I've never in my life played an RTS game before, but when reading about Company of Heroes I decided I should give it a try.
Best. Game. Ever. OK, maybe not the best ever (that honour goes to HL2), but it is absolutely fantastic.
The use of tactics is amazing, and the Havok physics adds loads to the game too. The first time you see an artillery strike completely level a farmhouse is awesome, and you soon realise that pretty much everything in the game, from buildings to bushes to telegraph poles can be destroyed, creating new cover and freeing routes that were blocked before.
Seriously, even if your an RTS n00b like me, I urge you to try out this game. It's gorgeous, frantic and incredibly well presented and put together. Just do it.