The Primacy of Cities[]

Cities are the source of all your economic output. Two keys to success in the game are: (1) Having as many cities as prudently possible and (2) Quickly growing them to be large.

Building New Cities[]

A city is created when Settlers or Founders do the Build City (B) command on a tile. This creates a city of size 1. A city can grow to larger sizes and have many citizens working many tiles around it. Famine, war, or making population units will reduce a city's population. With the loss of its last citizen, a city disappears. Each city on the map is labeled with its population, or size.

Cities create production, gold, national territory, and technology. Below is shown how a city's citizens extract natural resources, and how to increase city productivity.

Working land[]


Example city: Note radius of workable tiles.

Each city works terrain in a 5×5 grid around the city, minus the corners. To extract resources from a tile, you assign a citizen to work that tile from the city window. The example city on the right has all 4 of its citizens working tiles. Each active tile is labeled with an XYZ showing the food/production/trade it generates every turn. By de-selecting a tile, the player can choose another tile to work, or assign the citizen to be one of 3 types of specialists (or 6 types with the Adam Smith wonder.)

Review the terrain chart to see the output of each type of terrain tile, special resources on that tile, and improvements like roads, irrigation, or mines.

City Centers - The tile on which a city is located is called the city center. City centers give free output without being worked by a citizen. In addition, the city center always produces at least one food point and at least one production point. City centers also gain whatever food bonus the terrain would get if irrigated. Irrigating the tile will therefore give it no buns, except in the case of Desert Rivers. If the city has a Supermarket, the city center tile gets an instant +50% food bonus, which can eventually become a 100% bonus if double irrigated as Farmland.

City tiles are automatically developed with Roads and other transportation improvements such as Bridges, after you have the required tech.

You cannot begin working a tile which a neighboring city is already working, nor can you work terrain inside another nation's borders. You also can't work terrain if an enemy unit is standing on it: this means you can siege an enemy city by putting your units on the valuable resources of an enemy city. Most units can be ordered to pillage, which destroys tile improvements. Workers, Settlers, and Engineers could even transform the terrain to make the tile less productive, just like the Romans sowing the fields of Carthage with salt.

Buildings and Wonders[]

Cities may be enhanced with buildings, each with a different effect. Some buildings require others. Most buildings become available when you achieve certain technologies, while other technology makes buildings become obsolete.

It costs production points (shields) to construct buildings — often taking several turns. Once completed, most buildings require an upkeep of gold every turn. You can dismantle and sell a building, receiving one gold for each shield used in its construction. If a turn comes where you cannot pay the upkeep on all your buildings, some will be automatically sold. Obviously this should be avoided.

Wonders are unique structures that confer special advantages to your civilization. While buildings affect only their own city, many wonders benefit all your cities. Most Commerce units (such as Caravans, Freight, Triremes, and Galleys) can contribute their full shield cost into the construction of a Wonder.



From left to right: Entertainer, Scientist, Tax Collector; Laborer, Merchant, Farmer

A city citizen usually extracts resources from one terrain tile. But citizens can also assume a specialist role.

An Entertainer produces two luxury points for their city. A Tax Collector provides three extra gold per turn for your treasury. A Scientist adds three points to your research output. If you own the Adam Smith wonder: A Merchant provides two extra trade and one extra gold per turn. A Farmer provides one extra food per turn. A Laborer provides one extra shield (production point) per turn.

When your cities grow and produce new citizens, the game's "default governor" automatically assigns them to work the nearby terrain it deems best. You will want to inspect cities that have just grown and adjust the tile or role for which the new citizen has been placed. Alternatively, you can assign your own private Governor to each city and give him orders for what types of income from terrain outputs to prioritize. Read in the in-game help in the city's Governor tab for more information on this.

City Enhancements[]

Three buildings allow you to multiply the effects of the Scientists and the total research produced by your city:

B.library Library

cost:60 upkeep:1


cost:120 upkeep:3

B.research lab Research Lab

cost:120 upkeep:3

In addition, wonders like the Temple of Artemis, and Isaac Newton's College provide direct bonuses to science output across your nation. Copernicus' Observatory will significantly boost science in a single city. Moreover, any wonder which boosts trade will also boost your science, provided you apportion some of your tax rates to assign national trade toward science output. The most important of these is Marco Polo's Embassy.

