Game Design–Tips for Creating Bounds

Christoph Deeg

The world of libraries has changed for good over the past few years. With the advent of digital technologies, the rise of social media, and the emergence of new media such as eBooks, our image of the library has changed. The scope of its tasks and its role for the future are constantly growing. Gaming and the mobile internet put two more topics on the agenda. Their influence on libraries promises to be even more profound. Social media has long been shorthand for activities that mostly take place staring at a screen, but now a new definition of the library is emerging, one in which the library the digital and the analog are enmeshed. That means it’s time to think about the ways in which the digital and the analog influence each other in the library. In the process, we might discover whole new forms of library science.

Nutzung von Actionbound in der modernen Bibliothek Using Actionbound in a modern library.

The use of apps that contain an element of gamification is especially interesting for libraries. Actionbound is an especially exciting example of such an app. A few examples and use cases have already been described, so I’m going to refrain from providing further approaches here. Instead, I’ll focus on the process of creating content. After all, it’s the content that determines whether or not the project is successful. When people hear or read this term, they often think of Game design plays an important role in determining whether or not a project will succeed. When people hear or read this term, they often think of the visual design of a game. But game design doesn’t refer to the graphics. Instead, it mostly concerns the structure of the game. It doesn’t really matter whether you’re talking about a digital game or an analog game. You could even say a good game works without technical aid. So it’s not about the use of an app. Instead, it’s about leveraging technology to design a game that unites content, goals, and location to create added value for the user.

Game design is something of a phenomenon. On the one hand, game design is a very complicated field and it’s not for nothing that long-term work in the field requires a lot of training. On the other hand, it isn’t so hard to get started – after all, we’re surrounded by games. Most people, whether young or old, have played a wide variety of games. It doesn’t matter whether they’re digital games or whether they’re old-school analog board or card games – the best way to get started is to play yourself and observe how the game functions. I can’t illuminate every aspect of the subject in this article, but i’d like to provide a few tips that have always helped me in my own work.

  1. Games consist of a number of different components, for example storytelling, graphics, mechanics, rules, sound, and technology. You don’t need fireworks, but you should think about what components you want to include, why you’re leaving things out, and how you can compensate for those exclusions.
  2. Games don’t necessarily need to have complicated graphics, but you should think about their appearance. This includes both the app and the location where the game will be played. If you’re designing a game to be played in a library, then the library should function as a gaming site.
  3. Before you plan a tour or something similar, consider the entire location. What parts of the library can be part of a story? Are there areas where it can get a little louder? Do you have WiFi that enables thirty devices to establish a connection simultaneously?
  4. Come up with an exciting story that does more than simply provide a mental framework. Instead, it should create a connection between the different levels or stages of the game, even if the whole thing lasts half an hour or less.
  5. You should designate clear goals as well as clear feedback. That means the player should know how they are doing, as well as what they have to do.
  6. Think about whether there should be helpers. For example, a librarian might be designated as a helper, so that they could help the players keep going if they were to get stuck.
  7. Think about whether resources should be limited. Patrons might only be able to ask a librarian for help twice, for example.
  8. Think about forming teams to play the game together. Collective experiences are always more fun than playing by yourself. You can also create intergenerational teams, so that teachers or parents help students.
  9. You might also consider staging the whole thing as a competition. Competitions are always a good motivation.
  10. Allow for a variety of possible solutions and means of progressing. There’s nothing more boring than following a path that has been laid out exactly.
  11. Be careful not to make the game too hard or too easy. Tasks that are too simple or too difficult lead to frustration.
  12. Think about whether you want an employee of the library to be involved in the game. If a library worker will be involved, think about their role, including their role in the story.

These are just a few tips, which naturally can’t answer every question that might arise. As was said above, the technology is pretty much irrelevant, but with the right content you can create something special. Take plenty of time when developing the content and try different things out. It can also be helpful to include players in the design process. You could even take it so far that you simply provide the goals and content of a library tour and then develop the game with the players. Let the games begin!


This article is part of the publication „Die Bibliothek spielerisch entdecken mit der Lern-App Actionbound (German) “. You can find the contents here.

88x31.png „Die Bibliothek spielerisch entdecken mit der Lern-App Actionbound“ by Simon Zwick, Cynthia Lengler, Ilka Hamer, Annette Güzelmeriç, Eugenie Schatz, Dörthe Wiethoff, Florian Küpper, Christoph Deeg is licnesed under einer Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 International license.

