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China - Can't reach compass in any good time

Discussion in 'Rhye's and Fall - Dawn of Civilization' started by BaneFire, Dec 2, 2019 at 7:56 PM.

  1. BaneFire

    BaneFire Chieftain

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    So I've been replaying China on the current version but I cannot seem to get compass in any good time. By 500AD or so I've got all my base cities set up and the income is positive and tech rate is decent, but I'm still behind in actual tech numbers.

    And yet consistently in about 3/4 games in a row now Byzantium invents Compass in 600-700AD, while I'm still about 8 techs or so away.

    Is there something that I'm doing wrong? I'd say, that with the following cities:
    Chang'an (1S from start), Luoyang (empty plains), Guangzhou, Kunming (next to gold), Beijing (next to fish), Shenyang, Hangzhou (next to fish), and the following building distribution:
    All have Taixue, most have market, most have Confucian Academies, one or two have Taoist Academies
    Civics are usually monarchy, slavery, clergy, citizenship, sovereignty at this period. Confucianism as state religion, in every city.
    My army is typically as follows:
    2 Swordsmen on the Tibetan border. 3 Swordsmen on the Northern Border who were used to conquer Simiyan Hoton. 6 Horsemen with Skirmisher promotion to instantly wipe out any Horse Archer spawns. 1-2 Archers in every city.
    Terracotta Army, Great Wall and Dujiangyan all got by this point. Great Canal is nowhere near, however.
    I kept a scout in Constantinople the whole time to try get a tech trade bonus but no dice.

    My thoughts are possibly that:
    1. I need to micromanage scientists. I typically have no or only one GP by this point, so perhaps I need more specialists.
    2. I could use the early game civics a bit more. Typically I avoid Despotism and Redistribution, but perhaps I could spend some turns with them.
    3. My army is too big. Maybe I could disband some units after conquering Simiyan Hoton, and take more risks fighting the Xiongu.
    4. Expansion rate. I thought that I'd got my expansion rate at a good, harmonious pace but maybe I've still been going to fast.
     
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  2. Mxzs

    Mxzs Prince

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    Edit: I hope we are talking about 1.16 and not the version that is currently being developed.

    Oh, China is wicked-tough in 1.16. That's the civi I'm currently trying to figure out, and I logged in here just after resigning a game where I suffered the same kind of loss. Only in my case, it was losing Compass to Persia one turn before I was set to bag it.

    Then, after reloading an earlier save so as to rush Compass, I lost again when Persia took Gunpowder ten turns before I could get it.

    In earlier games I lost Compass to the Vikings. Not lost it to the Byzantines yet, but I assume I will in an upcoming game.

    My own observations based on a couple of games:

    1. Max out on scientists (3 per Taixue) in at least two cities, and run a scientist in every city where you can spare one or two. And maybe the player needs to run even more. Scientists, not the research rate, have to carry China's tech race for long stretches of the game. In addition, you can generate at least three Great Scientists by 600 AD this way. Use these to grab key technologies: Calendar + Math, Scholarship + Alchemy, Philosophy + Medicine. (I'm not thrilled about this last one, as Medicine is not on the research path, and I am experimenting to find a different way of using that GS.) I suppose that long-term this is worse than settling them, but in the near- and mid-term, in a tech race, I think you need the boost.

    2. Build an early Scout and send him to the Middle East to trade for techs. Before they turn surly and close-fisted on you, India, Persia, Greece and the others will trade you techs like Sailing, Alloys, Blooming, and others. Of these early civs, only Persia I think is likely to be a long-term threat (as it was in the above-mentioned game) but it's more usual for all those civs to collapse first. Persia was astonishingly stable and long-lived in this last game where they rooked me.

    3. Are you running Merchant Trade? I don't see it mentioned in your civics list. That should make a difference to your tech rate.

    4. I think tech timing and city-build timing are also crucial. In my first attempts at a China game, I ground my economy to nothing because I built cities too fast and chased irrelevant techs. I'm still figuring out the timing on city-builds, but on tech I'm beelining Writing, then Contract, Alloys, Priesthood, Currency, Aesthetics, Artisanry, Architecture, then the Big 4 (Compass, Paper, Gunpowder, Printing), which is where I come to grief.

    5. After my last game, I'm starting to think that Despotism is going to be a key component. (Like you, I've been avoiding it.) But the sheer speed with which Chinese cities recover from the little whipping I've done (to get Temples in time) is very suggestive. Early whipping for Taixues and Marketplaces might be one of the missing keys.

