A Naval Battle Game for 2 Players


The only information online about this game is a desultory explanation of a later version, Broadsides and Pirates with similarities with small ships with removable masts. I had no luck with the Milton Bradley site, which really is Hasbro, and is really interested in recent products. I failed to get any help from the American Heritage webpage which archived only this year and last year's magazines. Fortunately I have my almost intact game from circa 1962, and seems to have all the plastic pieces, albeit some little plastic sails might be damaged. The real reason one would "rush out and buy this game" is because it might be a collector item, as I got a big fat zero on searches for it. But, I remember it being tedious, but fun to play, and one really gets the feel for naval warfare strategy, which might have only changed recently with missiles, but it did not influence me to join the Navy; although I joined the Army Reserves in 1981. (I have not played it within recent history -- the game has moved umpteen times with me, and probably has not been opened in twenty years)

This board game titled on the box, American Heritage Broadside Naval Battle Game, copyrighted in 1962 is an "American Heritage" Command Decision Series Milton Bradley Company of Springfield, Massachussetts product. This is the same town that a hundred and thirty years ago lithographer Milton Bradley started his board game company. The cover of the box has a color reproduction of an eighteenth century American painting from the U.S. Naval Academy Museum of Constitution and Guerriere -- War of 1812. The left hand corner introduces this toy as "Another MB-Milton Bradley Key To Fun and learning", and we learn in a starbursted oval below that we can use this item "For Ages 10 To Adult." (It is also made in U.S.A.) Inside the box, on the divider where it explains the four type of ships: Ship of the Line, Frigate, Brig, and cutter and their masts, four for the former comprised of mizzen, main, fore and jib, then each following loses one, starting with jib, then main, and the last having only a main is a "Try these other fine Command Decision® Games, a WWII "Hit the Beach," WWI "Dogfight," and Civil War "Battle-Cry." It gives a parts list for masts, with the spanker being the universal on the back of any ship. The jib goes in front, followed by the fore, with the main in the middle, and next to last, the mizzen.

Basic Description

There was a pamphlet included, prepared by the editors of the historical magazine, American Heritage as explained in the introduction in the inside of the box cover where one finds the game's instructions --which, unfortunately, I am missing. Here follows is the exact background and instructions:

A Naval Battle Game for 2 Players

     BROADSIDE is based on the naval warfare of the early nineteenth century, the era of the great sailing ships. For a full appreciation of the game as well as this colorful period of history, the player should read the accompanying booklet, "Naval Battles of the War of 1812", which was prepared by the Editors of AMERICAN HERITAGE, the magazine of history.

Name "American Heritage" reg. U.S. Pat. Off.


     A fleet of RED Ships invades a harbor, which is defended by the BLUE fleet. The mission of the RED fleet is to sink the four BLUE merchant ships which are anchored at the docks. The BLUE fleet's task is to prevent this by sinking all of the invading fleet. While the RED fleet has superior fighting strength, the defending BLUE fleet has command of shore batteries guarding the harbor's two channels. It is also familiar with the dangerous submerged rocks which will, if struck, sink a ship.

     The players must maneuver their ships efficiently so as to be in position to fire "broadsides" at the opponent's ships. Each time a ship is hit with a "broadside", one mast is removed from it. When all the masts are gone, the ship is "sunk" and removed from the board.
    BROADSIDE is a fast-moving game of pure skill and strategy.


     BEFORE STARTING, the player choose to command either the RED (invading) fleet or the BLUE (defending) fleet. They will then proceed to "RIG" their warships according to the instructions.


     The proper rigging is pictured in the diagrams inside the game box. The various types of masts with full sail are also pictured.
     1. Separate the white masts with sails from the plastic runners. They are located in the tray which contains the booklet.
     2. Each player takes the 10 ship hulls of his color. All the hulls are identical and contain holes into which the masts are inserted to RIG the ship properly. The type of ship is determined by the NUMBER and KIND of masts it contains at the start of the game.
     3. Assemble the rigging according to the diagrams. ALL SHIPS CONTAIN THE SPANKER SAIL, inserted into the rear (aft) hole in the hull. The "Spanker" does NOT count as a MAST.


