Okay, so here's the thing.

I have 4 players.

Mage with 75 Karma (ty GenCon and Man of the People actions)

Street Sam with about 30

Technomancer with about 30

Gunslinger Adept with about 30.

I'm running into 2 problems.

1. The Dice pools listed in the book, i.e. Automatics 12 for example. Is that a 12 skill or a pool of 12?

in Carbon Copy, I did a little math and the only way that the "Big Bad" would only have 12 is if he had an Automatics of a 3. Is that right?

Seems kinda low for an NPC who has enough cyber to have a 9 agility.

2. If the skills ARE pools (i.e. 12, not 12+9 in the above example) then what about the armor? If Highspeed has an armor of 21, and a body of 8 does that mean he has 15 armor and 8 body for 21 total? I tend to think it's 21+8 for his soak rolls.

3. EVERY fight my players get into is starting to go about the same. Grenade --> Mop up. It seems to me that it should take a BIT longer, or be a BIT tougher. If the dice pools in Sprawls wild are Skill listed + Attr, then that makes it tougher (dodges with 21, not 12 when hit with 9 hits from an Ares Alpha).

My main concern is challenge. TR is great and all, but if a TR of 3 can take out the BIG BAD in one or two rounds, then how the heck is adding an extra 6 goons going to really matter? (if it doesn't say what a TR does to an encounter in the mission, I tend to assume it's TR x #Players / 2 (so for TR3, 4 players I do 3x4/2 = +6 goons).

Yes, the players should be able to win. I'm a big proponent of let the players have FUN, and win, and get cool gear/karma/skills/powers in this game. But at the same time, if on day one they wipe out 6 goons in 1.5 rounds, they need a bigger challenge. I'd do it as 12+9 as above JUST to keep the difficulty on "normal".