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Escape Room Rules You Need to Know About

Escape rooms are like Fight Club (unless you're running a DIY escape room for kids)... the rules are there for a reason!
Hate rules? Play how you like with an at-home kit
Shirley watson puzzle master
Escape room rules aren't hard, but they keep you safe and keep the game moving along. Here's a list of the most common ones out there:

Rules For Escape Rooms

Escape rooms provide an immersive environment for a lively group activity. In it, your team will be trying to escape some horrific fate (such as being forced to watch Blue's Clues reruns for eternity) by solving fun puzzles. (Still unsure what this is all about? I explain it more in-depth here but it's time to move on!)

Each escape room has its own rules. Make sure you read those before entering the room. It will save time and a tongue lashing from the gamemaster. However, as we have played escape rooms across the globe, the rules below should cover almost every situation.

(Of course, if you're going to make your own diy escape room for kids instead, you can make up the rules as you go along!)

Wear Comfortable Clothes

We don't recommend a tuxedo. Or even a suit. You'll spend most of the time standing. The room may be dusty or even sandy.

Wear comfortable clothing that's easy to clean. You need to be able to move. You don't need to worry about getting a little dirt on your nice pants. And you probably want to wear closed-toe shoes to avoid bringing the less savory parts of the escape room home on the soles of your feet.

If you're running your own escape game at a kids party, 'kid-proof' clothing is a must. Nothing ruins your white clothes faster than a run-in with an inattentive kid holding a red solo cup full of red kool-aid.

Arrive Early

Most escape room venues actually require you to arrive 10-15 min early. (Having trouble finding a venue? Maybe this guide will help.)

You need time to complete the consent forms and review the rules. After that, the gamemaster will deliver room specific rules before giving you the intro to the room. Arriving late may force you to rush through these steps, and you may miss valuable information.

Arriving early is even more critical for a diy kids' escape room. When herding cats, you need as much grace time as possible to ensure everything goes as planned. Which it won't. Thus, the need to be early.

Use The Restroom Before The DIY Escape Room For Kids

Stuck playing Envy
If this seems like overly simple advice, it is. But most escape rooms don't allow you to leave the room for a quick potty trip and then return. Once you leave the room, you're out. The best that you can hope for is that the gamemaster lets you watch your friends flounder without your expert assistance. Your only save is to tell them that the gamemaster locked you in the bathroom.

Most adults will have a strong enough bladder to wing it. But when you're playing with kids, this is a vitally important rule! Make sure that they try before starting the room.

Pay Close Attention To The "Forbidden Items" List

Most escape rooms prohibit cell phones from the rooms. They don't want pictures of the rooms to leak. It also prevents players from using the internet to solve puzzles. But you would never do that, right? (Cheaters never prosper... but these handy hints might help)

Other items most rooms prohibit are knives, guns, lighters, and the Encyclopedia Britannica. We believe that if you can carry the entire encyclopedia in, you should be able to do that. Alas, no one has given us a vote.

Don't Imbibe Before Escaping

Taking a drink while playing Envy
Alcohol does not help cognition. Too much alcohol before your game may doom you to an eternity in the voodoo queen's swamp or the pharaoh's tomb. We recommend that you take it easy on the adult beverages before the game. Save those for the victory celebration.

Becoming completely inebriated before playing could cost you a fortune. Any damage caused to the room itself will come out of your pocket. Escape rooms cost enough without you having to fund their redecoration.

Pay Attention To The "Not A Part Of The Game" Stickers

While many items in escape rooms will help you solve puzzles, others are merely decorations. Pay attention to the stickers. The last thing you want to do is break an object that would not have helped you escape the serial killer.

Most of the time, the furniture can stay where it is, and the frames can stay on the wall. Don't break anything to try to escape.

If you're making a diy escape room for kids, try not to include any elements not a part of the game. Do not include Auntie Irma's urn for decoration. Things will be broken. Make sure that those things are not important or expensive. Here are some more tips for clearly marking what's part of your game.

Be Gentle!

Don't ever force a lock. The right combination will open the lock. You don't have to pick the lock. You don't have to use brute force or strength. The key to unlocking the box is your wits, brain, and, better yet, your friends' wits and brains.

