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Zoom In The Seafarers of Catan
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The Seafarers of Catan

English language edition


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Ages Play Time Players
12+ 60-120 minutes 3-4

Designer(s): Klaus Teuber

Manufacturer(s): Mayfair Games

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To play The Seafarers of Catan, you must have:
The Settlers of Catan
English language edition; third edition
$50.00

Product Description

In The Seafarers of Catan you control a group of seafaring settlers exploring and taming the uncharted Isles of Catan.

Embark on a quest to settle the island, build ships, and chart the nearby waters. Guide your settlers to victory with clever trading, cunning development, and by establishing the most productive sea lanes. Acquire your resources through card play and the luck of the dice. Discover far-off mines and use gold and combinations of resources--grain, wool, ore, brick, and timber--to develop your ever-expanding empire.

Of course, the best strategy and a dash of luck decides who will be the undisputed ruler of the Isles of Catan.

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Klaus Teuber

  • Manufacturer(s): Mayfair Games

  • Year: 1998

  • Players: 3 - 4

  • Time: 60 - 120 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Weight: 765 grams

  • All-Time Sales Rank: #47

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.

Contents:

  • 14 edge pieces
  • 24 hexagons:
    • 12 water
    • 2 gold fields
    • 3 deserts
    • 1 farmland
    • 1 forest
    • 1 pasture
    • 2 mountains
    • 2 hills
  • 8 victory point chits
  • 10 numbered chits
  • 12 harbor tokens
  • 60 wooden ships in 4 colors (15 of each)
  • 1 pirate ship (black)

Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 

Average Rating: 4.2 in 24 reviews

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Ultimately Indispensible
December 26, 2003

True, you don't get enough bang for your buck with this package as with the original Settlers or the Cities & Knights expansion. This should cost less (not funagain's fault). Nevertheless, in my group we never play Settlers without Seafarers. We figure newbies can do without the added complexity of Knights, but the added variability of the setup in Seafarers is great, and can open things up a bit compared to basic Settlers when you are closed in by other players' initial placements. Sheep also become less useless.

Seafarers kicks the 'hose the leader' factor up a notch with the introduction of the pirate ship. (We use a rubber octopus.) The pirate ship is not so devastating in its own right, but the existence of the pirate allows the player rolling a 7 to keep the robber where he is... on one of my 6s or 8s.

 
 
 
 
 
Great fun social board game.
June 20, 2002

You have played Settlers of Catan... You love the game and the great times spent playing with your friends, but... now you want more. Well, if you're not looking for a radicaly diferent game, the Seafarers of Catan expansion is a great choice; the game is basicly the same but the board is bigger and has a Goldmine, ports and boats. It's one level up.

 
 
 
 
 
Wah Da Tah! The REAL New World Order!
February 19, 2002

Settlers of Catan is a VERY fu game for non-gamers and gamers alike (I am an old-school wargamer. Probably the best introductory game to the new German game boom. The only thing I found lacking was alot of variance in repeated plays, despite the map changes with different hex placement.

I have Knights and Castles and found that it took away alot of the GOOD from Settlers (trading, light strategy, and back-stabbing: racing roads to a new settlement after trading and breaking roads). It adds unwanted complexity and lowers player interaction, in short -makes the game LESS fun.

Seafarers on the other hand, adds tremendously to the game. My gaming group absolutely loves Settlers (Im the one that suggests new games). Seafarers adds the same kind of light strategy, trading, double-dealing, but manages to keep ALL of these aspects of the original AND still give you more options!

An expansion NO Settlers of Catan player should be without, this one completes the (original) Settlers of Catan experience.

Ship Ahoy!

 
 
 
 
 
Explorers of Catan
December 22, 2001

This expansion rocks! Though it's a bit pricey for the additional tiles and pieces (and scenario book), it is a must-have for Catan enthusiasts. If you haven't played with Seafarers, then you're missing out on a terrific twist to the original.

The scenarios that endear me the most are those where the tiles are hidden from view and must be discovered through exploration. You can play a whole slew of various scenarios that involve this dynamic. It balances the initial set-up phase that was often criticized as overly deterministic.

Once you leave the shores of Catan, you won't want to go back to the Old World.