    6. Experiment with founding Luoyang as your first city and see if that makes a difference. Luoyang is a fast builder of Settlers and Workers. Also, if you build an Ancestral Shrine first thing in Beijing, you can pre-empt Simiyan hoton, which will spare you the trouble of dealing with that barb city.

    7. I've also been building the Great Wall and Terracotta Army. I want to keep building the second one—I love collecting XP off barbs and building up super-strong units—but I'm starting to think the strategic placement of cities can render the Great Wall just a lot of redundant stone. Datong on the NW Incense and Chengdu in the SW, on the tile that's enclosed on four sides by mountains, can along with Beijing act as barbarian stoppers. Stick a single C-K-N in each one, surround it with a Wall, add one or two other units as insurance, and most barbs will kill themselves on your borders instead of coming inside them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 11:11 PM
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  3. mingming99

    mingming99 Chieftain

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    1. Rush the Oracle
    2. Chop to build libraries and hire scientists
    3. Rush Calendar and build plantations > grow with added happiness
    4. Kill Korea ASAP, destroy their cities and place city West of the river
    I would also arrange cities differently - 1. Luoyang capital on plains 2. Chengdu 1S of Inner-Mongolian silk 3. ?name 2S of horses (1S of fish) 4. ?name 2N of gold (wedged between hill tiles, it captures 2 rices, gold and sheep) 5,6,7 - three in Southern/Eastern China (one on silk to capture Vietnamese pig+crab, Guangzhou, and Shanghai) 8. one next to Korea 9. Haerbin/Qiqihaer on the hill (2S 1W of deer)
    With scientists + plantations you should be getting 150-300 research as the classical/middle ages roll + tech trade with classical civs. Oracle is essential though.
     
  4. soul-breathing

    soul-breathing King

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    Try to capture India when they only have archers.
     
  5. Mxzs

    Mxzs Prince

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    What version of DoC are you talking about? China cannot get the Oracle in 1.16, or very rarely. Babylon typically beelines it. China must research Sailing and Divination before it can start the Oracle and even with Deification cannot get the Oracle sooner than ~Turn 72. In four test games I just tried, Babylon built the Oracle on Turn 43 while I was still researching Divination. In the fifth it built the Oracle on Turn 63 after building the Ishtar Gate first.
     
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  6. Hickman888

    Hickman888 Chieftain

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    I've beaten the Chinese historical victory twice now on Monarch/Marathon, and I wrote a walkthrough of my first victory here. But if you're not interested in reading that whole thing, I can tell you the long of the short of it is this:

    You need to make sure you have more great people born. In my game, I used the Dujiangyan (gives Great Statesman points) and a statesman specialist to insure that my first great person was a Great Statesman. After that, I ran all scientists to insure that a Great Scientist was born. I used my Great Statesman to bulb Law + Politics, and my Scientist to bulb Scholarship + Alchemy (all of which are prerequisites for Compass). In my experience, this is usually enough to slingshot you to the front of the tech race, long enough for you to research all of your victory technologies. (Except for one game I had, where the Byzantines had conquered an immense empire, and had researched compass well before I had a dream of researching compass... but that was the exception, not the rule). I would also recommend using two great people to bulb, not one, as one is probably not enough. Good luck, China is tough!
     
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  7. mingming99

    mingming99 Chieftain

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    1.16 m8, just roll a few times, ull get it. Also, helps to distract Babylonia with your archer.
     
  8. Mxzs

    Mxzs Prince

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    Yeah, okay, whatever.

    I just saved off a game where I managed to get the Golden Age -- four cathedrals, and first to the target quartet of technologies -- without reloading twenty times to get the rare, perfect start. I also managed to see off the Mongols. I've no great hope of getting the third UHV condition, but one step at a time.

    The core of my gameplay was (1) running science specialists as much as possible using the Taixue; (2) trading for every tech I could get my hands on; (3) banking Great Scientists and using them at strategic moments to pop techs.

    1. I built four cities early on, and quickly built three of them (using the whip) to run 5 science specialists between them -- 3 in one city, 2 in another while the third built more Settlers. After the Settlers were complete, I ramped my numbers up to 9, and kept pushing them up as new cities came on line. By the time I was researching Machinery, I had 13 science specialists at work plus a merchant specialist. I had also improved and was working every money-generating tile. My expenses were still heavy enough that I was running a 20% research rate and only getting 80 bulbs a turn. But that kept me in the tech race.

