As a new Runebound player who has only played the game solo, I decided to conduct a little experiment, seeing as how many people on these forums have complained that the doom track rules are difficult and make it practically impossible to meet the victory conditions in solo play.
Over the past month or so, I have played 23 games of Runebound 2nd ed solo, using the Core box only. I used all the core rules as written (5 Exp. / level, standard rules for knockouts, item and ally limits, etc.) as well as the most recent FAQ doc found on the FFG website. I used the Doom track as explained in the 2nd ed Core rulebook (every third card triggers a doom counter, top card moved to bottom when doom counter is triggered; all cards Challenge/Event and even Encounter cards are placed facedown adjacent to the Doom Track, unless the card explicitly says otherwise, as per p. 10 of the Core rulebook), and also made use of the rules for Travel Hazards (which, for the most part, were easily avoided during solo play).
Over those 23 games, I either obtained 3 dragon runes or killed Highlord Margath in 13/23 games (56.5% success rate). Over the last 10 games (i.e., as a result of growing familiarity and experience with the game and winning strategies), I met the victory conditions 7 times out of 10 (70% success ratio). I played with all 12 characters included in the core set, and although it took me 2-3 tries with some characters, I was eventually successful with all of them. In many cases, I even won before the end game had a chance to start, but all games were "close." Thus, in my experience, a solo game with doom track can easily be won using the rules as written, and my success vs. defeat ratio suggests that the core game is well balanced for solo play.
The Warlock already outlined the main elements of a successful winning strategy in his second post from the top. I would add that, since you are not competing with anyone for market items/allies, you can spend more time healing in cities (especially if you have the Acolyte of Flame or Rune Seeker as an ally) or waiting for the right movement dice combo to appear before moving in, which increases the pool of items/allies available in cities and minimizes the risk of encountering travel hazards. It should be noted that just because more items/allies are available (potentially all of them, if you decide to remain in a city long enough to exhaust the market deck, which I did not do) in a solo game, does not change the fact that you will only be able to accumulate a very limited number of them due to the limited amount of gold you will acquire with the Doom track running (some of which can still be lost to knockouts, especially early in the game)… so the game remains a challenge. If I won every time, I would find it boring.
Now looking forward to trying out the various big box and deck expansions I've been hunting down, and still hoping some of my friends will eventually want to give Runebound a shot in multi-player mode...
Edited by TwiceBornh, 06 May 2014 - 06:47 PM.