Lakota Economy Rework

Coin Gathering


The Definitive Edition came with a lot of very intrusive changes to the natives that were ostensibly made in the name of being a more inclusive and accurate portrayal of these civilizations. These changes (particularly the Tribal Marketplace) were largely detrimental to gameplay and appear to be motivated more by political brown nosing than a genuine desire for inclusive representation.

As has been discussed, in numerous threads, the Tribal Marketplace is objectively terrible and not at all the “fur trade” mechanic it was touted as being.

  • It is STILL MINING and the hut even breaks after a mine is depleted
  • It’s an annoying obstacle to being able to mine in the first place and can’t support as many gatherers
  • They make it easier for your opponent to scout where you are mining
  • The building is easily confused with the market (primarily in the building menu)
  • Unnecessarily increases the learning curve for the native civilizations

The Tribal Marketplace should be entirely eliminated for all the native civilizations. For Haudenosonee there was never even a reason for this change in the first place and it should be completely reversed.

When it comes to the Lakota, it’s a little more complicated. They hold the earth as sacred and fought relentlessly to protect their sacred sites in the Black Hills from mining and exploitation. This aversion to mining could be accommodated with a coin gathering system specific to Lakota, similar to the unique workarounds for Japan not being able to hunt.


Mining Exclusion Around First Town Center

Due to the sacred nature of the Earth in Lakota culture, all players would be barred from mining within the building exclusion zone around their first Town Center (same region where enemy can’t build buildings). This would prevent the allies of Lakota players from having access to too many safe mines, as well as protecting from very greedy enemies. Destroying the first Town Center would free up these mines for exploitation.

Combat Boost Aura Around Mines

The Lakota fought tenaciously to defend their lands from encroaching American miners. This could be represented by a card or bonus that grants mines a combat boosting aura. This would have multiple benefits by giving them a combat boost near both enemy and allied starting mines, and giving them an advantage when raiding and establishing map control.

Coin From Hunting and Gathering

The first component of this should be giving a small coin yield when gathering from natural resources. This would be similar to the North America Trade card that grants 0.15 coin/second from hunting and 0.015 coin/second from chopping. The thematic basis of this would be the fur trade and pemmican trade which were major components of the native economy. The North America Trade card could be replaced by a big button market upgrade called Pemmican Trade that grants a reduced version of the same effect.

Yielding coin from natural resources could be either a default bonus or be granted by the gathering under the aura of a Tipi. Having a coin yield enabled by the Tipi aura comes with the benefit of it being optional and able to be regulated. This could be done via a toggle similar to Mountain Monasteries. Options could be something like 0%wood/0%food converted, 5%wood/15%food converted, and 10%wood/30%food converted to coin.


Traplines would be a structure analogous to Cherry Orchards and Mango Groves, but for coin. Lakota should start the game with a Trapline Travois to provide them with a reliable source of coin. More Trapline Travois could be obtained from an infinite shipment or certain age ups. Thematically, civs like the French, Russians, and Haudenosaunee could also have access to cards to send Trapline Travois (but not an infinite version since they would have access to mines).

Pipestone Quarry

The one exception to mining and quarrying that Lakota have is the gathering of pipestone (the rock used to make their sacred peace pipes). This quarrying could be the avenue to giving them access to the resources locked in mines later in the game. An age 4 card called Pipestone Quarrying could enable Lakota to be able to “mine” and greatly improve the yields on mines. However, since this would be quarrying for a building material instead of mining for profit, it would also change the yield on mines from coin to wood. This would be an excellent late game source of wood for a civ that is otherwise missing a late game source.

Food Gathering

The Lakota were prolific hunters and this is accurately represented by their many in game bonuses. However, as soon as the starting hunts run out, they are entirely dependent on recurring shipments to sustain their economy. This involves sending a ridiculous number of bison shipments and requires techs and cards for improving experience generation. A mechanism that allowed them to generate more bison to hunt without needing shipments would be a much better way to implement this concept. The best way to achieve this would be via a building called a buffalo pound.

Buffalo Pound

These were structures that funneled large numbers of bison into a corral where they were then slaughtered. They were primarily wooden construction and often incorporated the natural terrain as part of their structure. Buffalo pounds were most commonly used by tribes such as the Cree or Assiniboine so they could also feature as a component of a potential Cree/Iron Confederacy civilization.

