19 Helpful Escape Room Rules to Know

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Escape room rules are guidelines to follow when solving or building escape rooms. For example, age limits, not looking up answers on your phone, and no drinking. The purpose of these rules is to create a positive and consistent experience for participants.

These rules inform escape game strategies and tips for escape rooms. You can use these guidelines for your escape room company or DIY escape games.

This article includes:

  • common rules for escape rooms
  • virtual escape room rules
  • examples of escape room rules

Here are the most useful escape rooms to follow if you want to play the game like a professional. Let us get started!

List of escape room rules

As with every other game, rules guide escape room players to ensure a complete gaming experience. Sticking to the rules of the games also makes it easier to play the game successfully. While escape rooms may differ in themes and organizations, these common rules for escape rooms will help you have a better chance of winning the game and having fun.

1. Be above the age limit

Many escape room companies have varying age requirements for players. Before participating in any escape room game, you must meet the age requirements. Most rooms require players to be at least 12 or 16 years old or to be a legal adult. If not, then you may not get to play. However, some escape room companies may allow younger players if there is a consent form or an accompanying adult.

2. Arrive at the location early

One overlooked rule that causes most folks to lose the game is not arriving at the game location on time. Arriving early at the game location allows you to listen to your game master and note particular instructions. It can be disappointing to miss out on important information to help you solve your puzzle. Aside from this pointer, arriving on time allows you to create a rapport with other players who may be potential teammates. You also get an opportunity to strategize how to solve your game and come out victorious. Plus, showing up on time ensures that you get the full intended time to solve the game.

3. Prepare mentally

Escape rooms require brainpower and mental prowess to solve the puzzles, crack codes and be out of the room before the time is up. It would help if you prepared mentally for the challenge that lies ahead. It is very easy to lose your cool as the game gets more challenging. However, remember that the escape room is a game, and play with a clear head. Also, identify emotional triggers and phobias before playing the game. Having a teammate who has anxiety, claustrophobia, panic attacks, and other issues can ruin the fun of the game and act as a setback for the team.

4. Prepare physically

Although escape rooms are fun, there is no denying that solving puzzles can be draining physically and mentally. If you know you are not feeling well or strong enough to play the game, then there is no point in participating. It would help if you were physically active because solving the puzzle involves movement. Facilitators often encourage players to snack before the game to discourage hunger pangs. Snacking rejuvenates you and gives you the much-needed strength to go about the game agilely. If you feel sick at any point in the game, then communicate to your teammates and game master, who will excuse you from the game.

5. Use the bathroom before the game

Another common rule for escape rooms is for players to use the bathroom before the game starts. Having to use the bathroom while already playing the game can negatively impact your team, especially as you are working with the time. You can encourage teammates to use the bathroom right before the games start to avoid unnecessary issues that can cause the team to lose the game.

6. Do not come in drunk or intoxicated

Most escape room companies turn away players who want to participate in the game while intoxicated. Before participating in an escape room, ensure that you do not consume so much alcohol or other stimulants that may cause you to perform below average. Being drunk kills your game and poses a risk to yourself and your teammates, as you may act in a way that causes a security hazard.

7. Leave your phones and belongings outside the room

One of the standard rules of escape rooms is that players leave their phones, coats, wallets, and purses with security personnel or at a table outside the room. Many escape room facilitators always ask players to leave phones and other personal belongings behind as these can be used to cheat or cause a distraction. Besides, the phone has no use because you are better off asking your game master questions or hints to clues that are hard to decipher. Most rooms provide lockers or lockboxes to guard valuables while folks play the game.

8. Listen to your game master

Game masters help you play the game by the rules. One important escape room rule is never to ignore your game master’s instructions. You should follow the instructions to the letter. Trying to play smart and boycotting the instructions is unwise because you will create a setback for yourself and your teammates. Instead, you should pay attention to whatever your game master says, as they can even provide valuable clues or hints to help you solve your puzzle.

For example, if your game master tells you not to touch an object like an outlet or an emergency exit door, then follow this advice. These instructions are for safety reasons, and the game master will not try to trick you when giving you these warnings.

9. Be careful when handling items in the room

Another important escape room rule is to be careful with items while playing the game. For example, it would be inappropriate to move forbidden objects. The game organizers often mark these items to let players know that players should not move them. Items marked as ‘Do not Touch’ have nothing to do with your games, and trying to move them comes with consequences that may increase your chances of being ejected from the game. In the same vein, do not touch light switches or cameras as these can cause a security hazard and a breach in the game rules, leading to your loss.

10. Do not be destructive

This tip is perhaps one of the most essential escape room rules. Being destructive is the fastest way to lose the game and disrupt the fun experience for other players. For example, if a door is not opening, then there is no need to force it open or break it down. The resistance is likely a sign that you may have missed a clue while solving your puzzle. It is best to recheck your game to ensure nothing is missing, and if there is nothing, then you can contact the game master. Also, do not climb on the furniture or mess with the decorative pieces in the room. Deliberately destroying items in the room will make you and your teammates lose points and end the game for everyone. Plus, you may be responsible for paying for the damaged property.

11. Do not hoard information

One crucial rule for playing escape rooms is to avoid hoarding information that may be useful in helping your team solve their puzzle. The purpose of escape rooms is to foster teamwork, and holding out on clues or answers to puzzles defeats that purpose. You are in a team to ensure that you all can make it out of the room within the stipulated time through collective efforts. When you refuse to share clues or information with your teammates, then you reduce the team’s chances of winning. While being the most clever member on the team is a great feeling, a much better feeling is knowing that your team wins the game.

