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87 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compared to III - a great improvement
I find that the improvements outweigh the negatives in Civ IV. I've played Civ III for a while, and was always frustrated with the unrealistic means of making it more difficult at higher levels - such as warriors defeating Knights in battle, other Civs building wonders in record turns, things like that. In Civ IV, those issues seem to be repaired. I've found that the...
Published on October 15, 2007 by L. Peary

versus
50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still can't top Civ II
Sure, in terms of graphical sophistication and rules, this latest Civ is the most impressive yet. But in terms of sheer escapist fantasy power, it doesn't hold a candle to Civ II.

The problem with making things gorgeous to look at, especially at high resolution and in detail, is that the game slows down considerably. By the time you have invested 8 hours...
Published on January 7, 2008 by J. Marsano


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87 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compared to III - a great improvement, October 15, 2007
By 
L. Peary (Oklahoma, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Gold Edition - PC (CD-ROM)
I find that the improvements outweigh the negatives in Civ IV. I've played Civ III for a while, and was always frustrated with the unrealistic means of making it more difficult at higher levels - such as warriors defeating Knights in battle, other Civs building wonders in record turns, things like that. In Civ IV, those issues seem to be repaired. I've found that the rules they give us for combat movements, cost, etc., are not bypassed to make the game more difficult at higher levels.

I like the added variety of leaders and their abilities, seems more realistic and helpful for long term strategy. I also like the addition of more wonders, though they have changed some of the benefits of certain wonders so I needed to get used to the same thing being different.

I also am enjoying the new "Permanent Alliance" option. I just finally used that and really liked the dimension it added to game play.

The graphics do bother me a bit - too bouncy. I've changed settings as much as I can to get away from it, but it is still a bit bouncy and makes me dizzy.

I'm also not pleased with the bug that makes the game not work with my graphics card - which I have yet to find a fix for. I am playing it on another computer. One of my son-in-laws also can't use the game since his graphics card doesn't seem to be supported. He has a much bigger, badder, multimedia computer.

It also has a problem with the online updates. I updated and had serious issues which I had to call the manufacturer to fix - couldn't start the game, couldn't uninstall the game, couldn't reinstall the game - totally useless. A Direct X fix repaired that, but I don't think I even got the update after all the work! I'm quite leary of trying again. Then my son, who also has the game, updated his and it caused serious corruption for him too. I told him what my fix was, and it didn't work for his. He has to call and see what to do now. Updates aren't supposed to break the game, they are supposed to fix it. The game works fine without the updates, so I'm going to forego any future attempts to update.
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still can't top Civ II, January 7, 2008
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Gold Edition - PC (CD-ROM)
Sure, in terms of graphical sophistication and rules, this latest Civ is the most impressive yet. But in terms of sheer escapist fantasy power, it doesn't hold a candle to Civ II.

The problem with making things gorgeous to look at, especially at high resolution and in detail, is that the game slows down considerably. By the time you have invested 8 hours playing a round, and your little empire has grown, you want the game to proceed a snappy pace. Rendering all that detail, however, has a cost, even on a higher-end home system. Civ IV's big weakness is that game play becomes very slow.

Others certainly disagree and prefer the eye candy of animated rivers and watching individual units flex their muscles in combat. I've turned off all the detail and as much animation as I can get away with, but the game still isn't as much fun as Civ II, which I still play. Your mileage might vary, so give it a shot--the 'gold' edition is certainly a good deal.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome game, if you have a FAST computer, June 16, 2008
By 
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Gold Edition - PC (CD-ROM)
I've been playing Civilization Games since the game first came out. Even when there were two different brands Sid Meier's and non-Sid Meier, I bought both to see which was better. (Obviously Sid Meier's versions was ;)

This game is FANTASTIC! The requirements are incredably high though and often my PC would lag as the game progressed, taking longer and longer for the computer to compute each turn. I upgraded my computer's RAM though and that largely solved the problem.

If you like ANY of the other Civilization games, you'll love this one. I wouldn't say this is a sequel though, because it's more like a whole new Civilization game.

Also, I would recommend getting the Beyond the Sword expansion along with this for a life changing experience.

Lastly, make sure you check out "Sid Meier's Alpha Centaury." It is INCREDIBLY hard but is FANTASTIC!!! It has Customizable Units and you can even take control of the native flora and fauna.