 
 
 
 
 
A great expansion to add on the original game
October 15, 2001

If you like playing Settlers of Catan, you should not miss this great expansion. Besides building settlements and cities on one island, you may need to build some of them on another island. Thus there is a need for building ships.

Also, you can play Seafarers in three ways. One is with scenerios in the rule book, one with some unexplored places, and one with all random pieces.

The one disadvantage of this game is it's a bit longer than the original Settlers as it deals with islands and the victory point requirement is 12, not 10.

 
 
 
 
 
the wide blue...
September 07, 2001

This is a great expansion to the original Catan game. With many prefabricated scenarios provided, and an infinite number of creative possibilities, this addition to the game is a very welcome one.

We love to play the exploration scenarios, where tiles are placed upside down on the board for us to discover by running into them.

Nobody who plays Settlers should be without this clever, yet intuitive, expansion.

 
 
 
 
 
An AWESOME addition to the best game ever made.
June 21, 2001

My biggest fear with this expansion was that it would change some of the best elements of Catan. Boy was I wrong. It adds so much more that it makes the game BETTER (as if that were possible). I still have not played all the variations in the rulebook, but my favorite one so far is the one where you have to discover the island and see what resources you find. Compelling.

I cannot say enough about this expansion: the snap together board (woo hoo, finally!) and all the variations. Haven't played Catan in a while? Pick this expansion up and discover the game all over again.

WONDERFUL

 
 
 
 
 
A Perfect Addition to the Island of Catan!
June 08, 2001

As most of you realize (or should realize), Settlers of Catan is a dynamic game that always keeps its settlers in suspense throughout the game. When I was first introduced to this game by my uncle and aunt, I was skeptical because it appeared to be an overly elaborate game that would take forever to learn how to play. However, after playing the first game, I realized that it was a game that never took on the same shape the next time you played it. Naturally, I wished to purchase this game for myself and am now enjoying hours of fun playing Settlers with my friends, mother, relatives, and girlfriend.

Recently, I purchased the Seafarers of Catan Expansion. As with most game expansions, my first impression was: 'I'm going to need to learn the whole game all over again!' However, Seafarers of Catan only introduces several new features: the addition of a pirate (the robber at sea who disables ports and building ships around the hex it occupies in addition to the robber on land), the addition of special victory points (which make the game progress more quickly), edge pieces to hold the hexes together so that Catan does not fall apart (always a plus), and the addition of ships which act as roads but are used as a passageway through the sea. I liked the idea of having each player randomly place the 2:1 and 3:1 ports on the board during the setup phase as well.

My favorite feature of all in this expansion is the inclusion of ten scenarios at the back of the rules booklet. To date, I have only experienced two of these scenarios, but I would have to say that my favorites are the ones where most of Catan has not yet been discovered and in order to discover this new land, ships must venture out to the coast of this gap in Catan and pick a hex from a pile of shuffled face-down hexes, placing the new hex at the point adjacent to where your ship is.

Seafarers of Catan has been dubbed by myself and my girlfriend as the intermediate expansion for Settlers in terms of the difficulty level and content of the game. After playing Cities and Knights of Catan once with my uncle, aunt, and girlfriend (a five hour game!), we have concluded that Seafarers is suitable for those who want to have a more relaxing game, while Cities and Knights is more suited for the 'highly active' gamer. Both are unique in their own way, but Cities and Knights simply requires more upgrading, more commodities, and simply more of everything.

If you loved Settlers of Catan, Seafarers of Catan is for you!

 
 
 
 
 
More of a good thing
May 15, 2001

I loved the original Settlers so much, I bought a copy of Seafarers as soon as I could. It doesn't change the game much--it really just provides more of the same (unlike Cities and Knights). But isn't more Settlers what you want?

The option of building ships instead of roads gives you more opportunities than you might imagine. While lumber is equally important, brick is not needed as badly, and wool finally becomes a useful resource.

Playing the included scenarios instead of the standard single island helps cure the all-too-common 'Settlers burnout.' Though there may only be a handful of scenarios listed in the manual, there's nothing stopping you from coming up with your own.