Other buildings multiply gold, luxury, shield-to-coinage rates, and effects of your Entertainers and Tax Collectors:


cost:60 upkeep:0


cost:80 upkeep:2

Stock exchange Stock Exchange

cost:120 upkeep:3

Civilization and its Malcontents[]

City growth produces crowding and class inequality, making it difficult to maintain citizen morale. Each citizen is either happy, content, unhappy, or angry. Only the first four citizens are naturally content; the rest are naturally unhappy. This is quite serious, as even one unhappy citizen can throw a city into disorder. Cities in disorder produce no food or production surplus, science, or taxes; only luxury production remains. Purchases of buildings or units are not allowed in such a city. Such cities are easier to incite to revolt. In a democracy or a world where the United Nations has been built, two turns of continuous disorder in a city can even result in national anarchy.

Only citizens who work tiles can vary in their moods. Entertainers, scientists, and tax collectors enjoy enough privilege to stay content. Thus, one way to manage an unhappy citizen is to assign him to the role of a specialist. However, if cities are ever to work more than four tiles, other means of solving the morale problem must be used. There are several ways to prevent larger cities from going into disorder.

  1. There are buildings and wonders that affect morale by making unhappy citizens content.
  2. A more interesting option is to make citizens happy. This counters the effect of unhappy citizens— a city will not fall into disorder until unhappy citizens outnumber happy ones. Citizens can be made happy by disbursing an adequate portion of your national trade into luxury. Some buildings and wonders will also create happiness.
  3. Martial Law is available in some governments. Military units stationed within the city impose peace, forcing some citizens to be content. View the chart on Governments to see the effects of Martial Law.

Celebration and its Benefits[]

Cities can enter a mode called Celebration, which means that a city's happiness, morale, and communal unity are high. Depending on your form of government, Celebration brings big benefits to productivity, resistance to incited revolts and civil war, but most importantly, population growth! These benefits may give you a major advantage over nations whose citizens are merely content. Cities must have three or more citizens before they can celebrate. A city will enter a state of celebration when half or more of its citizens are happy, and none is unhappy. The benefits of celebration vary in different governments:

Celebration Bonuses for Governments
Government tile bonus population growth bonus
Anarchy Anarchy no penalties +1 food on irrigated grass/wheat/etc.
Despotism Despotism no penalties +1 food on irrigated grass/wheat/etc.
Monarchy1 Monarchy +1 trade on trade tiles --
Monarchyconstitutional Constitutional Monarchy +1 trade on ocean tiles rapture growth
Republic Republic -- rapture growth
Democracy Democracy -- rapture growth
Theocracy Theocracy +1 trade on trade tiles --
Communism Communism +1 trade on trade tiles --
Nationalism Nationalism +1 trade on ocean tiles rapture growth

City Growth[]

History shows that small nations can be overwhelmed by large nations. Growing a large population is key to national survival and increasing your military, industrial, and scientific output. Every leader should master how to grow cities as large as possible and as fast as prudently possible. There are three ways to grow city population. Knowing and combining all three may be important. Below, the three ways are ordered from least effective to most effective.

Standard City Growth[]

Each time a city's accumulated grain goes over the grain ceiling, the city will increase in population, the grain store will reset to 0, and the new grain ceiling will increase by +10, up to a maximum ceiling of 70. This means that as small cities grow larger, they usually grow slower. This can change later with advanced agricultural technology or Migration and Rapture growth. Nevertheless, Standard Growth is something that all nations must harness, especially in the beginning of the game. There are several ways to make your Standard Growth competitive with other nations: (1) Settle your cities (especially early cities) on high food tiles and near high food resources such as Wheat, Oasis, Fruit, Elk, etc. (2) Prioritize irrigating every irrigable tile before it's used. (3) Invest in Granaries and/or The Pyramids, to reduce food requirements by -50% or -25%, respectively. (4) Find ways to eliminate tile penalties on food during Despotism (The Sphinx, Chand Baori, Code of Hammurabi, Mausoleum of Mausolos, Totem Pole, Celebration, Courthouse, and exiting Despotism as fast as possible.)

