RUSE: The Art of Deception is a real-time strategy game set in World War II. The campaign tells the stories of the American officer Joe Sheridan and the German Erich von Richter, which have to command troops in different war zones all over Europe and North America. In accordance with the game's theme the overarching plot is about catching a spy.
In contrast to most other WWII games, the battles in RUSE: The Art of Deception take place on big maps - and this is to be taken literally. There is no 3D environment, and the only models are the war units on a land map. At least if the player currently is on one of the nearer zoom levels. If the game is zoomed out the player has a greater overview, and the units are shown in an abstract form which can be described as stacked, differently colored poker chips. Then only a whole troop can be given orders; to move single units the player has to use the stepless zoom to have a closer look. The strategy itself consists of the usual system of different unit types which have advantages and disadvantages against other types. Basic base building elements exist, but play no big role: there are only production facilities and defense towers to build. Resource depots can be conquered.
The combatants can utilize various deceptions. Those are similar to special attacks in other games and apply to a certain part of the map. Examples are hiding all friendly units, showing the movement path of enemy units with big red arrows, fake units to distract the enemy or disguising heavy units as light units (and the other way around).
Additionally to the campaign there are two co-op maps and four separate maps against powerful AI generals.