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Dave Bednarek

Too Easy to Sink Ships.....

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My biggest issue with DW always was that too many ships get sunk too easily. I know this is a game, a recreation, but historically sea battles were decided without one side being 75% or more sunk. I, for one, would like to see this somehow incorporated into the game. 

Maybe VP's allowed for other things other than sinking of ships. I don't know. But I always liked the game, and I'm really hoping many of the above issues are looked at, as well as my thought.

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This is my thought exactly... actual losses of ships are often around 10% for a singe large engagement. Smaller engagements obviously can be more one sided and random but large battles rarely is. In reality ranges a which ships engage are usually big enough for damaged ships to slip away in the confusion, such scenarios you rarely see in games of this type. There are really no defensive manoeuvres you can do in the game such as deploying smoke and hiding seem to be even harder than it was before.

The examples from history that we have of decisive battles are usually the rare ones not the norm.

 

As always it comes down to myself to do rules of my own liking... ;) ...the ships and the setting is great so for me it is worth the effort and it works as long as you only play friendly games.

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  Good points made.  Your thoughts on how larger ships would turn away  when damaged got me thinking.  Perhaps as some ships get damaged, and depending on how severely they are crippled, some type of "Morale"  roll made? If failed, assume the ships has laid smoke or taken extreme defensive maneuvers, or both, and has slipped away. The ship would be taken off the board, and VP's would be granted BUT at a reduced points because the ship has not been sunk...….

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Thing is if you've got a tough ship then getting it damaged to the point it turns away and actually can move out of the battle field in a Dystopian Wars game is going to be hard. Mostly because you're looking at a lot of activity turns to achieve that end result when the game might be well over before its really moved out of battle. In games like Firestorm ships can leap out of battle in an instant through hyperjumping; or in games like Warhammer units cna turn on the spot and flee backwards. With battleships the movement system means it might take a whole turn just to turn around to flee and then another whole turn to at least start moving out of the battlefield.

If it took a turn to get into range then a couple to do damage, by the time you are retreating the game might already be nearly over. 

 

You've also got to balance hte fact that people want to destroy and sink enemy ships. They want that moment when the ship blows up and detonates.

 

 

Now there's a few ways I think you can get this to work in game:

1) Tiers of ships. Your destroyer or frigate might just go down - little to no crippled state; but in contrast they'll come in larger groups.

2) Battleships, carriers etc... - big ships that can take a pounding and become crippled and have an overall performance drop, but which can still be readily sunk with concentrated fire. 

3) Dreadnoughts, titans etc... - the vast ships that I think work best with the idea of regions of damage. Ergo you might destroy their fore weapons; or their port weapons or their rear engines and weapons. Ergo instead of being able to take out the whole ship you might only disable and cripple bits of it. This creates a sense of long term survival of the biggest ships; but also leaves in the possibility of luck in taking one out - making those moments rarer and more desirable and enjoyable when they happen.

 

 

Note that crippling and the idea of retreating could be replaced with wreckage. A battleship, or larger, that sinks could be represented by a token base representing the hull of the ship steadily sinking. Creating a new obstacle in the game, which should be right in the thick of the action and thus a viable and readily risky element that's right in game the moment the ship goes down. Something like a magazine hit could shatter the ship so that it sinks so fast it doesn't make a wreck to sink, but also has the area effect of the blast to damage any nearby ships. 

 

Thus rewarding good positioning, reducing the chances of units bunching up and creating a dynamic terrain setup of the gam.e 

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2 hours ago, Overread said:

Thing is if you've got a tough ship then getting it damaged to the point it turns away and actually can move out of the battle field in a Dystopian Wars game is going to be hard. Mostly because you're looking at a lot of activity turns to achieve that end result when the game might be well over before its really moved out of battle. In games like Firestorm ships can leap out of battle in an instant through hyperjumping; or in games like Warhammer units cna turn on the spot and flee backwards. With battleships the movement system means it might take a whole turn just to turn around to flee and then another whole turn to at least start moving out of the battlefield.