In game, they could function as an equivalent of a Factory for Lakota. Buffalo Pounds should passively generate bison at a rate that is fast enough to support a couple of hunters. Additional Villagers could be tasked to “herd” the bison and increase their spawn rate in order to support more hunters. Like a Factory, they would not be able to be constructed normally, and could only be obtained from a card and/or age up.

Now, these may seem like a simple structure that should be trivial to reconstruct. However, making them irreplaceable parallels the reality that the extirpation of the buffalo was a deliberate tactic to starve the Native Americans into submission. The Camp Movements card would also help keep these structures safe by giving the option to move out of the way of incoming attacks.

Some have argued that a system like this should entirely replace farming because it was almost nonexistent among the Lakota proper. But, many Siouan peoples were farmers so it is realistic for them to keep access to Farms. It would also be a fallback food source if all Buffalo Pounds were destroyed.


New Cards

Paha Sapa (II) - Reveals all mines and increases the attack of units and buildings near mines

Red River Guns (IV) - Recurring shipment of 2 horse artillery based on Metis artillery
– The Red River colony overlapped with Dakota territories and they signed several peace treaties to facilitate cooperation


Buffalo Pound (IV) - Ships a Buffalo Pound Travois (can be sent twice)

Pipestone Quarrying (IV) - Enables mining and greatly improves yield, but changes yield from coin to wood

Reworked or Removed Cards

North America Trade - Replace with a Pemmican Trade big button market upgrade

Friendly Territory - Replaced by Paha Sapa

Nomadic Expansion - Remove or rework (doesn’t make sense if Tipis are economic)

Winter Counts - Rework to improve training speed (it is their form of calendar, and less experience would be needed if bison don’t need to be shipped)


One of the ideas I had for Lakota when it comes to using the mines around the map, was a pseudo-building called “Sacred Ground” that you’d put over a coin mine. However, instead of coin, it would provide XP. The way that Lakota would gather gold could’ve been through hunts.

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I personally don’t care too much about the tribal marketplace existence itself, what I do care about though is bad gameplay design and the tribal marketplace is an annoying “feature” that took away the ability to queue my villagers to other mines after I finished one.

Personally fascinated with this research.

I consider the most relevant:

  1. Eliminate tribal markets.
  2. Block the possibility of collection of mines near TC Lakotas.
  3. The mines can give aura of attack improvement, although there may also be a card so that the mines also improve the collection of natural resources.
  4. Use the Teepee as a coin input (could be toggled via buttons if you want to generate coins, increase HP or increase natural resource collection rate).
  5. Buffalo Pound: could be the Estate equivalent (before plantation) of the Lakota. Although this building was from the Cree I find the mechanics interesting (also I understand that 90% of the Lakota economy was based on the Buffalo).

Possible inconsistencies:

  • There are technologies such as Quechuan Metalworking that are used to collect mines, perhaps the benefits can be modified.
  • In addition to the mining issue, there could also be the issue of timber: the Lakotas didn’t used to use a lot of wood in their structures using fur instead…could it be interesting that the Lakota also used food for construction of your buildings? If that were the case then the Lakota economy would be centered around gathering food which could passively add coins… just an idea (I am not saying that wood is no longer collected, but that the most important resource would be food)

To all this, I recommend changing the Rifle Rider: I consider the repeating rifle very anachronistic for AoE 3… besides that its main virtue would be to shoot fast, not having a bonus against infantry.

It may be feasible to create a “new unique soldier” that can collect coins when attacking enemy buildings: something akin to the Raider from Warcraft 3 that had a powerful siege attack and could collect gold when attacking buildings (pillage)… I admit I don’t know if this mechanic would be “morally acceptable” today.

Unfortunately I don’t know enough about Lakota warfare to suggest another unit… but they should retire the repeating rifles (it also includes the Carbine Cavalry, which I consider this unit the most anachronistic in the game so far… if ignored to the “Renegado” who uses a Winchester Model 1894).

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There are a few more things I didn’t initially link in the post.

