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Thread: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

  1. #1
    Camel Lord Senior Member Capture The Flag Champion Martok's Avatar
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    Default How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    Since we've had a number of new players ask about this topic, I'm going to sticky this thread for a little while. I've borrowed the words of Manco Capac and Ludens, as they have both recently posted on the subject.


    Quote Originally Posted by Manco Capac
    Unit's don't actually enter ships. To send units abroad you just need a port from which to embark, and a ship in every sea zone between the source and destination provinces. Then you just pick the army up and drop it on that destination. If an enemy ship is in any of those sea zones you'll have to sink it first or your army won't be going anywhere. Also if you're invading the province of a faction you're not at war with you'll still have to sink their ships first before you can invade.

    -Edit: Holding the 'v' key will show you the status of sea zones, whether neutral brown, friendly green or hostile red.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ludens
    It's not necessary to load your soldiers into ships. When you have a port in the armies province and an unbroken line of ships between the port and the target province you can drop the stack directly on the target province. Unbroken line of ships means an allied fleet in every sea area between the port and the target province. An enemy fleet anywhere on the line will break the connection. Pressing the V button will reveal which seas are covered by your own fleet, and which are blocked by enemy fleets. Also, the Vikings of the VI campaign do not need a port in the province of departure: they can board their ships anywhere.

    A word of warning, though: unless there is a port in the target province, your army will be unable to sail back after landing (with the exception of the Vikings, off course), and ports have a tendency to get destroyed upon capturing the castle. In other words, you probably won't be able to recall your army quickly, and getting your King stuck away from home can have disastrous consequences for loyalty.
    If anyone has any other questions about how to move armies overseas in MTW, feel free to post them here.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    So a sea zone counts as blockaded if there is even one ship in it belonging to someone you are at war with, even if you have far more ships of your own in that zone? That is a pain...

  3. #3

    Default Re: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    That's exactly how it works. Not a perfect system I know, but if you could break a blockade by simply outnumbering the enemy fleet, this could lead to huge expensive to support fleets all over the map, crippling the AI economically.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    I can see the sense in that, but it is annoying when that last pesky surviving Dromon in the English Channel stops me re-inforcing my armies in the Med...

    The other question I have is what do you have to do to make a sea 'friendly' - I can only ever remember them being either blockaded or neutral, even late in the game when I pretty much own the whole map and there are very few AI ships? Or have I just not been paying proper attention?

  5. #5

    Default Re: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ripken
    I can see the sense in that, but it is annoying when that last pesky surviving Dromon in the English Channel stops me re-inforcing my armies in the Med...
    In the same way this also protects your lands from similar invasions.

    Funny you mention the Dromon. That happens to be the fastest ship. It is highly probable that your ships are not fast enough to catch it before it flees to another sea zone. A slower ship can catch a faster ship, but it has less of a chance of doing so. To increase your chances, break a fleet up into individual ships and have them all attack that same ship/fleet individually. This way each of these ships has a chance of catching that "pesky Dromon".

    Quote Originally Posted by Ripken
    The other question I have is what do you have to do to make a sea 'friendly' - I can only ever remember them being either blockaded or neutral, even late in the game when I pretty much own the whole map and there are very few AI ships? Or have I just not been paying proper attention?
    Try holding the 'v' key to see the status of sea zones. A friendly sea zone (green) contains your ships and/or neutral/allied ships. A hostile/blockaded sea zone (red) contains your ships and/or enemy ships. A neutral sea zone (brown) contains only neutral/allied ships.

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    Second-hand chariot salesman Senior Member macsen rufus's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    Just to add a bit more to the sea "traffic lights":

    Green: you have a ship, no enemy ships, allies or neutrals may or may not be present
    Yellow: you have no ship, no enemy ships, allies or neutral ship present
    Red: you may or may not have a ship, enemy ship present, allies or neutrals may or may not be present
    Blue (clear?): either no ships present at all, or you can't "see" the sea zone

    Also bear in mind this affects trade as well as army movements - you cannot trade through a red-zone either, which is why control of Gibraltar Straits is important for a trading empire. Also if allied/neutral ships form a chain from their exporting provinces to one of your ports, you will be earning import income through that port, even if its a non-exporting province.
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    Default Re: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    I have longboats stretching from Irelands east coast to Cantware where there is a port. (This is on VI). However when I lift a stack in Brega or Laigin where there are ports, only a few provinces light up on the mainland Britain: Cernu, Guent and maybe a couple of others on the west.