If it took a turn to get into range then a couple to do damage, by the time you are retreating the game might already be nearly over. 

 

You've also got to balance hte fact that people want to destroy and sink enemy ships. They want that moment when the ship blows up and detonates.

 

 

Now there's a few ways I think you can get this to work in game:

1) Tiers of ships. Your destroyer or frigate might just go down - little to no crippled state; but in contrast they'll come in larger groups.

2) Battleships, carriers etc... - big ships that can take a pounding and become crippled and have an overall performance drop, but which can still be readily sunk with concentrated fire. 

3) Dreadnoughts, titans etc... - the vast ships that I think work best with the idea of regions of damage. Ergo you might destroy their fore weapons; or their port weapons or their rear engines and weapons. Ergo instead of being able to take out the whole ship you might only disable and cripple bits of it. This creates a sense of long term survival of the biggest ships; but also leaves in the possibility of luck in taking one out - making those moments rarer and more desirable and enjoyable when they happen.

 

 

Note that crippling and the idea of retreating could be replaced with wreckage. A battleship, or larger, that sinks could be represented by a token base representing the hull of the ship steadily sinking. Creating a new obstacle in the game, which should be right in the thick of the action and thus a viable and readily risky element that's right in game the moment the ship goes down. Something like a magazine hit could shatter the ship so that it sinks so fast it doesn't make a wreck to sink, but also has the area effect of the blast to damage any nearby ships. 

 

Thus rewarding good positioning, reducing the chances of units bunching up and creating a dynamic terrain setup of the gam.e 

   I really like some of your ideas, and I get the fact that SOME people need the satisfaction of sinking a big ship.  However, even implicating all 3 of your suggestions above will still result in too many ships being sunk. For instance, I've never seen a player in DW ever try to "save" a capitol ship because, as you so correctly pointed out, you just can't physically  turn it about to make a difference. Rather players just "drive it" until it sinks. My feeling, and this is just me, is that this is totally unrealistic.

  And because you can never save ships you end up with big body counts.  I had thought that using a 'Morale' test would force a ship to withdraw from the battle, at reduced VP's due to damage. I can justify using smoke screens and who knows what other devices would be available in DW that would make a large capitol ship harder to see\shoot. I would say, "Yes" they can still be targeted. But due to all the defensive means that the Captain has at his disposal, perhaps make the target ship obscured.

 

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The issue is that in a ship game I just can't see retreating ship getting much chance to actually retreat before the end of the game; or at least a point where both players can see who is going to win. I agree its no realistic, but then we've got submarines with chainsaw blades on top; we've got walking castles; giant squid machines, hovering cities and even ships that can hover/fly for short periods. We are already within a totally alien setup. 

 

 

I think that the kind of tactics you want would be better in a much smaller game where you might have only 4 or 5 ships a side and where each is far more detailed in control and how the game plays out. I a game that Dystopian Wars tends to aim for I think killing stuff has to happen if all those powerful machines and monsters are going to feel powerful in the game to players. Of course killing should still be a few turns off for most bigger ships and it doesn't want to swing to the extreme where ships are knocked out every 5 mins etc...

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The problem with ' too easy to sink ships' boils down to scale, and the number of turns it is practical to play.

In real life, a salvo from a battleship against another battleship had little chance of causing damage, simply as even if the range was right when fired, maneuvering by the target in the up to 90 seconds the shells could be in flight, and the dispersion pattern of 12/14/16" guns meant the chance of a shell actually hitting the target ship was not great.

Of course,  with improvements in range finding technology- radar, and radar spotting of shell splashes- it became easier. On top of that, if a ship became crippled- particularly  the propulsion and steering systems,  it  would be come much easier to hit.