Here’s a good article on Buffalo Pounds that gives more detail on them:

Another interesting point that could be connected to Lakota getting cannons could be Sitting Bull’s encounter with the NWMP at
Fort Walsh. After Little Bighorn, the Lakota army escaped across the Medicine Line (Canadian border) and came into contact with Canadians garisoning Fort Walsh who were armed with artillery, but massively outnumbered. After some tense negotiations, conflict was avoided, but if things had gone differently, the Lakota could have easily gotten a cannon.

This could make sense, but I think it’s a bit too situational to be fair or practical.

I think it’s best to just always boost collection rate and have the coin as the only toggle. And I’m very much against Tipis boosting health. They are essentially elaborate tents, so there is no logical reason why they should boost HP. At most, I’d give them a healing aura like the Florence Nightengale card for the British.

I see the natives having Plantations/Estates as a reflection of their production and use of tobacco. I’m not sure if the Lakota actually grew their own or just traded for it, but either way, it was important enough to them that Plantations still make sense.

Buffalo Pounds are much more widespread than just Cree. The Blackfoot and Assiniboine used them extensively, and this book mentions their use by the Cheyenne and Hidatsa (pg 106-108). There are even sites of pounds as far south as Wyoming. The renaming the civ to Lakota also obscures the fact that they were originally Sioux which would include Hidatsa.

I don’t really see this as an issue, especially if there’s a Pipestone Quarrying card that eventually allows them to access mines. There are also similar imbalances in native techs such as Seminole Bowyer which benefits civs with archers much more than civs without.

I’d say this is already the case. All of their units cost a majority food. Their buildings did require wood and having them able to pack up already conserves wood like how they were actually used.

I’m honestly not too bothered by this. These weapons were around during the end of the time period and it’s not even available until age 3. Lakota were most prominent towards the end of the game’s timeframe so obviously their design leans more heavily towards depictions of that period. It’s not nearly as bad as entire civs like Mexico or Aztecs that didn’t exist for the majority of the time period.


@Josh1Axel Repeater rifles aren’t that out of place for [Age of Empires 3]. The last scenario for the Act: II Shadow campaign is the “Battle of the Greasy Grass” or “Battle of the Little Bighorn” (1876), where the Lakota and other tribes that participated in the battle had warriors that were armed with repeaters. With the addition of the WarChiefs DLC the timeline for the entire game is somewhere from (1492-1876).

As long as these repeater rifles were made during the timeline of [Age of Empires 3] I see no problem of them being used by some units in the game. The Kalthoff Repeater as an example was made around the 1630s and was in service from (1657-1696) by Denmark according to what is stated on the Wikipedia.

When it concerns a new unit for the Lakota then they could possibly have access to a second heavy infantry unit that could be called the [Mauler] and uses this war club shown in the picture below. This war club is called the “Double Pointed War Club” or simply the “Stone War Club” and was apparently used by the Lakota and other Native American tribes from the Plains. The handles for these clubs were originally shorter but became longer after the introduction of the horse and they could be used by a warrior on foot against someone on horseback.

If the Lakota did not use this war club historically speaking, they could then get a Cheyenne warrior that is armed with this weapon and can be trained from the [War Hut].

The Lakota do need some kind of ranged siege unit that will be available just by reaching the Fortress Age, without having to rely on the [Territorial Claims] card or the [Gun Running] technology, but they also need an infantry unit that fills the role of either a [Musketeer] or [Halberdier] for them since they are the only civilisation in the game that lacks both.



Tbh most “repeaters” before mid-19th were unreliable and expensive, require very high production quality, and were only used on very small scale (mostly private hunting tools).
The “repeaters” Lakota rifle riders use are highly reliable mass-produced ones, and came almost at the end of the game’s timeline. So they look a bit out of place in the third age where others are using muzzle loading muskets.

But nevertheless they are fine in game both balance-wise (because Lakota do not have artillery) and representation-wise (as the in-game ages do not perfectly align with historical ages).

BTW they need a breech loading animation like the carbine cavalry.


Hmm… Maybe it would be a good idea to extend the timeline of [Age of Empires 3] a bit, as some other users have suggested, and where other civilisations can also get something that is more modern.

But let’s not forget that the aim of the [Age of Empires] franchise is that they are supposed to be games first and foremost and not be historically accurate simulators, therefore I am willing to condone some minor inaccuracies presented in the games.

If I want to experience history on a deeper level then I rather read a history book.