Escape games are immersive but still fiction. While you may be running from a mummy or vampire in the storyline, you are perfectly safe in that room. Take your time, request hints if necessary, and use the right combination to open the lock.

For a diy escape room for kids, make sure that everything can withstand kids! Gentle is not their forte, especially boys.

Don't Stand On The Furniture!

Game designers know they are not catering to NBA teams or Andre the Giant. Everything will be within reach of an average person — which means it will be easily accessible. The average person does not have much reach! Plus, if someone fell off the furniture and injured themselves, lawyers would get involved, which isn't really suitable for anyone.

Most likely, you don't stand on the furniture at home or at your friend's house. Don't stand on it at the escape room, period.

While you don't stand on the furniture, your kids do. Maybe you haven't seen it. Perhaps they're too good to leave footprints. But they stand on the furniture! Make sure your diy escape room for kids only has safe furniture for the kids to stand on!
Kids working together to solve the Lost Mummy

Leave Electrical Outlets Alone

You're not Nikola Tesla. Or even Elon Musk. You probably know very little about electricity, other than it makes it possible for you to watch The Heist on Netflix. Leave the outlets alone!

No one hides clues in the outlets. Seriously. Do you think the lawyers were happy when you were standing on furniture? Wait until they find out you were playing with live outlets. Their hair will stand on end!

If you're so desperate to win that you'll poke about in an electrical outlet... maybe you should be reading these top hints for beating an escape room.

You see, game designers want the room to be a mental challenge, not a physical challenge. Use your wits. Think your way through without getting all charged up.

Ensure that all players know that the diy escape room for kids does not include outlets. Or gas grills. Or hoses. Or light fixtures. You get the picture.

Keep Your Pockets Empty

How often have you put something in your pocket and forgotten it was there? You found it when you pulled it, completely ruined, out of the washing machine. Oops.

Don't put keys, clues, props, or other escape room items in your pocket. Very few people intentionally steal from escape rooms. Many people do accidentally take home souvenirs from their experience. Even if you escaped, the post escape room photo is the only souvenir you need.
Snacking while playing Escape Zoom Z - zombie escape room

What Happens In The Escape Room Stays In The Escape Room

Laughing while playing Lost Mummy
Don't post the details of the room on Facebook. Or Twitter. Or Instagram. Or even MySpace.

No one tipped you off about the room. You fought your way through and won. Don't spoil the game for others. This isn't the ACT or freshman chemistry. Solving escape room puzzles is fun! No cheating is needed. Don't spoil the game for the next player.

This is even more important in diy escape rooms for kids. They know how to use the internet! Don't take any chances. No spoilers!

Listen To The Gamemaster!

It may seem like the gamemaster exists to toy with you. First, you get the intentionally vague intro. Then you learn the proper incantation for the GM, such as "oh wonderful lord and master" or "does polly want a cracker?" Do you really need to humble yourself this much for a clue?

Yes. Most GMs aren't the evil, sadistic creatures they seem to be. Many will give unsolicited hints. On one occasion, when we could not open a fussy lock despite having the proper combination, the gamemaster came in and opened the lock for us. Most GMs want you to succeed. We think they secretly gamble on which gamemaster's players will escape the fastest!

So, be nice. Butter them up if it is required. It may be the difference between escaping and spending eternity watching Charlie Sheen movies.

Last Rule: Have A Blast!

Totally winning Rebel Revolt
Escape rooms provide the most fun you can have in sixty minutes! Relax and enjoy.

If you're making your own escape room for kids, just follow this guide to make sure they all have a blast. Chances are, your kids will develop a lifelong love of escaping, and learn lessons about critical thinking and teamwork along the way!

Why Go Out? Bring The Adventure To Your Living Room With A Printable Kit:

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Frost (Magical Quest)
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Unearth Egypt's ancient secrets in this archeological adventure.
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Escape Quest (Time Travel)
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Fix the time machine using relics from across the ages.
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1920's Gatsby-style murder mystery of debaucherous luxury.
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5x kids edu-venture games
Valentine's, Halloween, Thanksgiving, & Christmas packs
Bonus: Treasure Map pack
Bonus: Skulls Card Game
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