A Dictionary of Escape Room Terms

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created unequal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable stupidities, such as annoying questions, illiteracy, and the pursuit of ignorance. – That to secure these rights, ‘Teams’ are instituted among man and woman, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Team becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the Games Master to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Rule, laying its foundation on the principle of explaining certain basic terms which the people really ought to know by now.

attention (see also Listen)

The act of listening to what the Games Master is telling you; commonly confused with inattention-a rudeness punishable by a death-stare.


You will need one of these to play. You cannot and will not play without one of these. Commonly referred to as reservation (which is precisely the emotion Games Masters express towards the common rabble).


infant humans; tiny drunk people; noise terrorists; grot-bags; cute simpletons; stupefied dwarves



A vertical line: the opposite of a row.


Preferable to lateness. Teams should remember Gandalf’s wisdom: ‘A wizard is never too late, nor too early; a wizard arrives precisely when he means to’ (15 minutes before your designated start time).


physical; breaking; do not. Not to be confused with any of the fundamental forces of physics such as gravity, which Games Masters cannot, alas, suspend.

games master

staff member; evil overlord; custodian; patronizing voice at end of walkie-talkie; John Kramer, AKA Jigsaw; police-state bureaucrat. Games Masters are most fond of polite teams as opposed to smart teams. They know all the answers to all the puzzles. You should take their advice seriously.


unfashionably overdue. Excuses commonly offered include lateness of trains; useless Uber drivers; inclement weather; absent-mindedness; sheer incompetence; and death. Games Masters appreciate the courtesy of a phone call warning that you will be late.


high density photons. Please do not stare into them, for reasons of blindness. Latex optional.

listen (see also attention)

understanding; comprehension. Impossible to achieve while talking.


A horizontal line: the opposite of a column.


At the same time. Precisely the opposite of one after the other, which is what many people unaccountably think it means.

By Oscar Yuill