Interactive Educational Adventures for the Classroom

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Your goal as a teacher is to inspire your students with attractive and contemporary lessons? Actionbound can help!

Using Actionbound you can easily create digital educational adventures that use the playful approach of a scavenger hunt. Your students can then use the Actionbound app to play the so-called Bounds.

Create your own Bounds according to your wishes and the demands of your lesson planning. You can combine a variety of different elements– quizzes, tasks, media, GPS-coordinates, QR-Codes, and many more. You don’t need to be able to program– in fact, the Bound creator at www.actionbound.com has received a number of accolades for its ease of use.

Versatile and Interdisciplinary

The method is suitable for all subjects. It’s perfect for field trips, but is also ideal for working on projects– students can create their own bounds for different themes, which the other pupils can then play. You can also use Actionbound to create a customized tour of your city or town for your students. Examples of other use cases include botanical tours, local history tours, historical political tours, or mathematical journeys of discovery.

In an educational setting, the digital scavenger hunt is especially interesting,as the borders of the educational space of the school are broken and the pedagogy extends into the everyday lives of the students. In terms of the content, Actionbound is a tool with lots of potential applications. So long as a spirit of discovery promises to contribute to student success, Actionbound can play a role. It could be used in preparing students for a trip to a museum or for a field trip with real connection to the syllabus, such as a courthouse scavenger hunt or identifying plants."

Regional Academy for Continuing Education and Professional Development Actionbound Background and Introduction (German)

Cooperation in groups also develops students’ social skills. Using tablets really motivates students.“

Schreiber, Ch. & Schulz, K. (2017) Actionbound – virtuelle Schnitzeljagd. Mathematische Aspekte in der Umwelt spielerisch entdecken. Mathematik differenziert, 1/2017, 22-25

„Actionbound is a contemporary tool that shows the potential of smartphones in educational settings in an impressive form.“

Baier, F. & Gottein H.-P. (2016) Mobile Learning am Beispiel Actionbound. Pädagogische Hochschule Salzburg, Hochschulschrift - PHScript 10 Schwerpunkt MEDIEN, 47-52, German

Literature as well as more information about using Actionbound in schools is available Google Google.

Try Actionbound yourself with a free 14-day trial period.



Actionbound  is already being used at many schools and has been recognized many times. Actionbound wird bereits an vielen Schulen genutzt und wurde mehrfach ausgezeichnet.

The Teacher’s and Educational Licenses have been specially developed for pedagogical use. They’ll make it easy for you to get started. As a teacher you can use these licenses without any limitation in terms of the number of participants or the Bounds created. Your pupils can also create their own Bounds using your Teacher’s License– so it’s simple for you to protect your student’s privacy.


Special licenses for public schools

You can find licenses for schools and teachers here.
For questions and offers please contact us via mail or phone.

Innovative Approaches to Continuing Education

Whether for trainees, managers, visitors, or site visits, as an incentive or as part of a workshop, Actionbound can be used with any target demographic and is always warmly received. The combination of local data, gamification, team work, and high-quality multimedia content inspires learning.

Fotolia_108433159_S_blog.jpg In addition to classical education environments like schools, libraries, and museums, Actionbound’s media-pedagogical method of “serious gaming” is also increasingly being used in corporate settings. Photo: djile / Fotolia

We’ve collected a few testimonials from innovative trainers and experts in continuing education, who can testify to the success of Actionbound at their workplaces.



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EY Germany is a market leader in advising our clients in the areas of auditing, taxes, transactions, and consulting services. We help our clients meet their legal obligations and optimize their processes. With more than 9,400 associates in more than 21 locations throughout Germany, we are in the position to meet the needs of the entirety of the German market.

With the change in generations (Generations Y and Z), a dynamic firm like EY must adapt to the new situations and demands of its associates. Mobile learning and gamification are especially important in this process.

EY’s Talent Development team uses the Actionbound app to provide new information to associates, as well as to reinforce concepts learned elsewhere, and to help make our physical trainings even more interactive. At large events as well, Actionbound is used for sightseeing and networking. Using the Bound Creator, we can customize Bounds to suit our precise needs, ensuring that our Bounds have a tremendous impact. EY focuses especially on using a combination of the features that Actionbound offers – searching for locations or objects, taking selfies, tournaments, etc.. Exactly this combination of features offered in a challenge format always receives top marks from our associates.

