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16 Fun Board Games that Exercise Your Brain And Make You Smarter

16 Fun Board Games that Exercise Your Brain And Make You Smarter

Games are generally considered to be mere entertainment devices. But anybody who knows anything about board games can tell you that the best games are the ones that are both fun and give your brain a workout. This is hardly surprising considering that fellow geeks are generally the ones creating them. With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of some of the most intelligent and fun board games on the market:

1. Ticket to Ride

Photo Credit: www.orientexpresswriters.wordpress.com

    Number of players: 2-5 people

    Time: 30-60 minutes

    How to play: Players need to collect train car cards to claim railway routes across the map. The longer the routes, the more points they earn. Additional points come from fulfilling destination tickets that connect distant cities. There are a variety of editions now out, each mapping a different country, continent or area of the world. My favorites are the original USA and Märklin maps, respectively.

    Why it’s fun: The rules the game is not complicated so you can play it with your family and friends of all ages. Also, it’s an exciting game as you have to act quickly so that you can occupy the ideal routes on the map!

    How it’s good for your brain: It’s a game that can train up player’s strategic and logical thinking skills. Also, some of the maps are historical so you can build upon your knowledge of geography in the past and present days by playing the game.

    Rating: 4.8/5 (from 3483 Amazon customers)

    Price: $30.95

    Online version: https://www.daysofwonder.com/online/

    2. Risk

    Photo Credit: www.freshnessmag.com

      Number of players: 2-5 people

      Time: 120-180 minutes

      How to play: Players take turns to use their myriad of army units to attack each other, take over territories and fortify their existing ones. To win in the game, players may also need to form or dissolve alliance with each other strategically to maximaize their occupation of territories.

      Why it’s fun: The game is a great imitation of warfare in which you make all sorts of decisions promptly. It’s pretty hard to predict who is the winner as the game is a combination of strategy and luck. So you need to fight till the last moment to know the result!

      How it’s good for your brain: Risk will definitely give your brain a work out because—like so many other games on this list—it’s all about strategy. It also builds your logical thinking and decision-making skills because everything you do has consequences. As such, the ’cause and effect’ gameplay is highly beneficial to building your intelligence.

      Rating: 4.4/5 (by 113 Amazon customers)

      Price: $19.89

      Online version: http://www.pogo.com/games/risk

      3. Puerto Rico

      Photo Credit: www.ageofgods.com

        Number of players: 3-5 people

        Time: 90 minutes

        How to play: Puerto Rico is a role-playing game. Players take turn to draw a role card, like “traders” and “builders”, and have to take actions appropriate to the role. The one who can make the best use of different roles to gain the most resources to either export goods or construct buildings will be the winner.

        Why it’s fun: There are a variety of ways for you to trump your competitors in the game. You can choose to produce a lot of goods, keep constructing buildings or striking a balance between these two for victory. So you will never feel the same way even you play several rounds of the game in a row!

        How it’s good for your brain: Being a strategy game, Puerto Rico is great for developing your strategic skills. It forces you to think ahead and weigh up the consequences of your decisions. In addition, the game has a fair amount of rules and gameplay that you have to get your head around, which helps strengthen your mental capacity and multi-tasking skills.

        Rating: 4.6/5 (by 398 Amazon customers)

        Price: $29.48

        Online version: https://en.boardgamearena.com/#!gamepanel?game=puertorico

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        4. Carcassonne

          Number of players: 2-5 people

          Time: 15-30 minutes

          How to play: At its core Carcassonne is a game in which players need to place tiles depicting a French landscape. They also have “meeple” that they can use to claim castles, land and roads.

          Why it’s fun: It is a simple game that people of all ages can easily pick up. But to be a master strategist of this game, you need to identify the traps and possible wrong decisions you might make throughout the process.

          How it’s good for your brain: The game requires players to think logically about their decisions, particularly when it comes to meeple placement, as well as to strategize against their fellow players.

          Rating: 4.8/5 (by 298 Amazon customers)

          Price: $49.99

          Online version: http://www.brettspielwelt.de/Spiele/Carcassonne/?nation=en

          5. Pandemic

          Photo Credit: www.digiboardgames.com

            Number of players: 2-4 people

            Time: 60 minutes

            How to play: Unlike other board games, this game requires players to be cooperative instead of competitive. Each player will play the role of dispatcher, medic, scientist, researcher and operations expert respectively. The ultimate goal is to find out the cures before the four deadly diseases break out in the world.

            Why it’s fun: It is a difficult game. Players can hardly find out the cures successfully in the first few attempts. But it is an interesting experience for you and your family and friends to put your heads together to figure out something intellectually challenging.