   4 Frigates -- 3 Masts Each - 1 Fore, 1 Main, and 1 Mizzen
   2 Brigs -- 2 Masts Each - 1 Fore and    1 Mizzen
   4 Cutters -- 1 Mast Each - 1 Cutter Mast
The BLUE fleet totals 10 Ships with 20 Removable Masts



#160;  2 Ships-of-the-Line -- 4 Masts Each - 1 Jib, 1 Fore, 1 Main and 1 Mizzen
   3 Frigates    -- 3 masts Each - 1 Fore, 1 Main, and 1 Mizzen
   3 Brigs    --2 Masts Each - Fore and 1 Mizzen
   2 Cutters    -- 1 Mast Each - 1 Cutter Mast
The RED fleet totals 10 ships with 25 Removable Masts


     The players sit facing each other with the board between them so that the Blue player is behind the dock area and the RED player is in fron of the title panel at the harbor entrance.
     The BLUE player locates his blue playing pieces on the board as follows:
     1. The four merchant shipps are placed one each on the white circles at the dock area. They are NOT MOVEABLE and must remain there throughout the game.
     2. Remove the six BLUE BUOYS from their plastic runners. Note that 3 are marked "SINK" on the bottom and 3 marked "PASS". The BLUE player places ONE EACH on the YELLOW circles on the playing board. Only BLUE should know which are PASS or SINK. It is NOT allowed to place 3 SINK buoys in a row on a group of 3 yellow dots. Once placed they cannot be moved. Read the BUOYS section of the rules for their importance in the game.
     3. Remove the four BLUE shore batteries from their runners and place on the board. Their locations are in the land area at the channels, near the forts. Two go in the center island pointing outward at the RED circles in the narrow part of the channels -- one to the right and one to the left. The other two are located on the opposite shores pointing across the water so as to form a "cross fire" along the line formed by the RED circles in the channels.
There is a picture here showing the four groups of two cannons facing the two narrow inlets.
     4. Each battery piece controls 2 red spots, the one nearest the piece and the one in the center, as shown by the arrows in the illustration. Note that the center spot is controlled by 2 batteries, one on each side and is marked by a double circle.
     5. Two shore battery pieces are marked "HIT" on the bottom, and two are marked "MISSED" on the bottom. The "HIT" battery is accurate and always "HITS" whenever an enemy RED ship passes over a red spot it controls. The "MISS" batteries always miss.
     6. ONLY THE BLUE player is to know which are "HIT" and which are "MISS". Once placed at the start of the game, they cannot be moved. Refer to the rules for "SHORE BATTERIES" for their importance in the BLUE player's defense.
     7. The BLUE player places his WARSHIP FLEET, one each on any 10 of the 12 spots in the first line of crosses nearest him and next to the dock area. He may arrange his ships according to type as he wishes. They should all face OUTWARD toward the RED player.
     The RED player places his WARSHIP FLEET, one each, on the 10 light blue crosses forming the two rows of 5 on his lower right of the board. He may arrange his ships according to type as he wishes. They should all face INTO the harbor toward the BLUE player.



    The RED player tries to sink ALL FOUR BLUE MERCHANT SHIPS. The BLUE player tries to sink all the RED ships before all of his merchant ships are eliminated.


1. RED moves first. Turns alternate.
2. Each player moves ONE warship of his own color each turn.
3. A ship must move in a STRAIGHT LINE, along a line of blue crosse, and STOP at a cross.
4. A ship may move ANY NUMBER OF OPEN crosses. It CANNOT move across a land area, through another ship, or into a water area wher no spots exist. Only one ship may occupy one spot at a time.
5. AT THE START of the move a ship may be TURNED to the left or right at RIGHT ANGLES, or it may REVERSE its direction by turning 180° to HEAD IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION. A shop must TURN, if necessary, and then MOVE. The points on the cross show the direction a ship may take. A shp may move in the up and down direction (vertical) or across (horizontal), but NOT DIAGONALLY.
6. A ship must move in the same direction it was on, or TURN and MOVE, so that it is facing in the direction of movement at the END of the MOVE.
7. A ship CANNOT TURN-IN-PLACE without moving off its cross. If a turn is made, the ship MUST move off its cross.
8. A ship CANNOT TURN A CORNER DURING A MOVE. It must TURN, if desired, then MOVE in a STRAIGHT LINE.
9. Examples of moves: (Here it diagrams moving straight ahead, right turn and move, reverse turn and move and left turn and move.)
10. Note that each warship has cannon pointing outward from each long side. No cannon point to front or rear, so it can FIRE from the long or "BROAD"side only. The purpose of maneuvering is to place a ship into position for firing "BROADSIDES" at an enemy ship.
(There is a picture of a ship showing you can only fire from the sides.)