Can Özhan | Senior Expert Learning | Talent Development | Talent Team GSA | Ernst & Young GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft



We use Actionbound very successfully to support trainees in our team development. The app is used over several days in an experiential educational setting and is always a lot of fun for our trainees.

Andreas Geiger | Technical Education Mechatronics | Robert Bosch Automotive Steering



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We use Actionbound in the orientation program for apprentice salespeople. In the course of a scavenger hunt, trainees work in small groups to get to know the nearly two-hundred acres of our premises.

Small groups download the app onto at least one smartphone and use it to scan an individualized QR code. The groups have to scan their QR code at every station. In the process they learn about the buildings or facilities they are currently visiting– they learn what is produced in the building or what department works in each facility. There are also some questions whose answers are located near the stations. The groups visit a total of eleven stations in about 2.5 hours.

After the answers have been evaluated the winning team usually receives a small prize.

Though we don’t test our trainees after the scavenger hunt, we are convinced that they retain more than after a simple tour. The use of Actionbound certainly encourages feelings of camaraderie. A little community emerges in the 2.5 hours of the scavenger hunt. The motivation of the trainees likely varies from individual to individual and also depends on how the leaders lead their groups. Do leaders encourage their groups to participate? Or do they show the way and answer most of the questions themselves? We do experience a high level of motivation within the groups and the desire to be the best or fastest group is a constant. Human Resources | Boehringer Ingelheim



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We use Actionbound in courses across the spectrum of digital themes for our main target demographic– people who are 55 and older. Actionbound allows us to conduct exercises for groups of two with step-by-step instructions. Participants can proceed at their own pace. The method has been well received by our users, though it does require a certain familiarity with tablets. Otherwise using the tablet is a hurdle, though the app is very easy to use.

For users who do have some familiarity with tablets, the engagement with educational content is a tremendous amount of fun. The Bounds definitely provide a feeling of play and action.

We’ve already organized a number of activities at team events using Actionbound. Actionbound allows us to assign tasks to each team, which they’re supposed to solve as quickly as possible. With the Bounds there’s no need to carry around bothersome paper and the tasks can be presented nicely and embellished with graphics. The Bounds provide an immediate feeling of camaraderie, increasing team spirit in the process.

At our general assembly last year, we conducted a quiz on iPads using Actionbound. It was a great success among stockholders. In addition, it’s the perfect medium for us because we offer courses on smartphones and tablets and are able to offer an immediate impression of what will happen in the course. I would find it especially exciting to work with Actionboud with a target demographic that is more comfortable using digital technologies.

Christine Meziane | Swisscom Academy



These examples represent only a small percentage of the many possible use cases for Actionbound– the spectrum is enormous. Actionbound sits at the intersection of formal and informal education and increases motivation, fun, teamwork, and the spirit of discovery by using social elements and gamification. Local knowledge is improved in the process, and content is presented on a number of different levels, so that retention is improved. Actionbound was awarded the German Educational Media Prize digita.

Use Actionbound in you Corporation

Find our pricing here. If you have any questions, please contact Benedikt Heiß or call us.

Sharing is caring!

You’ve created a great Bound and want to make it available so others can continue on it? Now, you can make your Bound available so that other licensed users can edit it in the Bound Creator. Click on the Bound you want to share and then on the button next to "Activate public copying". Now you can share the generated link with other users.

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Tidy Up Your Dashboard with Folders

When you’ve already created a few bounds and your dashboard is getting chaotic, you can use folders to tidy up a little.

Click on the folder icon on your dashboard.

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Type in a name for your folder and choose a color. Now click on “Create Folder”.

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You can now drag & drop bounds into the folder or create new Bounds inside the folder. Name and Color can always be edited by clicking on the tool icon.

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Here you can also delete the folder. Type in the name of the folder and decide whether you also want the Bounds in the folder to be deleted or if they should be moved to the next higher level.

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If you use Instant Accounts a new folder will be created automatically. If you want to know what Instant Accounts are, check it out here.

Instant Accounts - A New Feature for Schools!

Thanks to Instant Accounts, working with Actionbound will be even easier for students.

Collaborative learning will now be much easier thanks to Instant Accounts. With a teacher’s license you can create accounts for students, so they don't have to register themselves and give up personal information. Instant Accounts are linked to your accounts and all Bounds will be shown in your dashboard in a separate folder. Instant Accounts also use your Media Library. Thanks to certain permissions you can give to each individual Instant Account, you are always in charge of what happens in the accounts.

