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Tag: FFG (page 1 of 6)

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).

Being a Boss (Monster)

We have stacks of new games that has just come in; including some really cool expansions for popular games.

Whats new?

We have the long awaited deluxe expansion for Netrunner – Creation and Control. Expect to spend hours fiddling with all these new cards and proceed to ‘hack’ apart the competition.

Some really cool steam punk board game strangely called Planet Steam showing that a Euro made by FFG is not a blast of hot air.

The Inn expansion for The Village; a Spiel winner, is now out allowing you to see the rise and fall of your little clan meeples.

Anime inspired Channel A combines Cards against Humanity and a japanime theme which should be a pick up for anyone who has an otaklue.

and other gems which you can check out on our Facebook Gallery.

What we played?

Boss Monster is a quick romp having an awesome theme and 8 bit graphics to boot. People try to bait heroes into their
Titanium Wars is an awesome concept.dungeon but if your dungeon is too attractive you will get pieced apart by a whole bout of stronger champions. The game play is fast and fun though very luck driven so it makes out to be a solid filler.

Zogars Gaze… enough said.Players buy and send their ships to challenge for planets in a space opera free for all. Simultaneous purchasing mixed with a King of Tokyo stands to make Iello another hit game. There is a bit of upkeep and some of the rules are a bit fiddly but the game shows heaps of promise.

No Resisting Monopoly

What’s New?

Need more gamer fuel? Sonic the Hedgehog and Street Fighter Collectors Edition Monopoly in stock! 
Update for Starcraft Risk: should be in next week so get ready for some mutaling action. This reminds me to play the actual Starcraft the Boardgame: Board game edition as it was a pretty cool and brutal 4X game.
Ugg – Tect! for head bonking action. This could be the party game of choice to the barbarically inclined.

New Yu Gi Oh Structure deck to change up the metagame. This one is the Realm of the Sea Emperor

What’s Back In?

Seasons and The Resistance is back In Stock so quickly snap those up before they disappear again.

What did we play?

 

Finally won my first game of War of the Ring. The fellowship was annihilated on the steps of Mordor, losing 3 members in the first three steps. In the last

turns it was all in on Rivendell but Frodo dropped his elven cloak on to slam dunk the possessed finery in sweet fashion.

Heaps more Return to Ravnica draft, it is easily one of the more intriguing drafts to play though this is coming from back to back core set and the much maligned Avacyn Restored draft.

Finally Netrunner, playing some ungodly ice destroying anarch brew. This game is quite hard to handle as it is completely different to every other card game out there. Haas Bioroid for a big ice corp deck seems to play very slow and steady.

Dungeoneering 101

What’s new?

Dragon Shield sleeves for all you TCG fans. Personal favourite brand of mine as they feel amazing and last forever. Also they are are made by Arcane Tinman who develops Spoils, one of my

all time fave TCG’s.

For the kids: Chupacabra  which is a new dice game based on surviving fantastical monster attacks.

New Chapter packs of A Game of Thrones LCG and Call of Cthulhu LCG

 Small World Realms and Descent are the big ones. Descent preorders have all been served with airfreighted stock.

Also new preorders such as Dominion: Dark Ages, DC deck building game and 3012: Deckbuilding game

 What we played!

Lunch Time Descent! Although not every day, we throw caution to the wind and play a scenario from Descent 2nd edition. It is our express goals to make this into a regular-ish thing we can do when we aren’t swamped with work. Last week was First Blood, the starting scenario involving Mauler letting his goblin followers escape while the heroes break up his pow wow.

Enter Syndrael, Alaric and Avric

Knight, Necromancer and Disciple intervening on Maulers party by unloading alot of flame and steel upon the horde of goblins. We didn’t finish the session but ended it with the heroes bogged down under an avalanche of dead ettins and goblins.

 

The game plays really well and fast. There is a tonne of variation in the box, a plethora of play with a full campaign already included in the box filled with player choices on what to do. There is an interesting mix of mission objectives, I only thought the adventurers would be mindlessly killing things but I was glad to see missions about grabbing vegetables and suck. Only problem I have is that there is no finality in the game aside from defeat, with the heroes constantly enduring all manners of punishment to grind the overlords minions to dust.