Anarchy, Despotism, and Monarchy are limited to this type of Standard Growth. This means these three governments are eventually doomed to obsolescence. All other governments can use and combine additional ways to grow their cities faster:

Migration Growth[]

Peasants, Pilgrims, Proletarians, and Migrants are known as Migration units. These are useful for growing your cities much faster. Theocracy produces Migration units which cost their original city no loss of population. All other migration units have a population cost: usually they remove 1 population from a city and put it into a unit, which can travel to another city to grow that city by +1 population. At first glance, this appears to be a zero-sum break-even in population: one city is reduced in population, while another city gains. However, a wise leader is familiar with how smaller rural towns can continuously surge the population of major cities via migration, or how some large cities are "population capped" (perhaps by lack of Sanitation tech), and can continually migrate citizens while staying at or near their "population cap ceiling." Some cities can quickly and continuously grow fast while "feeding" slower growing cities with Migration units. Migration units are especially effective when they are made in cities with:

  • (1) a high food surplus, and/or
  • (2) low grain requirements needed to continually and quickly replace lost population (for example, small towns with a Granary), and/or
  • (3) rapture capabilities (even non-rapture governments can rapture in a single city with the Pyramids.) This is especially efficient if the city has a 'growth ceiling' due to lacking a Bank, Aqueduct, Sewer System, etc. In such cases, the city raptures up to its "population ceiling", then makes a migration unit, loses 1 population, sends the unit to a non-rapturing city to grow it, and repeats--potentially every turn.

When done optimally, migration growth transfers the fast growth rate of smaller agricultural cities, rapturing cities, and pop-capped cities, into other cities whose standard growth rates are much slower. This gets slower growing cities up to larger metropolitan size.

Only four governments can create cheap migration units to sustain migration growth strategies. Each of these governments has its own type of migration unit with various features, advantages, and disadvantages. Any government can also use Settlers as a Migration unit, though the expense of this unit limits its effectiveness.

Rapture Growth[]

A city that was celebrating on the turn before will enter Rapture and grow by one citizen on every turn that the city has a food surplus.

Rapture Growth is the fastest and most powerful way to grow population, but it's more expensive and more difficult. Only four governments can do it: Republic, Democracy, Constitutional Monarchy, and Nationalism. The latter 2 cannot rapture conquered cities. Democracy may not rapture grow if there are foreign nationals.

Rapture growth is difficult for a leader to manage, because it requires keeping cities in a continuous celebration state. This isn't easy because the larger a city grows, the more discontented its citizens become. Consequently, preparations are often made prior to beginning a sustained period of rapture:

  • preparedness to have usable tiles with food and trade ready, to sustain growth
  • extra workers to keep up with tile improvement demands of rapidly growing cities
  • preparedness to have certain buildings and/or wonders already in place
  • financial preparedness to continuously build and buy buildings/wonders to keep citizens content (e.g., Temple, Oracle, Michelangelo's Chapel)
  • preparedness to build and buy buildings/wonders which increase luxury (e.g., Marketplace, Bank, Marco Polo's Embassy)

One should generally avoid using exorbitant luxury rates to rapture, though it can be occasionally done to maximize certain opportunities. If high luxury is used to grow a city beyond the size that its infrastructure can easily appease the population, it may be straddled with maintaining that high luxury rate just to keep the citizenry out of disorder. This would cause gold income from taxes to be reduced, making you less able to buy the infrastructure needed to escape the high luxury rates. It may also reduce the research needed to unlock the aforementioned infrastructure.

Foreign Citizens[]

When a city of another nation is conquered, one third of its citizens will "turn coat" and opportunistically convert to the conqueror's nationality. In other words, two thirds of the population still affiliate with their original nationality. This changes over time. Each turn, one citizen will assimilate to the conqueror's nationality.

Unhappy Foreign Citizens count as "unhappy about military." Among the foreign citizens present at any point in time, 45% will be unhappy if you are at war with their original nation, and 1 will be immune to any "contentment effects" from Temples, wonders, etc. Unhappy foreigners are not the same as citizens unhappy about overcrowding. These citizens are unhappy about military occupation. Temples, Amphitheaters, and similar buildings will have no effect on them. Their discontent can only be neutralized by Martial Law, or by a Police Station, or by a Wonder which appeases citizens who are unhappy about military activity, or by a Wonder which cancels them out with an equal or greater number of happy citizens.

The first citizens to starve will be Foreign citizens. For a cruel leader, this may seem like a solution to foreign unhappiness. However, starvation causes lawlessness except in governments who can manage Gulag effects.