    2. I sent two Scouts into south and south-west Asia very early, and built a road to India to ensure a land route to trading partners. I concentrated on getting a handful of necessary techs for myself -- Writing (for Taixue), Contract (for Confucianism), Seafaring (to finish the connection to Persia and points east), Currency, Artisanry (for CKNs) -- and traded for anything and everything. I purposefully delayed researching any techs I could trade for (like Philosophy) in favor of those that weren't in any other player's hand, gambling that eventually I could get those other techs in trade. Whether this was good strategy or only luck, but eventually most of the other civs broke down and would trade me the tech I needed at just about the time I was going to have to research it myself.

    3. I had generated three Great Scientists by Turn 170, and saved them to make three strategic discovery pairs. The first got me Calendar and Mathematics (two big early gets, and Math got me a lot of trades from other civs). The second (which I had to bank) got me Scholarship and Alchemy. I also had to bank the third GS, and had to detour to research the unnecessary tech Medicine, but after that I was able to trade that third GS for Compass and Paper, which I think are the two most vulnerable techs to being stolen. I got them on Turn 170, though I had to spend 2 turns finishing up the research on Compass.

    I may have lucked out that Byzantium was very weak in that game. But in an earlier game, with a strong Byzantium, they still didn't get Compass until Turn 183 and Paper on Turn 191.

    I'm not happy with my city layout. Two of my cities are only there to hold Temples and to bottle up barbarians, so they're a drag on the rest of the empire. I also generated a wave of Great Scientists even after getting the necessary techs, because I had built up so many GS points, which bodes badly for getting the golden ages. But it's a starting point.
     
  9. BaneFire

    BaneFire Chieftain

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    Thank you Hickman888 and Mxzs for the tips, on what feels like my 50th (though is probably like my 8th) try I managed to get compass. In recent games not only the Byzantines are a threat, but so are the Vikings and Arabs for Compass.

    A few reflections and responses:

    1. Yep, scientist specialists and GP scientists seem absolutely necessary to secure compass. Tactical bulbs are also needed. In my game, I reloaded, put every city on 3 scientist specialists, and this let me get Compass 2 turns before the Vikings which saved the run.
    2. Holy **** tech trading with the Middle East is a godsend. Get a scout, archer, whatever, make more if you need to, and send it all the way to the Middle East. Babylon, Rome, Persia and others will all be willing to trade you for vital techs that can give you a massive leg up in the early-mid game.
    3. Previously I had thought Citizenship+Merchant Trade+Markets was necessary. Now I'm not so sure - it's not money that's the issue, it's science. I think I'd prefer monasteries and taixues instead of markets.
    4. Great Wall is very good, it means you can have just a few units to deal with even the bigger Horse Archer stacks. I'm not actually that impressed by Terracotta Army - it's worth getting since it's so cheap, but the bonus it provides really isn't that good.
    5. City constellation isn't that big a deal. Yes you could have super Luoyang and a more strategic Chang'an but in reality even just starting position Chang'an and normal Luoyang are perfectly adequate. Those two cities alone will keep you chugging until Beijing and Guangdong come online.
    6. My early game goes something like this:
    Alloys (to chop the paddy fields) -> Masonry -> Ceremony (adopt slavery and monarchy) -> Bloomery -> Riding -> Calendar
    Granary -> Ancestor Shrine -> Barracks -> Worker -> Archer, send it out to scout -> Archer -> 2 workers -> Settler (send with archer to found Luoyang).
    At this point you have 4 workers, an archer garrisoning both cities, the necessary civics (slavery and monarchy. Slavery keeps your cash going by giving all the mines around Chang'an some gold, monarchy keeps you happy)
    Then produce 3 swordsmen and 1 archer, another 2 workers and settle Beijing. Pasture the horses near Beijing, and use the horsemen to annex Simiyan hoton.
    By this point you have 4 cities (Chang'an, Luoyang as very good, Beijing is starting to grow, Simiyan hoton sucks but is a great lightning rod for Xiongu).
    This is a more aggressive strategy, less focused on tech and resources, and more focused on being able to crush the barbarians with minimal losses, keeping a robust infrastructure up and preparing to expand south/eastwards.