Mind you I LOVE miniatures. They are pretty much on the amazing side and having two dragons is always better than none.

Are you as fast as your draw…

I love spaghetti westerns.

Nothing better than a standoff followed with a blaze of gunfire.
Well if Twilight Struggle could attest, sitting in the Kremlin and making dominoes fall is equally as fun.
But not everyone has the time to throw down the slugfest which is Twilight Struggle, then the list of fun (for me at least), 2 player games start to grow thin.

Lost Cities? Card counting.
War of the Ring? same problem as Twilight struggle: with orcs.
Magic? Yeah sure but I could only tap that  game for so long.
But checking through the new game pile yesterday I found an eager El Indio grasping two revolvers pointing straight at me.
While the bullets missed the game didn’t. A fast  card game about hunting down the Colty gang with a posse of Law Dogs, Revolver really scratched that two player asymmetrical itch that Labyrinth: War on Terror and a CCG game would.

Gameplay was fun and furious. Cowboys and bandits would die left and right and as the Colty gang you really get to feel like the world is against you and you have to race for the Mexican border. As the border looms close, only your closest companions are left as the noose begins to draw around you. Suddenly you are on the 3:15 express from Rattlesnake station with your dog dead and only a few Derringers to keep you comfy.

 

That’s when you blow up the train.
With all the bounty hunters on it.
Then you make your run for the border.

Ride off. Sunset. Varmints
Doused with the spaghetti western theme making it 3:10 to ‘Yuma’ in-con- carnate this game really hits the theme sweet spot of being playable and thematic (I am looking at you Scarab/ Minotaur Lords… wait that game is pretty good).

Won’t be slamming this down in party situations (unless they are playing Twilight Imperium when you awkwardly rock up mid turn 2), but this is a surefire keep to replace some bad two player card game.

Who am I kidding, I keep all my games.

Check out Revolver: The Wild West Gun Fighting Game here
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20/100 Games in 100 Days: Cosmic Encounter

After an amazing Storm of Souls Event day which saw stacks of games being played, most of all Ascension Storm of Souls.
That game was pretty fun. I mean how much strategy did the game contain.
Most of it was tactics which is fine but it certainly scratches a different itch compared too Dominion.

Last night we brought home some wine and friends and tangoed in the starred ring known as Cosmic Encounter.
Known pretty much as a fierce and crazy dudes on an abstracted map game, one of its big appeals its its huge catalogue of playable races with remarkably different powers.

Now I have played Cosmic Encounter before and had a terrible time playing it. Hopefully this game would change my mind.

But once we dealt out the races it was stop go stop go from there.
Only in the final hours once we had a groove how did we find how interesting and utterly crazy the game was.

Way meatier than it should be and I would rather play Rex for my space fix.

Till tomorrow!

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15/100 Games in 100 Days: Hey! Thats my fish!

What a week.

Risk Legacy was released in Australia and I picked up two copies.
One to enshrine and the other to other to ravage with the fortunes of war.

Was running out of quick games to play after work which was small enough to carry while we started to move house. I took a look at my collection to find a small petite box staring back at me.

Penguins? FFG cashing in on the Happy Feet crowd?

More like vicious brawl on the fjords (or where ever penguins live).

This is a cruel allegory of what environmental overfishing really is.
We received all the points but our metaphorical penguins are adrift in the ocean.

But what a fun game. Really quick and light and can feel almost chess like. Definitely going to play this again with more people (4). Though at three people it took teamwork to really screw someone over.

Don’t play if you are faint of heart!

RISK LEGACY TOMORROW! WHEEEE

Till tomorrow

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Anyone for a Game of Thrones?

A Game of Thrones

George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books, which began with A Game of Thrones in 1996, is a hugely successful fantasy series that has gripped the imagination of readers, boardgamers, roleplaying gamers and television audiences—and soon, video gamers as well.

Fantasy Flight Games have been releasing games based in this rich melieu for some time now, and with the release of the second edition of the A Game of Thrones: The Boardgame, it’s the perfect time to have a look at them!