    Is it because longboats don t have range to carry troops-I want to invade Cantware.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Furze
    I have longboats stretching from Irelands east coast to Cantware where there is a port. (This is on VI).
    The port in Cantware is irrelevant to you, if you are invading there. You only need a ship in a sea zone off the coast, and a ship in every sea between there and either Brega or Laigin. Those provinces must have a port or your army cannot embark.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Furze
    However when I lift a stack in Brega or Laigin where there are ports, only a few provinces light up on the mainland Britain: Cernu, Guent and maybe a couple of others on the west.
    If the overseas destination province does not light up when you lift a stack from the source province, there are a few reasons:

    1) You haven't constructed a port in the source province(s)
    2) You don't have fleets in the connecting seas between the provinces
    3) A fleet or fleets belonging to the owner of the destination province obstructs the route.
    4) An enemy fleet obstructs the route

    Green doesn't always mean go. If fleets belonging to the owner of the destination province are obstructing your line of fleets, then you won't be able to invade.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Furze
    Is it because longboats don t have range to carry troops-I want to invade Cantware.
    Your ships all have the same range in VI, except the Vikings who have long range vessels. Range does not directly affect the transfer of army stacks from one province to another via your fleets, only obstructions caused by other ships will do this. The range factor determines the number of sea zones the ship can move, and if it can traverse deep sea zones.

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    Second-hand chariot salesman Senior Member macsen rufus's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    Manco is right:

    Green doesn't always mean go.
    If Cantware belongs to a faction that is currently neutral, and they have a ship in one of the sea regions en route, you will have "all green" on the map, BUT their fleet will still stop you invading their territory. You must sink their fleet first - which of course is a declaration of war, and then they'll know you're coming for them! If they have any other ships out at sea, then they will make the sea regions red from the following turn.

    The reason Cerniu etc "light up" when you lift your stack is because their owner faction has no ships to block the invasion (I guess it's the Welsh?)
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  10. #10

    Default Re: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    Thanks,Manco and macsen. That explains a lot-I didnt realise just having a ship between would stop my invasion plans.

    Yes, the lit up areas are thw Welsh and Rebels-three provinces.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    Before you begin the invasion you should target every one of your new enemy's ships on the map (those that you can reach anyway) and attack all of them, starting the war in the process. If you don't the AI will have the upper hand and will attack your ships, probably skinking a few. The attacker has the advantage remember.

  12. #12
    A very, very Senior Member Adrian II's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    A few more things can be said about naval battles.

    Naval tactics and strategy are confusing to many players because they do not take the trouble to study their ships' counters for a brief moment. The counters contain essential information which you can use to your advantage. Taking the info into account makes the game more fun and may make the diffrence between winning and losing both militarily and financially (because both armies and trade follow the fleet).

    1. Speed
    Faster ships will 'catch'/outrun slower ships.
    Stacks are as fast as the slowest ship in them.
    The more different stacks you use in an attack, the higher the chance that your ships will succeed in attacking (though not necessarily beating) the enemy in a given turn.

    2. Attack/Defence
    Calculate the likely outcome of a naval battle on the basis of the attack and defence numbers noted on the counters. Initiating the batttle (attacking an 'unsuspecting' enemy fleet) adds one point to your attack for one turn.

    3. Command stars
    Command stars seriously influence the outcome of a naval batttle. Captains start out with 0-3 command stars, based on port of call bonus. The captain with the most stars is (considered) in charge of a stack. The number of stars of a commander increases by 1 after each naval battle he wins. A difference of one star between opposing commanders usually means a win for the highest commander, if all else is equal.

    4. Seaworthiness
    After compass invention in 1170 some ships (such as Caravels) can navigate in deep water. Use this capability to your advantage to outmaneuver enemy fleets.

    5. Blockades
    Sometimes your ships are more useful if they block enemy routes then if they dominate your own trade or troop routes. Particularly if your fleet is much smaller than the enemy's, hitting and running is your priority. Use your heaviest ships with the best commanders to bock enemy routes for a turn (or two). You can dilute enemy fleet stacks in this way, to the point where they are small enough to be attacked by your main squadron.

