The big difference with HQ compared with more "traditional" RPG's like RQ or D&D is that by concentrating on "Conflict resolution" rather than "task resolution", they allow you to tell any sort of story, but you have to know what sort of story it is you are trying to tell. It definitely helps if characters are "designed" for the sort of story you are trying to tell, so that they have a variety of applicable skills. Likewise as a GM, you want to present the challenge as different problems - a long running combat that ends up as "Another wave of enemies attacks you" "I defend with my Soldier Keyword" is going to be repetitive, so challenge the players morale, their endurance, their disicipline, their ability to spot a sneak attack, or a diversion etc.
Simple and Extended contests are what are dramtically appropriate for your story, and not necessarily related to the actual events. If the "important" story is the struggle for power in the defenders army, or a love story in a beseiged citadel, or the hunt for an enemy spy in the camp, then the actual battle can be reduced to a simple contest, even though it might last hours or days of "real time"
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