A Game of Thrones LCGIt all started in 2002 with the release of the A Game of Thrones LCG: Core Set. This endlessly engaging Living Card Game (expansion sets are a fixed number of cards of the same type; no random collecting) has won two Origins Awards, and FFG run regular tournaments. Players assume the leadership of one of the great houses of Westeros, each with a different play style, and by exercising military might, intrigue, or diplomacy, they compete for power. In addition, a special plot deck brings in thematic effects that can greatly affect the game. The game can be played by two players or more, and with three or more players, each chooses a role at the start of the each round which engages with the other roles in interesting ways. The great thing about the game is that it acomodates a whole range of different playing styles, whether you prefer military conquest, diplomatic manoeuvring, or underhanded scheming… And with six deluxe expansions and over 40 ‘Chapter Packs’ of 60 cards each, the variety is staggering.

I’ve gone into some detail before about the ‘BattleLore’ game Battles of Westeros, but if you’re a fan of the Command & Colors games such as Command & Colors: Ancients, Memoir ’44, Battle Cry and BattleLore, you can’t go past this fresh new take on the system. Not only is it full of the character of the books, with a big emphasis on the leader personalities and their impact on the battles, but the system moves away from the ‘play a card to activate units on a particular flank’ system, and gives the player a lot more flexibility and choice. I’ve found it to be a very strategic game with a lot of tactical complexity to explore, and very different from the other games in the C&C system series.

There’s also a great range of expansions available so your armies and strategies can grow: Wardens of the West gives you Lannister reinforcements; Wardens of the North more troops for House Stark; Tribes of the Vale lets you add clansmen as allies to your force; Lords of the River adds House Tully as allies; and the upcoming Brotherhood Without Banners introduces even more new units and commanders.

Game of ThronesThe latest exciting release in FFG’s stable of Westeros-based games is the return of their much-praised game A Game of Thrones: The Boardgame, in a spectacular new second edition that incorporates much of the original game’s expansion material. It’s the perfect time for new fans—those who have discovered the melieu through the incredibly impressive HBO television series, for example—to start gaming in the world of Westeros.

A Game of Thrones: The Boardgame sees three to six players take on the roles of the great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, as they vie for control of the Iron Throne through the use of diplomacy and warfare. It’s an epic boardgame that requires more than military might to win—much as in the books, there are many ways to achieve your goals, and strategic planning, masterful diplomacy, and clever card play will all be required. And with totally updated components covered with stunning artwork, new innovations, and the best bits from the original two expansions, this is the definitive edition of the game.

As you can see, if you’re a fan of A Game of Thrones and a strategy gamer, there’s a wealth of good gaming to be had. Just remember: “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”

What’s Hot: Arcana Revised Edition

Are you ambitious and cunning enough to rule the city of Cadwallon?

ArcanaIn Fantasy Flight’s stunning new revised edition of Arcana, 2-4 guild leaders send their loyal agents into the districts of Cadwallon to entice, bribe, or win over powerful citizens, buy precious treasures, and utilize locations. Whichever player earns the most victory points wins!

This vibrant game creates a fantastical atmosphere for players to enjoy while they attempt to best their opponents through strategic card play.

Make your guild the most influential by winning stake cards and strengthening your deck with impressive personalities, advantageous locations, or tempting relics to use in bribery.

The revised edition of Arcana introduces two new guilds, and six new rule options for players to choose from, or play with them all for a more challenging experience.

Arcana includes: 6 Guild Crest cards, 120 Guild cards, over 100 Stake cards, over 60 cards for game variant play, and 1 rulebook. The beautiful illustrations that are so unique to this enjoyable card game are featured throughout.

Old fans of this game, and gamers who have yet to discover its fun cardplay and unique atmosphere, will be eager to enter the city of Cadwallon with this new edition!

A Very Gamey Halloween!

