch of unique cards and awesome multiplayer madness. These supplements have included the unique cards like Scavenging Ooze and the sick Shardless Agent.

Be sure to check em out here, here, here, here and here.

What we are playing!

Lost Legends is a pretty amazing game. Having stacks of fun exploring that game play which is the best part of stabbing people in the back and drafting ( My fav mechanic)

I Think I Can… I Think I Can…I Thi-

We have new game and cool board gaming happenings in Sydney this week!

Roleplaying Art Piece in Sydney 

Installed in Central station is a new and revolutionary art piece ‘I Think I Can’. Produced by Art and About Sydney, the piece allows people to directly influence the happenings of the sleepy village of Springfield. People are invited to complete a personality test and are given an avatar to interact with the town.Given the role of the art critic I proceeded to slam down an up and coming graffiti artist before wandering the town and appraising the performance piece which is life.

This installation will be up until the 6th of October so check it out when you can!

What’s New? 

Theros! That is all.Wave 3 X – Wing Expansions are coming in though we only have B-Wing in stock right now. They are proving to be super popular and like all the other expansions our stock of this product runs out fast.

People seem to be loving islands with the new game Castaway. This is a quick co-operative game but has semi co-operative elements making it tonnes better than a co-op.

Obligatory AEG cash in for Smash Up is the Obligatory Cthulhu Expansion. Sure to be a cult classic this expansions ensures everyone to be fighting each other in the game and out of the game to control the Cthulhoid faction. How meta!

What did we play?

Theros! That is all

Had tonnes of fun during the Theros Pre-release. Managed to play three times including the soul crushing midnight prerelease and did very well for all three.

This set looks amazing fun and a semi flavour win. Krakens and Greek mythos is what games are about. The Heroic mechanic is awesome and creates a huge title fight which is mad.

Loving this new set and will look fun to draft and eventually make me broke.


Fresh new digs and the Game of the Week: Gauntlet of Fools

Whats New?
It seems like August has alot of new games with not so new ideas.

Forbidden Desert does a pretty mean Forbidden Island impression, mimicking the cooperative classic.

We have a few Skullport expansions left. This expansion clearly leaves a mark on whats turning out to be a hot game of this year, especially since tabletop revisited it.

New Power Grid Expansions allow people to play UK or Quebec (?) and their surely interesting power scenarios.

Finally some cool Krosmaster Arena Action for all the people that love chibi figures fighting (which should be everyone)

What’s Restocked?

Big names are back in.

Hanabi has a massive shipment coming back in this week with no more shipments planned until Christmas and Pandemic has arrived so all preorders have left and should be expected to arrive soon.

What’s the Game? Gauntlet of Fools

Got to try this quick one out this week. The game is a fun bidding game which ends with a dicey gauntlet of
The bidding was heaps fun and is a pretty cool minigame until the meaty and thoroughly luck based crawlfantasy tropes.
You start of bidding for a Class and Weapon combinations by adding stat reductions (aka boasts) to snap them up from your friends.

Once you are suitably classy and armed an adventure deck will serve up monsters to fight until everyone dies and the one with the most loot wins.

begins. There is ALOT of tokens to distribute and stacks of dice to roll. The full game closes at around 30 mins so the luck becomes meted out pretty well.
For this week only we can give out a slight discount for Boss Monster so be sure to check it out.I would recommend this as a meaty filler and would see this played again because the theme is so cool. Only problems would be the management of alot of tokens and you can really feel the mechanics rather than the game at some points.

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