The title of this post is one of the core rules for design that many people have problems grasping. The concept is simple though: keep whatever you're doing simple. Why? Because when you make thins more complex, you increase the chances of failure and the chances of it confusing someone who it isn't supposed to confuse. This also applies to the machinations of PCs in games though, and today I want to look at that aspect of things.
Oh What A Tangled Web...
Some players like playing chess master characters. You know the type. The guys who manipulate events around them like pieces on a game board. They plot and they plan and they work people off of each other in odd ways in order to bring about their desired results. They're hard to pull off in a normal story, and even harder to do in a game where you've got other people doing random things and playing their own plots all at the same time. However, a lot of players when playing this kind of character forget the KISS rule. Why? Because they're so busy about tangling their webs and making it hard to see what they're up to that they lose the point of what they're trying to do in the process.
The way most people mess up this rule is when they're building their little organizations and networks in order to be the Spider/Chess Master character. They try to use layers of subterfuge and shadow when they have nothing to really hide behind. This can make the process of recruiting a lot harder as no one has ever heard of the group, and you're trying to play a complex game when you don't have any pieces. Consider, on the other hand, just using the direct approach. Sure, some people may know more about what is going on than you'd initially like, but you've also got pieces now. You can expand playing those games, keeping yourself hidden, and making a play for what you want. In other words, build something first then hide behind it.
All You Have To Do Is Walk Up...
The other place a lot of people mess up KISS is when it comes to killing other people, especially less important characters. Sometimes all you need to do is walk up and stab the person in the back. No witnesses, get away quickly, and let the work speak for itself.
What I'm Trying To Say
I guess what I am trying to say here is to not forget the simple concept of KISS. It works in almost everything you need, and often times the only thing you need to do to get something is take it. Why do the elaborate cons and deceptions when they're not needed? Save them for when they are, and see what else could work when they aren't. You may be surprised.