Combining new ways to gain victory points (through new discoveries or settling new islands) and higher victory point totals forces players to adjust their tried-and-true strategies. All this, and it doesn't add much in length or complexity (especially when compared to Cities and Knights).

Whenever we break out Catan (which is often), I always vote for Seafarers. If you like Settlers, you'll like Seafarers.

 
 
 
 
 
by Tom
Makes a great game irresistible!
February 12, 2001

The new rules for this expansion set are described in previous reviews so I won't repeat them. I'll just start by saying that this expansion set is a must for anyone who enjoys Settlers of Catan. I just recently acquired this along with the 5-6 player expansion set for it (keep in mind that you also need the 5-6 player expansion for the basic game) because I had more eager players than the basic game would allow.

This expansion makes a great game even better. For starters, there is now a border to hold all of the hexes perfectly in place so the island(s) don't fall apart at the slightest touch (that was really annoying in the basic game). The preset scenarios that it comes with are fun and nothing is stopping you from making up your own boards.

I really like the idea that Alf Seegert presented in a Settlers of Catan review to keep the game more balanced. Take a look at it if you haven't. My group will be trying that next time we play because the game is not much fun when everybody but you is collecting resources and building because your dice numbers aren't coming up.

I also like discovering new lands. That adds a lot of excitement and a sense of adventure to the game. All in all, this is a great addition to an already great game. An evening of gaming doesn't get much better than this.

 
 
 
 
 
Added complexity, added fun!
January 06, 2000

Let it be known at the outset: I love Settlers of Catan. Now, let me add: Seafarers makes it even better!

We were hesitant to add Seafarers into the mix... would it make a fun game needlessly complex? Do we have to learn too many new rules? What are all these 'scenarios...' why can't we just set up a board and play, like in Settlers?

But we took the splash and were well rewarded! For one thing, I find it really adds to the atmosphere. Settlers can sometimes get abstract--it doesn't invoke exploring a new land, just building little pieces. Seafarers gave a great sense of adventure--do I sail the high seas, or explore my own lands? What lies across the desert?

Second of all, it's pretty simple. There were 10 new rules, but they all made logical sense. I do wish they included a new 'Resource Building Card' with Ships added, to help new players. And we got the hang of the various scenarios quickly, and ended up enjoying trying out each one. Some of them have strict setup rules, which seem to limit replayability--but with 10 to try, there are plenty of options.

Finally, Seafarers subtley shifts the complexitity of the game in a way we found very enjoyable! Sheep suddenly become a hot commodity, where as they used to be too plentiful. Longest roads get very long, and the battles are fierce! And by moving the Pirate ship instead of the Robber, you can keep the Robber on a resource even longer, stiflng your opponent's production. Overall, it gives you many more options than you would first think of when you 'just add a boat.'

 
 
 
 
 
Great Game; Great Expansion
August 25, 1999

OK, so Settlers of Catan is one of the great games of the 90's for people of just about any gaming taste. The great thing about this expansion is that it significantly widens the possibilities, with a number of new board configurations and a couple of new playing variations. The great thing, though, is that it comes with virtually no new rules - just a couple of lines for building ships, and that's about it (although a couple of the new game setups have some more involved special rules). If you like Settlers, you really can't go wrong with the expansion.

 
 
 
 
 
Changes great to fabulous!
August 17, 1999

Add even more variety to the reigning king of fun gaming frustration. With this expansion, the sameness of replay is completely removed, with an added excitement of discovering new territories. Set-up is now only limited by your imagination.

The addition of the ships to explore the coastline and islands, along with the gold mine, pirate ship, and expanded variability and size of the map, make this a must expansion to the original Settlers of Catan. This addition makes a four star great into a five star fabulous.

 
 
 
 
 
great addition to settlers!
May 04, 1999

We are big fans of Settlers, and Seafarers has added another element to make the game more challenging. The only drawback I see is that this edition only comes with 4 different color boats so we are limited in player number. I also think that red and orange are difficult for many people to distinguish.

I liked the pre-set scenarios to get used to playing this version and we are ready to set up our own islands. The pirate and the robber can be daunting if you get too many unlucky rolls. Also using just the pirate seems like it slows down development of shipping lanes unles one player has a good lead. The exploration aspect does make up for it since you get an extra resource when you discover a new land.