Make sure you have a lot of time on your hands if you're going to play this game though, as it can easily consume 8 hours of you day without you even realizing it.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Huge and engaging, April 17, 2009
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Gold Edition - PC (CD-ROM)
If there is any game that can be called epic in scope, meticulous in strategy, sprawling in duration, and stirring in impact, that game is certainly Civilization 4.

Civ 4 takes you from the dawn of civilization (4000 BC) to the near future (2050 AD). You lead your people through all of human history and experience about a dozen nebulously-defined eras, from fighting off lions on the prairie, to the development of roads and farms, to the formation of regular armies and iron tools, to your first sea exploration, to the development of the compass and astronomy which allows you to brave the open sea, to the age of gunpowder, to the age of sail: great wooden ships including privateers (secretly-funded pirates which can plunder rivals' trade routes without officially declaring war) and ships-of-the-line, to the development of the steam engine and industrial revolution: railroad on land and armored ships at sea, to the development of the submarine and infantry, to early air: new trade routes and a critical new dimension to military conflict, to the modern era with tanks and the machine gun, to current times with helicopters and stealth flight, to the near future including nuclear arms proliferation. Not that it goes in that strict order, since you can choose to study specific branches of research - naval and air research is a good idea on a sea map - before others, or even choose to completely neglect certain dead-end technologies like horse riding and possibly communism/fascism if you don't plan to go to war.

But fighting isn't all the game has to offer. In fact, unless you're a very skilled player, war is usually a bad idea because (unless you're able to force your enemy into total capitulation) it's one of the worst drains on your developing economy. Instead of building up huge armies, you can put your resources into maturing the arts, including music, theatre, literature, and philosophy, which will make your people happy and loyal, as well as spreading your culture throughout the world. Culture is so important that you can actually win the game by being loved enough by the people (or leaders) of the world. Nearby rival cities can even revolt and demand that their leaders allow them to join your culture! The development of religion is very important in the early game, comprising about half of the early research paths, but research into it is not a long-term waste as it's stepping point into the arts and the development of organized government, and sometimes determines which nations are considered cultural centers in the later game. Religious allegiances are powerful and religious and ideological wars can continue through the end game.

You also need to pay attention to the development of the sciences. From the development of writing (formal open-border agreements), the alphabet (technology trading), paper (map trading), and currency (gold trading), scientific research is by far the best long-term strategy for remaining relevant in the rapidly-changing Civ 4 world. It's difficult and critical to balance your allocation of research and production resources where they're needed now while making sacrifices in the short term for long term gains. One of the many brilliantly-chosen quotes associated with each technology is "It is not the strongest species that survives, but rather the one most responsive to change." You'll meet problems like transportation and food storage with solutions like the wheel and pottery. You meet problems like pollution and climate change with aqueducts, hospitals, recycling centers, and forest preserves. Every single era brings its own unique challenges which arise in the game's many different dimensions. If a peaceful religion spreads in your country, your citizens may refuse to work if you try to go to war (build jails or enact martial law!). If you defy the international community (Apostolic Palace / United Nations) then you may have to deal with riots. Floods (and enemy agents) can cause water poisoning which damages food supplies and puts some of your population out of work for awhile. These aren't isolated incidents that come up every once in awhile - you have to continuously monitor health, food supplies, metal supplies and other precious resources, the happiness of your population in each city, the robustness of your defenses, and the happiness of your people. If you build cities near jungles or flood plains you can be certain that you'll enounter disease and should carefully plan your infrastructure to make sure that you'll be able to deal with that problem repeatedly over the entire 6050 years of your reign.

Finance and gold supply is another critical component to a successful civilization. If your expenses exceed your income and your treasury is empty then production will sharply drop in poorer cities as people refuse to work without pay. A large cash reserve is extremely useful for rushing production in emergencies and pacifying powerful rivals. Domestic and foreign (land, sea, and air) trade routes bring in wealth (multiplied by customs house and bank infrastructure) you can lend your technical expertise to allies in the late game by being the first to develop international corporations, which you manage and consume specific resources to meet specific needs like scarce oil, scarce aluminum, scarce food, scarce common metals like copper and iron, and the insatiable desire of the people for jewels.

Strategically planning the layout of your country and building trade networks are also important to laying a healthy foundation for your nation. Different tiles grant your nearby cities different bonuses. Grasslands are good for growing food, and you probably want to build farms on them. The presence of hills with metals or coal grants a boost to production. You can pick which tiles you want each city to work, which allows you to specialize each city to some degree for what types of tiles are around it. As your city grows you'll be able to work more tiles, though you'll have to work more food tiles to support your workers. You can also put your population into specialists to put extra emphasis on production or research or wealth.