Halloween

If there’s one night of the year that’s perfect for getting friends and family together to play boardgames, it’s Halloween night! Boardgames are perfect for horror and supernatural themes, and there’s monsters and zombies galore out there if you like a few chills with your gaming. Prepare yourself, and together we’ll investigate a few …

Elder SignWhen it comes to horror on Halloween, Fantasy Flight Games has it covered. Of course there are the old classics Fury of Dracula and Arkham Horror, but the latest addition to the horror boardgaming pantheon is Elder Sign, and it’s perfect for fun, fast halloween dice-rolling fun! Elder Sign is a cooperative dice game of supernatural intrigue for 1-8 players by Richard Launius and Kevin Wilson, the designers of Arkham Horror. Players take the roles of investigators racing against time to stave off the imminent return of the Ancient One. Armed with tools, allies, and occult knowledge, investigators must put their sanity and stamina to the test as they adventure to locate Elder Signs, the eldritch symbols used to seal away the Ancient Ones and win the game.

If you like Arkham Horror you’ll love Mansions of Madness, a macabre game of horror, insanity, and mystery for 2-5 players. Each game takes place within a pre-designed story that provides players with a unique map and several combinations of plot threads. These threads affect the monsters that investigators may encounter, the clues they need to find, and which climactic story ending they will ultimately experience. One player takes on the role of the keeper, controlling the monsters and other malicious powers within the story. The other players take on the role of investigators, searching for answers while struggling to survive with their minds intact. If you feel like re-enacting an H. P. Lovecraft story on Halloween with some friends, this is the game for you. Comes with 32 detailed plastic miniatures of the investigators and the horrors that await them (check out our painting guide).

The stars are right, and terrors from beyond space and time or breaking through… when Cthulhu rises, we’re all doomed… but whose downfall will be the most entertaining? In Atlas Games’s Cthulhu Gloom you control the fate of your Lovecraftian protagonists, guiding them down a path of horror and madness to an untimely death. Meanwhile, you’ll play positive cards on your opponents to keep them happy, healthy and annoying alive. The transparent cards reveal or obscure the effects of cards below, and the totals showing through determine your score. When one group finally falls prey to the interdimensional doom that awaits us all, whoever has suffered the most terrifying tale wins! The Cthulhu mythos is a perfect fit for the hilariously dark card game of Gloom, a game that brings new meaning to the description ‘dark humour’. This new standalone version of Gloom features Transformation cards that mutate a character for the remainder of the game, no matter which modifiers might come its way later; and what’s more, the character’s image is replaced with ‘something hideous and slimy’. Perfect for Halloween!

Betrayal at House on the HillAnother Halloween classic is Betrayal at House on the Hill, and the second edition is here from Wizards of the Coast. The creak of footsteps on the stairs, the smell of something foul and dead, the feel of something crawling down your back – this and more can be found in the exciting refresh of this Avalon Hill favorite. This fun and suspenseful game is a new experience almost every time you play—you and your friends explore ‘that creepy old place on the hill’ until enough mystic misadventures happen that one of the players turns on all of the others! Multiple scenarios and a different layout for every game cover just about every B-movie horror situation you can imagine—and then some! Hours of fun and chills for all your friends and family, and the ideal laugh-out-loud game for Halloween.

In Eaten By Zombies!, the brand new deck-building game direct from Essen, players strive to survive as the horde of the living dead make it their goal to force you to join the crowd. You must work with or against the other survivors to be the last one standing. No… not standing, cowering in the corner crying for their mommy.

This well-reviewed game is a combination of card drafting, hand management and survival horror with a few dirty tricks and a healthy dollop of dark humour thrown in. With a set of over thirty different cards to start with, no two games will ever be alike. Every turn you must venture out from your safe house and scavenge for Swag. But not so fast, because the undead have other plans for your brains. Every day a horde of fresh zombies will be waiting for you, and over time the threat gets greater. With the help of your swag (the cards in your hand) you must survive any way you can, and if you can escape or kill the horde, you may scavenge the remains of the desolate suburbs for more swag. With the right stuff and a few good friends to outrun, you may just make it through this alive… well, no probably not. But being the last one to die a slow, painful death means you can claim sole victory!

There’s just a few of the many, many boardgames available that are perfect for a scare and a laugh on Halloween night. Plan your scary boardgaming evening now!

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