Like the earlier games in the series, Red Storm requires both players to do planning for both their air and ground forces prior to a scenario. Raid forces must be generated, targets and routes planned, and aircraft loadouts determined. SAM, AAA, and radar units must be placed to take advantage of the rough terrain and frequently poor weather of central Germany.
During a scenario, players go through a sequence of phases each turn where they conduct electronic warfare, use various means to detect and track enemy flights, and move and fight with their flights while potentially being attacked from the ground. The heart of game is the movement phase where players use a chit-draw system that allows players to alternate moving one to five flights at a time.