12. Communicate with your teammates calmly

If you find any clues or answers to the puzzle, communicate with your team without shouting out with excitement. It would help if you remembered that other customers are waiting outside the room to have their turn. Creating a noise or shouting out answers to puzzles is chaotic and ruins the experience for those yet to play since they may have overheard some of the clues and answers to the puzzles.

13. Do not take clue pieces with you

One of the common examples of escape room rules is to never take any clue pieces along with you after the end of the game. As a result, you make it difficult for the next set of players to solve their puzzle by hiding or removing these clue pieces. A great tip to avoid such occurrences is to create a pile or box where every player places any clue they find. Also, double-check your pockets before you leave the room.

14. Do not argue or fight with your teammates

Most escape room companies have strict rules for fighting and arguments while in the escape room. Arguing with your teammates does not fulfill the objectives of playing escape room games. Discord takes away useful time and hampers the fun others are supposed to experience. If the arguments get pretty heated and could result in a fight, the game master will ban or eliminate all teammates from the game.

15. Avoid oversharing with the public

Whatever you see or do in your escape room should be confidential. Although it is okay to share how your general experience, you should avoid sharing clues or answers to the puzzle with the public, for instance, by posting answers on social media. By oversharing, you kill the game’s buzz for potential players and contribute to the loss of the company. For this reason, many escape room companies often require their players to sign a confidentiality agreement to avoid leaking confidential details of the game to the public.

List of virtual escape room rules

Virtual escape rooms do not have as many rules as a live escape room. While these rules are not as prevalent, they are similar to those applied in physical escape rooms. Examples of such escape room rules include the following:

16. Do not pick specific items

Just like with live escape rooms, players should avoid picking certain items that have clear “do not pick” marks. Picking up such items can disrupt the game’s flow, and even though the game master can correct this, you would have wasted valuable time.

17. Stay on the screen

Although splitting screens can be a working strategy for winning escape rooms, you do not have to do it all the time. If your virtual game master mentions that players should strictly remain on the game dashboard, then you should stay on that screen. Trying to split screens when you have been told not to may signal the end of the game for you.

18. Pay attention to the timer and clues

A very common escape room rule that still applies in virtual rooms is paying attention to the time and clues. Some virtual escape rooms do not have a limited time, meaning the game ends when you have solved your puzzles, while others are usually between 60 to 80 minutes. You may think this limit is enough time to solve your dilemma, yet game organizers are crafty. Although designers make the game as easy as possible, you will undoubtedly face some challenges. Hence you must work with the time and ensure that every minute counts. Likewise, you and your teammates will also need to pay attention to clues and make sure they are thoroughly analyzed and organized. In a case where you are lost, you should ask for a hint.

19. Do not look up answers

Because gamemasters cannot inhabit the same space as you and cannot enforce the no-phones rule, cheating in virtual escape rooms can be easy. Many providers specify that you should not use an internet browser, smartphone, or smart device like Alexa to solve puzzles. Using the internet as a cheat sheet defeats the game’s challenge and ruins the fun for other players. If you are stuck, then it is better to ask the gamemaster for hints than to turn to Google for easy answers.

Why Escape Room Rules Are Important

The essence of escape room rules is to ensure that the activity goes smoothly with players and to guide them towards winning the game. For instance, most companies take punctuality to the game location as a rule because being early gives you the time to listen to the instructions and start the game on time. You get to have more fun that way and also allow others to have their turn before the day is over.

Another reason why escape room rules are necessary is that they keep players safe. For example, many companies have strict rules against moving prohibited items, playing the game while intoxicated, bringing phones and objects like lighters inside the room, or forcefully handling items. While these rules may seem strict, the major reason is to avoid situations that jeopardize players and the company. Hence, it is always important to pay attention and follow the game’s DOs and DON’Ts.

Escape room rules also make it easier for players to win the game. When you listen carefully to the game master’s instructions, then there is a high chance that you may be able to get some useful insights to help you navigate the room successfully. Often, game masters mask valuable tips with creative storytelling targeted at distracting you. Therefore, it would help if you paid attention to every word and analyze these messages as thoroughly as possible to avoid missing any important detail.

For instance, if your game master says not to move the bookshelf, that indicates that there are no hidden clues in that area. With this information, you know where to and where not to waste your time searching.


There is no denying that escape rooms are one of the best games. These activities improve your team-building skills and stimulate and put your brain to work. However, as much as you are playing the game to have fun, you still need to follow the escape room rules to ensure that the game progresses smoothly. Even if you do not win, sticking to the rules ensures that you and other players play the game safely and still have the most exciting moments.

Next, check out this list of the best escape room suppliers and learn more about what an escape room is and how long escape games last.

FAQ: Escape room rules

Here are some frequently asked questions about escape room rules

What are the rules for escape rooms?

Some of the rules for escape rooms include arriving early, listening to the game masters, paying attention to the timer and clues, and communicating with your teammates quietly.

What should you not do in an escape room?

You should avoid certain actions while playing an escape room game like coming for the game drunk or intoxicated, moving items that are clearly marked as ‘Do Not Touch,’ and being destructive.

Why do escape rooms have rules?

Escape rooms have rules because these serve as a guide for players to ensure their safety and smooth progression of the game. Without rules, the game would be chaotic and players may end up causing harm to themselves while at it. Hence, escape room rules are essential to ensure that every player has a good time.