Well, my point was that "escape" is an option as well. I guess for myself, so far, I've not been knocked out that often. Less than a handful of times in memory after more than a year of play, maybe two. I've "won" an equal amount of times compared to the few others I play with. That's good enough for me, since I'm into the "play" far more than the "win." I suppose the low number of knockouts might be in part knowing when to go for the next level of adventure deck… vs. others who push it with only the "win" in mind and little fear of dying… and knowing myself the odds they'll get spanked for it. As mentioned by Warlock, even the soft knockout has its lesser notice disadvantages; sometimes a win comes in part from other people getting reckless.
I've rarely seen a situation where I know my chance of knockout is exceptional or ridiculously high except in an endgame… or when I get reckless. There's also the "swoop" wins I've seen more than once, where someone goes in behind all others, gets the right cards and rolls, and bam(!) the game is over the last way anyone expected. My spouse, Barb, has done that just little to often for the odds. Its creepy… and annoying.
As to soft knockouts… the standard is soft and the fan variants on this are ridiculous… for no matter what you lose, it's less than what is deserved in many cases. For the softer the knockout, the stupider people play; I've seen it. It's not even fun to watch let alone play with such people. But the knockout should be a disadvantage but not too severe so the game can continue with everyone involved and no one being left out for half the night. It's sensible, but…
I've watched parts of a number of games at conventions and in the few shops I can get to. Of the players I've seen who get knocked out, well more than half deserved it. They are also the ones who whine the most about losing anything, as if they should come back from the dead like a reset button in a video game without a scratch on them and everything back in place.
I did once see a small tournament in a shop where death was death… the end. If you die, you are done in that game of the tournament. The trick was, even if only one player was left, that player still had to survive to finish the game in a specified number of turns (I don't remember the count). If that one didn't, then no winner for that game, and the number wins across games seemed to be (?) who moved up to the next level of games.
There were three games running the day I stopped in, with 3 players each if I remember right. The prize for first included one RB big box or the core game, some store credit, and a bag of convention swag for the winner. Second place got the big box or corel; I think third got a bag of swag. None of that would've matter much to me. I saw one knock out in the time I was there, maybe an hour and a half between shopping around and stopping often to watch.
It was amazing how much better balanced game "play" was… for people still were trying for the win, but they knew death was the end for that game … and whoever was in the lead knew the instant everyone else was dead, that one could be in a bind if it all happened too quickly. But everyone also knew that reckless players would soon be gone from one too many loses, and there would be less chance of one remaining player getting caught a rush to win a game. It was a good game or games, full of tension and tactics. Made me wish I'd had the couple full days necessary to get in on it. One game did finish while I was there, and all three players were still alive.
These days, I don't see RB being played much at that one shop I go to, the closest one, and its still a 45 minute drive.