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I ran a tabletop SR4 game over the weekend that involved 6 players and myself gaming. Once combat began it was a mess. The slow combat rules for SR4 as well as the number of players grinded thegame to a hault. So my question is two-fold. What is the ideal gaming group size and are there ways to streamline the combat rules so its not I roll a ton of attack dice, you roll a ton of defend dice, I roll damage dice, you roll damage resist dice.... zzzzzzzzzzz....
Can't get away from the ton of dice. I regularly run a 6 person group-however combat is kep to aminimum as I am a little bit on the deadly side of things when all is said and done. I think the main challenge with 6 is making sure evryone has a chance to contribute to the run.

That being said, combat in SR is usually over in 3-4 combat turns. Barring a large number of opponents, this should not take long. One bit of advise is to keep the amount of enviromental modifeirs to a minimum or apply them globally to everyone (except those that have gear/abilities that negate this).
i think also if your group is new they'll get used to combat be like i shoot rolll dodge roll soak dmg (also i dont think your supose to roll damage dice its just a value you resist) uslly in our group combat takes about 30sec-1min per person per action so its not to bad .....
for having 6 peeps thats about the upper limit of a group if its hard for your group to focus eather be used to it some groups digress 50% of the time aslong as you move the plot and they finish your run and every one had fun then its cool i'd say but you may try talking toyour group and see if anyone wants to sit out or rotate or pickup a cogming option doing NPC's and maping accoutning stuff maybe or you 2 could swap out liek 2 part time PC's with the core group(this option can be iffy)
Shadowrun combat is no slower than most systems I have seen, & faster than some. It has never been a problem in comparison to similar sized groups of other games (notably nWoD & D&D 3.5)
QUOTE (Lass @ Sep 28 2009, 09:37 AM) *
I roll a ton of attack dice, you roll a ton of defend dice, I roll damage dice, you roll damage resist dice.... zzzzzzzzzzz....

Damage dice do not exist.

In other words, your problem with combat is misunderstanding of the rules & inexperience - the same problems that will occur with any other system.
4-6 plus GM
6-8 gives redundancy and won't blow the game ifa few can't make it.
3 plus GM makes scheduling easier, but scraps the game if someone can't make it.
6 is ideal for me, though my current group usually runs 8 players or more.

Once you get a feel for all the modifiers, it goes a lot quicker, you can just add them up in your head and spit out a number. It can bog down a bit when the hackers start doing their thing, but even at that it is worth the few extra minutes per round to keep them engaged.
4-6 players seems right for most people, I'd imagine. As for combat moving slowly, well, that'll pick up with experience.
I'm a fan of 4 or 5 but I'm at a 6 person table now.
i love 4 player parties. as for streamlining combat, i know you will not agree with this, but i only have players roll initiative once per combat event, instead of before each combat turn.
You can of course have them figure out all their dice and modifiers before it's their turn for later turns/sessions, or a nice cheat sheet with a list of "roll this amount of dice when gm asks for this" stuff.
4 players is the magic number, assuming that your group follows the average and at least one in four players dont contribute to roleplaying much, playing the 'Strong and silent' type. If you have really interesting players, 3 can be just as fun and a little faster.

As for combat, It depends on weither you have players who are full time or part time. IF you have a player who only shows up every once in awhile to play, then during combat you figure out all their rolls for them, and try to not waste time explaining it.

If they are a full time player, you have to invest some time up front. Every time they must roll something, do not tell them how many dice to use, but explain the contributing skills and attributes, and point them out on the sheet. Eventually they will get to a point where they can look the stuff up themselves, and before long, your players will be keeping track of their own dice, and combat will FLY along. I have seen some very large battles glide by fairly quickly because I had three experienced players who simply needed to told any special modifiers, then they knew exactly how many dice to roll and got to it.

Oh, I learned this one fast after someone made a cyber-troll with MANY dice to resist. Get a shallow platic bucket or the lid from a board game box and roll in there. Nothing wastes more time that crawling on the floor chasing errant dice.

Also, make sure you are using the rule of 4 as often as possible. When shooting Goons, allow players to take 1 success per 4 dice they are rolling to save time. This is especially true for resisting drain on spells, but can be used anywhere to not waste time rolling for easy stuff.

After each action I like to narrate the action, or allow the player to. IE. Instead of '4 successes on resist, he takes 8DV and is knocked over' you may describe, 'The guard begins to whip his pistol around toward you, but you are faster. Your smartlink outlines his form, and your fingers tweak your aim, pointing the line of fire displayed on your image link toward his forehead. You snap off a quick shot and his head jerks back suddendly, the gel round flattening against his forehead with a CRACK. He falls backward, his gun flying from his grasp.'

Your descriptions will spice it up, and are totally worth the extra 30 seconds they take. I know players who can spend the entire run feeling useless and disconnected from RP, but perk up and think back on the run as alot of fun because their character had an especially exciting move during a combat sequence.
Make sure your players are thinking about what they want to do next as well. A player who may have to count out a large amount of dice or is being trained to figure his rolls out, if there is a player who is going to attack a different target, or is in a different place they can be getting ready as well. It slows down the process when players after every other player say, "Ok, what can I do" "Who is left to attack?" of each player takes turns counting dice when other things could be happening. They don't all have to happen at the same time, but people can be prepared so their turn will proceed in a timely fashion.
Thanks for the advice all, I can see where I made a big mistake rolling dmg dice and hopefully that should help - must be a carry over from several years of Wotc games.

6 players seems like a fun game for me too when it comes to the action parts of the game. However in RP situations I find that the less extraverted players get lost in the shuffle. I'll have to work on that.

I've often thought about rolling large sets of dice (or perhaps having an automatically generated spreadsheet) and then recording the values and check them off as I use them.
We play with 4 to 6 plus GM, and I gotta say, as a player, I enjoy myself way more with 4 people than 6; planning the run does not take as long, everyone gets a chance to contribute to the run (in SOME form), and I feel like none of us are redundant. It's also a lot easier to pull off an infiltration run when you aren't trying to use more people than you need.

Of course, less people means more money per person as well. biggrin.gif
My current group is 1 GM at a time, 4 players. I tend to like 4-5 players in my games, but I can run for 6. I don't enjoy trying to handle more than that.

And like others have said, it's less the system and more your familiarity. With a group that knows the combat rules, it's not much slower than any other semi-crunchy system. For my current group it can bog a little, but we have two players completely new to Shadowrun, and two people that are fairly familiar with it but not as buried in it as I tend to be. After three sessions we've already started speeding up.

It'll come. smile.gif
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