The rules are not brilliantly clear in places, and on the topic of levies, penalties, and pools dropping to 0, they are especially unclear.
The wording often talks of a levy of 1 on the next roll. This is very confusing, since in just about every game I've ever played, this would mean a penalty of 1, so the next roll would be 1d6-1. I gather, however, that this is not what is meant. No penalty is applied to the next roll, nor indeed is anything applied to a roll. Instead, it costs one more point from the character's current ability pool to get a roll at all. The terms 'levy' and 'penalty' are easily confused by players and GMs, and I think the rulebook confuses them in places.
I'm sure that there must be a better way to explain the core rules. They are spread out over many pages, and are difficult to grasp. I'm wondering is a flow-chart might do the trick, or perhaps we would need several, one for each of PC vs PC, Pc vs NPC, multiple characters vs multiple, one vs multiple, etc.
One frustration is that on p21, first paragraph it says that a character drops her pool to zero, and then wins the contest. On page 15, fifth paragraph second column, it says that a character would lose if he dropped his pool to zero. Which is correct, or am I missing something else?
[A bit of another topic, but while I think of it, what exactly is the game rationale for a Wealth refresh? The character remembered a load of money he'd forgotten about?]
The combat example would have been much more useful if it had been between fighters with styles that trumped to someone's advantage.