    6. Diplomacy
    If you want to ally with a nation and its crowned head demands proof of your intentions in the form of an attack on 'our mutual enemies', you can use your fleet to accomplish this. No major land battle is necessary, a naval attack will often suffice to 'convince' the potential ally.
    Last edited by Adrian II; 12-18-2006 at 09:58.
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    Senior Member Senior Member naut's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    Excellent post Adrian II.
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    Camel Lord Senior Member Capture The Flag Champion Martok's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    Appreciate the additional information, Adrian II! I wasn't aware of point #6, so that's good to know.
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    A very, very Senior Member Adrian II's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Martok
    Appreciate the additional information, Adrian II! I wasn't aware of point #6, so that's good to know.
    You are welcome, Martok.

    In fact I believe the M:TW diplomacy system -- though it leaves a lot to be desired -- is better than it is reputed to be. But you have to stick to your choices and obligations and take a close look at the allies, enemies, religious affiliation etcetera of any foreign ruler before you ally, marry or fall out with them. Once your alliance system becomes unhinged, it will never be restored. So if you behave like an irresponsible idiot (pardon the expression) at the start by marrying every damsel that comes along, attacking allies at will etcetera, you will be all alone out there well before the year 1200.
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    Default Re: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian II
    3. Command stars
    Command stars seriously influence the outcome of a naval batttle. Captains start out with 0-3 command stars, based on port of call bonus. The captain with the most stars is (considered) in charge of a stack. The number of stars of a commander increases by 1 after each naval battle he wins. A difference of one star between opposing commanders usually means a win for the highest commander, if all else is equal.
    I'm being lazy and ressurecting part of one of my old posts with some edits in "[]":

    Quote Originally Posted by Caravel
    It helps to think of ships in the same way as agents such as spies, assassins, emissaries, bishops etc, but specifically assassins. Ships are agents that can be stacked together (like an army stack), like agents they have a valour rating, in the case of ships it's called "command" but it's still really valour the same as agents have. If you've ever seen inquisitors trained in castile, they have a valour bonus, and appear with 2 stars. Assassins in Syria also appear with 2 stars. Dhows from Tunisia also appear with 2 stars as do Cogs from Wessex or Longboats from Denmark. This is how the valour bonus for agents works. Ships are the same.

    When you send 15 assassins on an assassination mission, they attack 1 after the other, not as a group, each one is 'tried' against the target and you are shown the percentage of failure/success. The same occurs with ships, except you don't need to drag them to their targets individually because they are stacked [if only assassins worked like this!].

    Also when you attack enemy ships it is possible that the AI, who can see what you're going to do, will also attack your ships at exactly the same time, so your entire fleet may be wiped out in this way. This is why I always break my fleets up into single ships when attacking to give them a better chance of survival against counter attacks. The AI can also move it's ships to another sea zone, instead of facing the attack, which you can't do. You never know if the AI is going to attack you or not. This is what the 'speed' attribute refers to. Basically faster ships can get away to another sea zone and not get sunk, slower ships cannot and have to fight. This is not much use to the player because: "You never know if the AI is going to attack you or not".
    The problem is that there must be some kind of a queue system, because ships work in the same way as agents and not as a unit. Supposing we have a fleet of 4 dromons, the first has valour 3 and the others valour 0. They attack a fleet of 2 caravels both with 0 valour. The first dromon fails and sinks. That leaves the others with 0 valour remaining. they being inferior to the first are quickly sunk one after the other, due to that caravel gaining valour from sinking the first valour 3 dromon? Make sense. This is why I think that ship stacks are sitting ducks and extremely vulnerable as they allow all of the ships to be taken on in a single turn. To reiterate:

    1) 4 dromons in a stack led by a valour 3 admiral's ship attack a 2 ship stack of 0 valour caravels

    2) caravel1 defends and, luckily but also down to stat advantage, sinks dromon1 - caravel1 must now gain valour for sinking that 3 valour dromon.

    3) dromon2 of the stack attacks caravel1

    4) caravel1 defends and sinks dromon2 - caravel1 may gain valour for sinking that 0 valour dromon, though not enough to increase it's stars.

    5) dromon3 of the stack attacks caravel1

    6) caravel1 defends and sinks dromon3 - caravel1 may gain valour for sinking that 0 valour dromon, though not enough to increase it's stars.

    7) dromon4 of the stack attacks caravel1

    8) caravel1 defends and sinks dromon4 - caravel1 may gain valour for sinking that 0 valour dromon, possibly another star.