    A few comments, I'd say:
    1. Beijing needs a buff. For such a historically important city it kind of sucks. I'd add some iron->coal in proximity and maybe some other resources.
    2. Shanghai/any city on the mouth of the Yangtze/Yellow rivers should really have some sort of commerce buff. Right now you get a **** city with no production that takes forever to get online. Maybe some more pearls around the mouth?
    3. In general while China is great it feels too hobbled. Historically the Tang Dynasty was fighting the Abbasids in Central Asia, with campaigns occurring in Tibet, Korea, Myanmar, Vietnam and so on throughout history. I'd much rather see a China more about setting up a strong, big empire early on and having to keep it defended against revolters. For example:
    UHV1: Control Korea in 400AD, Central Asia in 700AD, Tibet in 700AD, Vietnam in 900AD (dates not exact), which would mean campaigning against nearly every Asian civ non-stop from shortly after Rome falls to the rise of the Ottomans.
    UHV2: First to reach Compass, Paper, Gunpowder, Printing. I think this is still fine.
    UHV3: Something based on current day China's economic strategy. But this isn't about brainstorming a better UHV3 for China.
    4. Barbarians are a bit boring to fight. Yeah I get the point of them but by a certain point you can make 3-4 Cho-Ku-Nus, put them on a hill/in a city and ignore the Barbarians. But at the start they'll randomly spawn and sometimes win a clutch battle making you reload a save. Not much counterplay, just braindead play.

    ---

    I typed this comment up before Mxzs commented, and in the game I got compass while I managed to get paper and both cathedrals in 990, Korea beat me to Gunpowder in 1030. I realised that I had traded them the techs they needed to get gunpowder - the AI beat me at my own tech trading game -_-
     
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  10. BaneFire

    BaneFire Chieftain

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    Oh yeah, regarding this. City placement is incredibly frustrating. I've found that the following SEVEN cities are fine:
    Chang'an (Xi'an)
    Luoyang
    Beijing
    Shenyang
    Guangdong
    Hangzhou
    Kunming

    Unfortunately the Chinese tiles mean that Shanghai/Qingdao will absolutely suck. I've tried conquering Pyongyang a few times (Shillong and Lhasa are too useless for it to be worth your time), which is an entirely workable strategy but is a bit too dependant on luck. Sometimes half the Korean army is up in Manchuria and 4 swordsmen can storm Pyongyang, other times Pyongyang is garrisoned with two crossbowmen and I'm not touching that anytime soon.
     
  11. Leoreth

    Leoreth 心の怪盗団 Moderator

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    Of course the game is bad if you reload at every failure. I can't save you from yourself.
     
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  12. BaneFire

    BaneFire Chieftain

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    No one said the game was bad?
    Also there's not exactly room for failure with China's first 2 UHVs.
     
  13. Leoreth

    Leoreth 心の怪盗団 Moderator

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    In reference to this.
     
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  14. Mxzs

    Mxzs Prince

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    I think it's only a generic builders' grouse coupled with a growl about Civ IV's combat system. At least, my complaints sound like BaneFire's, and that's what my complaints are about.

    If you're a builder or are playing a build-style game, barbs are a hassle and a nuisance. So you build a barb-killer: a strategically placed city or a small army or something. Then in one of the battles you suffer a Spearman-Kills-Tank moment. Is it "bad play" to reload when your Horseman, which has a 95% chance of killing a Medjay, gets killed instead? If so, why has Firaxis spent the last twenty years fiddling with the combat rules to get rid of or at least ameliorate that kind of thing?

    My view: Swatting barbs is boring. But building a system for swatting barbs is fun. So I don't mind the barbs, wherever they show up; they're a general kind of problem to solve, like another UHV condition. What I do mind is when my machine for swatting them falls victim to Civ IV's combat system. Because, yes, I know, a 95% success rate means failure one out of every twenty tries. But (to steal a joke from The Naked Gun) in Civ IV it feels like 95% chances only come off less than half the time.

    But that's off-topic. On topic:

    You can get Pyongyang with a Settler and a single garrison unit. Pre-position them nearby, then after Hanseong is founded, rush them in and build on the Pyongyang tile. Turn 140 (I think) is the soonest you can found Pyongyang yourself without it trying to flip.
     
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  15. BaneFire

    BaneFire Chieftain

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    My thoughts exactly. I don't particularly feel bad about reloading when on my 15th China game the 4 Horse Archers that spawn kill all 3 of my Combat II Swordsmen in Shenyang and take the city. There was no skill involved in that particular set of events... by either me or the Barbarians. I think one particularly egregious event was when twice in a row a Horse Archer with Combat 1 and Skirmisher lost a 99% battle against a Uighur Horse Archer. Ouch.
    (btw take the open plains bonus, not skirmisher on horse archers, since unlike horsemen you're only using them on open terrain.)
    I wonder if half horsemen/lancer - half horse archer/pistolier is better? By the time Keshiks start spawning even promoted Horse Archers will have some trouble.

