Thanks for asking, Colin.
It's been a while, but I think for me the confusion was likely on the sub-initiative system.
A few months ago, I had prepped the rules before our game and thought that I'd grokked them pretty well, only to hit a wall when it came up in the actual game. All of us cracked our books and it ground the game to a halt.
I think some of the other difficulty for me was the spell/counter-spell match ups. I think that maybe the spells need to either be explicitly paired and matched, or perhaps made more generic (like general-offense vs. general-defense, or same-spell vs. same-spell.)
I'm going to hunker down and attempt to recreate it in a visual flowchart as is for my own purposes, and then see if that de-mystifies things a bit for me.
I also got some suggestions over on the DCCRPG Google+ page including the idea of making it just a contest of wills. What a great, supportive group of gamers -- I highly recommend joining Google+ DCCRPG if you haven't already.
If it ain't broke, I will be happy not to mess with it. But I have some ideas of things that could be introduced to expand on the concept, so I'm probably going to tinker with it a bit.
The damning part of it is that I want both complexity and streamlining. Unless you can come up with an elegant model, this tends to go in opposite directions.