Broadside is a free, multiplayer naval combat game designed to bring the drama of ship-to-ship battles in the Age of Sail to life. Players choose their faction and play on cardstock ships with plastic cannons, using dice to determine success. The goal: sink your opponent’s vessel before they can sink yours!
The Broadside Game is a fun way for families or friends to spend time together and experience this historical era firsthand. For those who are more interested in history than board games, we also have many resources available on our website about the importance of these battles and the lives involved in them.
The game is played on a 21-inch by the 17-inch playing field. Each player chooses their color and plays from the side of either the British Royal Navy or the French Republic.
Each player arranges their ships in opposing corners of the board. The first round begins with each crew firing cannons to determine which ship will get the first turn (see Turning Order below). Once the player’s ships have taken their turns, the other player has a chance to fire at their hulls.
After that round is complete, play passes back and forth between each team until one side loses all its ships. This can happen in several ways, including sinking your opponent or maneuvering into a position where all of your boats lose their masts (see below in the Game Rules section).
Each ship has two masts and three hull sections. When the last mast falls, so does the boat. However, if any of those pieces remain intact at that point, they are considered in reserve and can be used to repair any other ship in the fleet.
The game ends when one captain sinks their opponent’s flagship or runs out of ships.
Broadside is easy to learn but requires patience and strategy to win over an equally matched opponent!
1. Place the game board on a table or play mat, and then place each player’s ship in either corner of the field based on their color (shown below). British Royal Navy | French Republic
2. Then, your opponent will roll the dice to see who goes first. The winner of the roll decides which player goes first.
3. Each ship is assigned a number, representing its position in its class line-up. In this example, the French flag is on the left (the A or aft mast), and their ship order follows along from there (B then C). This same rule applies to the Royal Navy ships, which are listed in the opposite order.
4. Each player selects a ship to be their flagship, moving them into position next to the board’s center. Its number 3 figure represents the flagship, but any boat on the fleet can be drawn randomly.
5. After both players have deployed their ships; each player rolls a die to determine who will go first in that round. The roll winner decides which side goes first and moves either clockwise or counterclockwise to begin play. Each match consists of between 5 and 7 games, with each ship taking a turn per round. Each player is allowed to use two rolls of the dice in any given round.
6. The game continues until one captain sinks their opponent’s flagship or runs out of ships. If both sides still have ships left, remove the ships from play as usual and start a new round when all players have re-deployed. If one side has lost all of its vessels, its opponent wins by default, ending the game.
The game is easy to learn and is excellent for passing the time with your family. Due to its simple rules, it plays quickly but offers a deep strategic experience that will keep you coming back for more! Frongames hopes that our guide can help you play this game better.