In this tutorial we'll show you how to create Instant Accounts.

Instant Accounts

Instant Accounts are part of our teachers license feature set. If you want to unlock this feature for your Account, check here for a suitable license. If you can't find the right product for you, feel free to contact us.

Merge Bounds in Actionbound

We just released a new feature which allows you to combine two or more Bounds into one new Bound.

The feature merge Bounds allowes you to copy the content of your existing Bounds into a new one.

The following video shows you how simple it is to merge two Bounds.

Merge your Bounds

The merge function is part of our license feature set. If you want to unlock this feature for your Bounds, check here for a suitable license. If you can't find the right product for you, feel free to contact Benedikt Heiß.

Maps in Actionbound

In the last few weeks we've put a lot of effort into the map-based features of Actionbound. We're happy to present the results to you.

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Actionbound now also supports OpenStreetMap! But that's not all. We have also implemented the beautiful maps of Stamen Design and some new styles for Google Maps.

The maps from OpenStreetMap and Stamen Design can even be preloaded for offline usage. Players can now use the maps while playing a Bound to easier find the way and solve the GPS based task "Find spot" even if they don't have an internet connection.

create track for map.png map-stile.png

The maps are set in the Bound's settings and will be displayed in the Bound Creator and the Actionbound app where ever maps are shown.

The track the players have to go to complete the Bound can now be displayed as a blue line on all maps. The route is defined by a track file (GeoJSON, GPX or KML) which helps the players to stay on the right way. Track files can be recorded with a GPS device or be created with a browser based tool, e. g. GPSies, OpenRouteService or Google Maps. This file can be uploaded in the section "Track" in the settings of a Bound. Furthermore there is the possibility to create the track automatically based on the stages. It is important that GPS coordinates are set for the stages. With one click these stages are connected with a straight line and a track is created.

The start point will now be shown on more maps and a coordinate for the destination can be set.

Now it's your turn: Start to create your DIY digital scavenger hunt or interactive amazing race with Actionbound right now!

Also new with Actionbound 2.9

  • The look and feel of the Actionbound app is now more lightweight
  • Zoom into pictures
  • Support of Turkish and Arabic language
  • Improvement of the list sorting feature

… and much more! Check out our download page to get the latest version of the Actionbound app.

The Bound Challenge

Let teams compete against each other with the Bound Challenge!

The Bound Challenge allows several teams or single players to play a Bound against each other. The Bound Challenge is ideally suited for Bounds which should be played by several small groups, e. g. in the library, at the zoo or in the museum. For this, neither the creator nor the participants have to be registered at Actionbound and can nevertheless benefit from a combined evaluation of the results.

Any number of players or teams are grouped together using the individual start code of the Bound Challenge. If a new Bound Challenge is created, a start guide PDF with QR code is automatically created for downloading and printing. The Bound Challenge creator also receives a link to access the results of his group and to easily compare them.

The Bound Challenge is available if the Bound owner has a valid Actionbound license and the Bound is online.

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Bound-Challenge-3-eng.png Results and comparison view of the Bound Challenge

Bound Challenge for you Bounds

The Bound Challenge is part of our license feature set. If you want to unlock this feature for your Bounds, check here for suitable license. If you can't find the right product for you, feel free to contact Benedikt Heiß.

The Bound Styler

The Bound Styler gives you the opportunity to customize the appearance of your Bounds according to your own ideas and wishes.

Customization possibilities

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Logo: You can add your own logo on the home screen.
Colors: You can customize the colors of the individual elements of the Bound interface. In addition, you can set whether the buttons should be displayed square or rounded.
Background: How about a nice picture as a background for your Bound?
Font: Here you can choose from 14 fonts and adjust the size.
Import: In addition, you can use the Import function to import a style from one of your other Bounds.

4xTool.png 4styles-en.jpg Here are a few examples of how Bounds can be customized with the Bound Styler.

Activate Bound-Styler now

The Bound Styler can be purchased as a premium feature for your account for one year at the price of 480 €. This allows you to customize all your Bounds freely. If you are interested please contact us per e-mail .

Quick English Tutorial for the Bound-Creator

Here are two tutorials from the University of Brighton, which were originally posted on their Blog at
"Scavenger Hunts – Actionbound vs Paper". They are a quick guide how to start with creating your first Bound.

Actionbound and HCHC won Digital Health Award

dha.png We proudly announce that the Henry County Health Center and Actionbound won a bronze Digital Health Award in Fall 2016.

