I skip one lousy session of Encounters, and I find out later that they did two encounters to make up for missing the holiday. Boo! Luckily, my BGF Mac was in attendance - here's his recap!
As previously mentioned, one of the central tenets of the game is "don't split the party". Wizards apparently said "blow that for a game of soldier" for this encounter. Everyone in the party is forcibly separated, and each is faced with an individual challenge. Pro: it's something not a lot of players have seen before. Con: there's a reason we haven't seen its like before.
What ended up happening was, each person got five or ten minutes to solve their own puzzle. Since it required DM interaction and there's only one, that meant the other five people sitting around the table got to sit there and watch someone else roleplay with no ability to interact. To top it all off, several of the challenges were doubled, so in the interest of "fairness" Ozzy, for example, who was in the same type of challenge as Liz, had to walk away and not listen as she solved her challenge so he wouldn't learn the trick. My character, who is multi-talented but has NO athletic ability, was required to climb up and down ropes repeatedly.
The next session was pretty straightforward. The group as a whole was a little pressed for time, and it was an exercise in how to quickly get through the action. Most people handled it fairly well. The group of new players sitting next to us TPK'd. AGAIN. I think this brings the total to 3 TPKs out of 7 sessions, only six of which were even combat.