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These have been around since 2006. The general format is that several rounds are open in which a panel of judges sets specific challenges, entrants have to make a map or flag based on those challenges, and one is judged the winner. The winners then go forward for a final round to choose the champion.
The first Map Contest was judged by Shadow Knight, Floid and Diamond, while the second was judged by Scarecrow, Shadow Knight and Doctor What. The judges have now been renamed 'the Conclave of Twilight'. The third Map Contest, and the first to use this terminology, was judged by Shadow Knight, Thande and Analytical Engine. Map Contest IV was judged by Shadow Knight, EdT, and Imperator.
There is also now an FH Map Contest, heavily based on the original Map Contest and originally put forward by Thande due to his being fed up with ridiculous FH Clichés on future maps. The FH Map Contest challenges are set by the Committee of Shadow, initially consisting of Thande, Nekromans and Othniel. The first of these was won by Lordkraken.
In 2009 Scarecrow started a new map contest. Unlike previous versions of the Map Contest the new Map of the Fortnight Contest is an open ended contest. Map ideas are submitted in a single thread by all users, and a topic is chosen at random. Voting is not done by committee, but rather by a forum poll.