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Yes I’d prefer more historical reference over historical accuracy. Then I can go deeper into those topics if they get me interested.


I agree with everything you said, but I would like to clarify that the Lakota could be a food-gathering civilization getting more benefits from hunting (they could even passively collect coins from the start of the game and not rely on of the letter of age IV "North American Commerce). Among the following alternatives I consider:

  • Hunted animals last longer.
  • A “special TC ability” that allows you to “spawn” buffaloes/bison from time to time.
  • As in EE1, every time a wild animal is hunted another will appear in its place (I admit this would be impractical in team games).

I understand that the Lakotas traded by “bartering” for weapons: they offered horses and furs in exchange for weapons; so hunting could also be a mechanic to acquire “non-traditional weapons”.

I wanted to bring up the subject of repeating rifles with the subject of the Lakota economy.

“A horse or a mule for a repeater… buffalo hides for ammunition.”

It is true that the repeating rifle had already been invented at the end of the AOE 3 timeframe, however, these rifles were not successful (or in widespread use) until the Spencer repeating rifle (1960) used for the first time in the civil war ( USA). It is true that the Lakota/Sioux used approximately 200 repeating rifles (1/10 of their warriors) in the battle of little bighorn so it makes sense that the Raider Rifle exists…

Although, as a personal opinion and criticism, the repeating rifle (if it is preserved) must appear in Age V: The Winchester repeating rifle is considered the “weapon that won the West” and it makes sense that it would appear in “the Indian wars”… but it is also an iconic weapon in the “Mexican revolution” (1910-1920)


repeating rifles were also used in world war 1, so these rifles are more related to a post AoE3 timeframe… however I don’t deny that these weapons can also be used in AoE 3 in the final ages.

The Lakota already possess the Bow Rider that fills the role of light cavalry (from age II), I thought about the possibility that the Tokala Soldier could be a “trainable from age 3 anti-infantry cavalry unit” (like the Spanish Lancer ) while the Rifle Rider could take the role of “unique unit that could only be trained in the community plaza or shipped from the Home City”.
This could also positively affect the Lakota economy: Tokala Soldiers, by using a spear, could justify a reduced coin cost and even cost just food and wood.

This will help “standardize” the weaponry used by soldiers in AoE 3:
The concept of “this cannon is good against buildings and this cannon is good against infantry” is already complicated, the concept of “this melee cavalry with a lance (lakota) has a multiplier of 1.5 against infantry while this melee cavalry with a lance (Spain ) has a 3 multiplier against infantry” is already tedious but “acceptable”… while “this repeating rifle cavalry (Lakota) has bonus against infantry and this repeating rifle cavalry (USA) fires twice and has no bonus against infantry” just doesn’t make sense anymore…

I understand that some weapons may have a different function, as is the case of the Muskets used by the Musketeer and the Skirmisher (and it should also be taken into account that for novice players it is not very intuitive and complicated, initially not being able to differentiate a musketeer from a skirmisher) , but if a different weapon (repeating rifle) is going to be implemented at least the use of this weapon must be the same for all units in the game that carry that weapon, regardless of their civilization.

And yes… the Rifle Rider’s charging animation should be breechloading.

I had also thought about that idea: in AoE 3 a Mace unit with a powerful siege attack has already been implemented.

I was thinking about the following possibility: that it is “standard” for some civilizations to create a “maceman”, it would have a function similar to the grenadier (enough HP, good anti-missile resistance, area attack, a powerful siege attack and weak against cavalry) .
The “maceman” could be armed with a Mace or even an Ax (like the firemen), these units were used during the AoE 3 timeframe and had the function of opening doors or windows during an assault in order to capture a building.

In the movie “The Alamo (2004)” (it’s a nationalist and unrealistic movie, I know) you can see a “Mexican pioneer” in action at minute 1:35

This unit can also influence the Lakota economy?: of course, using a “traditional weapon” could cost few coins (and even no coins) and the Lakota could have a trainable siege unit in the War Hut from an early age ( which would have to be compensated with the mobility of the cavalry).

These are just some ideas, I know AoE 3 is not a documentary but it is interesting to find the balance between “realistic and fun” :smile:

Art imitates life

Trying to make the Lakota more historically accurate is a fool’s errand, practically the entire civ should be remade from the ground up because nothing about it makes sense.
I think focusing on making the gameplay more reasonable, particularly figuring out how to make coin gathering less obnoxious, should be the ideal.


