The Era was a pulpy-WWII, the Agency was the OSS, charged with defeating the Nazis and the enemy was, as one would expect, the Nazis. having established that, I quickly whipped up a mission while they made characters: A Nazi Scientist was building Das Wunderweapon, they had to find and destroy it. This time I remembered Complications and had them write them on the back of their character sheets.
The conflicts often seemed to drag, but having just checked the rules again, it seems I was doing it wrong... again. This points to the main problem with Hollowpoint: It's much more complicated than it appears, there are lots of fiddly little rules that hobble the game if not followed, the book is poorly laid out to explain the importance of all those rules, and it requires a decent amount of system mastery from everyone at the table to play.
Right now, I think the two most important rules are:
- The Agent special ability.
- Asking for help.
If the players don't prioritise using these rules to manipulate the dice sets correctly, over taking actions appropriate to the fiction, combat drags, and in fact, if catches are played correctly, they could just lose all the conflicts through bad luck and dice mismanagement.
That makes it a really hard game for a GM to learn and teach. I've now played it twice and read it three times, and I think I'm starting to get it... And I'm a systems guy. Usually I get games on the first read or before the first dice roll.
It's just as well the premise for Hollowpoint is so awesome.
Third time lucky.
(EDIT: Aaaaaand, I just realised that not every conflict needs to have a required skill...)