Surprises in store for the big day

Updated 23 September 2014

Surprises in store for the big day

There will be surprises galore for this year’s celebration of the 84th National Day in the capital featuring a variety of entertainment and cultural programs in landmark locations.
“It is part of the Riyadh governorate’s efforts to make the National Day a truly memorable and joyful event,” according to the organizers.
Fireworks will light up the night sky at designated spots while a variety of innovative entertainment programs have been lined up for the spectators.
The Riyadh municipality under the direct supervision of Gov. Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz will organize a number of events of national significance at eight separate venues in the capital.
According to the organizers, the program, which kicks off on Tuesday afternoon will include video presentations, laser shows, fireworks and military performances. There are in addition to several recreational activities, heritage and sports programs suitable for all members of the family.
Meanwhile, Riyadh Traffic Department announced its preparation for the event to be manned by 1,100 officers who will make sure traffic moves without hindrance on all roads.
As part of its preparations for the National Day, the RTD has released an advisory preventing motorcycle convoys from using the roads as they cause traffic congestion. In addition, altering the color of vehicles, writing or pasting photos on them will be regarded as traffic violations punishable with seizure of the vehicles.
According to a source, the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh will be among places where the celebrations start at eight in the evening on Tuesday. Another important site is the King Abdullah Park in Malaz where the festivities will begin at 5 p.m. continue into the night.
As usual, King Abdulaziz Historical Center, one of the tourist attractions, will showcase the typical Arabian tent, heritage products, textiles, handicrafts and children’s theater.


Traditional Saudi game jumps to the digital world

First prize winners of this year’s tournament came home with cash prize of SR750,000 and a BMW. (Photo/Social media)
Updated 51 min 3 sec ago

Traditional Saudi game jumps to the digital world

  • First prize winners of this year’s tournament, Fahad Al-Shibani and Saud Al-Shibani, came home with cash prize of SR750,000 and a BMW

RIYADH: Baloot, a card game similar to bridge, has developed from a traditional game — usually played at family gatherings — to an online game for your mobile phone.
The Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports launched in Riyadh the third baloot tournament, which has attracted more than 18,000 participants including 40 female teams. The total prize money is SR2 million ($533,234).
The third baloot tournament showed an unprecedented number of players this year, bolstered by the participation of female players.
First prize winners of this year’s tournament, Fahad Al-Shibani and Saud Al-Shibani, came home with cash prize of SR750,000 and a BMW. Second prize winners received cash prizes of SR500,000 and third place players won SR100,000.
The electronic version is now more popular among Saudis than the original, which requires at least four players.
“The main feature that these baloot apps provide is that I can play the game anytime and anywhere, I don’t need to wait until I find three more people to complete the team,” said Saad Al-Amri, an undergrad student from Abha. “I also don’t lose control as I sometimes do when I play it with my relatives,” he added.
However, Al-Amri admits that playing baloot online made him more addicted to the game, saying that some days he spends 3 hours playing.
Baloot apps are not new and the market continues to grow. Apple’s App Store boasts over 30 Baloot apps. In Android’s Google Play store, the number of apps is even higher, ranging from platforms for playing the game, to apps that teaches the rules, to calculators that help users track their scores in the traditional version.
On top of the list of apps are two famous versions called “Kammelna” and “Baloot VIP,” with both reaching over 1 million downloads.
There are other apps that are less popular but also have strong downloads figures. “Tarbeeat Baloot” and “iBaloot” have just over half a million and 100,000 downloads respectively.
According to the website of “Kammelna,” a Saudi app, they started working on it in 2008, and currently have more than 1 million subscribers, with an updated ranking list for the best 100 players published daily.
Baloot apps can charge paid subscriptions, ranging from monthly, quarterly, semiannually or annually. Some apps sell points to customers who can replace them with special features in the game.
Subscriptions start from around SR30 per month, giving users additional features such as access to a special playing room and the ability to start private conversations with other players. Some apps have unique tournaments to encourage users to compete with each other and win points that they can use in future games.