I know what you mean, but they can still be fun. I'm still playing Red Alert 1, and with Endwar coming out, there's still alot to look forward to.
As far as tactics go but, your right. My mate is a major tactician in RTS games, I usually don't stand a chance. That's why I employed the 'Snatch & Grab' technique in a game of Red Alert once
The trick is that while he's builing soldiers, tanks, fighter jets and major artillery, I built engineers. The fat little guys with the yellow hats and spanners that steal buildings. You send a wave of about 300 of those mo' fo's into someone's base, it doesn't stay there's for long. Just a tip