    This makes a lot of sense. I reckon I'll try this next game rather than Qingdao.

    Anyway just in general China, like everything else, is more easy on Marathon - though I'd say substantially more easy, in China's case. It goes from basically being a coinflip on compass to getting it most of the time, at least in the few Marathon rather than Regular games I've played.
     
  16. Mxzs

    Mxzs Prince

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    Fair warning on Pyongyang: In my first game I suffered one Korean revolt in the city, but kept it. In my second, it revolted and joined Korea. So maybe don't build Pyongyang, but the tile west of it? Or on the Iron?

    Marathon: I tried Hickman888's Statesman strategy on Normal speed. Maybe there is a way to get it to work, but it left me teching so far behind the other civs that I couldn't even trade with them. It sounds like a neat strategy for Marathon, though.
     
  17. Enyavar

    Enyavar Prince

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    I played 1.16 China recently (that means, a few months ago) and it was really tough, and that on Monarch. (I actually played Knoedel's sunset, which makes the game a lot easier, actually. It still wasn't easy.)

    China starts in a really bad zone technology-wise. At the start, you can build NOTHING worthwhile after you whipped the first few buildings through. Or so it feels. Of course, there are buildings you can build and workers. But restrain from building more military units than [2x cities], or they drain your finances. Build buildings first, then go for workers and (few!) settlers. Only settle two or three cities at first: they drain your finances even more badly than military units. Finances control your tech rate, and your tech rate controls what you can build.

    And that is the main problem. After you build your first ancestor shrines and monuments, and granaries etc. there is nothing left to build. Except for units who drain your finances. If I could NOT build something, that would be the way to go, but it's not an option. After having built barracks, you can send out the starting units and non-barrack archers towards the west. Make sure you get them killed! Making contact with Greece, Rome and Persia and some others early on was important for tech-trading, and I did that a lot once I had the option, but that was later. In the early game, I had to kill freshly-built archer units myself because not doing so would have lowered my tech rate, and lowering the tech rate means that I have to build even more archers because of not discovering new techs. And so on, until the tech rate hits 0%.

    Someone mentioned the Oracle approach above, and I actually went that way and Oracle'd towards Calendar. Calendar is the most important tech ever for China. If you don't tech to it asap, you can't build plantations, and you really really need those to fuel your early economy. Once I had Calendar, I focused on filling out the core, and on getting my religions online. Settling the south for stone, tea and bananas came later again.

    Setting up the early game took me many approaches, but then I had a stable and worthwhile economical basis around... (I have to guess) 500 BC. That base economy was of course not the fully developed China, yet.
     
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  18. BaneFire

    BaneFire Chieftain

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    Glad to see that we're all in agreement that China is ball-bustingly difficult!

    Anyway I finally got a save. No overall strategy, just lots of little refined plays from multiple games + this thread.
    One thing I will say is that Marathon seems a LOT easier than regular speed. Not sure why, probably something to do with units/combat/scouting.
     

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  19. Mxzs

    Mxzs Prince

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    Woah! I managed to win a China UHV game at Normal speed (Regent). I ended the fourth Golden Age in 1766, so it was a close-run thing -- 11 turns to spare?

    I would like to know if it's possible to win the China UHV game at Normal speed without building the Taj Mahal. That's how I did it, anyway. As I was researching Urban Planning, I made a westward expedition into Central Asia to annex Samarkand (the nearest Muslim city), changed civics to Despotism so I could whip most of the population into a Madrassa, then built and sent an Imam east to Xian. Converted to Islam, spread Islam into Xian, built the Taj. While it was building I detonated a total of five Great People I'd been hoarding for two Golden Ages. That sped up Taj construction.

    So ... one Golden Age from meeting the first two UHV goals, two Golden Ages from Great People, one from the Taj ... that's how I got four Golden Ages by 1800.

    I had one Great Person left over from the splurge. There was no way I was going to squeeze out three more by the deadline.

    Oh, and I built Sanshan (one tile west of Pyongyang) instead of Pyongyang. It never went into disorder or rebelled. It is two tiles from both Simiyan-hoton and Seoul, so it is an option, but it will be a squeeze.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019 at 12:41 AM
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  20. BaneFire

    BaneFire Chieftain

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    Yup, Taj Mahal seems necessary.

    Just an addendum though, one easier way to get Islam is to colonise Manila, whch will naturally have Islam spread to it by around 1500 or so. It also has good enough production that you don't need despotism to grab the imam. Careful though, Spain may invade, so station an army.
     

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