    9) The caravel fleet wins

    This is how I now see it as working. The admiral's ship does not add to the valour of his stack (fleet) in the way that a general does because ships are really just agents stacked together for convenience. When a stack attacks, the lead ship attacks alone, with the others simply waiting in line if this ship is sunk. This is why, if it is sunk by a lucky enemy they gain a lot of valour then go on to sink the rest of the 0 valour ships in the stack (easy pickings).

    I'm also not conviced about a fleet having the speed of it's fastest ship. I've never noticed this myself nor seen any positive data to prove that this is the case, though no data to prove otherwise either. Fleets are restricted by their short range coastal vessels. For example a fleet of caravels cannot enter the Centrel Mediteranean if a barque is among their number, this is because the barque is coastal. The speed thing is different to this. Speed affects the catching of fleeing enemy ships. For example, if I attack an enemy fleet with my fleet, and end the turn, the AI factions make their moves as normal. The AI moves the ship I was attacking to an adjacent sea zone, thus escaping the attack altogether. There is alsways a chance however that the ship will not escape and will still be attacked anyway. This is more likely if the fleeing ship is slower than the attacker. When in a stack this speed advantage is apparently lost if their are slower ships in the fleet. I've not personally seen evidence of this as yet. It may be that the fast ship doesn't engage the enemy ship, because it is not the fleet admiral, therefore it is ineffective, because the fleet admiral is the only ships in a atack that attacks. Splitting it off to attack seperately makes it affective because it is then definitely attacking, because it is effectively the admiral of it's own 1 ship fleet.

  17. #17
    A very, very Senior Member Adrian II's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Caravel
    This is how I now see it as working.
    You raise some interesting points, particularly the 'queue' notion. The trouble is that for naval battles, the game never provides a after-battle account of who killed whom.

    Therefore it seems that you and I have some opposing rules of thumb, based on what appears to have worked for us in the past.

    In my experience, splitting up your fleet stack has two effects: (1) it makes your individual ships more vulnerable to attack, not less, and (2) the enemy always attacks only one of your units during a turn, which means you lose a maximum of one ship per turn. It is up to you to judge what outweighs what.

    And when it comes to battles, in my experience the difference in number of ships in opposing fleets is decisive, unless there is a major difference in command levels. I have never observed the queue effect.

    I have also found that attacks stand a better chance of succeeding if you split up the slow movers and the fast movers in your fleet. The fast ones will usually catch the enemy first. This truism is demonstrated after the battle when I look at the remaining ships and the added command stars (for a win) of a particular stack or ship.

    However, just like you I have no solid data to prove all of this.
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  18. #18

    Default Re: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian II
    You raise some interesting points, particularly the 'queue' notion. The trouble is that for naval battles, the game never provides a after-battle account of who killed whom.
    That's the problem. You can only get a rough idea by taking notes of what ships you had before and after, and this isn't that reliable.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian II
    In my experience, splitting up your fleet stack has two effects: (1) it makes your individual ships more vulnerable to attack, not less, and (2) the enemy always attacks only one of your units during a turn, which means you lose a maximum of one ship per turn. It is up to you to judge what outweighs what.
    I agree. Maybe I wasn't clear enough. A one ship fleet alone in a sea zone will often be picked off by the AI and probably get you into a war that you don't want. I always use 2 - 3 ship fleets or 2 - 3 ships in a sea zone and no more. It doesn't appear to matter if you stack them or not. I've noticed that the AI can only recognise "no of ships in sea zone" and not stacked ships. Stacking ships just means that they can all attack at one (in a queue) or be attacked all at once (defending in a queue). I may be wrong of course and it may be that a stack of ships gives the impression to the AI of a stronger force, much like an army stack does on land.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian II
    And when it comes to battles, in my experience the difference in number of ships in opposing fleets is decisive, unless there is a major difference in command levels. I have never observed the queue effect.
    The difference can be very decisive because your ships have to beat all of those ships. e.g. in a stack of three vs a stack of 10, If your first ship beats three and then goes down, your next ship has to take over, that will be against the enemy ship that sunk your lead ship. This enemy ship will have gained valour and will probably sink your other two ships, thus you lose. It's the same as throwing 20 assassins against a target, you have a bigger chance of pulling it off. They all work in a queue, not together. Ships appear to work the same.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian II
    I have also found that attacks stand a better chance of succeeding if you split up the slow movers and the fast movers in your fleet. The fast ones will usually catch the enemy first. This truism is demonstrated after the battle when I look at the remaining ships and the added command stars (for a win) of a particular stack or ship.
    True enough, though the fast movers can be split individually and each ordered to attack the same ship. This way all of those ships have a chance of catching the enemy, not just their lead ship. If they were part of a large fleet and your fastest ship was not the admiral that fleet would have had much less of a chance of catching the enemy fleet. If they had been a large stack of fast ships, then the lead ship would have tried to catch the enemy fleet, if they had failed the ship would have escaped.
    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian II
    However, just like you I have no solid data to prove all of this.
    I've no hard evidence to back up my claims but since playing this game from it's release, I have come to this conclusion. My theory also fits the logic of how this would work from a basic AI perspective. I do believe that ships are to all intents and purposes a type of agent. I cannot see how else ships would engage other ships, except for in a queue. If a fleet of 17 takes on a fleet of 5, how does the AI decide which ship fights which opponent ship? When a battle ends you often get a victory where the winner still lost a few ships. How does the AI assess which ships are lost? Or are these the ships that lost along the way as part of the queue process? Some of those ships may have been destroyed on their first attack, others may have taken down some of the AI ships first.