1. BROADSIDES are fired at the END of a MOVE. If a warship has STOPPED on a cross NEXT tothe enemy ship with its cannon facing the enemy ship, it may FIRE the BROADSIDE. The enemy ship must occupy the cross directly opposite, but NOT ON A DIAGONAL.
2. A shp may fire only from its own broadsides, therefore, it must be facing the proper direction for firing at an ememy ship. That is, the cannon on one of its sides must be pointing at the enemy ship.
3. BOTH ships may fire broadsides if they are located so that their broadsides are facing each other. In this case, BROADSIDES ared EXCHANGED.
4. A broadside can be fired from ONE or BOTH sides of a ship AT THE SAME TIME, for example, if a ship has been moved BETWEEN two enemy ships, it fires BROADSIDES from EACH SIDE into the enemy ships on both sides.
5. Whenever a warship has been hit by a BROADSIDES from an enemy ship, it loses ONE MAST. The player takes one removable mast from the hull to show that it has been hit.
6. EACH TIME a ship is hit, ONE MAST is REMOVED. When there are no more masts, the ship is SUNK and removed from the board. Thus, the Ship-of-the-Line can receive 4 hits, the Frigat 3, the Brig, 2, and the Cutter 1.


This is the MOST IMPORTANT maneuver in the game. It is the ONLY WAY a ship may inflict damage on an enemy without receiving damage in return. A more complete description of this strategy is discussed in the booklet accompanying the game.
(There is a diagram showing the ships 90° of each other, firing.)
<. NO FIRING can take place when ships are:
(The picture is of ships front to front or back to back or a combination therof.)
7. The BROADSIDES is fired AT THE END of the turn whenever one of the ships have been moved into proper position. Only ONE BROADSIDE or ONE EXCHANGE OF BROADSIDE can be made. THEY DO NOT CONTINUE TO FIRE and can be left in this position as long as desired.
     The players continue to move ships, firing broadsides when in position, and removing masts or ships when SUNK. There are additional hazards in the game, namely, the SHORE BATTERIES and the BUOYS which are controlled by the BLUE player.


1. Shore batteries do NOT harm the BLUE ships. Whenever a RED ship "MOVES THROUGH" OR "STOPS ON" a red circle controlled by a HIT battery, it LOSES ONE MAST. A circle controlled by a MISS battery causes no harm to a RED ship. A double circle (center) controlled by a 2 HIT batteries causes a loss of 2 MASTS from the RED ship.
2. A RED ship may stay on the HIT circle without continuing to lose masts in other turns.
3. A RED ship may move ACROSS the circles but must LOSE one mast every time it MOVES THROUGH or STOPS ON a HIT circle. If all 3 circles in a channel are controlled by MISS batteries, the ship moves without harm.


1. Buoys mark rocks which may "SINK" a ship or allow a ship to "PASS". Only the BLUE player knows which rocks are dangerous.
2. ALL SHIPS (BLUE and RED) must STOP when passing trough a "BUOY" circle. The BUOY is then examined and REMOVED from the game. If it is "SUNK", the ship (RED or BLUE) is out of the game. If it is "PASS" the ship may continue to finish the move. The yellow dot, after removal of the buoy, now becomes the same as any "CROSS" on the board.
    TO SINK A BLUE MERCHANT SHIP, a RED warship must STOP on the corss just opposite to the merchant ship, and fire ONE BROADSIDE at the blue merchant ship. The RED ship must be hit ONCE, it has been SUNK and removed from the board. The merchant ships cannot fire as they have no guns.


    The RED player WINS if he can sink all 10 RED Warships before all of his four Merchant Ships are sunk.

A humorous postnote: when trying to put the game away, heaving it to the top of an old bookshelf, of course it fell back down, spilling little tiny pieces all through the junk piled at the base of the furniture. This was the real game, call it Brits' revenge for the War of 1812.