Speaking (perhaps out of turn) as someone who does not play this game, has no interest in playing this game and has no general interest in the PTO at all, but guests here regularly to follow a number of AARs because despite all of the above they are damned interesting and offer a vicarious view of a number of strategic, tactical and logistical* problems, often from both sides of the fence:
It seems clear to me that there are several 'levels' of recognition that are being mooted here.
Alfred's original idea seemed really to be a public recognition of 'this guy (or gal) is a really top-rate player'. It serves two purposes, first as a little bit of in-house recognition that is both an personal ego-boost for the recipient (I know, from personal experience, that that isn't why you have (or acquire) such awards or ratings, but it is a nice feeling, and something akin to a 'thanks' from the general public) and second that it serves notices to the 'uninformed' that this person is someone perhaps worth listening to** - perhaps more than most.
Others seem to have latched onto the idea but expanded it out into a general 'has given something to the community' award.
Perhaps there could be more than one 'classification'?
Now I don't really know the community here well enough to be a good judge so my 'placements' may be well off and I apologise for any mistakes or omissions.
But it seems clear to me that, for example, Greyjoy, though having given much entertainment from his first AAR, would not qualify in the slightest for anything except perhaps a 'special award' for sustained enthusiasm in the face of adversity.
Canoerebel, though I have and am following several outstanding AARs, seemed to my untrained eye to demonstrate skill, but not brilliance in 'defeating' Q-Ball. CR let Q-Ball defeat himself, if extemely competently. Had Q-Ball gone full out for India and CR held after a decisive carrier battle, for example, than that would be a step up in my view. In the current AAR vs Chez, CR has been brilliant, so it seems to me, at throwing, and keeping, Chez off balance. But is this once enough for 'GM' status and is Chez an opponent of high enough quality to make this a big enough achievement? I don't know, I'm just asking. But at the moment I would guess that CR is one of the better players around, and a definite up-and-comer so to speak but perhaps just below that GM level? I'm sure, and I think he has said himself, that Alfred/Nemo level is where he still aspires to be, not where he is.
The two that really stand out, and don't forget that I'm a relative noob even watching here (about a year) so don't know all the 'history', in their advice and comments are Alfred and Nemo. Their comments, advice and analysis are on a different level to anyone else. Almost less useful some of the time, because it's too far above some people they are advising sometimes (it seems to me), but clearly on another plane.
I don't know what else Rader has done, but there is no level of outstanding achievement against a rank noob like Greyjoy that would qualify anyone as a GM IMO. Its like a 4 turn mate in chess - it says everything about the opponent and nothing at all useful about the player achieving it. Sorry Greyjoy...
PzB seems to be a good potential candidate, but I don't see anything on a plane with Alfred and Nemo in his AARs or in him commenting in other's AARs.
Cuttlefish and 1275psi in particular have awesome, awesome, awesome AARs. But about the game itself, its not so easy to tell how good they are.
I reckon you could start with something like this:
Cuttlefish, 1275psi, maybe Greyjoy.
I'm sure there are many others that belong in those categories that I don't know.
And out of turn or not, thank you all for the quality of AARs in particular and depth of analysis often given in this forum.
*I always 'knew' that amateurs dally in tactics, professionals in logistics, but this game is the first I've seen that really drove the point home (and one reason I'm not likely to ever play it - I'd hate to be playing at less than what I could but don't have the time to get into the logistical side).
** Greyjoy in particular has got a lot of advice and encouragement in his AAR, often contradictory, and it seems like he often has struggled to discern what is good advice and what is not
< Message edited by corbon -- 8/3/2011 6:07:11 AM >