Question inspired by "Redefining Combat" on Clan of the Gray Wolf:
It provides an excellent list inspired by army manuals of alternate tactical goals for a scenario:
Here are some tactical tasks that can easily define an end-state and can allow your party to end combat without killing all the bad guys. Several of these tasks may also be great skill challenges. Finally, all of these tasks can be refined by adding a duration. For example, control these squares for X rounds = win or accomplish objective in X rounds or you lose. Also, when the players accomplish the objective, combat doesn't have to be over, but the combat can switch to narrative form.
How can I signal to the players that a tactical goal other than "clear the area" is in play without simply stating it?