The war games were on Saturday at Caldwell Park in Redding. Nearly three dozen war game aficionados have been gathering since Friday at the Caldwell Recreation Center to do battle. Like the days of past when children would play with plastic army men, these grown-up men — all would-be generals, admirals, star fleet commanders and boots-on-the-ground grunts — are keeping that spirit alive. For these war games certainly have a retro feel, although most of the model figurines used by the players have a science fiction or Lord of the Rings theme to them. A lot of the players make, as well as paint, their own pieces. Unlike graphic and sophisticated computer games, these war games were without blood and gore, although one wouldn’t think so based on their names, such as Warhammer, Blood Bowl and Flames of War. Dice, as well as measurement tapes, are staples in these games and players say they have more freedom than playing what’s programmed into a computer game. “(The games) are like Risk for adults,” said Redding’s Joel Moore, whose Tempest in a Teapot gaming club is co-sponsoring the three-day gaming convention, dubbed NX Norcon 2010, which concludes today. The other two sponsors are the Gothimos Game Group of Redding and the Chico-based Brotherhood of Mutants. George Markham, 38, of Redding said he was not a member of any of those three groups. “I’m an independent contractor,” Markham quipped as he arranged his miniature World War II tanks, soldiers and other pieces of the Flames of War game that were laid out in front of them. Markham, a disabled Army veteran, has been playing these war games since he got hooked on them through an Army buddy while stationed in Washington in 1991. The father of three girls, ages 16, 11 and 9, Markham said his daughters are itching to play the games, but he wants them to wait until they are a bit older so they can better appreciate the intricacies of the games. “It comes down to tactics, strategy and a roll of the dice,” Markham explained. “I want to wait for (his daughters) to get more mature.” Before he was married, he said, playing his war games was much more than just a hobby, adding they gave him an excuse to get together with his friends. He still enjoys that social aspect of the hobby, although he said some players take the games much too seriously. “Some people get way too competitive,” he said. © 2010 Record Searchlight. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.