As such, it would often take many salvos before one big ship would cripple another. In game terms, this would be moving 1", exchanging fire with a perhaps 5-10% chance of causing damage, and repeat.  Or playing on a tennis court- a RN 15" gun had an effective range of about 30km. At a strict 1:2000 scale, that is 15 meters....  It could manage about 2 rounds a minute,  but a typical WW2 battleship could do about 50 kilometers an hour- i.e  would take over half an hour to travel the range it could fire. And in that time could fire perhaps 60 salvos... even halving the rate of fire to allow for maneuvering, range correction etc, that would be 30 salvos.

It would give you a chance to disengage, but wouldn't make for a very practical game.

To make it practical, you have to compress movement rates vs fire rates vs actual distances. At the same time, you have to dial up the chance per game turn to cause damage to keep the number of turns practical. Together, they make disengagement impossible.

The only solution is to shrink the scale further- say 1:25,000, and simplify the rules to allow lots of turns to happen fast, to fit many turns on a table.

 

 

 

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I'm just going to chime with what the homegroup found playing FSA and debating about the realistic semantics for pages and pages. Forcing ships to retreat or become at risk of retreating didn't turn out to be that much more fun, even if it made more sense logistically. From a purely gameplay perspective you want models being removed off the table on both sides and you want any model thats still on the table to have some agency. I agree with the discussion but in my experience trying to be realistic makes for bogged down and frustrating gameplay

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8 hours ago, Wolfgang Jannesen said:

I'm just going to chime with what the homegroup found playing FSA and debating about the realistic semantics for pages and pages. Forcing ships to retreat or become at risk of retreating didn't turn out to be that much more fun, even if it made more sense logistically. From a purely gameplay perspective you want models being removed off the table on both sides and you want any model thats still on the table to have some agency. I agree with the discussion but in my experience trying to be realistic makes for bogged down and frustrating gameplay

This might be true using Spartan old gaming rules... those rules are not really geared towards something a bit more "realistic". In real life ship captains will not risk their ship sinking unless they can avoid it, there also are the overall Strategic goals to think about.

In the space combat game that I designed for friends and some events was designed with more "realistic" use of the military assets in general. Loosing ships was far more hurting to your goals than saving them. When they are damaged you also need to make sure their efficiency are reduced enough that you don't want them in the fight anymore. Also... captains are going to make decisions the admiral perhaps would not agree with, such as disengaging or even engaging when you don't want to... so some forced behaviour out of player control can be needed to reflect the chaos of a battlefield and represent the FOW... the admiral will never know and understand the details of every situation as the people being there making the hard decisions.

A game can still be fun when you add some simulation.... perhaps not good for competitive environment but certainly much better for representing more realistic conditions. Some player enjoy the role-play experience more than the competitive side of things. 

In my opinion... the ultra competitive players are usually over-represented in forums such as this while the more role-play oriented are the majority of players in real life. So saying such game us boring I don't  think are true at all.

The most engaging games I see people enjoying at events are those driven by allot of role playing and having lots of random element but enough strategic depth to feel you have agency over your destiny to effect the outcome of the game.

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There is nothing stopping you from "roleplaying" and moving the ship off the table when it's damaged.  The fact is, making a game where not getting hurt is the way to win is going to result in turtle tactics. Getting a game in is a massive expenditure of time- you prepare the models, you paint them, you arrange a game in your precious time off work, and then it's over by turn 1 because Yamato got scared off by some torpedoes? Sure, it might be realistic, but I personally will not bother playing a game that simulates the most boring aspects of battle, and given that none of the mainstream games do so either, I imagine I'm not in minority on this. 

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Most people that play games do like the role-play and story it tells rather than winning... that is my experience.  Of course trying to win is what you do but not the reason why you play.

 

A game is a game... the fact is that majority of people play games based on the look of the models and setting not the rules. Most people want simple and understandable rules and care less about the mechanics as having fun playing.

 

My experience from event games where you can tailor the rules from a specific scenario and set of models is that people really enjoy games that feel realistic and where their intuition of moving the models is more important than understanding the game mechanics and exploiting them to gain victory. When you introduce simulation that is usually what you get. The game mechanic take a backseat to what decision you make based on the position of the models on the board and what happens.

