Trade actions, which can generally be claimed as trade wars, appear to be on the rise. This is particularly true in the case of agricultural commodities. It is a common perception that large countries will be the victors in such contests and this clearly affects the trade strategies of small countries, including Australia. The relationship between free-trade and trade-war pay-offs in the context of a prisoner's dilemma is explored in this paper. It is shown why neither a favourable terms of trade movement, a flatter import demand curve nor a larger population is, on its own, a sufficient condition for a relative victory in a trade war. The implications for small country trade strategies are then discussed.