I also like the exploration variant where the hex types are not revealed until they have been reached by a ship or road. All in all I think this expansion adds another nice layer to an already great game!

 
 
 
 
 
A worthy expansion - simple but worth it.
March 16, 2005

The Settlers of Catan is a fantastic game, and it would seem that in the board game world that means that a sequel was inevitable. So, eventually the Seafarers of Catan was released. It was a fitting expansion, and so simple were the add-on rules, that I almost always include it in with the base game. The game offers very few more choices with the expansion included, and the amount of scenarios included with the book are excellent; some of them are truly fun! The Seafarers expansion adds a number of things to the base game, including...

1.) Gold Fields: These are basically “wild” hexes that produce whatever resource the player wants if they have a settlement or a city bordering them. This makes the gold fields very valuable, with everyone wanting a piece of the action. The scenarios counter this by putting gold fields in hard to reach places, with less than an optimal number on them, like a “3”. Still, it doesn’t stop me from trying to get to them!

2.) Water Hexes: As well as adding in some additional hexes of each of the five resources (and the gold hexes), twelve water hexes are added to the game. When combined with the fourteen edge pieces that hold all the hexes together, one can create many maps - many with more than one island. When using the water hexes, players usually start with their first two settlements on one island, and then must expand to the other islands. The edge pieces hold the board together in a large rectangle, keeping the tiles from sliding around on the table. Cities and Knights also comes with a frame; but it’s more of a hexagonal one, allowing only the setup from the basic game - so I prefer the Seafarers one more.

3.) Ships: Players expand in the seas with ship pieces. Each player receives fifteen ship pieces in their color at the beginning of the game. Ships cost one wool and one lumber to build (this raises the value of wool). Ships are placed between two water hexes and act similar to roads. In fact, the Longest Road (Now called the Longest Trade Route) now includes ships as well as roads. The first ship must be built next to a settlement on the shore, and then can be placed adjacent to other ships. Ships can also move, if they are the last ship in an “open” shipping lane (does not connect two cities). Players may move one ship per turn, to a location that they could have built. This makes ships sound more exciting than they really are - in reality, they aren’t moved that often. But either way, the ships are a big improvement, and they are the only way to get to other islands. Players are allowed to start with a ship instead of a road if one of their starting settlements is on the coastline. Ships are the crux of the game (that IS why it’s called “seafarers”); and while they don’t add much in terms of complexity, they add one more option for players to explore and make games more interesting.

4.) Special Victory Points: Some scenarios award special victory points - tokens included with the game. Many times this occurs when a player lands on a new island. This allows a scenario to dictate a change in strategy and a bit of variety to the game.

5.) Pirate Ship: A pirate ship is added to the game and is the counterpoint to the Robber. Whenever a player rolls a “7”, they may move the pirate ship instead of the Robber, placing the Pirate on any ocean hex. The player then can steal one resource from one of the players who has a ship adjacent to that hex. New ships can’t be placed next to the Pirate, giving even more reason to move him. Either way, it seems that the Robber is moved a lot less in games involving the Pirate. This actually increases the power of the Robber, and the game can get slightly nastier. If the Robber is stifling the production of your best cities/settlements for dozens of turns, it can get rather annoying. Players must think even more carefully when moving the Robber/Pirate, and Soldier cards become that much more useful.

6.) Scenarios: There are eleven scenarios included with the book, some of them rather good, others good for maybe one play or two. Either way, if a player would get tired of these scenarios, there is plenty more available on the internet. The first scenario, “New Shores”, can be played many times, as it’s basically the generic setup for Seafarers. The last two scenarios require multiple sets of the basic Settlers, so I’m not sure how often they’ll come into play.

Seafarers offers a lot of variety to Settlers without adding very many rules - probably the best epitaph an expansion can have. I won’t say that it’s necessary; indeed, one can play Settlers many times without the expansion and never miss it. But I doubt that you would return to basic Settlers after trying Seafarers - especially when you see the variety it includes. I’m certainly glad I picked the expansion up; Settlers fans will enjoy it greatly.

Tom Vasel
“Real men play board games.”