Despite the vast number of domestic problems you'll have to face, you'll have more headaches from your rivals. Each leader has their own unique personality. Some of them are just terrible leaders and make poor allies. Some rule their people with an iron fist (Mao...) which reduces their nation's productivity but makes it extraordinarily resistant to civil unrest and outside cultural forces. Some leaders just won't like you and your relationships will deteriorate despite your desperate bribes: if two leaders are both demanding that you cancel your deals with the other, there's nothing you can do to appease them. You'll constantly be monitoring your foreign advisor panels to keep track of your fickle rivals' ever-changing loyalties. Sometimes you can get away with shaping international opinion to unite against a single rival and avoid the almost inevitable collapse into two or three warring alliances. More often you can manipulate your allies into absorbing enemy rivals as vassal states by funding your allies' war efforts. International relations are determined by a bewildering array of factors including history (if they've known the other since the beginning of the game they tend to develop strong friendships or bloodthirsty rivalries), whether one nation is in the way of another's expansion, whether one nation has refused to help another by giving money or research, minor incidents like a spy being discovered or refused tribute, and difference in religion or civic choices. You can pick a state religion if you want, which is an extremely polarizing factor in terms of international relations, and you can pick one of five ways to organize your nation in four other categories: government, labor, civil rights, and economy, which also can cause international tension.

Short term goals make this exhausting game more accessible. The right choice for what you should be building next in each city often conflicts with constraints like the race to discover a technology before an opponent (Liberalism grants a free tech to the first discoverer and others grant a free Great Artist/Engineer/Scientist/Spy/General) or the race to build a world wonder. Wonders grant significant bonuses and tempt you to put your production on hold to scramble to finish it before a rival. If your rival finishes it first, you can't finish yours and the resources you put into its construction are liquidated into your treasury. Finishing the Apostolic Palace or United Nations first guarantees that your proposals are put to a vote. The Hanging Gardens grants a health a population bonus to all cities. Versailles increases government efficiency by reducing maintenance costs in nearby cities. There are hundreds of different - very expensive - options to consider and weigh against each other. A wonder that increases patriotic pride and decreases war protesters is a poor choice for a Pacifist nation.

The graphics are beautiful and the music classy and appropriate. Rivers and oceans are animated, the terrain is varied and realistic, and units and buildings each have their own unique models. It's all in 3D, which is pretty unpopular since it sends system requirements through the roof. It doesn't help that the AI is kind of slow when you're playing the late game on a Large or Huge map. You can zoom in and out. Lots of graphics options like health bars and assorted types of suggested tiles/paths/actions/selections that strobe at you. Everything you'd expect, whatever.

But Civilization 4 is not perfect. In fact, sometimes it verges on completely unplayable. My first complaint is with the domestic trade system. Your cities act like individual city-states, not like a country with a common government. You can't build a city in the desert or in a snowy tundra because it will starve: every city has to be completely self-sufficient because you can't transfer food from one city to another. Even in an advanced economy criscrossed with railroads, an airport network, public transportation, supermarkets, and biology research, a city not surrounded by grassland or plains will not be able to grow. Also resources are treated very poorly. I can understand only finding deer or gems or uranium in certain tiles, but you literally can only grow wheat, corn, rice, spices, wine, incense, bananas, pigs, sheep, cows, and horses (off the top of my head; I'm sure there's more) in the tiles where you find them in the wild! It is impossible to plant or breed vegetable and animal resources even in the near-future age: you can ONLY harvest corn where you find it growing wild. If you're unlucky enough to start in an area devoid of resources then you have to trade for what you need, which won't be easy since your economy will be crippled by poor production from the beginning. Also in domestic trade and most foreign trade, the trade routes just create wealth out of thin air and dump it into your treasury. You don't actually give anything away that you have surplus of, and you don't actually get anything back. Surpluses pile up unused and unusable while you struggle to make ends meet for resources that you lack. It would be nice if trade routes addressed this.

