German game appreciation thread (Die Siedler von Catan, und Freunde)

What’s your favorite German game?

For those who might be unfamiliar with the term, “German” games refers to a recent explosion of board games, well-made, with quality wood counters and well-designed boards, usually fairly abstract, typically emphasizing strategy.

The prototypical example is Settlers of Catan, which is number one on my list of games that I will probably still be playing fifty years from now.

Java, with its ever-changing board, is another perennial favorite, but it’s only midway up the scale of elegance.

The obsession-of-the-moment is Through the Desert, an absolutely fascinating pure-strategy territory-taking game. Depsite its apalling pastel-colored camel pieces (which look like Smarties but are, alas, inedible), it promises almost infinte replay value.

Elfenland seems very interesting, but I’ve only had the chance to play it thrice. The major flaw I see with it is that it’s very frustrating when you get screwed over–you’re stopped dead, and have nothing better to do for the rest of the round than fume.