I was supposed to be starting a new game last night with some friends, but because of a medical thing it didn't happen. I'm hoping to reschedule soon, but it really sucks when a first session doesn't get off the ground.
How do you facilitate combat? Any tips, tools, or cheats?
I actually don't do a whole lot to "facilitate" combat in any of my games. Early on for my 4e games I kept a cheat sheet of standard combat modifiers available for me and my players but that's about it, at least on the players side of the screen. I've got enough to deal with on my end of things without having to worry too much about them.
As a DM for my 4e games, I use these encounter sheets to keep things moving. With space for each of the monsters, a spot for initiative and a bit to keep notes about what happened (so I can blog about it later) it's just about perfect. The monster tracker includes not just a place to keep track of wounds, but also for the various conditions they'll suffer.
In my old school games I tend to just make notes on whatever adventure I'm running directly. There's a lot less to keep track of, so a lot less space is needed to keep track of things. Mostly just hit points.
Aside from that I try to keep things moving quickly. If my players are taking too long figuring out what they're going to do this round I start counting down, and if I get to zero, they miss their turn. I don't think I've ever gotten to zero.