This article is from the German Board Games FAQ, by Keith Ammann firstname.lastname@example.org
"German" games are defined by what they aren't almost as much as by what
they are. They aren't simplistic, as are many games produced for the U.S.
mass market. They are not rules-heavy, as are many games produced for the
U.S. hobby market, nor do they take an inordinately long time to play.
They are not military simulations, owing in part to Germany's post-World
War II stigma against militarism in popular culture.
As for what they are: They are attractive, with a lot of attention paid
to quality of components and graphic design. They are accessible, with
rulebooks that top out around six pages and typical playing times of 30 to
90 minutes. They are easily grasped by older or smarter children. They
are involving, both strategically (there are always decisions to be made)
and socially (players are not left out of the action when it's someone
else's turn). They contain unusual and innovative play mechanisms. And
they're also expensive and hard to find compared with American mass-market
games, largely because they haven't been widely promoted or distributed
outside a core community of hobby gamers and the rec.games.board
Finally, they're credited. That is, the designer's name is printed on the
box and is often a selling point. This is in contrast with most games on
the U.S. market, for example, whose designers either remain anonymous or
are buried in the back of the rulebook.