            How it’s good for your brain: As well as helping you to build your problem-solving and strategic skills, Pandemic teaches players teamwork and cooperation. This may not sound like a way to make you smarter, but interpersonal skills and the ability to cooperate and compromise are imperative to most jobs in the real world. Overlooking social-skill builders isn’t particularly intelligent.

            Rating: 4.8/5 (by 1941 Amazon customers)

            Price: $27.02

            Online version: http://www.addictinggames.com/strategy-games/pandemic2.jsp

            6. Chronology

            Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

              Number of players: 2-8 people

              Time: 120 minutes

              How to play: The aim of the game is to be the first to collect 10 timeline cards, each of which contains an historical event and the year in which it occurred. During your turn, you take a new card and put it in the correct chronological position within your own timeline. If you are correct, you keep the card. If you’re wrong, the next player can attempt to place it in their timeline.

              Why it’s fun: The level of difficulty of this game will increase as it progresses as the time gaps between historical events narrow. So it is a game with implicit time constraint – the earlier you get more cards put in the right chronological order the better!

              How it’s good for your brain: 

              Rating: 4.7/5 (by 147 Amazon customers)

              Price: $17.24

              7. Dixit

              Photo Credit: www.escapadedirect.com

                Number of players: 3-6 people

                Time: 30-60 minutes

                How to play: Dixit requires players to take turns being the Storyteller, who then makes up a sentence about one of the cards in their hand. Other players then select a card from their hands that they think best matches the aforementioned sentence. The cards are then shuffled, displayed face up and players have to decide which was the Storyteller’s.

                Why it’s fun: You will keep being surprised by how vague the cards you hold. And it is fun to hear how other players tell stories through the vague cards they hold!

                How it’s good for your brain: You have to be creative and original with your explanations and card choices, as well as make sometimes difficult decisions. As such, you’re required to utilize both the right and left sides of your brain. In addition, the game also requires you to read other people, which helps to build your emotional intelligence.

                Rating: 4.6/5 (by 685 Amazon customers)

                Price: $24.97

                Online version: http://www.boiteajeux.net/jeux/dix/dix_aide_en.php

                8. Guillotine

                  Number of players: 2-5 people

                  Time: 30 minutes

                  How to play: Players need to draw two decks of card, which are “nobles” and “actions”. Sending the nobles cards to the guillotine is how players can gain points. But with the actions cards, players can disrupt the order and even steal cards from each other and make the result unpredictable.

                  Why it’s fun: Despite being a relatively light-hearted game (regardless of the macabre topic) players need to use their cunning and strategy skills to try and execute the most people. Charming, I know.

                  How it’s good for your brain: 

                  Rating: 4.7/5 (by 587 Amazon customers)

                  Price: $11.99

                  9. Telestrations

                    Number of players: 8 people

                    Time: 60 minutes

                    How to play: Each player gets a card with a secret word and draw something to represent the word on their sketch book. Then they pass their book to the player on the left and they need to guess what is drawn on the book they receive. This process rotates for several rounds. When everyone gets back their own book, they can see how things change created by miscommunication.

                    Why it’s fun: You and your family and friends can’t help laughing when you compare how the last picture can be different from the original one.

                    How it’s good for your brain: This game is a great boost of your creativity as you need to make use of your imagination power to describe some difficult and vague words shown on the cards and guess what others are drawing.

                    Rating: 4.8/5 (by 1526 Amazon customers)

                    Price: $24.29

                    10. Power Grid

                    Photo Credit: www.themineshaftgap.com

                      Number of players: 2-6 people

                      Time: 60 minutes

                      How to play: The aim of Power Grid is to supply power to the most cities. To do this you mark preexisting routes between cities for connection, and then bid against each other to purchase the power plants. You must also acquire raw materials to power these plants. Problems may arise if you expand too fast and miss out on new technology.

                      Why it’s fun: How it’s good for your brain: the game requires you to weigh up options logically and strategically, as well as deal with the potential fallouts of your decisions. This makes it a beneficial game for people like me who find it difficult thinking even a single step ahead and deduce that the best course of action is: “BUY EVERYTHING NOW, YOLOLOL

                      Rating: 4.7/5 (by 332 Amazon customers)

                      Price: $31.57

                      Online version: http://www.brettspielwelt.de/Spiele/Funkenschlag/?nation=en

                      11. Agricola

                      Photo Credit: www.vendetta-gaming.com.au

                        Number of players: 2-5 people

                        Time: 120 minutes

                        How to play: In Agricola you’re a farmer who’s responsible for feeding your family as well as building and expanding your land. You will lose in the game if you have trouble feeding your family so you need to compete with time and produce as many foods as possible in the game.

