Whoops - I was so uncertain which three to pick that I put voting off too late. <shrug> Diamond would've been one, so I'm not too upset with myself. I did have a few comments though --
PlumCrazy -- this is so almost perfect... the almost is just because the implied size is three to five feet across, hence there's a couple of square feet of blankness. At web browser size - no problemo. I just wish there was more schoolroom-map detail - tables of city populations, or climate graphs across the year, or locator maps, or history.... :-). I still really like it.
Greel -- made out of awesome. Know why I can forgive minor terrain "inaccuracies" in a map like this? Because it's a photo, and the camera doesn't lie! Therefore to my eye, anything there must be right :-).
RjBeals -- after going back and forth and forth and back, I would have had to vote for Molta. Which is strange; it has oddness that puzzles me. Like the dots ... I assume the delightful stacks of bricks are the main cities, but it's mostly the dots that are labeled. I get the indigo lines as rivers, and I hear what you say about the others being roads (BOTH the ruddy color and the greenish ones?), but where they're placed? They don't go from important spot to recognizable destination... the tapers don't bother me as much the fact that junctions are probably *more* important, and here they are deemphasized. And the tints -- so which make up the nation of Molta? The greenish one runs-off-page, which would normally say "NOT the focus of this sheet". Is there a significance to the north-south gradient on the NW tint area? Is Dunbar underground, that it has neither dot nor streets and buildings? Why do some bays get borders and some not? So which is the [I]other[I] St Paul island? . . . None of which changes the fact I Really Really LIKE it. The palette is great. The built-up areas are great. I get the name collections. The forest is interesting. The font is perfect. The green sea just works. The cartouche and compass are perfect.
Diamond -- such a great story, happening to be in the form of a map. Now you have to write or draw the REST of the story :-). I can see this posted just inside the front door of all the Empire's consulates abroad... while the visitor is standing waiting for the receptionist's attention, he's expected to learn a bit of the Empire's glory.
Ascension -- Hassassine is a fun map. The float-above-ocean shadow weirds me out, but there's a lot else that I like. I applaud the willingness to set out all those minor settlements without labels -- I'd feel compelled to label ever one, and the result would be cluttered past usefulness; this way is clean and neat. The understated rail lines are a nice touch. The topo texture works well. When you list the fonts it sounds like too much of a variety, but they mesh just right. And I give thumbs up on the plane and its trajectory.
Master TMO -- the missing votes :-) are more indicative of the quality of the competition than your map's goodness. There's a lot interesting going on with Saythen. I like the city glyphs - different but works fine. The shaded relief is effective, and pleasant. I get the critique of the callouts - the assortment seems random. But they're not done badly - I can picture the ensemble as some sort of computer display, with the last half dozen places clicked upon still showing info boxes. Therein lies a disconnection - that and the photorealistic topography say "modern" but your depicted period is ancient. A snippet of story could explain that away - maybe the cartographer is an explorer observing from orbit.
The others all have some real goodness going on, even the unfinished ones - this was a crazy-hard month to decide!
Oh, and thanks for the votes! I did come up with a couple of historical insets.... two hours after the contest closed :-). Maybe I'll do a Finished Map thread showing additional Basse-Georges data.