By far the most frustrating aspect of Civilization 4 is war. War costs a fortune - in production. You can have billions of gold and still struggle to raise an army, since rushing production and upgrading units is unrealistically expensive. If you put your efforts into building a strong early economy then a neighbor with an empty treasury and a ship full of swordsmen will utterly wipe you out. A little later in the game, especially on land maps, you may encounter a rival who's been doing nothing the entire game except cranking up an absurdly powerful war machine which he unleashes on his enemies and is literally unstoppable. I've had three or four musketeers in each city, which is a pretty good defense for an economic player like me, and seen a stack of no less than 30 knights appear on my border - on Noble difficulty. Of course, such a strategy is likely to end in ruin for the war monger, but with two or three rivals trying it it can actually succeed for one of them, and that's all it takes. To win the game you must play for long-term gains but the game is played one turn at a time and you could be conquered by a short-sighted rival who nevertheless is doing very well right now. More advanced units - perhaps realistically - have a really huge advantage. If you come across a comparable unit type one level above yours, it will take roughly two of your units to defeat it. More than one level it will take four to eight of your units. If you're playing defensively you can usually get away with using inferior units due to ridiculously high defensive bonuses. The problem is that while if you're a good player you may be evenly matched until about the end of the age of sail (in the fairest diffculty, Noble; anything below that is a joke), the world inevitably stratifies. Unless you actually start the game at the modern era you almost never see fair combat with airplanes. Either you're wielding vastly superior stealth technology over a helpless opponent and pulling the strings of the world economy, or you're incredulous at stumbling across a rival's unit that's 20 turns ahead of you and possibly somebody else's vassal state! The end of the game is a race to develop devastating technologies like nuclear weapons, stealth flight, and robotics, but at that point there's really nothing you can do to improve your position in the race. You usually can't expand and build more cities to boost your research and wars tend to be endless and unwinnable, like Nineteen Eighty-Four. If you get behind in military technology, then you're completely at the mercy of your more powerful rivals, which wouldn't be so bad if international politics were a little deeper.

Tech trading is deeply flawed. If you're on top you can push ahead in one line of research and your rivals will give up their secrets for your newest tech, allowing you to fill out the rest of your tech tree in other important areas. It's very easy to stay on top of the world's research. But if you run into that black hole of war and get sucked down off the top of the ladder it's nearly impossible to claw your way back to the top. Rivals will never sell late game techs for anything other than higher techs - even 3 billion gold doesn't impress them at all. So if you're on top you can trade your slightly higher techs for everything, but if you're in second then you can't trade for anything higher and you have to actually research every new tech you want. In other words, the one on top only has to research a single line of tech and can use the entire rest of the world's research to fill out the rest of his needs, while you have to research almost every single one of the new techs you want. You can't win the end game tech race unless you're already on top.

But how does someone else get on top if it's so hard? The problem is that you're one of like six to ten competing leaders. All sorts of misfortunes and conflicts will conspire to bring down the average leader. So somebody's bound to be on top but it's not likely to be you. You'll be emboiled in war and bitter rivalries while someone else by total luck happens to get along best with everyone and soars to the top. That's Civ 4's largest flaw, at least on reasonable difficulty levels. Each player is playing nearly perfectly, so even if you play perfectly you'll only win a tenth of the time.

There are other little annoying quirks that will consume much of your play time. Usually you'll control a large number of tiles and a large number of workers which have many projects to balance. You can manage their tasks manually if you want to spend a minute each turn scrolling around your empire memorizing the terrain and monitoring the individual needs of each city and national trends of surplus and deficit, but you probably just want to automate your workers and have them weigh the variables themselves. The problem is that they're idiotic. Workers tend to spend a dozen turns at a time building forts on top of valuable resources instead of constructing improvements to harvest them. If you don't have the requisite tech to gather the resource (you discover oil with Scientific Method but can't pump it until Combustion) then they ALWAYS build a fort on it.

They also like destroying your farms to build workshops and lumber yards, even if the city is starving and desperately needs more farms. The plus side is that city governors are actually pretty good about intelligently selecting tiles to work, even if your workers frustrate their plans.

Overall Civilization 4 is one of the greatest games ever published. It's a lot of fun and you'll continue to be engaged by the complex gameplay long after you've grown tired beating other single player games over and over. It's just sometimes frustrating.

Oh and you MUST get Beyond the Sword. Without the BtS expansion the AI blatantly cheats even on the easiest difficulties. The BtS expansion includes all of the gameplay changes of Warlords, so don't get them both. Improvements over vanilla Civ 4 include great generals, the espionage system, and a few new tech paths.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Civ 4 works on Windows 7, July 22, 2010
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Gold Edition - PC (CD-ROM)
Loaded Civ 4 on my clean install of Windows 7 (32 bit). It loaded and ran - no problem.

After i got the game, i noticed the box (under minimum system requirements) states it works on Vista. Vista and Windows 7 share the same driver base.