                        Why it’s fun: The complexity of the game makes you feel like you’re running a real farm, and variables that can affect the result keep coming out throughout the process.

                        How it’s good for your brain: The game is actually quite complex and requires a great deal of strategic planning and resource juggling for you to be successful. This makes it great for logical thinking and building problem-solving skills. In addition, it will help you to learn to multi-task and think ahead.

                        Rating: 4.6/5 (by 528 Amazon customers)

                        Price: $43

                        Online version: http://playagricola.com/Agricola/Board1/Agricola.html

                        12. Dohdles! What’s that?!

                          Number of players: 3-6 people

                          Time: 60 minutes

                          How to play: Players sculpt the shape of an object or a living thing with the modeling clay and need to guess what the Dohdles other players make represent.

                          Why it’s fun: It’s interesting to see how the imagination of you and your loved ones are demonstrated through their “masterpieces”!

                          How it’s good for your brain: This game is good exercise of your imagination.

                          Rating: 4.2/5 (by 42 Amazon customers)

                          Price: $26.5

                          13. Twixt

                            Numbers of Players: 2 people

                            Time: 30 Mintues

                            How to Play: Two players take turn in placing their pegs in any vacant holes on the board and you can add or remove your own links between pegs. Each of the member tries to block the other player from connecting one’s two sides of row and the first one who did will win.

                            Why it’s fun? It is easy to understand and could be play by kinds from 11-12 and it does not take much time, perfect for those who get boring easily.

                            How it’s good to your brain? This helps improves your logical and strategic skills as you would have to think about how every move will be and should be connected  from the start of the game.

                            Ratings: 4.5/5 (from 47 Amazon customers)

                            Price: $29.99

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                            Online Version: http://twixtlive.com/Play.aspx

                            14. Diplomacy  

                              Numbers of Players: 2-7 people

                              Time: 360 minutes

                              How to Play: Every player represents the seven European countries, and are required to use their armies and fleets to conquer as many European countries as possible.

                              Why it’s fun? The game involves a lot of history and geography about Europe and players will have to decide for themselves to trust or to lie before the start of or in a war.

                              How it’s good to your brain? It is not difficult to know how to play the game and it requires one’s logical and strategic skills as well in order to form possible alliances with other countries etc to train their own thinking before making any move.

                              Ratings: 4.5/5 (from 128 Amazon customers)

                              Price: $29.99

                              Online Version: http://www.playdiplomacy.com/

                              15. Mythos

                                Numbers of Players: 1-10 people

                                Time: 45 minutes

                                How to Play: You are the investigators who need to complete the story of a crime without oing insane. You draw 13 cards from 52 cards and stock your deck with at least 20 points of stories. When you completed the tasks required for a card, you gain points for ‘sanity’ and than when cards ran out, you come out and draw 13 cards more.

                                Why it’s fun? It is a story investigation which might easily trigger players’ interests and opponents can actually intervene with their moves making the game very interactive and fun.

                                How it’s good to your brain? One would have to use their logical skills to guess out the story of the crime and think of the ways to intervene their moves to keep them from winning.

                                Ratings: 4/5 (from 6 Amazon customers)

                                Price: $45

                                Online Version: http://www.riseofmythos.com/

                                16. Squad Leaders

                                  Numbers of Players: 2 people

                                  Time: 60 minutes

                                  How to Play: You are the leader of a squad in WWI who needs to make instant decisions regarding on the life and deaths of numerous of soldiers

                                  Why it’s fun? It portrays the days back in WWII and one might be able to experience the intensity and difficulties in being a leader in the army back then

                                  How it’s good to your brain? It is not an easy game and requires a lot of thinking from the player as he or she will need to consider about the rules for morale, leadership, demo changes and smoke etc

                                  Ratings: 4/5 (from 4 Amazon costumers)

                                  Price: $27.99

                                  Online Version: http://www.battle-board.com/minisl/

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                                  Tegan Jones

                                  Tegan is a passionate journalist, writer and editor. She writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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                                  Last Updated on October 15, 2019

                                  How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

                                  How To Be Successful In Life? 13 Tips From The Most Successful People

                                  What is success to you? How to be successful in life?

                                  To some, when they think of success, they imagine wealth; others want power; some just want to make a positive impact on the world.

                                  All of these are perfectly valid, indeed success is a concept that means different things to different people. Though no matter what success is to you, it almost certainly isn’t something will come easily.

