Okay, while I agree with Josh that 4e does a great job with combat, I have to disagree on the point that it's all D&D 4e does.
Rob said the DM gave him a look when he wanted to bluff the NPCs.
Right off the bat I want to say I like how our current DM is running things combat wise, I know I would run things a little differently so there would be more role playing. You only get out of this game what you put in. If you mail it in and just set up the map, then a tactical combat game is what you get. I'll give a few examples here.
I have the first D&D 4e module because it had some of the basic rules and I wanted to see a preview of the game. I did NOT look at it at all while we were playing in the game. After we completed the module I did out of curiosity since there were so many accusations that 4e has no roleplaying. And I discovered that it does. Ignoring it doesn't make that fact go away.
The module has descriptions of some of the NPCs in Winterhaven. It describes what they know, and some of their motivations. Completely glossed over in our game as we never really spent any time in town chatting it up with the NPCs.
In one room there were runes on the floor. As our party crossed over the runes, rather than the DM saying "You hear a scream", he actually screamed. It was brilliant. It made everyone, including all the pets, jump. It was effective. (We'd like more of that, please! Not so much the screaming but the stepping out of the module use of D&D.)
The final battle of the module was fun, but could really have been something special if more were put in by both the DM and the players.
We set our minis out, the DM set out the bad guys. Then we hacked away until we won. Pretty much how Josh describes 4e as a great tactics combat game.
But the thing is, the module spells out how to role play the encounter. Right there, black and white, clear as crystal. (Paraphrasing): It's the first time the party comes face to face with BBEG, so this is his time to shine. Really play him up, taunting the characters with how he's going to raise them from the dead to be his slaves. Make the players hate him."
Again, not exact text. When we were playing, there were no taunts. Every one of us missed on our daily powers. THAT alone is worth comment. Josh kept rolling 4's, IIRC on all his rolls. If I were running it, that would have gotten extra taunts. "You guys SUCK! Maybe I shouldn't raise you from the dead." "If you suck that much while you're alive, how awful would you be when you're dead?" "Missed again? And you call yourselves heroes."
The module had roleplaying hints that were not used in that session.
This past week we approached a room. The minis were set up and we rolled initiative.
"Wait," said Meg "I want to bluff/intimidate them to joining our side." Were I running the game, the combat round would not have started, and Meg would have had to role play her argument as to why they should join up with the party.
But, Josh spoke up and said this was better as a tactical game and doesn't handle role playing very well. So, off we went to attack.
If others want to play this as a tactical minis game, that's fine with me, but don't say there's NO role playing or no support for it. You get out what you put in.