(edit: I want to add that I was in the middle of posting this when Apsu posted his update above. Sounds like they hit the worst case I listed below; but hopefully the players learned enough of the mechanics to know that increasing the challenge doesn’t mean failing the mission.)
I know what Aramis means … but his choice of words may be confusing.
It’s not about “accept failure” … but it’s really more about “increasing the obstacle” … the outcome of the dice roll is not really as important as getting more checks to spend during the Players Turn.
Depending on what is happening, having both a short GM turn and a short Players Turn can be a very very big problem: Is there any real meat to the storytelling? I think you may need to have a talk with your players, since they can easily be the ones driving a short cycle.
Worst case example, taking the Grain Peddler mission. The players overcome both of the GM Turn obstacles with just two rolls: A fantastic Scouting or Pathfinding roll to find the peddler; and a fantastic Persuation roll to get the information. The players did this by maximizing their dice and not earning extra checks. They end up at the Players Turn with just their single free checks. Let’s say there’s only 3 players … so they only get to pursue 3 “story points”. These could be: (1) Pathfind to Barkstone; (2) Persuation to drop off the peddler with the local authorities; and (3) Circles to have a messenger mouse sent to Gwendolyn with a progress report.
Compare with … The players don’t maximize their dice and each of the 3 players manage to earn one extra check (one from each of 2 obstacles, and a third from one of the twists). So they now get to pursue 6 “story points”. They use the same 3 above … PLUS: (4) One patrolmember uses resources to buy food and drink for everyone (to recover from some conditions suffered during the GM turn; (5) While at the tavern/bar, they seek info about who the peddler might be doing business with; (6) They manage to deceive the cartographer who is recruiting for the march against Lockhaven.
Let me put it another way …
If you are a player, then imagine that you are Kiefer Sutherland playing the role of Jack Bauer in 24.
Now, as the executive producer and the main actor, you could try to convince the writers that you want Jack Bauer to have all the possible resources at his disposal and have an extremely easy adventure in defeating the terrorist threat … the TV show is over in 24 minutes instead of 24 hours.
On the other hand, you could make the show be more exciting and interesting if Jack Bauer ran into complications, if his anger management issues started hindering his investigation, and if his patriotic “purpose driven” traits mark him as a loose cannon with the by-the-book FBI and he doesn’t get all the support he needs.
By the end of the TV series, is Jack Bauer in worse condition? Yeah! But think about what Kiefer Sutherland earned in the process!