- Q: What happens to Dark Pact when it's removed from your deck? A: Dark Pact is returned to your collection, but should not be returned to the pool of available weaknesses when it is swapped out – this ensures that you can always swap between Dark Pact and The Price of Failure without it being unavailable later. Same goes for Doomed and Accursed Fate if they are swapped out. I will make a note to add this to the FAQ.
Campaign Mode only.
Deal 2 damage to an investigator at your location.
Forced - When the game ends or you are eliminated, if Dark Pact is still in your hand: Remove Dark Pact from your deck. Search the collection for The Price of Failure and add it to your deck.
"Hey kid... wanna buy a human sacrifice? Only two resources!" - Matt Newman, How to make a terrible deal in AH: LCG
This card is a fantastic example of excruciating decisions that AH LCG is capable of producing using only two cards. It should never be looked at by itself, but rather in conjunction with its "upgrade" as well - The Price of Failure. Let's examine what this duo does in practice.
Basic weakness itself seems rather straight-forward: pay two resources to deal two damage to an investigator at your location (reminder: it can be assigned to assets). It can be you or one of your teammates - your choice (or is it? we'll get back to that later). This effect might seem similar to Dark Memory of Agnes, but the cost in here seems to be less steep. With Agnes's weakness however, it is possible to just hold it - as long as you are capable of staying sane, nothing happens. With Dark Pact situation is somewhat different: if you hold it till the end of the scenario, you have to exchange it for The Price of Failure going forward - and this is where fun begins.
This card is never in the vacuum of its own effect - it always poses the question: "are we in good enough situation to do it?". The question is also never static, the answer to it will shift with every play. After all, The Price of Failure is quite nasty in its effect, which is partially group-wide (the doom aspect of it). You might find yourself in the situation when you KNOW FOR A FACT that your next scenario is the one you can't afford to risk having The Price of Failure as a potential draw, but at the moment, both you and your partners sit on 2 health points left... Are you going to willingly diminish your own chances of success now by offing yourself or your partner, to not face the cost of insubordination in the future...?
At times, the answer might be easy, with everyone healthy and the board state relatively safe (or in the last scenario, when the future doesn't matter). But this is Arkham: how often will that be the case? Especially since the Dark Pact robs you of two resources as well, potentially impairing your other actions. But hey... decision is yours. (is it really...?)
Because here's my only pet peeve with this card: why doesn't it say Peril anywhere on the card? That one keyword would change so much about it, making it a very personal decision by design. Because as it stands, it is perfectly possible to make it a group decision, something that happens just because everyone at the table agreed upon such turn of events. But if only one person had to make a call (who should take damage, and when, if at all), that would change so much about their actions. They would be faced with the duty of postponing potential future disaster, but the only judgement they'd have would be their own. How exciting and crushing at the same time it would be...? (my internal "lovecraftian fun" calculator says it would be 2.3 times much more fun) It also wouldn't be out of ordinary, since Carcosa cycle already introduced cards that hamper player communication with the Peril keyword, forcing players to make their own mind and searching for their own solutions in cooperative environment. Making Dark Pact such a card would be the natural progress of this already known mechanism.
As it stands though, the card in and of itself is still good, and by by "good" I mean "bad"; it does what it was supposed to do very well. Cards that create interesting choices are always welcomed in my book, and by "book" I mean "binder".
Still, two resources for self-inflicted harm? That's a bad deal, Matt! Not economically sustainable at all! And by "not economically sustainable" I mean "fun". Quite fun.