  19. #19
    Second-hand chariot salesman Senior Member macsen rufus's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    I find naval battles can be vexing - and I agree with things that both Caravel and Adrian have said. My observations suggest a BIG stack always wins - usually without losses. I also believe the "agent-style" that Caravel proposes, otherwise, if it's not based on a '%-age chance of success' type calculation, how come you tend to lose more naval battles in years when you have grand land victories and vice-versa? What I mean is, something is skewing the odds besides the ship stats

    It may be bit of an exploit, but if you're on the defensive in a sea war, it pays to split your stacks because the AI will only ever launch one attack in a sea region, so you will only lose one ship a year instead of a whole stack -- giving you time to train up a new fleet to bring in to outnumber the enemy ships (often happens that the AI will flood Straits of Gibraltar with many stacks).

    As far as stacks are concerned, well, a chain is as strong as its weakest link: if a stack has a coastal ship in, it will be a coastal stack. If it has a slow ship in, it will be a slow stack.

    The queue systems sounds reasonable, but thinking about it, I don't see how it could work that you get stack-on-stack battles with casualties on both sides. Once one side's top ship has sunk the enemy top ship, then all the rest should fall, but I often have battles where I win by say sinking five, but lose two. If it was a queue, the two I lose should be my best two, and an enemy ship that can sink them, should sink all the rest. So I think numbers of ships in a stack DO have some bearing, as well.

    Unless its a combination of ship type and ranking.... okay, back to thinking. Yes, each stack is ordered by command stars. So Ship 1 could be a small ship with many stars maybe beating another small ship with fewer stars, but then faces a big ship and loses on stats... no, okay I CAN see how a stack can take losses but still win.

    [The sponsors of Macsen would like to apologise for any confusion caused and wonder when he's going to carry on doing some work.... ]
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  20. #20

    Default Re: How to use boats to move armies across water - please post here!

    Quote Originally Posted by macsen rufus
    The queue systems sounds reasonable, but thinking about it, I don't see how it could work that you get stack-on-stack battles with casualties on both sides. Once one side's top ship has sunk the enemy top ship, then all the rest should fall, but I often have battles where I win by say sinking five, but lose two. If it was a queue, the two I lose should be my best two, and an enemy ship that can sink them, should sink all the rest. So I think numbers of ships in a stack DO have some bearing, as well.
    When you lose ships from your stacks are you sure you don;t lose the admiral? From my own observations I've found that the admiral's ship is lost every time, though I could be mistaken of course. The next ship in line will gain valour, and so give the illusion that the lead ship hasn't been lost. But either way, where it does work through the queue in the same order as ships are in the stack (from left to right) or if it works in a random or some other order, I'm still convinced that ships work in a queue.
    Quote Originally Posted by macsen rufus
    Unless its a combination of ship type and ranking.... okay, back to thinking. Yes, each stack is ordered by command stars. So Ship 1 could be a small ship with many stars maybe beating another small ship with fewer stars, but then faces a big ship and loses on stats... no, okay I CAN see how a stack can take losses but still win.
    It could be based on ship type also. Those heavier ships may attack first in a queue, sorted by valour descending. This may be why the faster, lighter, ships are never effective in battles where mixed fleets are used.
    Quote Originally Posted by macsen rufus
    [The sponsors of Macsen would like to apologise for any confusion caused and wonder when he's going to carry on doing some work.... ]

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