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In recent years, optical parametric chirped-pulse amplification (OPCPA) has emerged as a powerful tool for the generation of ultrashort pulses with extreme peak intensity. It has enabled the generation of phase-controlled few-cycle pulses in widely different parts of the spectrum. For the near-infrared spectral range, OPCPA is becoming an interesting alternative to conventional Ti:Sapphire-based laser technology for various applications. In this paper, we discuss the physics behind OPCPA, as well as the practical design considerations for the development of high-intensity, phase-stable few-cycle OPCPA systems. Also, we review the experimental achievements in ultrafast OPCPA systems to date.