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This month, Mystery Shopper heads to the Kentish coast in search of a family friendly board game


Despite what its name suggests, The Groovy Frog was not filled with Parisian artisans knocking back bottles of absinthe and lopping off their own ears. But what this comic book, collectables and board game shop lacked in continental eccentricity, it more than made up for with its own brand of quirkiness. Entering the store, I was

greeted by a cardboard cut- out of Penny from The Big Bang Theory. She was stood next to a

wall dedicated to board and card games for all ages, from young children right up to the most resolute adult gamers. Meanwhile, notes inviting

me to join the store’s regular board game club or partake in some leisurely gaming in its café upstairs were dotted all around the shop. Picking up a selection of titles, including King of Tokyo and Munchkin, I approached the counter and asked the store manager what he might suggest for a family of board gamers. “As fate would have it, the

games you have here are perfect for family gaming,” he told me with a smile. “Munchkin is all about

team work, I play it with my kids all the time. And once they’ve gone to bed, we play it with the adult rules for a bit more excitement.”

46 High Street, Ramsgate

He went on to explain that Munchkin has a number of expansion packs, including Munchkin Spy, Space and more. “It’s a great little game to get kids into board gaming.” And at £20, it wasn’t over budget either. He talked me through the

entire collection of board games, including numerous Zombie themed games. “Not all of them are suitable for young kids, but they’re exciting games to get involved in at a later age. And we have clubs they can come and join, too.”

This guy had an infectious passion for gaming, and my wallet was suddenly in very dangerous territory.

Verdict: The Groovy Frog had a welcoming and friendly atmosphere that despite targeting a niche market of gamers and collectors was very accommodating to a relative novice. The customer service was impeccable, with excellent product knowledge and an infectious passion for board games.

42 August

Like a carnival fun house looming over the Herne Bay High Street, this towering toy and fancy dress shop casts an impressive shadow. And with eyes bulging almost as much as the shop’s window displays, I entered to explore what it kept within. Downstairs, a mountain

of Loom Bands stood on the counter while the young shopkeeper chatted away with her customers. Three rooms of toys, play- sets, arts and crafts, puzzles and collectables stretched out before me. A short trip upstairs revealed a collection of costumes and accessories that would put even Lady Gaga to shame. A room of floor to ceiling

shelves was stacked with outdoor toys, LEGO, Playmobil and board games. It was an impressive bounty, ranging from Star Wars Monopoly to tabletop football games and the numerous family board

98 Mortimer Street, Herne Bay

games in between. As I hovered along the aisle, the store manager conversed with his sales rep. Adopting the tactic of appearing to need help, I grabbed the nearest game and frowned at it, hard. Five fruitless minutes later and my brow was starting to ache. I caved in to common sense, placed the Trivial Pursuit back on the shelf and headed downstairs. I asked the young woman at the counter what board game she could suggest for a family with two kids. “Have you seen the Trivial Pursuit Family Edition?” she suggested. “It rings a bell…” I replied. “It’s just like the classic

Trivial Pursuit but it has two lots of questions, some for adults and some for kids. You’ll find it about halfway down the aisle, at about knee height.” She was right, that was exactly were I had left it.


Verdict: Kids Korner is an impressive store filled to the brim with toys and fancy dress. The service was friendly with an impressive knowledge, but ‘going the extra mile’ would have earned this store top points.



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