Compressed/deleted some posts on social combat as there are games out there which have cool mechanics already.
Dogs in the Vineyard
so just find one you like and add it into your game.
The idea here is that because combat involves a series of interesting decisions while non combat situations often only involve a single skill check, games drift towards revolving around combat. So if you want to broaden things out make non-combat situations into more of a mini game.
The aim would be to create an adventure like
- the players have a trading ship that gets hired to take some scientists and supplies to resupply a research colony in a section of otherwise uninhabited space
- the players have to jump through a number of systems, ice gathering to refuel along the way and rolling for mishaps
- each mishap would lead to a mini game resolved using a non-combat mechanic where failure cost resources like spare parts, time and player strain
- as strain increased mishaps would happen more frequently with more serious ones occur.
- NPC passengers and/or crew could malfunction, especially as strain increased, requiring resolution using the social mechanic.
with possibly no combat at all and for that to feel like a satisfying game session with lots of drama.