 

It also is BS that realistic simulation turn into turtle tactics, that is because you only line up models and shoot at each other until one wins. Scenarios is what matters in more realistic settings... real battles happen for a reason. Not  being able to create a fun and engaging game based on real life tactical choices is just a lack of imagination from most game developers. Scenarios also mean that you don't need to perfect balance of forces to play which is one of the downside of most games. Generals and Admirals are rarely restricted to a set of points or can freely select what resources they like to have. This usually end up games becoming repetitive and predictable eventually.

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Remember that this is set during a time when many officers were glory-hounds, fresh from the academy, and only got a commission because it would be an insult to Lord Rupert  (insert hyphenated name here) if his 5th nephew twice removed had a rank lower than Lt-colonel.

The commodore trait chart was probably one of the better things in 2.5 to represent whether you had competent officers, with good tactical skills, a naval genius, or some incompetent

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  One thing that I have found interesting in this discussion, is that ALL agree that the amount of ships lost is historically inaccurate. From just the ideas above I find this so easy to remedy AND still have an exciting game.

For example, as correctly stated by Jorgen above, scenarios greatly add to a game. So rather than just kill to win, there will be  other methods to achieve victory OTHER than just sink ships. To me, it stands to reason that the more ways you can achieve a victory the more different tactics will be needed. Scenarios offer MANY different ways to configure a battle.

  I'd consider that losing a ship would be more costly than sinking one, since we are talking BIG assets here. As I mentioned already, it would seem highly likely that the biggest and baddest ships of each nation would have the means of taking drastic measures to attempt to save a critically damaged ship. It may avert all its power to  shields, increase it's speed, have a crude cloaking device [a la Ghost Ship], and\or drop smoke all in the effort to save the ship.

 So if you were forced to take  a morale test at some given point due to excessive damage, and you failed, you would have to start moving your ship off the nearest board edge. Not hard to do, especially if the ship used the drastic measures listed above to increase speed by, 2" let's say.  Well unless some critical hit also affected that ships speed, ALL ships in DW can do a complete 180 degree turn in one activation. I would then consider that enemy ships can still continue to target that ship, BUT at maybe 1/2 AD due to the defensive measures taken. I would also consider that the damaged ship could not fire back at full strength or not all. 

The above is just an easy example of what the possibilities could be, so we're not witnessing 70% or more of ships being sunk to win the game.  I have more ideas but I wont list anymore here, but you get the idea.

I also agree with Jorgen that the above ideas will NOT turn into "turtle tactics." If one of the ways to win the scenario is to either protect or bombard an island, for example, I fail to see how "turtle tactics" will carry the day?

I also love the thought of Bugzappa above mentioning the "Gung-Ho" attitude of the times. Heck, you could even, incorporate that factor in the morale test! For example, you could allow either a +1 or -1 to the die roll to see if they will continue the fight. Maybe the ship is really damaged badly and the modifier gives him a better chance to try to save the ship. OR the reverse could be true as well. See, there are MANY ways to make this work, I feel.

 

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Dave...

Under version 2.X rules, very few big ships could make a 180 turn in an activation- excluding flying saucer type things with 360 degree movement, - the only' ship shape'  ones I can think of were EotBS  battles cruisers, between faction rules and the fact as mediums they used the medium turn template.

Under the version 3 rules,  fairly much all the large ships have  the turn limit or lumbering rules and take 2-3 activations to turn 180. I have given feedback about how un-maneuverable they seem.

I agree a good range of scenarios will help, but the idea that a damaged ship becomes faster or more maneuverable makes no sense- why wouldn't those abilities be used all the time? Here, firestorm, with the foldspace drive has a huge advantage!

The only desperate measure to save a ship that makes sense to me is throwing other  ships into the fight. A 'make smoke and run' option- sacrifice all but defensive firepower in return for being harder to hit could work, along with retreating off the board edge without penalty.

