Overview of Map Categories
This page is intended to provide documentation about the current map categorization system on AWBW, as well as guidelines and criteria that Map Committee members use when categorizing maps. Map categories on AWBW are loosely grouped into three "blocks":
1) Map Quality
This includes S-Rank, A-Rank, Casual Play, and New. A map cannot belong in more than one of these categories, and maps are categorized based on how well the map plays (the lowest level is to be not categorized at all). Disclaimer: Map quality is judged solely from a competitive play standpoint and is just the opinion of the Map Committee members. Map quality is subjective, and maps judged as low quality for competitive play may still be fun for some. Map quality is measured by a few key metrics: - Balance - Emphasis on dynamic, fluid gameplay (preventing stalemates) - Meaningful player decisions (unit variety, interesting fronts, etc.) S-Rank - The highest level of quality for maps, making them suitable candidates for competitive matches. These maps are characterized by negligible balance issues (if any), interesting and non-obvious capture phases, and well-created fronts encouraging dynamic gameplay. A-Rank - The "normal" level of decent maps, suitable for friendly or non-competitive AWBW matches. These maps are characterized by small but non-negligible balance issues, solid capture phases, and decently created fronts that will not usually result in stalemates. Casual Play - Maps that are recommended for casual games only. These maps are characterized by noticeable balance issues that will not create auto-win situations for low-level players, have weak or very obvious capture phases, or have fronts that promote defensive tactics likely end in stalemates for experienced players. New - Maps created recently that have potential as A- or S-Rank maps. These maps generally need play-testing to determine which category they fit best in. Casual Play-level maps or lower do not get categorized into New. Uncategorized - Maps not recommended for competitive or casual gameplay, and not placed into a category (including the sub-categories discussed below). These maps are characterized by serious balance or design issues that can hinder fun gameplay.
2) Map Function
This includes Global League, Under Review, and Hall of Fame, as well as Historical/Geographical, Sprite, Joke, and Toy Box. Maps are grouped into these categories based on their function on the site, rather than the actual characteristics of the map (for example, usage in competitions). These categories are mostly mutually exclusive. Global League - Maps currently being used for Global League matches. Under Review - Maps that are under review for placement into the Global League category. These maps are in need of play-tests and further evaluation before being cleared for League use. Hall of Fame - Former Global League Maps or maps that are deemed worthy of recognition for their impact/significance in the history of AWBW mapping. Historical/Geographical - Maps that faithfully recreate a historical event or geographical location. There is a minimum standard of quality that is maintained here - an amorphous landmass map dotted with a few forests named "North America" does not belong in this category. Joke - Maps that someone found funny in the past... This category is not seriously maintained. Sprite - Maps that faithfully recreate a person/thing/etc. that doesn't belong in historical/geographical. Once again, a minimum standard of quality is maintained. Toy-Box - Maps that are not meant to be played with normal AWBW rules. These maps can have custom rulesets or be AWBW versions of other games (e.g.: Hide and Seek). These maps must be playable to be included in this category.
3) Map Features
This includes all of the other map categories. Maps are grouped into these categories based on the characteristics of each map, especially to help users know the type of gameplay expected on that map. These categories are not mutually exclusive. Base Light - Maps with a relatively high funds:base ratio, or a relatively low bases:fronts ratio. This often means larger maps that have only 2 bases, or maps where each base is responsible for 2 or more separate fronts. These maps are generally typified by scarceness of infantry on each front in the mid-game and an increased volume of high-tech units. Fog of War - Maps that are playable with Fog of War turned on. Note that this does NOT mean maps with a high density of forests, that is a common misconception. These maps can often have predeployed units meant purely to provide limited vision in Fog of War games. Heavy Naval - Maps that encourage naval play beyond transports and battleship towers. These are not necessarily maps that have a high density of ocean tiles. High Funds - Maps that are playable using funds per turn > 1000G. These maps can most easily be detected for having special FTA counters with one or fewer preowned bases. Innovative - Maps that have a unique gimmick or setup that has a meaningful impact on the type of gameplay seen on the map. Maps that are innovative but are not meant to be played with "normal" AWBW rules should not be included here (for example, maps with special conducts that must be enforced separately by the players). Live Play - Maps that are recommended when playing with shorter timer settings, especially intended for real-time games completed in a single sitting. Limited High Funds - Maps that are playable using funds per turn < 1000 and high starting funds  (100,000+). These maps can most easily be detected by their special FTA counter, which features no preowned bases. Mixed Base - Maps that feature a "mixed" base pattern. These are often characterized by one or more bases that are responsible for more than one front and are sandwiched between opponents' bases. Teleport Tile - Maps whose gameplay is meaningfully impacted by the presence of black tiles. FFA Multiplay - Maps with 3 or more players that are best designed to be played as a free-for-all. Team Play - Maps with 3 or more players that are best designed to be played as a team battle.

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