John Harper ran a scenario for seven (7!) players in the second-to-last GPNW slot this year. I prolonged my stay just to be able to play in it. I'm glad I did.
We played through two encounters, (sadly) skipping the skill challenge in between. In the first encounter, we had to cross a rope bridge to charge the kobolds that were slinging at us from the other side. We were boosted to second level after that, and had to face a young white dragon and its kobold protectors. It took us four hours to get through explaining the rules and completing both encounters. That's awfully quick for DnD, or any other tactically-focused game, for that matter.
The game, as a tactical game, is impressive. It finally delivers on the long-standing promises: you actually CAN go into dungeons and kill dragons right from the start, and have a lot of fun doing it. I would actually sum up DnD's design philosophy in this edition as "Fun Now!"
Every character played a vital role in the conflicts:
The warlord let other people have extra attacks instead of doing his own. Albert used this ability very well, and also managed to place a mighty strike on the dragon that also gave us all +4 to hit it for the rest of the encounter (and yes, that's a first level power). In fact, we had lots of "Kickass!" moments when the players whipped out their special powers for the first time.
The dragonborn Paladin jumped up on statues and rained down his acid breath weapon on groups of minions (Me: "So Jackson, what's your special ability?" Jackson, casually: "Cubic Buttload of Damage.").
The cleric patched us up while dishing out damage at the same time. Alan always made sure to check with the group about who was in need, so he could play well to the team.
The rogue shifted kobolds off the edge of cliffs and flanked the dragon to give others combat advantage (and 2D8 backstabbing pain). Chris also put jumping and other skills to good use.
The fighter had some bad rolls for his cleaving, but John managed to use his best move to finish the dragon off, splitting its head (John: "Damn, I ruined the trophy again."). I should have supported him and the other tanks better in the first conflict.
The ranger was the only one who was any good at shooting across the bridge, and Jeremy played the ranged support role very well. There's nothing like a first-level ranger shooting halfway across the map with two arrows at once to take out two kobolds at the same time. (I had a bad experience trying to get my kids to play, years ago, after watching LOTR. It didn't work out well in 3e because a first-level ranger is no Legolas. This guy, in 4e? Completely different story.)
And finally, my warlock was the second ranged support guy, but I played him much more gung ho. What can I say, I'm an occasional Instigator, and I tried to see how badly the kobolds could hurt me (turns out the answer is: pretty damn badly if I charge them with no tactical sense). I was much more careful and team-oriented in the second fight.
In the fight with the dragon, I managed to put Witchfire on him, giving him an attack penalty. That saved several people from his breath weapon, which felt like a big accomplishment. I loved the warlock's cursing ability, gaining free teleports and added damage, and the whole visual of him shifting into concealment just by walking.
Toward the end, I used the Aid Other action for three out of my four final rounds. This action is much better now that you can apply it to virtually anything; I bluffed the dragon to support other characters' uses of their encounter or daily abilities. I'm really glad to see this expanded support for group tactics.
What that did, though, was make me forget all about the stunts! After the first encounter, I was just too focused on helping the other characters, thinking of myself as support rather than solo attacker. I was cursing myself ten minutes later, in my car, for not zapping one of the stalactites with my eldritch dart and making it crash down on the dragon. Thanks to DMG p. 42, that would not only have been a viable option, but a damn good one, once I ran out of encounter and daily powers. Yay for narrative-based stunts that are actually preferable to basic strikes!
I also realize now that those damn shifting kobolds (coming out of cover, slinging, shifting back) were just asking for us to use Ready Action. So there still are plenty of other tactical options to explore.
Overall, since my 2e experience, this is the first time that I'd consider joining a DnD campaign again. With the right players, much use of skill challenges, and some tweaks (like John waiving the action point spending limit and letting us use it for Aid Other actions after another character had already made a roll), I can imagine it being great fun even in the long run.