I believe that good strategic analysis isn't limited to playing one side or the other. Anyone at the top level should have an equal facility for playing Allies or Japanese as a GrandMaster is less concerned with "learning" how to play one side and more focused on learning how to think problems through.
If someone's a Grandmaster then they will have learnt how to think strategic problems through and come up with workable operational plans. Ideally their solutions will show a flexibility, willingness to examine the issue without preconceived notions and a willingness to adopt unorthodox solutions which, nonetheless, are effective and result in practical operations which succeed - by their terms. If someone has learnt how to play one side or the other well ( but not the other ) then it is highly likely that they are not exhibiting this ability to engage in fundamental analysis and turn out a comprehensive, cohesive, internally consistent plan capable of being implemented operationally and achieving the strategic goals they require in order to achieve their national policy objectives. They are probably just exhibiting an ability to "pick" a few standard plays and apply them well - but that's far from being a top level player.
E.g. You might pick PzB as a player who is a "good" Japanese player. I would argue that he is a good strategist in general and would do a good job with the Allies too as his analysis is usually good. Previously though I also point out that in order to be considered in the top flight he would have to, IMO, play someone other than AndyMac and play as the Allies so that his innate strategic analysis skills and ability to turn that analysis into practical plans in service of his overall goal would be clearly demonstrated. So, not just a good Japanese player but a good strategist, definitely on the 2nd tier of players and possibly the first tier if he demonstrates a facility to play as the non-Japanese vs other opponents.
Paladin1ds et al,
Interestingly enough I did once kick around the idea of playing with Alfred in a 2 vs 2. Once the opponents I have my eye on finish their current games I intend to raise that possibility again. I raised the issue and the response is, I think, a "maybe" to be reviewed when their current games finish. That'll probably be another 18 months or so but, if you want interesting matches, you have to be willing to wait for people's dance cards to be free - so I wait.
Lastly, I would suggest that some utility could come to the community from the following division of nominations:
1. Grandmaster: Excellent players. Two tiers are required, at least. First tier is for players who are outstanding in every aspect ( strategy, operational art, tactical understanding ) and show they can apply this to either side in any situation at any time. Second tier would nominate players who have shown ability in a number of the areas above but either don't reach the same standard as the people in the first tier or haven't demonstrated ability in each of the necessary areas.
Thus, I think, PzB could easily justify a 2nd tier spot and the reasons why he would be 2nd and not 1st would be clear.
A player in the first or 2nd tier would immediately be someone that anyone new to AE would know should be listened to. Some recent AARs feature huge amounts of advice but sometimes there was so much advice that players have had difficulty figuring out which advice was worth listening to. I think if Grandmaster were limited to no more than 8 spots then I think it would be clear that:
a) anyone in that group of 8 would be worth listening to
b) there would be some quality control to prevent the title of Grandmaster being used as an honorific and ending up being given to 15 or 20 people such that it loses all meaning.
2. Sensei - Maximum of 8 players.
Combining high levels of ability with a willingness to explain things to others. NOt everyone who knows how things work or who can play a good game is actually willing or able to explain things to others. In some cases that's just not having the time, in others it is a conscious decision to hold information close so that they don't lose their perceived knowledge advantage and in others it is a means of "punishing" those whom they have some animus towards.
So, if people have ability insight and a willingness to share this insight with others then they can qualify as Sensei.
E.g. LoBaron would definitely qualify as he has been willing to test and share his insight into A2A mechanisms. Others would be excluded because while they have the ability or insight they are either unable or unwilling to share their knowledge equally and freely with the community - an essential criteria for being a Sensei as it does new players no use to know someone knows stuff if that person won't share that information or insight with them. Simple example, if you're a teacher you can't be labelled a Sensei ( an excellent teacher) if you will only teach caucasian kids and refuse to teach others cause you are a racist. No matter how well you teach those Caucasian kids you shouldn't be held up as an example to others - which is what admitting people into this label would be doing.
So, that would separate great players from those who might have great insight into mechanics and strategy but who mightn't have the necessary playing record to earn the Grandmaster sobriquet. It would also clarify for newbies just whom to turn to for strategic advice and whom to turn to for advice on game mechanics or "how to do x" type questions. There will probably be some overlap between the two but that's no harm. I can certainly think of 2 people whom I'd place in both categories.
Obviously lots of others have made excellent contributions to AE ( floydg, Damian ( n01etc ), michaelm etc ) but if we're trying to focus on helping newbies then we need to focus on which skills/people to highlight in order to help them. Identifying the top players and those who are best at explaining mechanisms and game arcana AND willing to do so to all and sundry ( a crucial thing since people often use the ability to control access to knowledge to bully others and I don't think we should extoll that sort of behaviour or direct newbies to people who might do that ) serves that purpose.
< Message edited by Nemo121 -- 8/22/2011 8:45:44 PM >
John Dillworth: "I had GreyJoy check my spelling and he said it was fine."
Well, that's that settled then.