It all comes down to the 'compression factor' needed to represent  a naval action in acceptable number of game turns.

I am writing scenarios, and would be interested to see your ideas. I can't see a solution to the 'compression factor' problem, but if you've found one, please share it!

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Bunna,

    Thanks for the feedback. I'm all on board [excuse the pun] with the "make smoke and run" option as you mentioned.  As far as the " become faster while damaged not being used all the time"?  Well it was just part the total package of " doing all you can to save a damaged ship" scenario. Basically, it's pressing the panic button, diverting all power\energies to speed\shields for a very limited amount of time and hope you escape. After which, if you have managed to get off the board, your ship would basically limp home for repairs.

 Also I agree with the "compression factor". As a simulation\game, by definition we are asked to suspend reality in some case to make the game more playable. How many corners you cut to make  a playable game is somewhat individualistic. 

 I don't think the answer lies in trying to compute, using say WWI ships, how many rounds they could fire or the spread. But rather a more abstract view of the game, in it's simplest form. And work from there.....

I would be more than happy to share my ideas on scenarios...………..

Oh yea, as you so correctly pointed out, I was in total error of big ships doing a 180 in 1 turn, they need 2 at least. I was thinking of my scenario where ANY ship does not need to go 2" straight IF they had they failed a morale test AND  are invoking  the drastic retreat measures. Rather the just start turning and adding 2"...……………...

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I like the "pop smoke and run" idea for broken/crippled ships.

However, I have always seen the "lost" ships as any combination of sunk, crippled, and/or retreating under cover of smoke.

I would prefer to have a couple of "bankable" V&V cards that would allow the player to "pop smoke and run" (but with a bonus/penalty for doing so). This would allow for the legitimate  (and historically accurate) tactic of deciding a particular asset/officer is currently too important to lose, and it is more important for the war effort to withdraw them from the engagement zone.

I would suggest something like:

"Get the Admiral to safety"

Place this card under the model. The model gains the equivalent of both a Cloud and Atomic generator, at the expense of its weapony being reduced to 1 each. Furthermore, the penalty for retreating off the table is halved, but destroying/capturing the model is doubled.

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18 hours ago, Nazduruk_Bugzappa said:

I like the "pop smoke and run" idea for broken/crippled ships.

However, I have always seen the "lost" ships as any combination of sunk, crippled, and/or retreating under cover of smoke.

I would prefer to have a couple of "bankable" V&V cards that would allow the player to "pop smoke and run" (but with a bonus/penalty for doing so). This would allow for the legitimate  (and historically accurate) tactic of deciding a particular asset/officer is currently too important to lose, and it is more important for the war effort to withdraw them from the engagement zone.

I would suggest something like:

"Get the Admiral to safety"

Place this card under the model. The model gains the equivalent of both a Cloud and Atomic generator, at the expense of its weapony being reduced to 1 each. Furthermore, the penalty for retreating off the table is halved, but destroying/capturing the model is doubled.

Very true.  Firestorm had a similar mechanic, but it is easier to escape when you change which aspect of reality you are traveling through.  Wet naval vessels usually don't have that option unless they have something like a Wave Motion Gun.

For the purposes of the immediate game on the table, there is no difference between leaving vertically, interspacially, like a bat outta Hell, or explosively.  Where a difference is made is the strategic factor for campaigns, or if such campaign potential is being considered for scoring at the end of the game. 

Sadly, in these types of games, its hard to set up a ship to be the Yorktown at the Battle of Midway.  Double Blind rules are such a pain to work out.

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On ‎10‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 4:02 AM, Nazduruk_Bugzappa said:

I like the "pop smoke and run" idea for broken/crippled ships.

However, I have always seen the "lost" ships as any combination of sunk, crippled, and/or retreating under cover of smoke.

