Instead of using our previous decks, Van suggested just picking randomly. Not fully understanding what she meant, I proceeded to divide the cards into 2 and getting us to pick 33 from the pile we ended up with. My deck was built around trade ships and resource doublers. It paid off quickly with me successfully rushing to my 5th settlement before Van. I was doing well and had a commerce advantage, which allowed me to rob Van a couple of times.
However, the turning point came when Van built a Marketplace which allowed her to take hold of the Windmill token which was in my control for most of the game. This was coupled with an early Pirate ship attack of one of my trade ships. I was slow to regain the advantage, perhaps somewhat complacent that I was inching towards victory. Alas, I was at 12 VPs ready to claim victory the next round when Van snatched it before my very eyes with another VP build. Despite generating resources at a slower pace, she was successful in running out a couple of red buildings. This together with control of both the Knight and Windmill tokens was sufficient for the win.
I realized while I probably built a stronger deck than her, I was reluctant to spent resources searching out the right cards often enough. As such, most of my action cards failed to see the light, and I ended up building for VPs with the cards in hand rather than sourcing for those with appropriate abilities.
Even with deck building, the game didn't take overtly long which was a plus. Looking forward to the full tournament game where we would no longer need to share cards. A hefty investment purchasing 2 sets of the original and expansions set but I guess it's worth it considering Van likes the game and it scratches the CCG deck-building itch. I also recently ordered A Game of Thrones LCG Core Set which I'm looking forward to, but I suspect that will be more for the CCG play as I'm unlikely to be willing to fork out the extra dough for deck building, which would easily trump that of the Catan Card Game with expansion packs being released monthly.