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When declaring war, one tactic might be for a player to choose the white flag on the war die to mean "0 war cost", and have no intention of forming an alliance. Normally, an alliance is formed when both players in a war choose the white flag symbol:

If both players chose a white flag, a peaceful alliance is formed

However, the rules clearly state that

Players cannot form an alliance in a 2 player game.

Is it still permitted to choose the white flag symbol to bid 0 during war, knowing full well that an alliance cannot be formed? If yes, what happens if both players choose the white flag? Does that mean that it is a tie of 0, and then standard tiebreaker rules apply?

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Michael Coe, the designer of Tiny Epic Kingdoms, responded to this question and said that it was allowed:

Yes, a flag is a zero in 2 player games. If both choose zero, it's a tie and regular rules apply (tie goes to defender).

As Benjamin Cosman pointed out in his answer, a player may be forced to choose the flag if they have no resources available, so it would be very problematic for the flag to be disallowed in a two-player game.

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Tl;dr: In a 2-player game, the flag is just a 0.

Both players set [a war die] to a number indicating the total war cost they are willing to incur. Players must have enough value in resources and ability bonuses when setting the die to pay their chosen war cost.

If you are attacked and you have no resources or ability bonuses, you are unable to pay any war cost 1 or higher, so the only legal move you have is to select the flag. Since this situation is not explicitly listed as an exception in the rules, we may infer that you are allowed to choose the flag in other situations as well. So what happens if both players choose the flag?

A player may set their die to the white flag to offer a peaceful alliance; which requires no cost in resources.

If both players chose a white flag, a peaceful alliance is formed.

Players cannot form an alliance in a 2 player game.

If both players have selected the same war cost, the tie goes to the defender who then becomes the winner.

As you suggest, the rule that would form an alliance is cancelled by the 2 player exception, so we fall back to the normal tiebreaker and defender wins.

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  • This answer relies on the assumption that there always is a legal move. I think this is reasonable, especially since every game I can think of where it is not true explicitly states in the rules what happens in that situation (e.g. a stalemate in chess or a loss in most combinatorial games). – Benjamin Cosman Aug 26 '16 at 14:53
  • I am accepting the answer with a ruling from the game designer, but I invited your answer because I think that it matches the rationale that they used. – Thunderforge Aug 29 '16 at 1:55
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Choosing the flag IS forming the alliance. You can't pick the flag in a two player game because that's not just "Peace" that's "Form an alliance".

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  • I'm not seeing how the white flag means "form an alliance." An alliance is only formed when both choose the white flag. – Thunderforge Aug 25 '16 at 21:55
  • Your comment is internally redundant. But let me try explaing it like this. "Forming an Alliance" isn't an action in TEK. It's not something you choose to do. It's a result of an event and that event is making peace (white flag) with someone else. When you choose the flag of peace and the other person does as well you don't then choose to form an alliance. You dn't choose it because an alliance is the what you've just done. Picking the white flag is what makes the alliance. There fore you can't pick the white flag and NOT make an alliance because that's what flag is – Wolfkin Aug 26 '16 at 13:12
  • I think that there is a difference in interpretation of the rules. You are interpreting the rules to mean that one person choosing the white flag means "form an alliance". I interpret them as one person choosing the white flag means nothing, both means "form an alliance" (based on the wording of the rule saying that "if both choose the white flag, an alliance is formed", and thus if both don't, then no alliance is formed). – Thunderforge Aug 26 '16 at 14:18
  • Both interpretations are reasonable, but I found a way to pick one using the assumption that there is always at least one legal move (see my answer). – Benjamin Cosman Aug 26 '16 at 14:50

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