Hi, #4 here.
I'll not explain much about my strategy as it is very similar to what the top 3 will soon explain in the blog post, but I have a few things to say anyway.
The original concept of the contest was nice, but there were a major issue in my opinion :
In most of the past contests, the way to go has always been the GA/MC way, i.e. the "let's reproduce the engine and tests a lot of stuff in a few milliseconds" way. I'm fine with that since it still requires a lot of skill to tune such algorithms and have descent results.
The difficulty is either in making the engine as fast as possible (STC), or in making the evaluation function as intelligent as possible (CSB). I prefer the latter. But this time, I felt that the major difficulty, regardless of the engine performance, was getting the engine complete, and bug-free. I'm not the fastest coder but it took me 5 days to code the complete engine without any bugs. I spent the rest of the contest on the "intelligent" part, the evaluation function, but in the end, it was very basic, and still I manage to make top 4 with that. I had the chance to look at and discuss about the top 3 solutions, and it lacked the "Ho wow" factor that you get when you read TGE's Recar Post-mortem for instance (or maybe I missed something but I don't think so). That's because imho the difficulty was put on the wrong aspect of the contest, and there wasn't enough time to spend on the interesting part. AI contests should be about making things "intelligent", and not about trying to make basic things work. I can't blame CG for that since they try to provide us with original concepts everytime, and they succeed most of the time (they did on FB). Or maybe they tried to favor AI based on heuristics, I don't know, but it didn't work well.
Designing multiplayer AI games is a complicated task, and the easy-way to tackle the problem I mentionned earlier is to make the engine open-source. Everyone would then start with the same material, and the contest would be more about strategies than a reverse-engineering exercise. The 1 week format is good, but it requires less complicated rules in order to make room for what makes an AI contest interesting.