Depending on how accurate you’d want to go, it would require a major overhaul to the entire resource system in the game.

But I don’t think you need to be that extreme. I’d be content if even just the first half of this post about coin gathering was all that got changed.

In my personal opinion: I believe that many of these ideas are not going to apply if they decide to carry out a total rework of the Lakota.

I like the story and I found it very fun to find out about the history of the Lakota and raise some possible game mechanics, I also considered that the economy of a civilization could be focused on only one resource (food) for which the resource of coins it might also be necessary but not a priority (military units might cost a lot more food than coins) and that might also modify some military units of this civ.

We are only contributing ideas, we are not demanding radical changes. If these ideas don’t apply to the Lakota, they could work for other future civilizations or for some mod :v: :smile:

The Siouan people who were farmers were the people the Lakota traded with - There were no bands of Lakota that were famers.
The people we traded with were those such as the Arikara, the Mandan, and the Hidatsa, who were more sedentary farmers.

Beyond that, I like the whole idea.

But Hoop is right, as usual. I gave up on the community because it became clear to me that the devs are never going to uphold their original statement of trying to be more accurate to the Native Americans - It was purely a marketing ploy, and they’ve no actual interest in fixing them.

Their recent rework is the last major thing that’s going to change for them, and the game will die off slowly over the next 5-6 years and they’ll be left, forgotten, when the servers and studio shuts down.

The references are neat, though. They actually made an attempt to use some Lakota words.

Well, I just noticed this thread now.

I can’t mine the mine closest to me, just because of my opponent’s or my ally’s civilization?
It’s not feasible, otherwise, no one would welcome the Lakota in the game.

Is this an additional trickle, or a portion of the income of other sources that is exchanged for coins?
Your description of Teepee’s mechanics seems to be the latter.

This is close to the Tribal Marketplace in the Hunter’s Hut concept I’ve proposed in other threads, so this leads me to believe this one is the most viable and practical of these new coin income ideas you posted. This building (whether it’s called Tribal Marketplace, Trapline, or something else) is sure to be the most major and consistent source of coins.

The remaked Tribal Marketplace I have proposed is a buildable building (up to 3) and provide infinite coins, just the gathering rate depends on the number of Hunter’s Huts (or Trader’s Huts, or Overlooks, or whatever, it doesn’t really matter) built on the mines.

However, it just seems that you still insist it to have no way to interact with mines and make use of mines. I remember saying that this would make mines an exclusive source of resources for other civs, which would be pretty hard to balance. IMHO a Age IV card that turns the mines to wood source doesn’t help.

Continuing your design philosophy, maybe you can add a way to interact with the mine, and make it reward the coin income rate pr amount greatly through Traplines or Teepees. For example, you can increase the Villagers’ coin gathering rate at Traplines or near Teepees.

Still can’t deny that shipping bison from HC is not in itself against the culture and history. Of course, it’s nice to be able to get bison without spending shipping points. A compromise is to make bison similar to the Papal units, costing resources instead of shipping points to ship to the economic drop point. This allows it to still have a cost, so it’s better to control the balance.

I have nothing against a building like the one of the AoE4 Mongols that automatically spawns animals for free, but obviously this building should be non-rebuildable like Factories. I would wish it up to 1. If it is 2, then its spawning rate should be slow enough.

They have access to Gunslingers. Maybe a card that reduces the population or cost of Outlaws?

It would just be around the Lakota Town Center, not everyone’s Town Center in the game. That would be awful if it worked like that.

It would be both. It would be a portion of your income, but since a Tipi aura boosts overall gathering rates, your food gathering rate would not be reduced overall unless you set it to the most aggressive rate of coin gathering.

What I’m suggesting still has a ton of interaction with mines. For the Lakota, they would become key points of attack and defense instead of just a source of resources. They wouldn’t be able to access the resources in the mines until later in the game, but until then they could use their combat bonus around mines to punish their enemies trying to extract resources and leverage the bonus to also defend their base.

It’s not wrong, I just think there are better ways to do it. Making civs rely on things like a recurring bison or wood shipment limit the potential of their design. And getting rid of a reliance on those shipments frees up card space for things like an infinite artillery shipment.

