Brass Hats is very much a game in the vein of Advance Wars or Military Madness. It's turn-based, you have your guys, you move them around, they attack other guys, they die, maybe you build some more, maybe you don't, and hopefully they kill all the bad guys. If there's something really witty left to be said about this subgenre of game, it ain't gonna be here and now.
What I love about this subgenre is the attention required from you is completely on-demand. Whatever other swarm of media devices you have ongoing in the background, your attention can shift seamlessly between them and this type of game, given its quick, turn-based nature. But games like this can be a little too simple when you have the brain cycles to spare. However, Brass Hats, with some small additions and adjustments to the overall formula, sharpens the strategy to a finely honed point.
You earn cards that represent special powers that can be used once on your turn, and you pick the subset of cards you want to have available during the match when you start. Your units gain experience through combat, in addition to all the other standards (a small number of terrain types, transports, air and sea vehicles, capturing bases, and building units). It can be easy to dismiss all the individual small strategy elements as being too simple until you look at the clock and have to account for those missing hours.
The game achieves this depth with as few moving parts as possible (minimalism = yay). The progression of complexity is very smooth, rarely leaving you with a mission that doesn't provide any new challenge compared to the last one. Although every once in a while, that progression does hiccup. (I died on one of the otherwise well done tutorial missions -- wtf?)
You play the "Allied Forces" fighting the "Central Army" in what is loosely World War I (the "Great War"). The way the game treats the subject matter, though, removing detail to fit with the stylized artwork, has an odd effect. For instance, no countries are mentioned, you're simply told to defend your "allies to the north" when your campaign reaches Britain. So the game continues a trend of the cartoonization or mythologization (yeah, those are words -- they are now anyway) of the last century's major conflicts. But then again, how much has really changed since then? Only these days I think we're at war with Eastasia, not Eurasia.