 
 
 
 
 
Kind of like putting new hubcaps on a Mercedes.
July 20, 2003

After years of playing Settlers of Catan I have found Seafarers to be a welcome variation. It doesn't change the basic game very much, but why tinker with perfection.

The price is the main downside. It costs just as much as the original, but it definitely doesn't double your fun. For thirty bucks you get a scenario book, some ships in four colors and new tiles.

If you don't like Settlers, Seafarers isn't going to change your mind. Likewise, if you love Settlers this expansion may not do anything for you. Personally, I find the exploration scenarios to add the most to the game. However we still play the basic game as much or more than Seafarers.

Seafarers does't add a lot to the basic game, but does it need to?

 
 
 
 
 
Good, but not revolutionary expansion to the classic...
April 25, 2003

I think the new features that the Seafarers expansion introduces to the game have been adequately covered by previous reviewers, so I won't focus in on them too closely. Suffice to say that Seafarers is a fun, though far from revolutionary addition to the classic Settlers formula.

The ability to traverse the water hexes opens the game up more than you'd imagine looking at it on paper. When you add the additional hexes that come with the box and the ability to go over water you suddenly have all kinds of options for interesting new worlds, and plenty of space for 4 players to play the game, something that I chided Settlers for severely in my review.

My group isn't big on the scenarios that are included with the game, but simply having more hexes and more ways to put together the map have been enough to win us over on Seafarers. We generally play an 'exploration' style game with a near full size main island, and several upside down islands surrounding it waiting to be explored.

A couple of scenarios have been worth note though. The completely random map can produce some strange looking visions of Catan, and the full-on exploration set up where over 1/2 of the map is flipped upside down to begin with is an exiciting variation on the classic.

Again, the ability to go over sea lets your creativity run wild, and I'm planning on ordering additional sea and resource hexes from the Mayfair web site to make even more insane exploration maps.

Now to the negatives though...

First of all, this expansion is likely wasted on players who haven't played the original Settlers to death. Our group was nigh fanatical about the original when we first picked it up, so having a change of pace really breathed some fresh air into the game for us. People who haven't played the original into the ground won't be as impressed though in all liklihood.

Secondly, and most importantly, the game as packaged has to be seen as a rip off. You only get 24 hexes, half of which are ocean hexes, a collection of boats (including the pirate) and a rule book for the same cost as the original game. I love what the rules variants do for the game, but I don't understand why Mayfair thinks it's worth as much as the original is, especially given the small number of components that come in the box.

All that said, if you're suffering from Settlers burnout, yet still enjoy the feel of the basic game this is a logical, and fun addition to your gaming collection. It spices up the game without taking away from the winning formula that has won Settlers all of it's acclaim, and our group has yet to go back to the original by itself after picking up the high seas variant.

 
 
 
 
 
Unnecessary, but awfully good to have
June 28, 2001

Settlers of Catan is the game that heralded the flood of Euro-games in America. Its popularity in Germany is perhaps the same as Monopoly in this country. The difference is that Settlers is a genuinely delightful game, whereas Monoploy has rested on its laurels for far too long, and only sells because everyone already knows how to play it...

Seafarers is a good expansion to a very good game. It introduces several new elements to the game without confusing the basic structure of the game one bit. There are now alternate methods for setting up the board, and goals for the game differ slightly from scenario to scenario, but the basic look, feel, and style of the game are intact.

This expansion is strictly chrome, but good chrome. If the base game is feeling a bit stale from repeated playings, then pull out that credit card and buy this to breathe some new life into the old girl. If you aren't fond of the basic game, then stay away, as this will definitely be perceived as more of the same.

Recommended to all Settlers fans.

 
 
 
 
 
by A Gamer
Fun, but not great.
July 20, 2006

This game is very easy to learn, with simple logical strategy. Its fun to play, but luck is too much of a factor, especially in a game where after you play once or twice you are just as good as most other people. If you like this game you really need to try some more advanced strategy games like Puerto Rico (Im amazed that some people still haven't played this game,) or Caylus with little or no luck factor involved that really test your strategic thinking.

In the end I enjoyed playing this game but I would not play it if I was looking for a challenging thought provoking game.