                                  There are countless guides and books to being successful, however, as success is personal and unique to each individual. The advice contained in these books can often not be relevant. Therefore following the advice of a single individual can often be unhelpful.

                                  With this in mind, considering the advice of a great many people, people whose ideas of success were different both to each other, and quite possibly, to you can be a good alternative.

                                  What follows is a list of thirteen of the best pieces of advice from some of the most successful people who have ever lived. If you want to learn how to be successful, these 13 tips are essential:

                                  1. Think Big

                                    From Michelangelo Buonarroti, Great Renaissance Artist:

                                    “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

                                    There are few artists as influential as Michaelangelo. Today centuries after his death, his work still inspires and connects to people. His work is world famous, just think of his statue of David, or the Mural in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

                                    Imagine then, if he decided not to work as an artist.

                                    Being a successful artist has always been extremely difficult, imagine if he decided to give up this ambition in favour of something easier?

                                    Oftentimes, people often decided to put their dreams aside for something more “realistic”. To give up their dream for something easier. This quote teaches us the danger of such a point of view.
                                    Instead be ambitious.

                                    2. Find What You Love to Do and Do It

                                      From Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul:

                                      “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”

                                      This is a good quote to remember and think about when you’re at work.

                                      Imagine being as successful as possible in your current job. Ultimately you’ll probably find yourself working extremely hard and this it will take up much of your time.

                                      If it’s a job you hate, then being successful at it might only mean filling your life with something you hate to do. What’s the sense in this?

                                      Instead, why not focus on doing something you love? When you’ve found what you’re passionate about, you get the motivation to keep you moving. Success at this means the fulfilment of your dreams.

                                      Not sure what your passion is yet? You should learn about this Motivation Engine first.

                                      Even if you’re not successful, you still filled your time with something you love to do. Many successful musicians spent years of their lives doing unpaid performances, the only reason they kept playing was because they loved to perform.

                                      3. Learn How to Balance Life

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                                        From Phil Knight, CEO of Nike Inc.:

                                        “There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”

                                        All too often, people think that to be successful, they need to make the object of their success their life.

                                        If a person thinks their job will lead them to success, then they may spend countless hours per day, and well into the evening working hard.

                                        However this comes at the cost of rest, your health and having an enjoyable life. Ultimately they may burn out and cease to be successful at their job anyway.

                                        If success comes from having a strong social life and a good group of friends, their job may suffer; meaning that they may lose their job, and then be unable to afford going out with friends.

                                        In these ways, success, as Phil Knight says above, is helped by balance. Think of it as a balance between rest and work, or work and play.

                                        To achieve that balance, this Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life can help you.

                                        4. Do Not Be Afraid of Failure

                                          From Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors:

                                          “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

                                          There is a story, it’s unconfirmed whether it actually happened, yet the message within is none the less true:

                                          Thomas Edison inventing the lightbulb was the result of several hundred failed attempts. In an interview, he was asked “How do you feel after all of your failed attempts?”

                                          His response was great, “I didn’t fail, I learned hundreds of ways not to invent the lightbulb”

                                          He saw each “failure” as a lesson. From that lesson he learned what won’t work, and also might work instead.

                                          Each failed attempt, each rejection, were key steps on his path to success. It is easy to feel like you should give up after a failure. But perhaps in that failure is a lesson.

                                          Pay attention to your failures, study them. Perhaps then you’ll learn how to succeed.

                                          If you find it difficult to fight your fear of failure, here’s a guide for you: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step)

                                          5. Have an Unwavering Resolution to Succeed

                                            From Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC:

                                            “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”

                                            This, in many ways relates to the above quote about learning from your failures.

                                            It’s the easiest thing in the world to give up from a failure. The only way to push on is if you have the true burning desire to succeed, to not be moved or dissuaded from your goals.

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                                            If you are not truly dedicated towards success, then each failure will hurt more, each set back will slow you down.

                                            Success is hard; without the unwavering desire to succeed, this difficulty may seem insurmountable. With the desire, it is merely an obstacle to go through.

                                            6. Be a Person of Action

                                              From Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Genius:

                                              “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

                                              Though it was said hundreds of years ago, it works just as much today as it ever had. It applies to literally any successful person.

                                              Think about it, picture someone like William Shakespeare:

                                              When we think of the time he lived in, we think of the time in a way shaped by him. When we think of Renaissance era Italy, we think of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Or think about the present day, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Our current way of life would simply be incomparably different if they didn’t accomplish what they did.

                                              You’re probably reading this article on a device by a company that they either founded or companies influenced by them.

