A secret community of Escape Room Enthusiasts


Escape Room Pet Peeves

There are a number of Pet Peeves that are common to all Escape Room Enthusiasts. I polled a few enthusiasts and have collated their answers! The following are direct quotes, and thus, are in first person. What are your Escape Room Pet Peeves?

On Locks

  • Multiple 4 digit locks, one combo to try on all of them.
  • Multiple locks on one item – usually in the form of four locks on one suitcase.
  • A safe that locks out – and a combination that you can’t verify is the right one. A player should know they have the right answer if they are entering it into a lockout safe.

On Flashlights and Blacklights

  • Small flashlights and large, dark rooms.
  • Less flashlights than players when it’s impossible to progress without light – what fun is it when one person’s job is literally “give me light”?
  • Searching with a black light in a large room with no clue as to where.
  • Black lights that are too small to actually be of any use.

On Tech

  • When fancy tech doesn’t work. I’ll take a solid low tech room over a room that tried to be grandiose with tech and failed.
  • Failing batteries or pieces of tech where you’re not told how they’re used beforehand.
  • Room themes that have irrelevant tech thrown in for the ‘cool’ factor (i.e. Egypt/Vampire room with lasers).

On Puzzles

  • Convoluted puzzles that involve being inside the creator’s mind to solve.
  • A room requiring outside knowledge. That’s just uncool.
  • Numbers puzzles without pen and paper provided. I’m really bad at mental math.
  • When the object you are trying to find is pinky-sized or smaller.
  • Rooms with shelves of books, and part of the room requires you to sift through all the books to either find a correct page or a clue inside. And I’m not talking about 1,2 or even 5 books, I’m talking 10-30 books.
  • Long Task puzzles that are only used for Time sinks. Some tasks are fun, but it shouldn’t take us 15 minutes to do one task.
  • Clues hidden inside fake electrical sockets.
  • The destructible puzzle: a puzzle whose initial state is tantamount to solving it, however the player can easily change that state. If there is no way to reset the puzzle, or a diagram to show how to put the puzzle back to its initial state, then this is an unfair puzzle.
  • Trial and Error puzzles: don’t make me guess where to put an answer, or the order of the combination.
  • Bottlenecks: no one wants to watch someone else do a ten minute puzzle

On Hints

  • Vague hints – I try to avoid this by being very exact as to what my team has tried and what we need, but sometimes we still get the occasional “it has something to do with numbers”-type clue
  • I don’t like the “find this thing for an extra clue” system. But that’s personal taste. I think it detracts from solving the actual room.

On Game Masters and Room Facilities

  • When making it 3/4 of the way through the room and asking the GM for a walkthrough the rest, they insist you come back and play through the game again. (sucks more when its $25 and up).
  • When a GM has told you the minimum number of people and you actually need MORE people to physically operate a room.
  • When GM’s don’t know their own rooms (and don’t know how to solve their own puzzles).
  • When GM’s tell you rules, but then you need to break the rule in the room. (e.g. They tell you a clue doesn’t need to be used twice, but then it does.)
  • Paying $20-30 for a room with dollar store items, $15 is ok as long as the puzzles make sense.
  • Rooms that have a minimum or suggested number but clearly not enough puzzles to keep that number occupied.
  • Poor ventilation.
  • Safety hazards (One time, we saw sparks when plugging in a device!)
  • No lobby to chat – discussion is all part of the fun! (When done quietly to avoid spoilers, of course.)
  • Rooms with ridiculous range sizes: 2-10, in some companies we’ve visited. If your room can be done by 2 people, never put 10 people in it. And vice versa.



  1. Seems like a fair list. We (sort of) had one of these situations come up in one of our rooms for the first month or so. I don’t want to say which, but it mostly only bothered escape room veterans. None the less, we did eventually address the issue, and did make for a better overall experience.

  2. Yep, a good list. I would add that the annoyance factor of a “convoluted puzzle” is squared when combined with it being the last puzzle of a room, and it’s cubed when combined with the room being too easy (i.e. the puzzle is only there to run down the clock so that teams don’t escape too quickly).

    Yes, I do have a particular room in mind 😉

  3. Douglas

    Good list but I don’t see my #1 pet peeve – When you ask for a hint and the GM has disappeared or is otherwise unresponsive!

  4. Wei-Hwa Huang

    The quote doesn’t use “tantamount” correctly. “Tantamount” means “equivalent to”, and presumably you wouldn’t see a puzzle where the initial state is equivalent to solving it. The writer probably meant “paramount”, which means “necessary”.

  5. Technology is just fire!

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