To get cannon fodder fights (or video game style-) fights out of the way, without completely removing the challenge and interest, you can use this module to formalize simple conflict into 1-action rounds. Each PC picks an action and an opponent, and the NPCs do the same. There are three different actions per character, resulting in nine different outcomes when characters oppose each other. The outcomes follow, in the form of PC action, NPC action, and result with Pro and Con variations if needed:
Attack, Attack: Minion dies and PC takes minion (unimportant opponent) damage.
Attack, Defend: Pro, minion dies. Con, take minion damage.
Attack, Move: Pro, minion dies. Con, minion gets +4 on next contest.
Defend, Attack: Pro, minion dies. Con, take minion damage.
Defend, Defend: No progress.
Defend, Move: Minion gets +4 on next contest.
Move, Attack: Pro, gain +4 on next contest, take 1 damage. Con, gain +4 on next contest, take minion damage.
Move, Defend: Gain +4 on next contest.
Move, Move: Both sides gain +4 to next contest.
Because these conflicts are simple, it’s more important to describe each outcome. For example, a Move/Move can make a combat more deadly if both sides choose +4 to attack, “the zombull charges you, and you set your spear to receive the charge.” Or a Defend/Defend could be, “the droid sizes you up, slowly circling to your left. What do you do?”
The PC should choose his or her action before the NPC, but the NPC might follow a predictable pattern (as many opponents are known to do) or even perform a random (die-rolled) action. GM bias isn’t a big concern in action selection, because the module is weighed in the PC’s favor (i.e. minions die easily).
When PCs outnumber NPCs, or vice versa, the additional PC automatically kills the minion after the first conflict resolves, or an additional NPC causes 1 point of damage automatically to an outnumbered PC. Evenly matched parties pair against each other evenly.