In retrospect the 1960s was a sort of Golden Age for history-based games, especially wargames. It was pre-computer, pre-D&D, pre-Star Wars, pre-a lot of other things.
While the Avalon Hill Game Company found a market among adults for games like Gettysburg and D-Day, the way was also being primed by family game-maker Milton Bradley (pre-Hasbro) which published a line of "American Heritage" games in conjunction with that then-popular magazine. The games themselves were more war-themed games than actual wargames, but they each included a nifty little color illustrated historical booklet that may very well have inspired the designer's note often seen in wargames.
Among the American Heritage titles was Broadside, which is basically an abstract sea fighting game set loosely in the era of the War of 1812. It doesn't represent any particular fight, and the ships don't really behave like sailing warships do, but for young boys it looked rather neat, with red and blue plastic ships with detachable white sail-bearing masts.
The basic situation is a raid by the Red Fleet of 10 ships against a harbor defended by the Blue Fleet, also of 10 ships. The Blue Fleet is slightly weaker than the Red Fleet, but it's aided by some harbor defenses, comprised of four shore batteries and six floating mines (called buoys in the game for some reason). Two of the shore batteries never miss, two never hit -- their marksmanship is revealed by turning the plastic fort over and seeing if it has the word "hit" or "miss" on the bottom. Likewise, the buoys/mines are a 50/50 shot. If run over by a ship the mine is flipped and it either sinks the ship or lets it pass.
As a matter of fact, there is no luck involved in the game at all. Ship combat is similarly deterministic. If a ship moves into a position where its broadside can fire on an enemy ship in an adjacent spot, then it inflicts one hit and removes a mast. If the enemy ship's broadside can bear, it also returns fire, causing a hit on the attacker. Given this, the only way to damage an ship without being hit in return is to move into a firing position directly in front of or behind it so you can fire without taking a return shot. In the game this is called "crossing the T," although the more historically accurate term would be a "rake." Crossing the T was more commonly used after the age of sail and usually refers to fleets rather than individual ships. I assume someone at MB thought "crossing the T" would be an easier term to understand than "rake."
Every ship fires with the same power, so the only difference is the amount of damage they can take. A Ship-of-the-line has four masts and can therefore take four hits. A frigate has three masts/three hits. A brig has two masts/two hits while the lowly cutter has but a single mast and therefore is gone after one hit. A nasty little trick is to sail a cutter between two enemy ships. You get to fire each broadside, inflicting two hits while you can only take one yourself.
Ship movement is very abstract. Basically a ship can turn and move any number of open spaces in one move. The main obstacles to flying all over the board are some land masses, friendly and enemy ships, the mines and the forts.
The object of the game is for the Red Fleet to sink four immobile merchant ships docked in the harbor which each sink if fired upon. It is possible for the Red Team to win while losing all their ships so long as they sink the fourth merchant ship at the same time they take their last hit.
Overall Broadside is a mildly amusing abstract game with a sailing warship theme and a nice presentation. It's not really a wargame except in the most liberal possible reading of the term.
I have fond memories of playing it way back in the day, but recent replaying of the game reveals that there really isn't that good a game there by current standards, so I'd say it's mostly of interest these days as part of a collection.