Managing Growth and Happiness[]

Managing morale or happiness and balancing it with taxation rates is the key engine of economic management in the game. Citizens are made happy when you provide them with luxury. For every two luxury points a city produces, one content citizen is made happy (or if there are no content workers left, one unhappy worker becomes content). Besides the luxury points produced by Entertainers, cities receive some of the trade points they produce as luxury points, proportional to the nationwide luxury rate you have set.

A thorough analysis of how Freeciv calculates happiness can be found in this article.

Starvation and Gulag Effects[]

Nothing displeases people with their leadership as much as starvation. If a city starved on the most recent change of turn, it will enter a lawless state of Famine. It will not be able to produce output. Production purchases can't be made in a lawless city. (Obviously, this makes it hard to buy a Supermarket to fix the problem.) If citizens are made content on the current turn, the city can resume output activity after the next turn change.

Some authoritarian government have "Gulag Effects." A city which has recently starved can be kept in productive order if it meets minimal martial law requirements. Martial law requirements are satisfied by "Martial Law count", which is the sum total of martial law units and buildings which force citizens unhappy about military activity to be content. In general, martial law count is increased by Military units and Police Stations.

Conquered Disorder[]

Unless liberated by its original owner, a conquered city will be in disorganized mayhem on the same turn it is conquered. This state is called "Lawless." Production, purchases, and income can't take place until the city is brought into order in the following turns. Governments without martial law might need extraordinary measures to bring these cities to order, such as taxing the whole nation a higher luxury rate: effectively, a large national tax to pay the extra humanitarian costs that representative governments have when they wage war. Democratic governments and nations in a world with the United Nations should be particularly mindful, as 2 turns of disorder in the same city will cause national anarchy, unless you have the Statue of Liberty.

Martial Law Count needed for Gulag Effects
Military unit Police Station Total needed
Despotism +1 +2 2
Communism +2 +2 3

Military units can affect city happiness[]

Under authoritarian regimes, military units stationed in a city can prevent unhappiness through martial law. Under representative governments the effect is negative— citizens become unhappy when their city is supporting Aggressive Units. Aggressive Units are any unit not inside your borders or not in an allied city or not inside a Fortress within three tiles of a friendly city. Field units (Missiles, Bombs, and most Bombers) cause unhappiness regardless of location. See the section on governments for the number of citizens affected by each of these factors.

Empire size can affect city happiness[]

All of the above discussion assumed that cities can grow to size four without unhappiness, with the fifth citizen being the first unhappy. This limit of 4 citizens decreases as you gain more cities, simulating the difficulty of imposing order upon a large empire. Different governments can support different numbers of cities before encountering this limit for the first time; see the section on government for details.

In rare cases where empires have grown wildly beyond the number of cities where no citizens are naturally content, angry citizens will appear. Angry citizens must first be converted to unhappy before they can be made content. In all other respects, angry citizens behave as unhappy citizens.

City Moods and State Transitions[]

A city mood is recorded by the game only at a snapshot of time--on each Turn Change. This is because during your turn, you may be adjusting the tiles worked, tax rates, and specialists. This is a planning state and the information you see can be thought of as a preview for the result that will be officially recorded during the upcoming Turn Change. A city mood as recorded on one Turn Change can affect the behavior of a city mood on an adjacent Turn Change. For example, rapture only happens in a city that transitions from a mood of Celebration to a mood of Celebration, as recorded on two adjacent turn changes. The four moods a city can record on any particular Turn Change are:

  1. Peace - The default mood which has no bonus nor penalty.
  2. Celebration - The city had half or more happy citizens without unhappy citizens. It will collect tile or rapture bonuses if it records Celebration on the next turn change, depending on the form of Government.
  3. Disorder - Not a real mood, but rather, a "state transition warning" given between two turn changes. At Turn Change, the upcoming mood will be Lawless, if not prevented.
    • A city's current real mood will be marked in red text if the upcoming mood at turn change will be Lawless.
  4. Lawless - A breakdown of societal functions and operations. Details:
    • Caused on the Turn Change after Disorder, if it is not adjusted/prevented.
    • Caused when a city starves at Turn Change: "Famine"
    • Caused by City Conquest.
    • Penalties:
      • Gold and Science income are immediately nullified in a city for the Turn Change in which it enters the Lawless mood.
      • Gold and Science income are collected in a city on a Turn Change in which it exits the Lawless mood.
      • Shield income and Production are nullified on all Turn Changes that take place in a city which had Lawless as its most recently recorded mood.
      • Shield income and Production are collected on a Turn Change entering a Lawless mood, if the Turn Change before did not record a Lawless mood.
        • Note the difference in timing penalties that Lawless creates for Gold and Science vs. Production and Shields. The reason for it is:
          • If a city is in Disorder, it can buy shields to make purchases during Disorder in order to prevent an upcoming Lawless mood.
        • A city in a Lawless mood cannot make purchases until after the Turn Change in which it exited the Lawless mood.
        • Regardless of timing mechanics, a city that enters Lawless for one turn will suffer one turn of shield loss and one turn of gold/science loss.

Buildings affecting growth and happiness[]

Temples, Courthouses, Amphitheaters, Cathedrals, Marketplaces, Banks, Stock Exchanges, Police Stations, and Super Highways can all influence happiness in different ways.

The Wonders which affect happiness in different ways are the Colossus, Oracle, Mausoleum of Mausolos, Hanging Gardens, Temple of Artemis, Supreme Court, Marco Polo's Embassy, Statue of Zeus, Michelangelo's Chapel, Shakespeare's Theatre, J.S. Bach's Cathedral, Voyage of Darwin, Women's Suffrage, and the Cure for Cancer.

Cities may not grow beyond size 8 without an Aqueduct, and may not grow beyond size 12 without a Sewer System.

The buildings that affect city growth are:


cost:60 upkeep:2

B.sewer system Sewer System

cost:80 upkeep:2

The buildings that affect citizen happiness are:


cost:30 upkeep:1
requires:Ceremonial Burial


cost:45 upkeep:1
requires:Code of Laws


cost:60 upkeep:4


cost:75 upkeep:3

Police station
Police Station

cost:50 upkeep:2



Polluted tile

Pollution appears as rubbish and gunk on tiles around the city.

Pollution can afflict large cities as your civilization becomes industrialized. The city window shows the percentage chance a city will create pollution next turn.

Causes of Pollution

Pollution may happen when a city's pollution score exceeds 20. The excess over 20 becomes the percentage chance it will generate pollution next turn. Pollution score* is the sum of two elements:

  1. Production Pollution - The most frequent cause of pollution is total production: shield output. The total number of shields a city produces are added to its pollution score.
  2. Population Pollution - Your population can also increase the chance of pollution. The technologies Industrialization, Mass Production, Automobile, and Plastics, each add 25% of the city's population size to its pollution score.

* (Pollution score can be affected by bonus modifiers. A mathematical formula for Freeciv pollution is detailed here.)

EXAMPLE: A size-16 city with 18 production would ordinarily not produce pollution, since 18 does not exceed 20. But after Industrialization, the pollution score arrives at . This exceeds 20 by 2: thus, a 2% chance of pollution each turn. (With all 4 of the population pollution techs, the score would arrive at . This exceeds 20 by 14, giving a 14% chance of pollution each turn.)

Cleaning and Preventing Pollution

A polluted tile can be cleaned by sending Workers, Settlers, Proletarians, or Engineers to clean pollution. This takes 2 worker-turns to complete. Polluted tiles suffer a 50% penalty on food, production, and trade.

When an unused tile becomes polluted, there is the temptation to avoid the effort of cleaning it; but the spread of pollution can accumulate an ever larger "environmental debt" that is progressively more difficult to clear.

Besides cleaning pollution, you can proactively prevent it. Environmentalism tech reduces population pollution by 50%. Buildings and wonders can also reduce pollution:

B.hydro plant Hydro Plant

cost:175 upkeep:3

B.mass transit Mass Transit

cost:60 upkeep:0
requires:Mass Production

B.recycling center Recycling Center

cost:70 upkeep:1

Nuclear plant
Nuclear Plant

cost:185 upkeep:4
requires:Nuclear Power

Wind farm
Wind Plant

cost:60 upkeep:-3
requires:Environmentalism plant Solar Plant

cost:150 upkeep:-3

The Fusion reactor Fusion Reactor

cost:700 upkeep:0
requires:Fusion Power

Destroyed Cities[]

Destroyed cities leave Ruins marking the location of the now uninhabited city. Besides marking the spot of a former habitation, old walls, buildings, cellars, and sewers provide several other features to the terrain:

  • Hideouts will never disappear if built on Ruins, even if unoccupied.
  • Ruins act almost like a type of Base. On Ruins, there is no Stack-Kill: i.e., units killed in Ruins die one at a time instead of all at once.