The Summer Wellness Actionbound Challenge entered in the Division: Hospital — under 250 beds / Audience: Consumers / Classification: Mobile Digital Health Resources / Category: Mobile Application, Interactive, Gaming, Smartphone.

Thanks to Stacy Speidel for creating the Bound and representing HCHC and Actionbound.





Official News Release:

Winners Announced for Fall 2016 Digital Health AwardsSM

LIBERTYVILLE, IL — The Health Information Resource CenterSM announced the winners in the fall session of its 18th annual Digital Health AwardsSM which honors the world’s best digital health resources. The competition, which is held twice yearly, featured 80 categories in the following entry classifications: Web-based Digital Health; Mobile Digital Health Resources; Personal Digital Health Devices / Wearables; Digital Health Media / Publications; Digital Health — Social Media; and Connected Digital Health. A panel of 24 experts in digital health media served as judges and selected gold, silver, bronze, and merit winners from nearly 400 entries.

Fall 2016 Gold Award winners included Sharecare (Website); DaVita (Social Media — Facebook); Visible Body (Mobile Application); Spirit Health Group (Digital Publication — Magazine); Amino (Web-based Resource / Tool ); and Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Basecraft (Microsite). A complete list of winners and entry categories can be found at digitalhealthawards.com.

The Health Information Resource CenterSM (HIRC), organizer of the Digital Health Awards, is a national information clearinghouse for professionals who work in consumer health fields. Other well-known HIRC programs include the annual National Health Information AwardsSM (healthawards.com), which annually recognizes the nation’s best consumer health information (in non-digital formats), and the annual National Women’s Health & Fitness DaySM, held annually the last Wednesday in September. Visit fitnessday.com for details on these events, both the largest health promotion events of their kind.

Actionbound app update

A new version (2.8.0) of the Actionbound app was just released.

Actionbound-App Sieger-Screen auf einem iPhone

The update contains:

  • Due to popular demand, we bring a new feature: Record audio!
  • Global ranking shown when finishing a Bound
  • Uploaded media can be removed
  • Improvement of the count down timer
  • Bug fixes
  • Bounds that can be started with a ticket only

We wish you lots of fun with Actionbound and are looking forward to your feedback and rating in the app stores of Apple or Google :)

Bound-Creator redesigned

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The new version of the browser based tool to create mobile adventures is online!

The Bound-Creator has been redesigned and has got tons of great enhancements:

  • Live preview of the app screens right in the Bound-Creator
  • Extensive improvements in user experience
  • Responsive design: Create Bounds in your mobile device's browser
  • Improved evaluation of the player’s results … and more: Check it out at https://actionbound.com

The Bound-Creator is now ready for the future: There will be splendid new features coming up in the next months.

Thanks to all beta testers!

Actionbound download

Download the current version of the Actionbound app for free:

• iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod): Apple App Store
• Android: Google Play Store or from the Actionbound server
• Blackberry (devices supporting .apk files): From the Actionbound server

How to use Stages in Actionbound

This info graphic shows how you use the stages element in Actionbound.

  • Choose wether you want the player to go linearly through the Bound or let him select the stages from a list or start them via QR code.
  • Use stages to better arrange your sequence
  • Give the player aid to orientation with geo tagged stages shown in the panel of the Actionbund app

How to use GPS locations in treasure hunts with Actionbound

Actionbound allows you to define places to be discovered by the players of your scavenger hunt. Here's how it works.


New Actionbound update 2.7 brings new features



We just released a new version auf Actionbound!

NEW FEATURES
• Use existing QR and bar codes in your Bounds
• Add surveys to your Bounds
• Let your players sort stuff

SECURITY
• Data transfer is now encrypted

IMPROVEMENTS
• Bounds nearby can now be shown on a map
• External links will be opened right in the Actionbound app
• Many more improvements and bug fixes

Also: Underwater-Bounds!

Get the free Actionbound app 2.7 for iOS and Android here:





(For Android, there's also a direct download from our server available.)

How to use QR- and barcodes in Actionbound

This info graphic shows how QR- and barcodes can be used in Actionbound for interactive scavenger hunts, paper chases and stuff like that. Have fun!



Supported "own code" types:

  • QR_CODE
  • DATA_MATRIX
  • UPC_E
  • UPC_A
  • EAN_8
  • EAN_13
  • CODE_128
  • CODE_39
  • ITF