 
 
 
 
 
not much of an advance from Settlers of Catan
December 22, 2002

Sailing off of the main island is a good idea and logical extension from the original game. But, that is all it is. More of an expansion than a 2nd game. In combination with Knights and Cities, it provides a bigger world to work in, but by itself wasn't all too exciting.

 
 
 
 
 
Schiff Ahoi!
July 14, 1999

The Settlers of Catan go sailing in this expansion for three or four players. Fifteen ships that are played very much like roads (costing one lumber - for the hull - and one wool - for the sails) allow players to form shipping routes between islands. The biggest advantage ships have over roads is (apart from the fact that roads can't cross water) that ships can move after you have placed them on the board - useful for cutting someone off from an important island. The pirate ship, an aquatic analogy of the robber, makes life difficult for the seafarers.

The game comes with a number of preset board layouts which allow players to start right away. There are also some scenarios that allow for a pretty much random layout that gets discovered as players near the hex tiles. One new resource in this expansion is gold, which, when its number is rolled, produces for players who have settlements by it one of whatever resource they want.

If you liked the basic Settlers game, you will probably like the Seafarers of Catan too.

 
 
 
 
 
Detracts
December 25, 2003

My experience with Seafarers is that it detracts from what I like about the game, namely the competition and interaction for good building spots. This expansion tends to separate people. I found it briefly amusing, purely as something different (having had played the original Settlers countless times), but once we discovered Cities & Knights, it (C&K) became the only way we ever played Settlers again, which we've done countless more times. If you don't already have C&K, get that one instead. Some people play with both expansions, but I prefer just C&K.

 
 
 
 
 
Not worth it. Buy Cities & Knights instead
December 07, 2002

Our family has Settlers of Catan, Seafarers of Catan, and Cities and Knights of Catan (along with six-player expansions and the two-player card game). We do not have, but weve played, Starfarers of Catan. Were totally hooked on the games, we play them weekly, but Seafarers is the one we never play anymore.

Why? It doesnt give us enough variation on the original theme of Settlers. While the various islands make traveling more important, they make each settlement or city produce less (i.e. on a three-hex island, theres only one space that produces three resources). It takes time to get to them, but the added time doesnt translate into more points or more fun (unless youre going for the Longest Road). The discovery variations (with some hexes unrevealed until theyre discovered) is interesting, true, but Starfarers also has this mechanic with a lot greater rewards. Seafarers just doesnt add enough to the original game to warrant it being marketed separately.

And as for quality, the snap-together border pieces are warped out of the box and do not stay together, so they cause more difficulty than theyre worth. (I wonder if the people who praise them got a very different product; ours are terrible. We dont use the ones with Cities and Knights either.) And quantity? You get a few ships, a few extra hexagons, a few difficult-to-manage harbors. And it costs the same as the original game.

While others recommend this game for hard-core Settlers fans, wed have to disagree. What to do then? If you like Settlers, then buy Cities and Knights. It introduces a wide variety of new mechanics to the game, gives new interactions, and puts your mind through a more difficult challenge. Ah, and it has the snap-together border if youre into that sort of thing.

 
 
 
 
 
Ok expansion for hardcore Settlers fans
July 14, 2002

Seafarers expands the general boardgame of Settlers of Catan. Expand really is the right word, because it adds to the board size, adds to the types of things you can build (i.e. a ship), adds a new type of land (gold mines which is really a 'pick your choice').

I guess I was expecting something that would in someway change the game, but I don't feel it really does that. The basic strategies are the same (even with the scenarios). If someone was a hardcore Settlers player who played a lot of Settlers, I can see where adding Seafarers would increase the variety and increase the value of the Settlers game. However, if you only play Settlers now and then, I wouldn't bother with Seafarers. It's really just more of the same (and it makes the games longer to play and to set up). It's not that it is bad, but I think the occassional Settlers player would probably be better off to spend their money on an entirely different game. If you are a hardcore Settlers player, then go for it.

Lastly, I wasn't that impressed with the components. I presume the idea was to surround the settlers board so that it stayed together better when the table is bumped. However, some of the pieces we received were warped and the little jigsaw type pieces intended to lock the board together tend to come apart. Once apart it makes things even worse trying to get back together than when the original settler's board moves around a bit. Nice idea, but not well executed.

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