Oh, well when I meant "PvP" I meant "competition," and yeah, a race more than direct confrontation. It's just that there isn't a "ticking clock," it's a grinding race for XP. You can take all the time in the world as long as your opponents take the same. It's quite a good race for those who appreciate it - if your opponent starts pushing for yellows and blues, you'll have to do the same. Theoretically, it can create quite a tense race.
It's just that in practice, it may be difficult to find people who think watching others grind stats is entertaining, which is where some of the negativity comes from. In comparison to Talisman (which has its own share of criticisms), at least there are different types of encounters and ways to level up apart from XP grinding.
For those who can tolerate watching other people fight, Runebound is quite a good multiplayer race game because you're encouraged to keep up with the most bold opponent.
And yeah, it does play beautifully as a solo game, but it does require house rules at the moment. Like I said, if FFG recognizes this and puts official solo rules, then it can be "officially" marketed as a solo adventure. It's kind of like buying the Conversion Kit for Descent: Second Edition without owning the original game. Out of the box, it's not attractive at all, but if you don't mind using some house rules and proxies it's a great value.
You make some valid points but again I would just remind you that if you use the Doom Track or some type of threat tracker, the game really does take on a sense of urgency.
What makes Runebound so very cool is that you have to make choices because that Doom Track is ever growing; it's a harbinger of the coming destruction. In that way, Runebound feels very much like the best high fantasy novels. Think (obviously) of The Lord of the Rings, or Terry Brooks' Shannara series. There is a threat looming to obliterate everything. As much as people may say it's a tired trope, it isn't because that threat hangs over us in our every day world - just ask a Ukrainian.
Anyhow, if you don't play with a Doom Track then yes, you can take all of the time you desire and faceroll Margath. And I will concede that multiplayer can be weak when you add in more than two or three players. I agree as well that some rule tweaks would help to speed the 4+ player game.
I play a bit of solo and also two player and every game has been unique and every game has literally come down to the wire - as it should be IMHO.
Also don't forget the variants like travel hazards! Those are a blast and perhaps when (I am being very positive) the 3rd edition sees print, travel hazards will become a more integral part of the game. It makes sense doesn't it? Borrowing again from Tolkien and Brooks, if an ancient evil is stirring, there's going to be nasties popping up virtually anywhere in the world.
I also agree that for some people it could be tedious to watch others in combat. For me it's a blast and even more so when players ask for advice as it makes it feel like we are companions with a common purpose. Yes, it should be painfully obvious that I am a "theme" w****e. And I love the unexpected and in that respect both Runebound and Talisman both shine!
Runebound is an experience. It's not just a dungeon crawler. It's clear that FFG put a lot of thought into the lore and some of the flavor text in Runebound drips with it. With it being hard to find now - especially the small expansions - Mageknight is for me at least the closest experience. It's a great game too but in the long run, I still think that Runebound has the edge as there is so much more that could be done! The Sands of Al-Kalim even broke with normal convention by having as its focus each player essentially creating her/his own story to be remembered in Terrinoth. Watching other players create their stories is a fun experience for me and this too is something that FFG could develop even further.
I know that you love Runebound or you wouldn't have posted in this thread that SolennelBern so kindly started. I believe that after we convince FFG that Runebound is a product that veteran and newcomers want, FFG will look at our suggestions.
Keep the faith and please spread the word about the upcoming petition? Let's not allow this wonderful experience to be forgotten.