City Output Sequence[]

MP2-Caravel uses "WYSIWYG" processing from the server setting city_output_sequence=1. City output is reckoned in a sequential order. This order dictates which effects take place first. For example, will a finished Temple affect Happiness on the same turn it finishes? (Yes.) Will a finished Harbor credit the accumulated Grain Storage on the same turn it finishes? (No, but it will credit whether the city's food surplus qualifies for rapture.)

  • 👉🏻 First, each Player is reckoned one at a time in a random order.
  • 👉🏻 Then for each Player, each of their cities is reckoned one at a time in a random order.
    • a Wonder with (inter)national effects will alter only the cities which were processed after the city it was built in.

The reckoning sequence inside each city is ordered as follows:

  1. Food output accumulates.
    1. Food output calculated = (Total food output - Food to feed city citizens)
    2. Food surplus calculated = (Food output - Food upkeep) = the upkeep food cost for Settlers and Migrant-types is subtracted.
    3. Grain storage is adjusted up or down by the Food surplus.
  2. Production output accumulates, if the most recent previous city mood was not Lawless or Famine.
  3. Production completes: Buildings, Units, Wonders, Coinage.
    • Global effects take place from this point onward for all players and cities.
    • City effects from step 4 onward will get any bonuses or penalties from whatever was produced.
  4. Trade output accumulates (from worked tiles, Trade Routes, etc.)
  5. Gold, Science, Luxury accumulate: (Specialists + Tax rates × Trade points) × bonus factors of Buildings and Wonders.
    • Bulbs permanently assigned and credited to the technology that was researched.
  6. City Happiness calculated. City mood recorded for the current turn.
  7. Food surplus recalculated for rapture (after Step 1)
    • If the production item has no effect on food surplus, then food surplus from step 1.1 will be used.
    • If the production item alters food surplus:
      1. If Settlers, Peasants, Migrants, or Proletarians were completed, then population reduced, and:
        • Food surplus qualification for rapture re-calculated using the Food upkeep incurred by the new Settlers, Peasants, etc.
      2. If Harbor or Supermarket or other food-altering building was completed, then:
        • Food point qualification for rapture re-calculated based on the new food effect.
  8. City grows by rapture if:
    • City was celebrating last turn and continued celebrating after step 5.
    • Food surplus ≥ 1   (from step 7)
  9. Food-based Population Change takes place if there was no rapture.
    • if city has negative grain store, it shrinks from starvation; if city has grain store above the limit, it grows.
      • Grain store reset to 0 (or higher if city has Granary or nation has Pyramids.)
      • New tiles selected.

City Build Slots[]

Generally, a city can make a maximum of one Wonder, Building, or Unit per turn. However, historically, civilizations could muster the ability to recruit extra infantry* and foot soldiers for upcoming wars. In MP2 rules this is represented by the wonder King Richard's Crusade, which enables it in a single city; and by the technology Conscription, which enables it across your nation. Of course, a city will still need enough production (shields) to make two or more units. Also, each individual city needs a building or wonder to give it an extra build slot. A city with an extra infantry build slot may make 1 of any kind of unit, plus an extra infantry unit, in a single turn. A city with two extra infantry build slots can make 1 unit of any kind, plus two extra infantry units per turn; and so on... The following buildings add an extra infantry build slot to a city:

Extra Infantry Build slots
Building Extra

Infantry Slots

scope requires
+1 city Conscription
Ecclesiastical palace
Ecclesiastical Palace
+1 city Conscription
+1 city Conscription
Mfg plant
Manufacturing Plant
+1 city Conscription
Magna carta
Magna Carta
+1 city Magna Carta,

Constitutional Monarchy

King richards crusade
King Richard's Crusade
+1 city King Richard's Crusade
The Fusion reactor
Fusion Reactor
+1 nation Fusion Reactor

* Besides infantry, Peasants are also a "multislot" unit.

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