                                              All these figures were proactive, they saw ways to do things differently and did them. If they let the world shape them, then they’d simply fit into the background. Instead they shaped the world.

                                              Applying this to you?

                                              Don’t be afraid of going outside the norm. If you can think of a better way to do something, do it that way. If you fail, try again.

                                              7. Cultivate Positive Relationships

                                                From Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of America: “

                                                The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

                                                The best leaders and some of the most influential people (and Theodore Roosevelt is one of the best leaders and one of the most influential people to have lived) were not those who caused commotions, who fought with people or disregarded people; but were people who were friendly to those around them.

                                                People liked them. They wanted them to do well.

                                                This is key to good leadership.

                                                It’s logical. If someone likes you, they want to help you; if you give them a suggestion, they’ll gladly follow through with it.

                                                But if someone doesn’t like you, they may either refuse to help or actively get in your way.

                                                What’s more, it’s always a good idea to cultivate good relationships. You can never tell who will prove to become someone who’ll be able to help you in a big way, or even be a good and supportive friend.

                                                As such, help people and they may help you; and be good to people, and they my be good to you.

                                                8. Don’t Be Afraid of Introducing New Ideas

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                                                  From Mark Twain, Famed Author:

                                                  “A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

                                                  It is an unfortunate truth that those with the boldest ideas are often disregarded.

                                                  Most of us are taught from an early age to think and do things similarly to everyone else. This can be great to fill an existing role. But to truly do things differently (and all successful people did things differently), you need to think differently.

                                                  If you have a new idea, don’t throw it away because it’s new and different; instead, celebrate it. Your strange new idea might one day be the one that leads you to success.

                                                  9. Believe in Your Capacity to Succeed

                                                    From Walter Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Company:

                                                    “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

                                                    Success has to be something you can imagine yourself achieving.

                                                    It is possible that you will come across those who doubt you and your ability to succeed. You must not become one of these people because the moment you cease believing and dreaming is the moment these dreams fall away.

                                                    Keep dreaming!

                                                    10. Always Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude

                                                      From Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of America:

                                                      “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

                                                      Like the above quote says, you need to trust in your ability to succeed. This is the only way to cultivate the right mindset.

                                                      Replace negative thoughts with the positive ones. You need to approach problems, not as obstacles stopping you, but merely tasks that need to be completed for you to keep going.

                                                      If you stay positive and think like this, setbacks won’t affect you so much, people’s doubts won’t impact you and even the biggest obstacles will seem like minor problems.

                                                      However with the wrong mindset of doubt, you’ll be much easier to stop.

                                                      11. Don’t Let Discouragement Stop You from Pressing On

                                                        From Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of America:

                                                        “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”

                                                        It is an unfortunate fact of human nature — all of us in some way, doubt ourselves. This can be made far worse if others doubt us too.

                                                        When surrounded by doubts, giving up can actually seem like a good idea.

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                                                        Don’t pay attention to the doubts. If you are discouraged, ignore it.

                                                        If this discouragement moves into your mind and you begin to doubt yourself. It is important to ignore this too.

                                                        This is How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck and How to Overcome It

                                                        12. Be Willing to Work Hard

                                                          From JC Penny, Founder of JC Penney Inc.:

                                                          “Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.”

                                                          You might have heard the quote that “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” or you may have heard about the 10,000 hours idea.

                                                          Whichever way you frame it, they say one thing:

                                                          True success comes from work.

                                                          You’ll never become successful if you don’t work towards your goal in life and keep working towards it.

                                                          Check out this article and you’ll understand Why Hard Work Beats Talent.

                                                          13. Be Brave Enough to Follow Your Intuition

                                                            From Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Inc.:

                                                            “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

                                                            In ancient Greece, there was a group of Oracles who lived in Delphi. Everyone who needed advice or to know their future visited them, from the poorest of society to kings. Above the doorway of the temple were the words “know thyself”.

                                                            If you strongly believe and desire something, chances are that you already have an idea how to get there. If not, you may naturally know what things will help you and what things will slow you down.

                                                            It’s like how your body can detect danger even when things seem safe.

                                                            Ultimately then, you need to trust your own instincts.

                                                            Final Thoughts

                                                            What you might have noticed is that many of the above lessons are similar — most are about developing the right state of mind. This clearly suggests that the key to achieving success, in whatever you wish, comes down to the way you approach it mentally.

                                                            Moreover, no matter what stage of life you’re at now, you can still make a difference and pursue success. You can make resetting your life possible when you do this: How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                                                            More to Help You Succeed in Life

                                                            Featured photo credit: Ryan Wong via unsplash.com

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