This is exactly what I’m suggesting. Although, I’d be fine with a limit of 2-3 with appropriate rates.

I figured that would be the point you disagree with. I don’t think the civ was ever intended to only represent Lakota. It was originally Sioux which would include these people, and even with the rename it still represents the Lakota and their coalition of allies. I think the solution would be to represent this better by making the age up politicians representatives of specific tribes. Each Age could broaden the alliance, with Age 2 Lakota options such as “Oglala Warrior”, or “Two Kettles Wise Woman”, Age 3/4 non-Lakota Siouan tribes, and Age 5 with more distant allies.

Ideally with this Buffalo Pound idea, a player should be able to run their economy with no need for farming at all. You’d probably still build one Farm to get the upgrades and maybe to raise some livestock, but other than that you could ignore it. But with Buffalo Pounds being an irreplaceable Factory equivalent, Farms would be needed as a backup so you’re not completely screwed if you lose a Buffalo Pound.

I’m glad you like the quarrying idea. It would be difficult to balance if Lakota could never access all the resources in mines. Turning them into pipestone quarries that yield wood was the best solution I could come up with that aligns with Lakota attitudes towards resources from the earth.

Sure, why not. It could be given to them as a new card in the future. If a Lakota player ever wants to train musketeer-type units they could then train some Pistoleros from the [Native Embassy] after sending this card that you suggested which will make them a more worthwhile unit to be trained.

Perhaps it can be a combination of both, where this card will reduce the resource cost slightly of Outlaws in general and lower their population as well. The population space for the [Pistolero], [Renegado], [Comanchero] could take up -2 population slots while for the [Captured Mortar] its population will be reduced by an additional -1 population slot.

  1. It’s questionable whether making raids more deadly is still in balance for a civilization that’s already good at raids. You have to set the combat bonus to a point where it’s not too high to be resisted, and not so low that it’s not worth giving up the ability to mine in exchange. For me, this point probably doesn’t exist.

  2. This design is passive and fundamentally dependent on the conditions of the map and the opponent’s strategy. Once the map is not suitable or the opponent is experienced, such a design will not create any advantage. If the opponent is a turtle, or the mine is not far from the base, you can’t decently fight near the mine for a long time, or even close to the mine. Turtle opponents will not attack your mine, and experienced opponents will not fight you near mines. Your own mines have neither battles to help, nor provide resources, being of no use to you, and the so-called “interaction” does not exist. The advamtage you can take is totally 0 while the opponent is taking tons of coins from the mines.

Compared with providing combat bonuses, allowing mines to provide economic effects is obviously a more decent design that is more suitable for various occasions and strategies.

After thinking more about it, this design also has its problems.

Since the Lakota are such a good hunting bonus civ, allowing them to have infinite and no-cost wild animals to hunt is quite a risk to balance. (Shipment points are a kind of cost in fact.) This means that their food income in the late game will be much higher than they currently are.

Therefore, you have to make the building limit extremely low (preferably only 1), non-rebuildable and spawn animals slowly enough that you still mainly need farming and this building is only a support, making at most a dozen or so villagers are allowed to hunt and other food gatherers remain dependent on agriculture or livestock in the late game . (Even so, it’s still quite a buff.)

This poses even more risks if its role is to almost or completely replace agriculture. It would have to allow for rebuilds, have enough build limits or a fast enough spawn rate for wild animals, which completely conflicts with the points above. On the other hand, Estates are also agricultural, so your Traplines should preferably provide infinite coin and be buildable, at this point it would be closer to a concept like the Hunter’s Hut and remade Tribal Marketplace I proposed.

An Age IV card that turns a mine into a source of wood doesn’t really help much. You don’t need to “mine” wood because you can already cut trees. Its only use is that in the late game when trees near the base are scarce, you can turn the only one or two mines near the base that are not mined (because no one can mine them, as you said) into a source of wood, but at that time, the cost of their military units has mostly been transferred to coins, and the source of coin income will be a bigger problem.

I have no problem with this.

@UpmostRook9474 Ah, my bad. I misinterpreted your previous comment.

(Edit: I have rewritten my previous comment that I sent to you, where I expanded about the idea of this card that you suggested, therefore I would like to hear your opinion of it.)