Interesting ideas. I like it. I guess that theproblem is to match the challengers schedules in the first idea but well, sounds great though!
So I'm not sure how I got there but last night I was considering challenge ideas and I was stuck with the idea of collaborating and guidance. So I had two ideas (or rather, one idea that morphed into another connected one) that I thought I'd share.
The first is a straight up collaboration though in order to prevent one person doing most of the work screenies would need to be posted at every changeover.
So, somehow two partners are chosen/assigned. One person starts and maybe does the landmass shape or something. Then it is handed over in a single flat image to the other person and that is developed, maybe up to an agreed upon position. Then it is handed back again with a screeny posted to show progress. This continues till the map is done. Both artists are credited with the win if their map is voted for.
I can see various problems here, in that it needs an even number of entrants and both artists would need to be reasonably dedicated to hitting their own deadlines for each changeover etc. I think it could be pretty cool though.
The second idea is stranger though in that the collaboration takes the form of art direction. Each person is assigned a director (as long as there are two entrants it works - no need for an even number of entrants on this one) and that person dictates everything that happens on your map. They tell you what style of map they want. They tell you what they want on it. They tell you to change this part as it isn't good enough. They tell you to change that colour... etc... basically what you would expect to get from a client. The winner of the gold compass could possibly be the director and not the artist...
Anyway, a couple of ideas to think on.
I like the idea of the collaboration one. Of course the only issue is schedules and communication I suppose. And getting people to pair up. I wonder if stretching it across two months would mitigate those problems though.
I also like those ideas, It would be something new to the challenges