I would prefer to have a couple of "bankable" V&V cards that would allow the player to "pop smoke and run" (but with a bonus/penalty for doing so). This would allow for the legitimate  (and historically accurate) tactic of deciding a particular asset/officer is currently too important to lose, and it is more important for the war effort to withdraw them from the engagement zone.

I would suggest something like:

"Get the Admiral to safety"

Place this card under the model. The model gains the equivalent of both a Cloud and Atomic generator, at the expense of its weapony being reduced to 1 each. Furthermore, the penalty for retreating off the table is halved, but destroying/capturing the model is doubled.

  I think we are definitely on the same page on this one! I agree with all you said and LOVE the idea of " Get the Admiral to Safety" card. Great idea...………..

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  Another thought I had was to eliminate the exploding die mechanism. Although I really liked it in the other versions, I believe it led to a lot of excess damage due to successive 6's.  And keeping in line with reducing  the 70% casualty rate we all agree on his historically inaccurate, I would still allow 6's as 2 hits but no reroll.

 Also, am I correct in stating that a ship fired on by just guns has no defensive measures available to it in the new version? In other words, if I had shields I could roll defensive die to counter previously, but this is not an option now? Unless it is torps or rockets, then you get defensive fire, correct?

 

 

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The fact that a ship is reduced to 0HP dosent mean its actually sunk and unrecoverable, its out of the fight.

DW represents a more huge guns cos science style genre, the weapons are getting to a scale that dosent really take in the accuracys of the real world, where a smart person would disengage the moment it was unwinnable. 

Drawing the comparison to real world dosnt really fit, your dealing with ship builders whos limits are now only to how much they can fit on the ships and not by real world thinking. 

 

Igor load the Kralenapults

 

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One aspect could be to introduce wrecks. 

When big ships take significant damage to the point of being rendered inoperable/sunk or destroyed; instead of removing the model totally its instead replaced with a sunk version of itself (out of the box this could mean just leaving the model there and putting a red counter next to it to denote that its blown up - sinking ship models could be conversion opportunities or optional purchases from WC). 

For battleships, carriers and dreadnoughts this would be one way to have the ship linger even though its destroyed - adding to a longer feeling of the game and adding the ship now as a terrain feature - an obstacle. 

 

 

this comes at the issue of ships from another angle; instead of trying to make it so huge ships can escape battles, reasonable but hard to achieve in a game that might only get 6 turns at most and many times might be far fewer. Instead this approach is more practical to a game of this length and creates something a bit new (many games now don't use wreckage - in fact that last game I recall with any was Epic 40000 when you blew up a titan)

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If there was some mechanic and scenario reason to save your ships from being sunk as beneficial that would be nice. I also think that the point that you can't turn ships 180 in a turn is also something the then need to consider... don't move your ships straight at the opponent and risk loosing big then, move them as such so they have an escape route if things goes sideways. In my opinion it add a new layer to the tactical positioning of ships and not the drive towards the enemy and shoot until you sink mentality which frankly is a bit stupid in most cases.

 

Anyway... scenarios should be more important that just line up the ships and fight because that is almost never the case in reality. I understand it is a game, but I usually immerse myself in the story and for me the story fail when ships act like kamikaze pilots without any reason all the time.

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5 hours ago, Jorgen_CAB said:

If there was some mechanic and scenario reason to save your ships from being sunk as beneficial that would be nice. I also think that the point that you can't turn ships 180 in a turn is also something the then need to consider... don't move your ships straight at the opponent and risk loosing big then, move them as such so they have an escape route if things goes sideways. In my opinion it add a new layer to the tactical positioning of ships and not the drive towards the enemy and shoot until you sink mentality which frankly is a bit stupid in most cases.

 

Anyway... scenarios should be more important that just line up the ships and fight because that is almost never the case in reality. I understand it is a game, but I usually immerse myself in the story and for me the story fail when ships act like kamikaze pilots without any reason all the time.

    Once again I am in complete compliance with all these thoughts.

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