One side note, to get another game (Heroes V) to work on my laptop, I had to load Direct X 9 drivers from the Microsoft site. Not sure if this came into play. The installation disk for Civ 4 also includes these drivers.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid improvement over the earlier versions, January 7, 2008
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Gold Edition - PC (CD-ROM)
I've played each of the previous versions of this game, including the variants like Call to Power. The game has always been interesting to me and this latest version really does make playing the game more fun. There is less tedium from managing your civilization and more action as you decide which path to glory you're going to pursue.

One thing that I miss from some of the earlier variants is the ability to proceed well into the future. That allows the game to run a lot longer and thus makes it more interesting. This newest release provides more ways to achieve victory but a side effect of this is often a shorter game.

The game play balance has clearly been refined from earlier games and is right on the money.
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40 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Error ridden for Vista, December 9, 2007
By 
Steveo (Baltimore, Maryland USA) - See all my reviews
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Gold Edition - PC (CD-ROM)
I have attempted to update the game but I get an error when I try that. I have uninstalled the game, reinstalled it several times. I have made sure that direct x and other things are completely updated before reinstalling. I have followed all instructions that the company has given me to fix the issue..(to include removing the game from the registry) and STILL I get the same error. I can not install ANY patches because it says that there is NO previously installed version of the game. No patches. They keep telling me to install patches in a particular order...NO PATCHES WILL INSTALL... I can not update the game or upgrade to the next version. Overall this game is good but I am not happy about the Vista incompatibility.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun game, annoying support, August 10, 2008
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Gold Edition - PC (CD-ROM)
I bought the Gold edition and the Beyond the Sword expansion pack and overall I think this game is excellent when you are playing it. I really have to say it is addictive and as long as you are happy with the game right out of the box and assuming you are not the type of person to read the manual anyway you will love it.

Unfortunately it had a few shortcomings:
- documentation claimed that the full manual was on disc 3 (Gold) but at least on mine it wasn't there. I emailed support and they told me to go download it off some third party site. When I responded politely that they must be joking and they must have a pdf version of the full manual somewhere they sent me a link to a pdf of the full manual...who knows why they told me to go hunt one down myself the first time.
- when you go to download an update there is no progress bar so you sit there and wonder if it's almost done, how much longer, etc. The only way you know the update is still running is when you go to click on something else and it tells you that you may not proceed until the update is complete. It might take a really long time depending on how fast your connection is and you pretty much just sit there wondering.
- I checked out the website and it is pretty barren for such a great game, and you can find some of the links are broken on the website so it seems like they don't really maintain the site much.
- some parts of the game itself are somewhat clunky like the Civilopedia. It is pretty decent although they could have added more information to it and the interface for it is pretty poor. I wanted to know what caused the global warming effect and of course that wasn't in there so I ended up chasing down the full game manual just so I can find out what game effect made it (using nukes apparently).
- the only real game issue I had with it was when you get to the end of a game and just barely scratch the surface on super-tech things like space-elevators and interstellar spacecraft it's all over. Years ago I played the Call to Power game and the one thing that I loved about that game was the high-tech. Underwater cities, extreme eco-terrorists (I loved the ability to eco-nuke a city) and stuff like that. None of that here...at least yet (cross my fingers).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Civ 4 gold, April 16, 2008
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Gold Edition - PC (CD-ROM)
I personaly own this game and I am proud of it. Like all the civilization games before it, this is just the latest and greatest version out. I recomend trying the demo before buying. But I like editing the xml files for bigger cities and more gold. The mod options are great. And the in game map editor is a handy addion compared to previous games. I got this a christmas gift in 07. It is worth 4 stars if you a fan of these games.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SUPER Addicting!, November 9, 2007
By 
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Gold Edition - PC (CD-ROM)
Ok, this game is super addicting once you figure out how to load, run and play it. Took me a couple of hours to load it and get through some errors. I still have never gotten an icon on my screen or on the menu bar. Started playing it immediately and found that it could have used a few more details in explaining stuff. Played it 6 hours the first night and by the end of the 6 hours finally finished learning how to do I think most things. Wished it had a short tutorial game just to get new comers to civilization use to things. My roommate continued to play it till 6 in the morning and I see he has surpassed me in talent and his citizens love him dearly.

I have not had this project long just a mere few days and I can't seem to put it down. I wish inside the city shots were a little better but overall all the other visual items are way to cool with this game.

A definite buy. Though it saddens me a bit that there will be several more editions I will have to buy because only the Gold Edition is yet available. What comes next platinum edition? LOL
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