I revamped my deck to pursue a University strategy but was short of couple of cards with Van holding them in her current deck. In particular, I wanted the additional University and Abbey cards as this strategy depended on getting those cards out in particular. I unfortunately had only 1 of each and took quite awhile to build them both.
Danger still persisted with Van holding both Arsonist cards. I thwarted her first attempt with the successful use of a Bishop but her 2nd attempt was successful and that was the beginning of the end, as I struggled for several turns failing to rebuild it.
This was due to 2 reasons: Firstly, I stalled in terms of settlement expansion in exchange of city upgrading and thus had only 3 settlements to Van's 5. The sheer disparity in resource patches was evident from turn to turn. Secondly, Van had control of the commerce token and the Windmill symbol on the Event Die came up consistently, allowing Van to steal from my pitiful stock of resources. It was practically impossible for me to garner sufficient resources to rebuild my University which was key to my strategy since most of my action and unit cards needed it as a pre-requisite.
Nonetheless, the game ended much closer than previously ones, with Van taking it 13-10. She and I had control of the commerce and knight tokens respectively. We decided to redraft at the end of the game instead of remaining with our current decks. I was tempted to persist with what I had in hope of tweaking it successfully for a win eventually but figured it would probably be more interesting for us to start on level ground again, with me having around lost couple of choice cards to Van from my previous losses.
For our next game, we have decided to split all duplicate cards in the game and draft for the remaining ones. Hopefully, I will be able to provide more of a competition the next time round...